2 Saudi students held in US for possessing arms

New York City police officer stands ready in New York, in this December 24, 2015 file photo.

The US Department of Homeland Security recently announced the detention of two Saudis on the charges of taking on rent firearms and illegally purchasing ammunition.

The US authorities are searching for the third Saudi national, Abdulrahman A.A., who was with the two detained colleagues. It is believed that he left the US before his arrest, local media reported, adding that authorities there have issued an arrest warrant against him.

The Saudis — Saad M.S. and Moaz A.R. — each took on rent a pistol and a rifle and 150 rounds, and said they intended to practice shooting targets with the weapons, but the weapon shop owner became suspicious after seeing them taking videos of their practicing on their cell phones.

The Department of Homeland Security said the Saudis entered the US on study visas which prohibits them from renting or buying weapons without a license.

NBC Television network indicated there is no evidence linking the Saudi students to terrorism, but they face charges of illegally obtaining weapons.

Former federal prosecutor John Kirby was quoted as saying that he believed the two students would not have faced any charges if they were not from the Middle East, noting that there is a feeling among Americans that people coming from that region are potential terrorists.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, he said, adding that the Saudis would not do what they did if they knew the US law.


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