Do American Gun Laws Keep Terrorists in Check?

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?

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Ken August 27, 2016, 3:08 am

    I was in Paris a few years ago and began chatting with a well dressed Arab Muslim man while we both waited for our wives to shop at a high end store on the Champs. He asked me about gun possession in the USA and I told him that gun possession is normal and popular… specially in my home state of Texas. He mulled it over for a few seconds and responded that that was the reason why some people that he knew are afraid of doing”bad things in places like Texas”
    I know it is anacdotal but there it is. For what ever it’s worth.

  • Amil Baker June 27, 2015, 2:52 pm

    I agree with the safe zone should be a killing zone, Most guns in criminal hands do not come from legal sources but by theft and resale among the other felons. On Jan 3, 2015, someone attempted to break in my Gun Shop through the front door with a big rock aboutt 80 pounds but were not successful although they broke the other glass on the door. They hit the inner glass 3 times with that same rock and never made it into the shop. I ordered a new glass for the door and it was to be installed on January 14, 2015 at 8:00, on that same day at 5:09 A. M. a felon drove a stolen F-250 Ford truck with big grill through my front door and wall. That was an 8″ concrete block wall with a regular Stud wall inside. The truck came so far into my shop he had to back the truck partially out to get over the hood. He dropped a bag on the floor, picked a piece of concrete block and smashed the glass on the top of the locked display case and scopped up 11 handguns, put them into the bag and was out the dooor in less than a minute. Left the truck with the motor running. I was called by the alarm people and drove the 6 miles to the Gun Shop and when I arrived, there was a fire truck, 3 Blanco Police and 3 Blanco Sheriff’s deputies on the scene. The Blanco Police officer in charge and I had just finished the inventory of stolen hand guns, when a ATF agent approached me, took a copy of the inventory and was soon gone on to work on the case. On February 25th, 2015 the Felon was arrested at his home with several of the handguns in his posession. Another one was found in Mexico. The felon went straight to jail due to being possession of a handgun. Sometimes justice prevails but I have still not reeived my handguns back. The damage to the building and the furniture reached just short of $30,000 which was cover about 80% by the Insurance company.
    Amil

  • Jim January 25, 2015, 9:38 am

    Good point Bill. So called “safe zones” have become more and more violent, with sickies going to schools, hospitals, etc.
    to wreak death and violence on the defenseless. As a retired federal officer, am allowed to carry in all 50 states, however, am still banned from carrying on schools, post offices, or any property posted no weapons. We have got to train those teachers willing to defend their students, to carry and train to do so. This mass shooting in our schools has got to stop.
    Look at Israel: teachers with rifles slug over their shoulders, as well as their military. There will not be a “Fort Hood” incident in that country. End rant.

  • Bill Richardson January 21, 2015, 11:05 am

    Use of the term, “Gun-free zone,” is much too soft. Instead, why not call them Defenseless Victim Zones? Not only is this term more accurate but it may also open the eyes of the people that live within these open season areas.

  • Ryan January 20, 2015, 1:32 pm

    In terms of terrorists, I think that they would probably try to hit the softer targets when it makes sense for their attack (not that the attacks every make sense to us). If they knew they were going into an area where a high percentage of the population was armed, they would then know their chances of a successful mission are much less. Having said that, do I think that having our entire country 100% armed 24/7 will eliminate, reduce or otherwise deter radical terrorists from attacking us? No, I don’t. When we are talking about radical terrorists with a feeling of an intense spiritual mission they are more than willing to die for, I doubt they would just give up because we have guns. The good thing is that if the responsible population IS armed, we stand a higher chance of defending ourselves/others and surviving. I do believe that a thief breaking into a house would be more cautious about picking out targets that are known to not have guns and are not trained to defend themselves. If a terrorist is attacking, they probably already know there’s a good chance of death and they’ve accepted that either way. A thief or other criminal would most likely have other motives for their actions and in turn would not want to die, so they would be more careful what house they walked into.

  • MitchB January 20, 2015, 10:20 am

    Nothing will keep islamic terrorism in check because it’s a badge of honor to die killing infidels. If you want peace in this world islam must be vanquished. Their holy book is not very holy because it preaches violence, hate and intolerance toward all Jews and Christians. And if that kind of rhetoric is in their “holy book” what do you think the average muslim’s mindset is? That is the reason there is little backlash from muslims on Islamic terrorism. It’s in the Koran to do these things. Wake up world!

  • Russ January 19, 2015, 9:55 pm

    GrouchyJohn, I’m from “Cowardly California”.
    Don’t make me laugh, I’m not used to it, my face is cracking.
    All my family & friends here are armed to the teeth and posses more ammo than we could carry.
    None of us are veterans, and my son, brothers and I can out shoot the hunters, we know.
    Man, the rest of the country sure doesn’t know who the true Californians are.
    We train and prepare harder because we’re always _ _ _ _ed with.
    Think about it. Think period.
    Your states are next.

  • GrouchyJohn January 19, 2015, 2:36 pm

    Pre-WWII Admiral Yamamoto warned the Japanese emperor that invading the US would be extremely costly. (the quote that says he warned him there would be a gun behind every tree is bogus, it never appears in official letters or other writing anywhere and while possibly true can not be confirmed. ) Considering Yamamoto spent years in the US, he was certainly aware that the “guns behind every tree” was the case, especially in those days. While it may not be an absolute truth, the idea that Japanese sailors and soldiers would find themselves under constant threat certainly lead Yamamoto to warn the Japanese Emperor to not do it.

    I do not doubt that the idea that the US still has (somewhat) heavily armed citizens everywhere except in the states of New Stupid York and Cowardly California plays a role in keeping the damn fool Radical Muslims – and other damn fools – from doing more stupid stuff within our borders than they do.

