Dr. John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily to discuss his recent piece on gun control and radical Islamic terrorism.
Lott said recent terrorist attacks demonstrate “the need for private gun ownership, and also for the police to be armed.”
“You look at places like the concert attack in November 2015 in Paris. You had eight off-duty police officers who were there at the concert hall. At the time, it was illegal for off-duty police officers in France to carry. One can only imagine how that situation might have turned out differently if even a couple of the officers had been armed,” he said. “Last year, France changed its policies to allow off-duty police officers to be able to go and carry.”
“You go and rely on police, even armed police, to be able to go and guard different possible targets that might exist, you’re asking them to do an almost impossible job,” Lott contended.
“Having somebody in uniform there is akin to having somebody with a neon sign saying ‘Shoot Me First.’ When you look at the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, or you look at cases like Orlando in the United States, or Istanbul on January 1st this year, the first people who are killed in those types of attacks are the people who are in uniform. They’re the ones that the criminals know, or the terrorists know, are armed,” he noted.
“Having people with concealed carry not only makes it safer for the citizens there, but also makes it safer for the officers who are guarding the place, because if a terrorist is going to go and try to shoot the person in uniform first – because they know that person for sure is armed – if there’s others who are armed maybe behind them or to the side, or some other place, it makes them reveal their position. That makes it possible for one of the people with a concealed carry permit to try to take them out,” he explained.
“Look at the policy responses after the London attacks that we just had, or after Paris. The normal reaction is just to go and put more police on the street. In Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attack, the response was to put 10,000 troops on the street. Well, even if they put 100,000, or even if they put 200,000 – first of all, not all of them are on duty at any point in time. There’s no way you can cover all of the possible targets,” said Lott.
Kassam asked the difficult question of whether relaxing gun laws would make it easier for radicals to arm themselves.
“It probably makes it easier for them to get guns, but the thing you have to understand is that when you go and you ban guns, the people who are most likely to obey those rules are going to be the most law-abiding citizens that are there,” Lott replied. “Look at the attacks you’ve had in France. They’ve used machine guns. It’s illegal, basically, for the vast majority of people to even own semi-automatic guns, and yet it didn’t stop the terrorists from being able to get automatic machine guns over there.”
“The point is that you have lots of good people out there, relatively few bad ones, even when you’re talking about the people who are being radicalized,” he continued. “The thing is, there’s no way the police can cover all of the possible targets that are there. Allowing people with permitted concealed handguns takes away the strategic advantages that these terrorists have.”
“If you put a couple of police officers or even multiple police officers in front of a possible target, the terrorists can either kill them first, wait for them to leave, or pick some other target. Israel has learned this the hard way. Israel, who was having terrorist attacks even before they became a country,” Lott observed.
“During the Forties, the Fifties, the Sixties, the early Seventies, their response was to go and put more military, more police on the street. What they eventually realized is that no matter how much money they spent, there was no way for them to cover all of the possible targets there. That’s when they began to allow civilians to be able to go and carry in the early 1970s,” he explained.
“The thing with having permitted concealed handguns is that the terrorists don’t know who they have to worry about. They don’t know when they go and attack somebody whether it may be somebody behind them or to the side that may be able to go and stop them. It completely changes how they pick targets to go and attack,” said Lott.
“As far as the solutions go, I think there’s a broad range of things, but what you have to do is take away the strategic advantage that these types of terrorists have, and that is to allow a lot more response – which is to allow civilians to be able to go and carry, as well as arming police,” he stressed.
“In the United States, we have about 600,000 police for 320 million civilians,” he noted. “And again, not all of them are on duty at any given point in time, maybe 20 percent or so. Even if you were to increase it tenfold, the number of police in the United States, there’s no way that you could cover all of the possible targets that are there. I don’t know how else, other than to allow civilians to be able to carry, you can possibly cover all of the possible targets.”
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