By: Teresa Mull
In the past five years (Oct. 2013-March 2018), France has endured 78 attempted terror attacks, and the country’s security forces are reportedly “overwhelmed.”
To find the best way to relieve the country’s stressed-out and fatigued police, France’s interior minister launched a “parliamentary commission” earlier this year.
“The members of parliament in charge of the commission, Jean-Michel Fauvergue and Alice Thourot, released a report yesterday with more than 70 recommendations, of which the most eye-catching is to make firearms mandatory for all municipal police officers,” Quartz reports.
“The proposal to arm all local cops is a significant departure for France,” the Quartz article continues. “The law currently states that municipal police shouldn’t carry guns unless a mayor specifically requests it. According to Le Figaro, just under half of municipal cops currently carry a handgun, up from a quarter just 10 years ago.”
Quartz points to a connection between “the increasing militarization of law enforcement” and civilian deaths in the United States, reporting that “the proliferation of lethal weapons in the hands of local police officers has some observers worried.”
Quartz also reports France has a “relatively high rate of gun ownership,” though there are only 19.6 guns per 100 civilians in the country, compared to 120.5 in the U.S. In 2015, The Washington Post proclaimed and wondered, “France has strict gun laws. Why didn’t that save Charlie Hebdo victims?”
History Repeats Itself
This is not the first time France has faced the issue of arming its people against terrifying threats.
Second Amendment lawyer Stephen Halbrook’s new book, “Gun Control in Nazi Occupied-France: Tyranny and Resistance,” details how France almost had its own Second Amendment of sorts included in its Declaration of Rights, drafted in 1789.
“…The book drives home the important lessons that gun control is a key element of the oppressor’s toolkit, that guns are incredibly useful for those resisting oppression, and that even the most draconian gun-control measures are far from perfectly effective,” Robert Verbruggen writes in a review of Halbrook’s book for National Review.
“[The book] cannot prove, of course — and doesn’t purport to — that a stronger French tradition of gun rights could have radically altered history, or that America’s more libertarian gun policies strike the right balance among all the relevant priorities,” Verbruggen writes. “What it does do is force readers to entertain a simple question: When a hostile and brutal power takes over, do you want your countrymen to have guns at hand, or not? Certainly, this question weighed heavily upon the minds of the American Founders, and certainly its answer counts for something.”
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.