MSNBC: Brussels was bombed, but let's talk about Belgium's 'access to guns'

What are you talking about? That’s all one could deduce from the remarks made by The Atlantic’s Washington editor and MSNBC contributor Steve Clemons, who said yesterday that Belgium has “easy access to guns” when discussing horrific ISIS-led terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein asked Clemons about the security situation since Brussels was already on high alert after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam. Abdeslam was a suspect in the ISIS-led Paris terrorist attacks last year that killed over 100 people. He had been on the run for four months.

Clemons didn’t know how to answer that, though he did mention that Belgium has easy access to guns, though the Brussels attackers used bombs in their assault (via Newsbusters):

SAM STEIN: I guess that’s a bit of a surprise to us around the table because the city was on high alert, owing to the arrest [of Salah Abdeslam], and yet, as you are explaining it, Steve, the security apparatus either wasn’t apparent or maybe isn’t as robust as we would think. I have a little bit of a separate question playing off of what we talked about last block, which is, for me at least, I am curious, why is Brussels and Belgium at large being the epicenter for this? What is it about that city that allows something like this to fester?

STEVE CLEMONS: I don’t know if I can answer that. You know, when we were, on Sunday morning, with the — the foreign minister of Belgium. I had wanted to ask him, “ You know, why is it known that it’s so easy to access guns in Belgium than other of the major states in Europe, it’s something that everybody knows here, that there is a black market, that there is an ease of getting guns here. As compared to many other parts of Europe.”

He never — we never got into that. What he did share with us was that, as they began to unravel what was coming in to him from the Salah Abdeslam case, he said they were unraveling a much, much more substantial network than they had anticipated. And with much greater capacity and sophistication. He said this publicly on the record to us at the—at the forum. So that doesn’t explain why Brussels is this way other than the fact that I think, you know, it’s — I want to be careful speculating here.

[NBC Foreign Correspondent] Ayman [Mohyeldin] has done such great reporting on this in the past. I think that, if you want to be — to do bad in a place like Brussels or Paris, it’s easy for bad folks to hide among good folks. And there are a lot of really great immigrants and those that are naturalizing here, but it’s easy for bad folks to find thoroughfares in and out of these places. And—And my sense, and again this is speculative, but it’s what I heard at the forum, is that it’s easier for folks to slip through Belgium borders than some other borders.

Abdeslam was allegedly part of this plot as well.

Editor’s Note: This is a crosspost from

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