Interview. Thibault de Montbrial is a penal lawyer to the Paris court, president of the Reflection Center for Home Security and author to “The burst or the chaos” (Plon editor).
This interview has been published in French on Thursday, June 2, 2016 by VALEURS ACTUELLES
Picture by Oleg Volk
VA. You speak regularly of weapon carry for citizens. How would this change fight against insecurity?
Thibault de Montbrial. The analysis of numerous attacks with war weapons in public places leads to the following theorem : the faster the response by fire, the fewer casualties. That is why the authorities have changed the rules of intervention of the security forces, first police forces on the spot are now invited to enter into direct action and not to form a security perimeter pending the intervention groups.
GO. But before the arrival of those first forces, what could be done but suffer if nobody carries a gun inside the attacked location?
Thibault de Montbrial. First, encourage police officers to carry their weapon while off duty. This crucial step allows to have plainclothes armed persons in public transport, shopping centers, cinemas or theaters (except for those stupid enough to ban them). It is therefore necessary to encourage administrations which remain reluctant like the gendarmerie or customs, to encourage their staff on this path.
But we must go further. I advocate in this respect to allow two classes of citizens to carry weapons under their civilian clothes: first former members of the security forces, and then some citizen volunteers who would be trained for this purpose. For both categories of “armed civilians”, one can imagine an initial training followed by regular training and periodic monitoring on both the technical and medical and psychological.
There is no question of arming everyone. But applied to 1 or 2% of our population, this measure would have permanently a significant coverage of public places.
Its cost would be moderate in view of the considerable efficiency that would result in both response efficiency and even dissuasion, since the attackers would face a risk of immediate response that they could not measure in advance.
VA. Would you wish, if some people can arm themselves, that France switches to a so-called “Israelian society”?
Thibault de Montbrial. Whether we like it or not, this shift began with the proliferation of attacks that our territory is the object (16 from that of the police to Joue-Les Tours December 20, 2014). In Israel, most actions that put an end to attacks in recent years are the result of armed civilians whose intervention in the minute of the start of the attack was often used to neutralize attackers. Another positive aspect of the Israelian evolution is to work the resilience of the population : prepare for the risk, react better, bounce back. We must go beyond flowers and candles and implement a clear policy of civil security.
VA. Critics of carrying weapons use the example of the number of deaths in countries that allow it, particularly in the United States. What do you say?
Thibault de Montbrial. Many fantasies carrying of firearms conveys a mixture of ideologies and ignorance, starting with the classic confusion between the carrying and ownership. US states that permit the carrying of weapons all saw crime drop. The massacres of civilians were the deeds of people who use weapons held (not carried) and in the vast majority of cases in States where the carrying of weapons is prohibited; and most homicides are committed with illegal weapons. In any event, my proposal is adapted to the situation in France. It is not to allow anyone to go out with a gun in the street, but to significantly increase the protection of our public places, in a structured (training, control) and limited to 1 or 2% of the selected population according to the above criteria.