Americans examined by the FBI over alleged terrorism concerns should be flagged when purchasing firearms, retired ATF Special Agent Jim Cavanaugh said Monday, after it was revealed the shooter in the Orlando gay nightclub rampage was interviewed twice by federal authorities in 2013 for making "inflammatory" comments about radical Islamic propaganda.
American-born Omar Mateen used a legally purchased AR-15-style weapon in the massacre that left 49 other people dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday — the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Mateen also was killed.
"Here's a glaring example, let's make sure anybody who came to the interest of the Joint Terrorism Task Force for whatever reason, even if the file was closed, if they're going to be buying a firearm and lots of ammunition ... [we should] know that," Cavanaugh told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
"We're not going to arrest the guy. We're not going to kick his door in. Just want to know, tell us he's buying a gun today," he continued. "It took a week for him to then kill. ... We can tighten that up through process. But it doesn't mean we can arrest him."
Mateen had security and firearm licenses. Law enforcement sources told NBC News the 29-year-old swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS in a 911 call moments before the attack.