BELLEVUE, WA – Responding to Democrat presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark’s plan to create a “civilian reserve to respond to terrorist attacks,” the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today, “We already have that, Gen. Clark. They’re called armed private citizens.”

“We don’t need to create a new military-style reserve force like Gen. Clark envisions,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “We’ve got millions of legally-armed private citizens right now, and they could easily provide a formidable deterrent to terrorists, same as they currently pose to predatory thugs all over the country.

“In all but a handful of states,” Gottlieb added, “private citizens are licensed to carry concealed handguns, for defense of themselves and the state. That’s spelled out in many state constitutions. Thirty-six states have shall-issue concealed carry statutes on the books, and in some states, including Alaska, Arizona, Ohio and Vermont, open carry is a legal option. For Gen. Clark to suggest we need to mobilize American citizens against a terrorist threat indicates that he’s way behind the learning curve.”

Added CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “By their very nature, many state concealed carry laws actually promote defensive handgun training by requiring citizens to learn firearms basics in order to get a concealed carry license. Tens of thousands of these armed citizens have become skilled shooters, and are well-versed in use-of-force statutes.

“Not coincidentally,” Waldron continued, “many of these same armed citizens belong to volunteer fire departments, search-and-rescue or other community groups. They’ve taken first aid training, and are capable of responding to a disaster. But Gen. Clark, along with many other politicians, overlooks these good citizens as America’s broadest line of defense.”

“Gen. Clark and every other politician,” Gottlieb noted, “need to brush up on their history. That’s where they would learn that the Second Amendment, and the courageous citizens who daily exercise the right it protects, is America’s original homeland security.”