December 5, 2015

At Raw Story, Tom Boggioni reports:

Appearing on Fox & Friends, 2016 GOP presidential contender Marco Rubio hammered at Democrats for proposing additional gun control laws after the San Bernardino attack, adding that “the left” never talks about “bomb control.”

Rubio ... took to the Fox & Friends couch to complain that liberals jumped to conclusions about the shooting before any of the facts were revealed.

“When this first came out, without knowing anything about the case, the first thing they started talking about was gun control, and gun control, ” the junior senator from Florida said. “I don’t hear anybody talking about bomb control. They put bombs, they left bombs behind on the scene of attack, intending to kill even more people than they did with the guns.”

Ignoring the fact that the San Bernardino bombs were not successfully deployed and that guns actually killed and injured people, does Rubio really want to argue that Democrats are indifferent to the threat from bombs?

I'd like to take Young Marco back to the mid-1990s, when a number of terrifying incidents -- the first attack on the World Trade Center, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Olympic park bombing in Atlanta -- led to calls by President Bill Clinton and other Democrats for a requirement that traceable "taggants" be included in explosives. The NRA was having none of it, and therefore neither was the GOP:

President Clinton's attempt to pass an anti-terrorism bill ... ran into the brick wall of National Rifle Association opposition. The most desirable item in Mr. Clinton's proposal was a plan to make it easier to trace explosives by adding chemical markers known as taggants to black powder and gunpowder during their manufacture. The President, in deference to the powerful gun lobby, had already watered down his idea before it hit the House of Representatives. Then Republicans substituted a meaningless non-government study on the already exhaustively studied taggant issue.

The requirement never passed, and the NRA/GOP taggant blockade still hasn't been broken, as we were reminded after the Boston Marathon bombing:

One avenue of investigation is already closed off to forensic officials working the Boston Marathon bombing case due to efforts dating back decades by the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers.

... a crucial piece of evidence called a taggant that could be used to trace the gunpowder used in the bombs to a buyer at a point of sale is not available to investigators.

“If you had a good taggant this would be a good thing for this kind of crime. It could help identify the point of manufacturer, and chain of custody,” Bob Morhard, an explosives consultant and chief executive officer of Zukovich, Morhard & Wade, LLC., in Pennsylvania, who has traced explosives and detonators in use in the United States and Saudi Arabia, told “The problem is nobody wants to know what the material is.”

Explosives manufacturers are required to place tracing elements known as identification taggants only in plastic explosives but not in gunpowder, thanks to lobbying efforts by the NRA and large gun manufacturing groups.

... In the past, the NRA has argued that taggants could affect the trajectory of bullets and would also be a de facto form of weapons registration....

As David Cay Johnston noted shortly after the Marathon attack:

But for the NRA-backed policy of not putting identifiers known as taggants in gunpowder, law enforcement could have quickly identified the explosives used to make the bombs, tracking them from manufacture to retail sale. That could well have saved the life of Sean Collier, the 26-year-old MIT police officer who was gunned down Thursday night by the fleeing bomb suspects.

If Marco Rubio is suddenly concerned about bombs, perhaps he'd like to announce his support for taggant legislation right now.

But that isn't going to happen, is it?

Crossposted at No More Mister Nice Blog

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