BELLEVUE, WA â€“ Responding to Democrat presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clarkâ€™s plan to create a â€œcivilian reserve to respond to terrorist attacks,â€ the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today, â€œWe already have that, Gen. Clark. Theyâ€™re called armed private citizens.â€
â€œWe donâ€™t need to create a new military-style reserve force like Gen. Clark envisions,â€ said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. â€œWeâ€™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.
â€œIn all but a handful of states,â€ Gottlieb added, â€œprivate citizens are licensed to carry concealed handguns, for defense of themselves and the state. Thatâ€™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 heâ€™s way behind the learning curve.â€
Added CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, â€œBy 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.
â€œNot coincidentally,â€ Waldron continued, â€œmany of these same armed citizens belong to volunteer fire departments, search-and-rescue or other community groups. Theyâ€™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 Americaâ€™s broadest line of defense.â€
â€œGen. Clark and every other politician,â€ Gottlieb noted, â€œneed to brush up on their history. Thatâ€™s where they would learn that the Second Amendment, and the courageous citizens who daily exercise the right it protects, is Americaâ€™s original homeland security.â€