(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Mike Doran)
The remarks were made in a Sunday 60 Minutes interview where Lanier was asked what people should do if they find themselves in the middle of a Paris-like attack.
“Your options are run, hide, or fight,” the D.C. police chief said. “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”
Washington D.C. has some of the most restrictive gun laws on the books and was one of the last bastions for a ban on handguns until a landmark Supreme Court decision overturned the law in 2008 (Heller).
Today, the district requires all firearms to be registered with the Metropolitan Police Department and ammunition may only be purchased for the caliber registered to the buyer, according to the NRA-ILA website. There is no castle doctrine law on the books.
Police chief Lanier presides over of an arduous may-issue concealed carry standard, meaning she is directly responsible for approving applications and is given sole discretion to determine whether one can carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense.
In the past, Lanier has been an outspoken proponent of limiting handgun ownership, and banning magazines that hold over 10 rounds of ammunition but the chief insists that her anti-gun position does not conflict with her call to “take action.”
“That’s kind of counterintuitive to what cops always tell people, right?” Chief Lanier told CBS. “We always tell people, ‘Don’t … don’t take action. Call 911. Don’t intervene in the robbery’ … We’ve never told people, ‘Take action.’ It’s a different … scenario.”
Lanier made it clear that her stance is not about paranoia, but preparedness. Ironically, an argument frequently made by pro-gun advocates.
“You can be prepared and you can have a society that is resilient and — alert and conscientious and safer without scaring people. It’s not about scaring people,” she says.
The police chief seems to have reached the conclusion that so many of us already know, that carrying a handgun is not about intimidation or fear: it’s about being prepared for events that can and do happen.
Do you think Cathy Lanier will allow more people to carry handguns in D.C. in the wake of the Paris attacks?