On Tuesday, heavy metal rock group Eagles of Death Metal made a triumphant return to Paris. The American band performed before a sold-out crowd at the city’s Olympia music hall only three months after terrorist gunmen attacked an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan theater, killing 89. By all accounts the concert was an enormous success, but even before the band took the stage, Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes made international headlines with his impassioned statements on behalf of the right to armed self-defense.
In an interview with France’s iTélé news network, Hughes questioned France’s gun control laws and suggested that an armed citizenry could save lives during a terrorist attack. An at times noticeably upset Hughes told the interviewer:
Did your French gun control stop a single [expletive] person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I'd like to hear it, because I don't think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I've ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.
Maybe, I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal. And I hate it that it's that way. I think the only way my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns everybody has to have them.
Because I've never seen anyone that's ever had one dead, and I want everyone to have access to them, and I saw people die that maybe could have lived. I don't know, but I wish I knew for sure that if they could have had a better chance, because there were some real angels, real wonderful people at that show.
Additionally, Hughes told Agence France Press that he exercises his Right-to-Carry while stateside, noting, “I don't go anywhere in America without a gun anymore. That sucks. And I'm not paranoid. I'm not a cowboy... but I wanna be prepared."
There will be those that question Hughes’ statements despite his first-hand experience with terrorist violence. However, those eager to dismiss the words of a heavy metal rocker should know that when it comes to strategy for combatting terrorist attacks Hughes is in some very good company.
In an interview with ABC News following the 2013 terror attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, then-Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble proposed an armed citizenry as a potential means of fighting terrorism. Noble told the interviewer:
Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem. One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security.
Noble went on to say,
Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly? What I'm saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, 'Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?' This is something that has to be discussed…
For me it's a profound question. People are quick to say 'gun control, people shouldn't be armed,' etc., etc. I think they have to ask themselves: 'Where would you have wanted to be? In a city where there was gun control and no citizens armed if you're in a Westgate mall, or in a place like Denver or Texas?’
Unfortunately, in the wake of the Paris attacks the bureaucrats of the European Commission have taken the exact opposite position and have expedited legislation to toughen European Union gun laws. The proposed restrictions would ban semi-automatic firearms for civilian use.
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., governments both in the Unites States and abroad should be finding ways to empower citizens to provide for their own defense, rather than using such events as an excuse to gin up support for more gun control. It is foolish to think that terrorists intent on slaughtering scores of innocents could ever be impeded by even the most stringent gun controls, but policymakers can at the very least respect the rights of citizens to use the tools necessary to fight back.