What if France had the Second Amendment?
by Kent Covington
Posted 1/13/15, 03:30 pm
Last week’s deadly shooting in Paris at the office of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo is sparking renewed debate about gun control. France has strict gun control laws, prompting The Washington Post, in an article about the killings, to ask this question: Why didn’t France’s gun laws save the Charlie Hebdo victims?
Gun rights advocates say that’s the wrong question. Instead, they ask, could the armed terrorists have been stopped if French gun laws didn’t make it so difficult for citizens to defend themselves?
It’s been one year since Illinois became the 50th state to allow concealed carrying of firearms after a court struck down the state’s concealed-carry ban. Gun rights proponents praised the decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but gun control activists warned of a possible surge in gun violence as a result of the ruling. That hasn’t happened yet, nor is it likely to happen, according to A.W.R. Hawkins, an expert on the Second Amendment with a Ph.D. in military history. He said people had the same concerns in 1987, when Florida started the modern movement for concealed-carry permits.
“When they did that, everyone said, oh, there are going to be shootouts in the street, it’s going to be Old West all over again, the Wild West all over again,” Hawkins said. “None of that happened. But what did happen is, suddenly, Florida became a place where people could trust their families to go for vacation again because crime began to fall, and it fell drastically. The same thing will happen in the long run in Illinois.”
In light of some of the tragic mass public shootings in recent years, gun rights advocates say putting guns in the hands of more law-abiding people makes us safer. Gun control advocates say innocent people can die in the crossfire between a criminal and an armed civilian.
“At some point, someone who’s doing something in self-defense has to make a mistake,” Hawkins said. “Perhaps somebody will lose their life, somebody who shouldn’t have. But, to my knowledge, that has not happened and, particularly, it hasn’t happened in Illinois.” He said that fact is a testimony that, as Ronald Reagan said, the American people can be trusted with freedom.
“I think if we look at option B, which is, well, you just take away all the guns so that never, ever, ever, ever happens, if you do something like that, then what do you get? You get Paris, where armed attackers walk into the headquarters of a newspaper office and nobody—including the police—nobody can defend themselves. They’re all victims the moment the gunmen come in,” Hawkins said.
Listen to Kent Covington’s report on concealed gun laws and their effectiveness in the United States on The World and Everything in It: