France’s strict gun controls–including all-out gun bans on certain categories of firearms–proved impotent on November 13 as terrorists opened fire, killing more than 150 people and injuring 200 more.
AFP reported that “the attacks took place at a concert hall and several bars and restaurants in eastern Paris, as well as the Stade de France national stadium north of the centre.”
The Telegraph reported that the gunmen had “Syrian and Egyptian passports on them, and that at least one of the attackers was a Frenchman known to authorities on what is called a ‘Fiche S’, a watchlist of the security services.” Yet they had no problems acquiring the weapons necessary to carry out this heinous attack.
CNN indicates that some of the gunman were carrying “AK-47s.” Similar weapons were carried in the January 7 attack on Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris, where 12 innocents were killed by Muslim gunmen.
France has all-out gun bans for certain types of firearms. For example, A Review of French Gun Laws (2012) shows that “ownership of fully automatic firearms [is prohibited] for civilians” under French gun control laws. Yet fully automatic weapons were the very kind used in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
And when it comes to semi-automatic firearms, a person has to go through the very kind of expanded background checks that President Obama and other gun control proponents would like to institute in the U.S. Those checks entail acquiring and maintaining “an active shooting club [membership]” and going to the range “at least three times a year.” They also include “seeing a doctor every year,” who declares one “physically and mentally capable of owning a firearm,” and filling out lots of paperwork.
Yet in the end, these gun controls appear as impotent against determined attackers as do gun-free zones in the United States. These laws create an uneven playing field, where the terrorist and criminal are armed, but law abiding citizens–even hundreds of them at a time–are soft targets for lawless men with bad intentions.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.