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Guest Opinion: The truth about Orlando

On June 12, an American-born Islamic terrorist committed the worst terror attack in the United States since 9/11, gunning down 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando. In the wake of this tragedy focus has been on gun control. This is incredibly disturbing. As a leader in our community, it's my duty to be honest and open with you and say what President Obama and media outlets won't—what happened in Orlando was an act of terrorism, not a referendum on gun control. No Second Amendment restrictions could prevent this catastrophe.

As information continues to come out, it's clear the solution to keeping Americans safe isn't gun control. We need to address the issue that the FBI fell down on the job investigating this terrorist. We need to address the issue of allowing Syrian refugees into America is a horrible idea. If the FBI can't effectively investigate American-born Islamic terrorists, why would President Obama allow a wave of new Muslim immigrants into our country who, national security experts themselves admit, cannot be effectively investigated.

The solution is simple. We need agencies charged with our nation's security to be willing to investigate and pursue credible threats. We need to put those who pose a threat on the terrorist watch list, and when they're on that list they cannot be allowed to purchase firearms until removed. The NRA has made statements endorsing this measure. We need to detain anyone pledging allegiance to ISIS or to radical Islam. We need to block refugees from countries that are ground zero for radical Islamic recruitment and instead create a temporary safe place for those genuinely seeking refuge from persecution in a neutral location before we even consider shipping them into our borders.

Finally, we need leaders who are willing to call radical Islamic terrorism what it is without fear of being threatened and labeled Islamophobic. We cannot defeat our enemies if we cannot call them out for what they are.

America needs better leadership, and we need it this year. We are at a tipping point, and I encourage all of you to stand up this presidential election year and make your voice heard.

Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, represents District 9 in the Minnesota Senate.

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