Just as the latest Muslim terror attack in the United States – Wednesday’s assault on county employees in California that left 14 dead and more than a dozen wounded – was developing, there were calls for more guns, an armed citizenry and vigilance.
That’s in contrast to the Obama administration’s multiple calls for fewer guns and more gun control.
While the San Bernardino shooters still were at large, President Obama was summoning support for “common sense gun safety laws” and urging a law that would prevent some individuals from purchasing firearms.
“We don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are but what we do know is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer,” he said in an interview with CBS. “We should never think that this is just something that just happens in the ordinary course of events because it doesn’t happen with the same frequency in other countries.”
In Detroit, just before the California shooting, Police Chief James Craig had another view.
“If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens,” Craig said in an interview with CBS Detroit.
Regarding a possible terror attack there, he said more guns meant fewer problems.
He believes the fear that armed citizens would return fire serves as a deterrent for a potential terrorist attack in his city.
He called more officers to duty and moved some to locations deemed higher priorities because of the recent terror attacks in Paris, which left 130 dead, he said.
He explained that “a lot of Detroiters” have permits for concealed carry, and “the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug.”
In his city, there have been several incidents in recent months of homeowners pulling weapons on would-be robbers.
State officials say some 30,000 of Detroit’s 688,000 residents are armed legally.
Two San Bernardino shooters who were killed by police. Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, have been identified by law enforcement as a Muslim husband and wife team who began their day by dropping their 6-month-old baby at a family member’s home, saying they were headed out to a doctor’s appointment.
The attack killed 14 and injured 17 at a Christmas party attended by San Bernardino County employees.
Other possible suspects are still being sought. Both Farook and Malik were shot and killed by police who responded to the scene.
Authorities said the two stormed the party, decked out in armored gear and masks, and carting assault weapons, and began shooting. Fox News reported they didn’t say anything but simply walked into the facility, opened fire, emptied their magazines, then reloaded and opened fire again. They fled from the scene in a black SUV and by sunset were killed by police in a shootout. Police also found several pipe bombs and makeshift explosive devices at the site of the massacre.
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Another call for more guns came, just before the attack, came from Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.
See his comments:
He said he cannot guarantee the Arizona public’s safety and said citizens need to take matters into their own hands.
“I’m just talking about the areas where you have large crowds and someone pulls out the gun and starts shooting. Maybe somebody with a concealed weapon takes the guy down,” Arpaio said.
There are some 250,000 Arizona residents who carry concealed-weapons permits.
Arpaio’s comments to KPHO were prompted by terror attacks in Paris, Beirut and Mali.
The station reported Arpaio isn’t the first politician to call for more guns.
“Three years ago, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert proposed arming more citizens after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut where 20 school children and six adult staff members were killed,” the report said.
“At the time, Gohmert said: ‘I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office,’ referring to the school’s principal,” the report said.
As the California attack was happening, the National Fraternal Order of Police said more guns are needed at sporting events because they could help in the event of a terror attack.
And the group wants its members to be the ones carrying.
Off-duty or retired officers now are treated like other Americans: They are not allowed to carry guns to sporting events at NFL stadiums.
The group said, “This policy weakens the safety and security of NFL players, personnel and fans. Well-attended venues are areas are begin deliberately targeted by these radical killers.”
Marc Ambinder at The Week posted a commentary headlined, “Why fighting gun violence by arming citizens isn’t a crazy idea.”
He said, “The police are not likely to respond to a mass shooting quickly enough to save lives. In San Bernardino, a SWAT team was training nearby, and three suspects still managed to escape.”
He continued: “Ordinary people who volunteer to carry guns, who would receive significant and regular training from the government, might be in a position to intervene. I’ve always wondered why this suggestion is immediately ridiculed; properly trained citizens can serve as a deterrent if bad guys know that they might encounter them, and in some circumstances they might also be able to subdue or kill the attackers before they can kill dozens of people at will.
“It’s the ‘at will’ part that bothers me. It always has. Why do people who support restrictive gun control – and I count myself as someone who does – mock the notion that, in some circumstances particularly and exclusively at locations where lots of people gather to work, play, or live, having a few highly trained, armed good guys shooting back at the bad guys might be an option worth exploring?”
He concluded, “Until someone invents a technology that allows ordinary people without guns to subdue people with guns, we don’t have many options if the immediate goal is to save lives, which, in this case, I think it should be.”