    • Robert January 19, 2015, 6:22 pm

      It wasn’t ” behind every tree” the famous quote that was supposed to be false( whether true or false doesn’t matter) was “behind every blade of GRASS”. With more and more destruction, and more and more guns being purchased, that very well could become true. We have enough veterans and hunters who are good shooters to get any of these A holes who want to try and raise that black flag, except for maybe the people’s house occupier who will not stand up for the citizens rights or our country. I say to reasonably gather all the ammo you can for several weapons, make a plan, and prepare yourself and your family. We the People will never submit willingly, and that is what scares our administration and his buddies in radical Islam. There. I said my piece. Have a blessed one.

  • BRASS January 19, 2015, 12:45 pm

    As multiple recent attacks in numerous countries and on three continents have demonstrated, stricter gun laws didn’t prevent attacks in Canada, Australia, France, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.

  • Marty January 19, 2015, 12:41 pm

    Yes. Thinking the opposite is the definition of insanity, which is what rules us today.

  • david January 19, 2015, 12:23 pm

    I’m a CCW holder and carry everyday. Here’s what I think the problem with many of the folks who conceal carry (or open carry)… they won’t use their weapons for fear of getting shot. And rightly so. They have little to no training for events when adrenaline is flowing like a raging river. As for getting guns easier here than in France. True. As for France and the country as a gun-free zone and thus easier to take lives… may be… but… terrorists aren’t doing it on a daily basis. Maybe that’s because it’s harder to acquire guns.

    • Russ January 19, 2015, 9:36 pm

      You assume people that carry think like you.
      I sure the hell don’t.
      Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.
      I would have calmly taken out both of those idiots.
      You should move to France, they need you and your way of thinking much more than we do.

  • wolfpack-bravo January 19, 2015, 10:34 am

    Of course gun control laws keep us safer from terrorists!!
    We can defend ourselves with our cell phones. It worked for that guy that filmed that police officer getting shot!!
    If he had just held up his phone for a selfie he would have been fine!!
    What a stupid argument that guy made!!
    Terrorists can go to any gun show and buy an illegal firearm?!?!
    People ask why I carry a firearm and I tell them that when seconds count the police are minutes away.
    Stalin, Hitler, Mao, the experts all agree, gun control works.
    To turn people into helpless, defenseless sheep for the slaughter.
    I will take my chances and defend my family, myself and my community thank you anyway.

  • William S Graebe January 19, 2015, 10:30 am

    Brian Benjamin, the Democratic Strategist, was lost for words in this debate. If the U S government took away our right to bear arms, hundreds of millions of legally owned weapons would be confiscated. We would be a police state similar to pre WWII Germany, Russia & other countries. The 2nd Amendment defines our right to bear arms which is a deterent for anarchists and radicals (Islamic) in attempting any mass invasion of our country. Does anyone know how many “red neck” sharp shooters we have in this country? I don’t believe the radical Islamists want to find out.

  • Common sense January 19, 2015, 5:34 am

    So Will, you disagree that guns in the hands of potential victims give evil doers a second thought? Really? That seems like either a dishonest or sophomoric assessment. As far as dreaming that Fox went off the air, it’s a very common liberal dream/wish – similar to the dream that one day, incomes for the HUGE spectrum of initiative in this country will be contented with government rigged, equal distribution of reward. Wake up and smell the 4 a.m. Mondays.

    • Common sense too January 19, 2015, 8:00 am

      What the hell are you saying? Your statement said nothing!

  • WillB January 16, 2015, 9:09 pm

    Thought I read where Fox News had gone off the air?

    • Kathy January 19, 2015, 4:14 am

      Still available on cable, dropped by Direct TV satellite

      • Tom Ford January 19, 2015, 9:56 am

        Direct TV still carries Fox News. Dish network has dropped them for now, but will have to make a deal with them at some price. It’s about money, not politics.

      • Tony P. January 19, 2015, 9:20 pm

        FOX NEWS was not dropped by Direct TV. They were dropped by DISH TV.

  • Joseph McDonald January 15, 2015, 8:06 pm

    Yes, they do. We have hit the nail on the head of the concept of deterrence. If those who would harm you know that you can harm them, they will find easier targets.

  • Cletus O'Bannon January 15, 2015, 1:32 am

    I believe they do help to a greater extent. The idea of armed resistence cools the heels of those with ill intent. The exceptions are of course those that just have no fear at all, but even then they know in a hardened target their success rate will be much lower.

    • John L January 19, 2015, 9:18 am

      Well said. I remember reading a story about 30 years ago that took place in Israel. PLO supporters plotted to take a van on a suicide mission to kill as many people as possible. Had a map with local outdoor cafes marked. Plan was to kill patrons, drive on, and continue until police stopped them. Guess what happened? First stop they made the patrons returned fire, 4 terrorists killed, 1 wounded. I remember, as the wounded guy was taken away by ambulance, he complained that it wasn’t fair that so many citizens were armed.

    • William January 19, 2015, 1:53 pm

      Terrorist, Criminals and the likes knows (guns are in the black market) it is easy to get a hold of firearms in USA. However, for law abiding citizens, it is better for them to have firearms for protection. We just don’t know what is going to happen out there nowadays.

  • Vernie January 13, 2015, 7:44 pm

    The Gun Act of 1968 makes it illegal for foreigners to own guns…
    criminals, crazy people, minors, folks with a dishonorable
    discharge from the armed forces, minors, etc. are also not allowed.
    Circumventing the law is illegal.
    Which is what being a criminal is all about.

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