The nation’s capital, a top terrorist target, has received new advice should it come under a Paris-style attack. Instead of waiting for police to arrive, D.C.’s police chief is advocating a more aggressive -- albeit unarmed -- approach.
On CBS’s 60 Minutes, Police Chief Cathy Lanier told Anderson Cooper that potential victims caught in the crossfire should take proactive measures to avoid becoming actual victims:
Cathy Lanier: 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. And that's-- you know, that's kind of counterintuitive to what cops always tell people, right? We always tell people, "Don't-- you know, don't take action. Call 911. Don't intervene in the robbery"-- you know-- you know-- we've never told people, "Take action." It's a different-- this is a different scenario.
Anderson Cooper: You're telling them that now though?
Cathy Lanier: We are.
However, it is unclear how one is supposed to “take the gunman out” and save lives. Washington, D.C. arguably has the strictest gun control laws in the nation. In accordance with the city’s gun laws, Chief Lanier literally stands between all law-abiding citizens and their ability to carry concealed weapons in the nation’s capital. She personally issues or denies concealed carry permits, and to date she has granted just 45 of them on a narrow “good reason” litmus test.
And she has only done so begrudgingly (i.e. by a recent court order). Gun ownership in Washington, D.C. became legal in 2008 as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court Heller decision. However, registered firearms amounted to very expensive paperweights for years, as carrying the firearms in public remained illegal.