Liam Neeson, at the premiere of Taken 3, spoke to the role of firearms in the massacre that rocked Paris last week. “There are too many [expletive] guns out there, especially in America.” The action star went on to call the ubiquity of guns in the U.S. a “disgrace.”
On MSNBC Friday, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson echoed Neeson’s concerns when asked how a shooting like that would play out in an American city. “One thing that’s different here is weapons are universally available and so, I mean, it is actually a very good thing that the tensions are not exactly the same because we would expect to have a lot more of that sort of carnage here.”
Inevitably, liberals want to shift the conversation from the problem of Islamic terrorism – a subject they’re uncomfortable discussing for obvious reasons – to that of guns. That isn’t usually possible in the wake of terrorist attacks; there isn’t a groundswell of support for Americans’ right to own bombs or hijack jets. But since Al Qaeda chose guns over bombs in their attack on Charlie Hebdo, liberals see a clear opportunity to push their tired gun control argument once again.
Unfortunately, they come off dumber than usual by using this attack as a jumping-off point. For one, most Americans don’t see “gun control” in this tragedy. We’re far more interested in talking about free speech and Islamic terrorism. Those are the relevant talking points, leaving liberals a bit out of touch when they try to shift the debate. Second, their call for more gun control ignores the simple reality at the heart of the shooting: France has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Yet, miraculously, the terrorists still managed to find some.
The Kalashnikov rifles used by the Kouachi brothers are strictly regulated in France, subject to background checks comparable to those the FBI uses to clear people to work at the White House. In other words, there is not one chance in a million that the guns were legal. And that’s not too surprising, since military weapons have flooded the French black market for the past few years. According to some estimates, there are nearly twice as many illegal guns in France as there are legal ones.
And that, my friends, is one scary statistic. Gun rights proponents have perhaps overused the “when you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them” catchphrase, but this is a perfect example of how true it is. The journalists working at Charlie Hebdo were sitting ducks. You might argue that journalists working in even the most permissive U.S. states would be unlikely to have guns at the ready, but those poor victims never had a chance. The same would be true in New York City, Chicago, and many other U.S. metropolitan areas where city officials have thumbed their nose at the Second Amendment.
The U.S. State Department has warned us repeatedly over the past year that there is little American officials can do to stop “lone wolf” attacks from materializing. In other words, you’re on your own. In such a situation, is it fair to restrict our ability to protect ourselves?
It’s a small point of concern; an American’s odds of being killed by a terrorist are infinitesimal. But when the left tries to drum up anti-gun sentiment, it’s important to fight back on every front. You never know which sneaky argument will persuade the uninformed.