Edward Archer shot a Philadelphia police officer multiple times on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. He later confessed to killing in the name of Islam.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said with a straight face on Monday that stringent background checks are needed to “keep guns out of the hands” of Islamic radicals who steal weapons.
Social media responded with derision after Earnest spoke to reporters about Edward Archer, 30, who fired 13 rounds from a stolen gun last Thursday at Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett. The 33-year-old cop was hit three times.
Archer was arrested Thursday and charged with attempted murder, assault and aggravated assault.
Earnest also said the White House was “wondering” whether Archer, who confessed to acting in the name of Islam, had committed an act of terrorism. He then said stricter background checks are necessary to “keep guns out of the hands of people like [Archer],” the Washington Times reported.
“It is relevant whether this individual was motivated by demons inside his own mind or demons on social media,” Earnest said. “We are certainly closely monitoring this case.”
The president issued 10 executive orders last Tuesday changing the way gun sales are monitored and carried out, redefining a gun “dealer” to include many people who sell even a single gun annually.
Twitter users reacted immediately to Earnest’s error.
“Last I recall, stealing guns from the police was already illegal, so what are you suggesting we do?” asked Josh Perry.
“Perhaps a background check on the cop that reported his/her gun stolen would make Josh and his boss happy,” added another user, Twitchy reported.
Earnest’s question about Archer’s mind was partially addressed last week by Philadelphia police Commissioner Richard Ross.
“He doesn’t appear to be a stupid individual, just an extremely violent one,” Ross said during a news conference Jan. 8, NJ.com reported. “According to him, police defend laws that are contrary to the teachings of the Quran.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney used the same press conference to say Islam had nothing to do with the attempted killing.
“In no way, shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on this screen,” Kenney said, WND reported. “That is abhorrent. It’s just terrible, and it does not represent the religion in any way, shape or form or any of its teachings.”
Philadelphia police released a statement Sunday on Facebook saying Archer, who recently took trips to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, appears to have been linked to Islamic radicals.
“The citizen [tipster] alleged the defendant had an affiliation to a group with radical beliefs. The Philadelphia Police Department has alerted all department…