The Corner

Cathy Lanier Is Highly Confused About Concealed Carry

D.C.’s police chief sees a role for the citizenry in thwarting terror attacks against their city. Per the Washington Post:

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier is urging that civilians confronted by an active shooter in some cases try to stop the gunman before law enforcement authorities arrive, saying quick action could save lives.

The chief, appearing on the Sunday “60 Minutes” CBS news show, noted that in many multiple shootings, most victims are killed within the first 10 minutes — at the Navy Yard shootings in 2013, 10 of the 12 victims were dead in fewer than six minutes. Lanier told correspondent Anderson Cooper that police simply can’t get to the scene in time to stop the initial and deadliest onslaught.

“Your options are run, hide or fight,” Lanier said on the nationally broadcast show. “I always say if you can get out, getting out’s your first option, your best option. If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

All sound advice. But wait. “Cathy Lanier”? That name sounds familiar. Ah, yes. She’s the same Cathy Lanier who has been fighting tooth and nail to keep guns and carry-permits out of D.C. Lanier opposes the right to keep and bear arms both in theory:

A federal judge’s decision to strike down the District’s ban on carrying guns in public could have dramatic implications for the security of dignitaries and the safety of high-profile events, the city’s police chief said Wednesday.

In her most detailed comments since the ruling Saturday, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier called for “reasonable provisions” restricting the public from bearing arms in sensitive locations at sensitive times. Otherwise, she said, the decision would have a relatively minimal impact on street crime or her department’s ability to police neighborhoods and lock up dangerous criminals who are found carrying guns.

“Law-abiding citizens that register firearms, that follow the rules, are not our worry,” she said. “Our worry really is, how do we maintain the level of security in the nation’s capital that we’re required to maintain 24 hours a day in the areas that we’re required to maintain that security?”

The ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. was stayed, or put on hold, until late October while city leaders determine how to comply with his finding that the city’s flat ban on the carrying of weapons by people who are not law enforcement officials violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

. . . and in practice:

Having already won a court decision compelling the District–and in particular, its Police Chief Cathy Lanier (pictured above)–to issue concealed carry permits to lawful, qualified residents, [the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan] Gura . . . ran into the usual anti-gun rearguard position: “Sure, we’ll issue permits–on terms of our own choosing. Terms that nobody except our rich friends and political comrades will ever be deemed to have satisfied.”

And those terms invariably require that the applicant have some special and unusual reason to be granted a concealed carry permit.  This is the kind of restriction still being employed in liberal states like New Jersey and New York, and which was being employed in California until the recent Peruta decision by the 9th Circuit.

Gura responded to Lanier’s demand that applications show some special reason–above and beyond simply being law-abiding Americans with civil rights–by filing a motion for an injunction with the US District Court for DC, to prohibit Lanier from imposing those special conditions.

Which leads me to the obvious question: If Lanier wants D.C.’s citizenry to help her fight terrorism and also wants to keep guns out of the hands of the law-abiding, what’s her plan? As far as I can see, Lanier’s view is neither that the citizenry should look out for itself nor that the state should take responsibility for public safety, but the worst of both worlds: “We want you to help fight the bad guys,” she is saying, “but we won’t let you arm yourselves to do so.”

Americans are a pretty hardy bunch, but I cannot imagine that this is a greatly appealing prospect to anybody. In Paris, the bad guys had automatic weapons and explosive belts. Even for a trained concealed-carrier — who is likely to have a handgun at most — the odds of taking down such a person is extremely low. If we are going to ask civilians to try — and I think we’re going to have to — it is downright immoral to deprive them of the only tools that would give them a fighting chance. Tough as it may be, Cathy Lanier needs to decide: Is she for citizens fighting back against the threats that they face, or is she against that? If she’s for it, she’ll need to recognize that limiting concealed carry to a handful of well-connected D.C. celebrities is not going to help. If she’s against it, she needs to bear full responsibility for protecting her city against attack.

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