The founders of the United States protected the right to bear arms for a number of reasons. They wanted to ensure against the imposition of tyranny, and also have the ability to call militias to muster for external threats. They also recognized that citizens had to protect themselves rather than rely on the government for personal protection, and that self-defense was a natural right on which government had no business intruding. Besides, the only way that government could provide that kind of protection in all circumstances would be to create a police state so imposing that no freedoms could possibly survive.
That wisdom may soon come back into fashion. ABC News spoke with Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble about lessons learned from the al-Shabaab terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and he wonders aloud whether it’s even possible to secure soft targets from this type of malevolent evil. Instead, Western nations should consider allowing their citizens to arm themselves for their own security (via Instapundit):
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month’s deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya – and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called “soft targets” are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.
“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”
Would that prevent terrorist attacks on soft targets? Probably not entirely, since the terrorists usually have no problem with dying along with their victims in the end rather than being captured, considering that martyrdom (falsely, by the way, but that’s another entire discussion). However, it would limit the scope of the killing, a point Noble explicitly makes by referring to American states with pro-carry policies:
“Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?” Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. “What I’m saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?’ This is something that has to be discussed.”
We have argued this many times in the past, noting that the so-called “gun-free zones” are really nothing more than “victim-disarmament zones.” It’s the right of property owners to set the rules for entering their property, of course, but that doesn’t make those rules and policies less foolish. Noble’s point reflects that, too, and the folly of disarming the responsible citizenry without the possibility of ensuring effective security against threats of all types in a free and open society.
This is something that has to be discussed. We’ll see if the US can handle that discussion without the hysterics and demagogues of the gun-control crowd taking it over.