A Minnesota lawmaker is arguing that preventing law-abiding citizens from carrying concealed firearms in the Mall of America is ludicrous, especially in light of recent threats of terror attacks from Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant organization with ties to Al-Qaeda.
“This is completely ridiculous. The complete opposite of what they should be doing,” said state Rep. Tony Cornish in an interview with CBS Minnesota. “If we’re threatened with an attack, the last thing you want to do is disarm citizens.”
Cornish, a Republican from District 23B and the chair of the House Public Safety Committee, is going to challenge the mall’s “no guns allowed” policy as he believes it misinterprets the law.
According to Cornish, individual stores are allowed to ban firearms, but common areas and mall hallways should be open to citizens who have a valid concealed carry license.
There is an ongoing debate in this country about whether permissive concealed carry laws have the capacity to reduce crime and deter mass killings and terrorist attacks. While answering that question definitively may not be possible given the multitude of factors that influence crime, the evidence points in that direction.
As the Crime Prevention Research Center notes, all the mass public shootings at malls where at least four people have been killed took place in areas of a mall that prohibited concealed carry. Coincidence? Perhaps. But if one is being honest, it does appear that evildoers prefer soft targets, i.e. environments where armed resistance is highly unlikely.
Yet, not everyone believes that an Armed Mall of America is a safer one. At least one gun-control advocate argued that public safety is a job that is almost exclusively reserved for law enforcement.
“No, we do not think lifting the ban on CCW in Minnesota malls would help prevent a terrorist attack, and it very well could subject these venues to more of the typical gun violence we see in this country on a day to day basis,” said Ladd Everitt, communications director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
“Minnesota residents do need to present a training certificate in order to obtain a concealed handgun permit, but there is no minimum number of hours of training required by statute,” continued Everitt in an email to GunsAmerica. “The notion that individuals with 3-4 hours of training are going to be effective in a counterterrorism role is laughable and dangerous. The potential for confusion and collateral damage is enormous, particularly in a place like the Mall of the Americas with its Nickelodeon Universe theme park packed with children.”
Everitt went on to conclude, “Representative Cornish is apparently under the NRA-sponsored illusion that untrained vigilantes are well-suited for crisis response. They are not. That is why our men and women in blue undergo psychological screening and extensive training before ever being thrust into such a situation with a weapon.”
One can counter Everitt’s stance by suggesting that owning and carrying a firearm isn’t a casual hobby — it’s a lifestyle choice that even a nascent concealed carry permit holder takes seriously. The three or four hours of required training is just the beginning of a lifelong pursuit to become optimally effective with a firearm. Truth be told, most responsible gun owners put in countless hours at the range. And though their range time may not be on par with the professional training one would receive from a tactical expert or anti-terror operative, it may indeed be enough to give them a fighting chance if/when they are confronted by evil.
Either way, it beats the alternative which is to be utterly defenseless in the face of evil; nothing more than a lamb awaiting the slaughter.