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From The Editor | Terrorism And The Armed Citizen

From The Editor | Terrorism And The Armed Citizen

Photo credit: Cody Johnson

This feature appears in the April ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.

Gun-banners who derisively scoff when self-defense proponents make the point that concealed carry by law-abiding gun owners can be a substantive first defense against lone-wolf terrorist attacks have a weaker argument as each day passes. 

USA Today has called it the “good guy with a gun myth.” And Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group tries to build on the naysaying fervor by attempting, through a false study, to prove that most mass shootings don’t even occur in gun-free zones. (That study was later proven false; only 8 percent of mass shootings over the period studied occurred where people were permitted to legally carry.) 

Details released last week from an FBI terrorism investigation have proven both of those anti-gun contentions wrong. That investigation revealed that an alleged ISIS supporter chose the target where he planned to murder as many innocent Americans as possible based on the fact that he believed no good guys with guns would be present.

The Dearborn Heights, Mich., man admitted to investigators: “I tried to shoot up a church one day. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s close to my job. It’s one of the biggest ones in Detroit. Yeah, I had it planned out.” Regardless of what the gun-haters say, armed, law-abiding citizens can be an effective defense against terror.

Then he said what gun-banners don’t want to hear. “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church.” 

Proof that a known lone-wolf terrorist planned to purposely target American citizens in a gun-free zone probably won’t change the minds of those who can’t stand armed self-defense. After all, they refuse to look at any facts that don’t jibe with their feelings.

But the husband-and-wife jihadi attack in San Bernardino, Calif.—also in a gun-free zone—has changed the way some city leaders there think about armed self-defense in response to terror. 

Robert A. Lovingood, vice chair of the San Bernardino, Calif., County Board of Supervisors, recently penned an editorial for the Victorville Daily Press. His opening statement: “What does it take to stop a bad guy with a gun? A good guy with a gun.” 

After the December terrorist attack in his town, Lovingood has concluded that it’s time to make a strategic shift, and “empowering the people to protect themselves is a good place to start.” He encourages law-abiding residents to consider applying for concealed-carry permits: “This is a call for self-defense under the law.” 

Lovingood shouldn’t have any trouble selling that initiative to residents—the county reported a ninefold increase in carry applications in the months after the attack, with more than 1,000 new applications pouring in. 

Regardless of what the gun-haters say, armed, law-abiding citizens can be an effective defense against terror. If terrorists didn’t believe that, they wouldn’t target places where they believe no guns will be present, except in their own evil hands.