INTERPOL Chief on Evolving Threat of Terrorism: Is an “Armed Citizenry” Now Necessary?

Posted: Oct 22, 2013 7:00 PM

After 67 people were killed in last month’s terrorist attack at the Westgate mall in Kenya, it looks like the international community could be engaging in a gun control debate of its own.

In an interview with ABC News, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble suggested that arming civilians could be an answer to protecting open societies.

"Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem," Noble said. "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."

Discussing the “evolution of terrorism” with reporters at a news conference, Noble said terrorists are shifting their focus from targets like the Pentagon, to places that have little to no security, such as malls or movie theaters.

Citing a recent call for al Qaeda "brothers to strike soft targets, to do it in small groups," Noble said law enforcement is now facing a daunting task. […]

In the interview with ABC News, Noble was more blunt and directed his comments to his home country.

"Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?" Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. "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."

Indeed. With the exception of the attack on Gabby Giffords in Tucson in 2011, the common theme among mass shootings in America is that they occur in gun-free zones. And the same is true of the Kenya mall attack. The country has extremely restrictive gun laws and “carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited,” according to

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