The Islamic State has a new official selling point for potential recruits, The Washington Post reported Friday: U.S. gun shows. In the terrorist group's most recent issue of its propaganda magazine Rumiyah, the militants espouse upon the ease with which weapons can be obtained in the U.S., thanks to lax American gun laws.
"In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license," reads the Rumiyah article, which was published Thursday. The article further advises recruits that the "approximately 5,000 gun shows taking place annually within the United States" make arming oneself a "very easy matter."
The Violence Policy Center, a pro-gun control non-profit organization, reports that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates there are actually just 2,000 gun shows held annually in the U.S. But VPC also notes that the National Association of Arms Shows, a pro-gun lobbying organization, puts the number at 5,200 shows annually — and nearly 100 per weekend.
In any case, ISIS is actively bragging about the simplicity of acquiring firearms in the U.S. Not only that, but an imprisoned recruit told The New York Times in August that group leaders "say the Americans are dumb. ... They say we can radicalize them easily, and if they have no prior record, they can buy guns, so we don't need to have a contact man who has to provide guns for them."
The Rumiyah article recommends using firearms for taking or killing hostages, and said if guns cannot be obtained legally, recruits should take to robbing a gun shop or hunting store. Read more about ISIS's exploitation of U.S. gun laws at The Washington Post, or read more about America's fraught relationship with guns here at The Week. Kimberly Alters