Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she wants citizens to “take out” Paris-style terrorists if they have the chance, though the city’s strict gun laws would make that scenario difficult.
In a segment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday Lanier told Anderson Cooper “the best option for saving lives” would be for citizens to rise up and rush the terrorists.
“If you’re in a position to try to take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there,” she said before acknowledging the advice goes against what police normally tell people to do.
One problem, though, is that the district has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and very few people are legally allowed to carry guns in public. Lanier has the final say on who gets to carry guns in the city, and only 48 people have been approved for concealed carry permits in the past year, FOX News reports.
The department began accepting permits Oct. 23, 2014, and of the 233 applications, 185, or roughly 80 percent, have been denied.
The fact that Lanier denies so many concealed carry permits seemingly goes against her advice to “take out” terrorists, as few citizens actually carry guns.
Second amendment groups were quick to criticize Lanier’s comments and question the “Draconian gun laws in the district.”
Alan Gottlieb, Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms called on Lanier to take the lead in reforming the city’s gun laws.
“Millions of honest Americans are licensed to carry all over the country,” he said. “But in the District of Columbia, they’ve written laws to discourage citizens from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and especially bear arms. That prevents people from defending themselves and their families outside of the home, which is where such an attack would happen.”
District officials and federal lawyers are engaged in an ongoing court battle over D.C.’s gun ban after a federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional last year.
In response to the ruling, D.C. council passed a slightly less restrictive concealed carry law that requires any D.C. resident seeking to carry a gun to prove “good reason to fear injury to his or her person” in order to obtain a permit. In May, a federal judge ruled that law unconstitutional as well.
U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. blocked the law after gun rights advocates brought a lawsuit against the city claiming the law makes it almost impossible for residents to obtain the permit to carry a gun. They say the law sometimes takes months to complete.
“For all intents and purposes, this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Judge Scullin wrote in his 23-page opinion.
Last week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation that would require D.C. to acknowledge concealed carry permits issued by other states and begin issuing concealed carry permits to residents.