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ISU Political Scientist: Curb Terrorism By Curbing Gun Access


After the attack in Orlando, the focus should not be exclusively on whether the shooter is Muslim or an Islamist, according to the Chair of the Illinois State University Politics and Government.

Dr. Ali Riaz says there are other factors that should be examined.

"We should look into other things, for example the access to weapons," said Riaz. "We need to have gun control. There is no doubt in my mind. We've talked about this since Sandy Hook."

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children aged 6 to 7 years old, as well as six adult staff members we're shot and killed. 

"I'm not very optimistic. But not being optimistic does not exonerate the positions (on gun control) politicians are taking. We're paying a high price," said Riaz.  Riaz did not suggest focusing only on guns and said society must work toward being more inclusive, address hate crimes, and homophobic rhetoric, in addition to traditional anti-terrorism tactics.  

Riaz said the Orlando shooter may have been a self-radicalized Islamist, but self-radicalized or not, its practically impossible to stop an attack by so called lone-wolf.  Riaz agreed that it's just as likely, based on media reports, that the gunman was mentally unbalanced, committed a hate crime and used Islam as a cover or an excuse for the attack.