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Trump to clash with gun lobby over arms ban for terror suspects

Donald Trump plans to confront the NRA for its opposition to barring people on terror watch lists from buying guns.

Published: 16th June 2016 08:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2016 08:08 AM   |  A+A-

GOP 2016 Trump_R (1)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally | AP

ORLANDO: Donald Trump plans to confront the National Rifle Association for its opposition to barring people on terror watch lists and those who are banned from flying from buying guns, in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando gay club.

The development came as a Democratic senator began a filibuster in the US Congress to force a vote on gun control legislation, amid growing public anger at the easy access to weapons that allowed Omar Mateen to shoot dead 49 people with a legally purchased assault rifle.

Mr Trump said: "I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns."

The NRA responded that the group was "happy" to meet Mr Trump, but that its views on the issue had not changed. The powerful pro-gun lobby group has said that linking the terror watch list to gun restrictions is an infringement of the right to bear arms.

It came as further details of the Orlando shooting emerged. A former marine who worked as a bouncer at Pulse nightclub told how as Mateen opened fire he instinctively pushed people towards an exit, saving around 70 lives.

Imran Yousuf, 24, who served in Afghanistan, said when he heard gunfire break out he recognised it immediately as "high calibre". He ran towards a locked door that people had huddled around. "I'm screaming, 'Open the door! Open the door!' And no one is moving because they are scared," he said. "There was only one choice - either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance, and I jumped over to open that latch and we got everyone that we can out of there."

An NRA spokesman told The Daily Telegraph that the terror watch list included individuals who had never been accused of a crime and who might be connected to a suspect indirectly or unknowingly. In an unusual alignment, the American Civil Liberties Union also opposed the proposal, saying the standards for inclusion on a "no fly" list are unconstitutionally vague.

Mr Trump is a fervent defender of the Second Amendment, but has insisted that people on watch lists should be exempt from the right to carry a gun.

Republican lawmakers have so far refused to support such legislation.

Democrats took to the Senate floor yesterday to launch a filibuster, a procedural obstruction, and to call for action to restrict suspected terrorists' access to guns. "I'm at my wits' end," said Chris Murphy, the senator for Connecticut, where a 2012 school shooting left 20 children dead.

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