Today’s New York Times reported that the Islamic State claimed responsibility for last night’s bloody string of attacks in Paris, and further that the terrorists called them “the first of the storm,” but had this outrage happened on American soil would somebody already be blaming “lax gun laws?”
Presidential candidate Donald Trump, appearing today in Beaumont, Texas, had a much different perspective. According to WGHP, Trump told his audience, “When you look at Paris — you know the toughest gun laws in the world, Paris — nobody had guns but the bad guys. Nobody had guns. Nobody.”
“You can say what you want,” Trump is quoted by the Fox affiliate, “but if they had guns, if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry, it would’ve been a much, much different situation.” The crowd, according to the report, “erupted into raucous applause.”
The Washington Examiner reported last night that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, also running for president, suggested that plans to bring Syrian refugees to this country should be shelved. Fox News reported this morning that fingerprints have identified one of the dead terrorists as an extremist French national.
Saturday afternoon, Fox News reported that at least one of the victims was a visiting American student from California. She was identified as Nohemi Gonzalez, 23.
In the wake of the attack, Politifact reached back five months to a statement by President Barack Obama, reacting to the Charleston church shooting, observed, “This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.” Except that it obviously does.
French authorities are focusing on the individuals responsible, but here in the United States, it has become customary and almost reflexive to blame so-called “lax gun laws” and the Second Amendment — and organizations that defend the right to keep and bear arms — to promote a political agenda of citizen disarmament. There is no Second Amendment in France.
Now there is discussion about the potential for such an attack in the United States. There is a sense of heightened security, but how does that translate to the ground level? Paris demonstrated that terror attacks go after soft targets, and the United States is filled with them: sports stadiums, concert halls, shopping malls, schools, pick a venue, especially buildings and facilities posted as “gun free zones.”
And with that, Trump’s remarks in Beaumont strike a chord with many American citizens. More than 12.5 million are estimated to have carry licenses and permits. To paraphrase Trump, say what you will, but at times of uncertainty, the ability to defend one’s self and family can be reassuring.
Is there danger of such a terrorist attack in the United States? Yesterday, hours before the Paris attack, Barack Obama was telling reporters that ISIS had been contained. Last night, following the attack, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there are no “specific or credible threats” of an attack here, according to Newsmax.
Got an opinion about this column? Share your views in the “Comments” section below.