Friday, 09 January 2015

Amid Terror in Paris, Gun Control Leaves French Defenseless

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With terrorists rampaging through Paris for a second time this week after gunmen massacred 12 victims in the Charlie Hebdo attack, at least four more victims are dead as panic grows across the city and even the nation of France. And thanks to draconian gun-control laws severely infringing on the French people’s right to keep and bear arms, actual and potential victims of the ongoing slaughter have been left largely defenseless, to cower in the face of Islamists armed with Kalashnikovs and other weaponry. Despite all of that, rather than discussing more respect for gun-rights and liberty, experts say it is unlikely that the people of France under Socialist Party rule will be able to even have a real debate any time soon — much less lawfully protect themselves from terrorists and criminals.        

The French government and the European Union both impose extraordinarily strict restrictions on firearm possession by civilians. In France, where owning a gun for self-defense is essentially out of the question for average citizens, even many police officers are unarmed. Still, media reports and experts suggest that France is awash in firearms that are freely available on the black market for a small premium over what Americans might pay at a store. The difference is that in the United States, law-abiding citizens are free to own and use those weapons in lawful self-defense, while in France and virtually all of the EU, murderers and criminals know their victims will be disarmed and helpless, courtesy of the political class.

According to the French police union UNSA chief, fully automatic AK-47s, which were apparently used by the terrorists in the latest attack in Paris, can be purchased or sold for less than $1,200 U.S. dollars on the black market. Paris is apparently a hub of gun trafficking. “The French black market for weapons has been inundated with eastern European war artillery and arms,” UNSA police union boss Philippe Capon told the anti-gun Bloomberg outlet. “They are everywhere in France.” The same holds true for other nations and jurisdictions with strict infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.

With the latest attacks in Paris, it seems that, yet again, terrorists determined to violate laws against murder and terrorism still have no scruples about violating gun-control regulations. Instead, the only people disarmed by French gun-control scheming are law-abiding citizens, victims, and in some cases, even police — not criminals, murderers, and terrorists. “If the people so violently shot down in Paris had guns, at least they would have had a fighting chance,” noted U.S. real-estate titan and political pundit Donald Trump on his Twitter feed, sparking headlines around the world. “Isn’t it interesting that the tragedy in Paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world? Remember, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!”

Other Americans similarly lambasted French gun-control laws in the wake of the recent attack. The group Gun Owners of America, for instance, perhaps the fiercest major defender of gun-rights in the United States, created and circulated a “meme” on Facebook ridiculing efforts to disarm citizens as a way of supposedly keeping people safe. “You mean to tell me that banning AK-47s won’t stop Muslim terrorists from massacring people in France?” reads the text in the image, which shows an incredulous-looking boy asking a woman the question along with the Gun Owners of America logo. Tens of thousands of people shared, “liked,” and commented on the meme.

Former judge-turned-Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, an ardent defender of individual rights and the U.S. Constitution, also commented on the link between forcible disarmament of victims and the latest slaughter in France. “One of the reasons these people are dead is because they were sitting ducks,” he explained in comments made on the Fox Business Network, rebuking arguments for more statism and mass-surveillance as a way of preventing future attacks. “One of the reasons they're sitting ducks is you can't carry a gun in Paris.... This would not happen in this building.”

That all may seem painfully obvious to everyday Americans — many of whom take for granted the God-given right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. But in France, the EU, and totalitarian-ruled nations around the world, draconian infringements on gun rights are unlikely to end any time soon, regardless of how many defenseless victims are slaughtered by heavily armed attackers with no respect for gun-control laws. In fact, some analysts suggested that even a mere discussion about gun rights was unlikely in the wake of the slaughter of more than a dozen helpless victims.  

“It's certainly a logical question to ask, because it is so engrained in Europe that the state is responsible for protecting its citizens,” International Association for the Protection of Civil Arms Rights director Mark Barnes was quoted as saying after the tragedy. “What you have to recognize is that the right to self-defense is shaped much differently in Europe….  It will be interesting to see if this [attack by gunmen in Paris who ignored murder and gun-control laws] does lead to a legitimate discussion.”

In a piece for the International Business Times, Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb was quoted saying that he did not think the Paris attacks would prompt policy changes or even a debate. He also cited the EU’s role in imposing draconian gun-control policies on the entire bloc of formerly sovereign nations. “You don’t just have the laws of individual countries, you have EU laws, too,” he noted. “Part of the debate is ‘Should the EU get to dictate to countries or should member states be able to decide for themselves?’”

As usual, apologists for victim-disarmament schemes — also known as gun control — are already trotting out the usual arguments purporting to justify leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless by stripping them of their unalienable rights. However, with the French government and the EU already imposing radical anti-gun rights policies that obviously failed to deter terrorists, as virtually the entire world witnessed this week yet again, the establishment press has decided to largely ignore the gun-rights issue.

Of course, Americans are well accustomed to having the increasingly discredited “mainstream” press attack gun rights every time a firearm-related tragedy strikes in the United States. Yet, when similar events occur in anti-gun Europe, which has seen numerous mass shootings in recent years — including the cold-blooded murder of dozens of defenseless young children in the gun-control utopia of Norway — the anti-gun rights crowd remains eerily silent. In 2012, Islamist gunmen massacred children at a Jewish school in France. More recently, an Islamist shot numerous victims to death in Belgium at a Holocaust museum. In Australia, where law-abiding citizens have also been forcibly disarmed by their rulers, a gunman last month seized hostages, resulting in multiple fatalities. The press cannot exploit those incidents, because citizens of those nations have already been disarmed and left helpless in the face of attacks.   

On the other hand, when an armed citizen prevents or minimizes a tragedy in the United States, the establishment press is nowhere to found. When a recent convert to Islam beheaded a coworker in Oklahoma and openly sought to decapitate more victims, for example, an armed citizen stopped the attack. The national media was not interested at all, because the heroic tale put the benefits of respect for gun rights on full display. Similar stories of armed Americans preventing or minimizing tragedies are a regular occurrence — though one would probably never know it by relying on the national press for information. The link between decreasing levels of violent crime as gun ownership goes up has also been firmly established in multiple studies.         

Could an armed citizenry have potentially prevented the latest attacks in France, or at least helped minimize the body count? Certainly. If employees of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper that was attacked this week — all of whom knew they could become a target at any time — had been allowed to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, the outcome of the attack could have definitely been different. The same is true for the more recent hostage situations that on Friday, January 9, claimed at least four more innocent lives in Paris.  

It is impossible to know with any certainty, of course, how recent events in Paris might have unfolded if the victims had been armed and allowed to defend themselves rather than being forced to rely on ineffective government “protection.” However, the bloody massacre illustrates once again that only a heartless tyrant or a fool would willingly deny potential victims of murder, rape, or terrorism the right to own and use effective tools such as firearms to protect their lives, their colleagues, and their families. While Socialist French authorities, the EU, Islamist terrorists, and criminals of all varieties may relish the fact that their victims are unarmed, those victims deserve better.

Americans should take note: Next time politicians and the media seek to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms, remember Paris.     

 Photo of police response to Charlie Hebdo shooting: Thierry Caro

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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