France’s gun control laws are stricter than California’s, but they proved unable to stop the masked gunmen who carried out a “terrorist attack” by charging into the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, shooting and killing “as many as 12 people” and wounding 10 others on January 7.
Charlie Hebdo was previously firebombed in 2011 after publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad. French President Francois Hollande has stated the January 7 shooting is “undoubtedly a terrorist attack.”
The New York Times quotes a witness of the attack who saw “two blood-hooded men enter the building with Kalashnikovs.” Minutes later they “heard lots of shots.” Paris police confirmed the attackers were “wearing masks” when they “forced their way into the offices” of the newspaper. They were carrying AK-47s and began firing “indiscriminately.” After “several minutes” they climbed into a car and fled.
A FranceTVInfo video shows the masked gunman heading back to their car after the attack. Shouts of “Allahu Akbar” can be heard amid the last shot fired.
The car was later abandoned and discovered by police in the 20th Arrondissement of Paris.
CBS DC described the weapons as “automatic,” which are banned in France. As The Truth About Guns reported in A Review of French Gun Laws (2012), “ownership of fully automatic firearms for civilians” is prohibited under French gun control laws.
And to own allowable semi-automatics firearms, including handguns, a person first has to acquire a “sports shooting license.” Acquiring and maintaining that entails being “an active shooting club member” who goes to the range “at least three times a year,” “seeing a doctor every year” who declares you “physically and mentally capable of owning a firearm,” and filling out lots and lots of paperwork.
Certain aspects of these gun control measures are in place in California, others in New York City, and still others have been proposed by Democrats in the United States for the past two years. Yet in the end, the laws in France only sufficed to give attackers the upper hand, and those who donned masks and disregarded the gun control laws were able to storm the Paris office and open fire.
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