To the extent which the high rate of gun ownership in this country, about 90 guns per 100 people, acts as a crime deterrent remains a hotly-debated issue.
Recently, investigative reporter Emily Miller raised this subject while debating Democratic strategist Brian Benjamin over the impact that France’s restrictive gun laws had on the recent terrorist attacks.
“I think, as far as French gun laws, it’s basically a gun-free zone,” Miller told Fox News host Anna Kooiman. “As we’ve seen in the United States, gun-free zones lure evil and crazy people like terrorists there because no one fights back.”
“So, gun-free zones like France, which unfortunately even the poor police aren’t carrying guns, is just very attractive to somebody who is going to go in with a gun.”
In other words, terrorists actively seek out soft targets in order to avoid armed resistance, thereby maximizing the lethality of their assault.
Yet Benjamin countered, claiming that America’s permissive gun laws makes it easier for terrorists to obtain firearms, which puts U.S. citizens in greater danger than their European friends.
“It’s the polar opposite,” Miller fired back. “Foreigners know we have guns… Like the guy — the camera phone at this horrible crime, this policeman in Paris was shot in the head begging for mercy. The person who was taking that video, if they had been a concealed carry owner — or like me, a gun owner — they could have shot the man, maybe put him on defense. But instead, they just watched and took a video.”
Benjamin said that the terrorists in France who attacked the printing offices of Charlie Hebdo had to obtain their guns on the black market whereas in the U.S. they’d be able to purchase them at a gun show.
Miller acknowledged that if the terrorists had no criminal history, then they would be able to purchase a firearm in the U.S., “But the fact is, is there’s a lot more people who can shoot back at them.”
Miller went on to say, “In this history of this country — and you can tell me if I’m wrong if you have another example — there has never been a gun control law that has reduced crime. I can’t think of any gun control law that prevents terrorists. Because, you know what? If they’re murderers, they don’t care what the laws are already.”
From my perspective I don’t think that pro-gunners have to argue that an armed society is a polite society, i.e. high levels of gun ownership deter crime and specifically terrorists. Sure, in theory, criminals and terrorists prefer soft targets. But even if all targets were “hard” do we really believe they’d stop killing innocents? Doubtful.
The real point to make is that bad people will continue to do bad things, the only question is whether one would rather live in a society that protects one’s right to defend oneself or a society that goes out of its way to leave one defenseless in the face an attack from an evildoer.
It’s pretty clear where we stand on that front. We’ll keep our guns and take our chances, as it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.
In any event, what are your thoughts? Do American gun laws keep terrorists in check?