Could an Armed Defender Have Changed the Outcome at Charlie Hebdo?

A Texas blogger ran a reenactment to find out.

By Alain StephensJanuary 16, 2015 12:45 pm

After two masked gunmen forced their way into the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, it prompted people around the world to ask themselves a string of what-if questions.

“What if it happened where I live?”, “What if happened to me?” Many Texas concealed handgun owners also asked, “What if I was armed?”

It’s a string of questions that blogger and former Department of Homeland Security analyst Nick Leghorn wanted to answer when he ran a series of reenactments at a training facility in Plano, Texas.

“There were a lot of people online Monday-morning-quarterbacking this scenario,” Leghorn says.

Leghorn is an editor for the website The Truth About Guns, a blog that seeks to demystify firearms theory and culture. He found there was no good data to support any of the answers to that string of questions.

So Leghorn went about crafting a series of scenarios using non-lethal firearms to recreate the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, changing one element – he added a singled defender armed with a handgun.

“From what we gathered, seven out of the nine people were able to successfully shoot one of the terrorists,” Leghorn says.

He is careful to mention, however, that in the overwhelming majority of cases – an armed defender would probably not make it out alive.

“The question then becomes, ‘Would one terrorist being shot be enough of a deterrent to get the other to leave the rest of the office alone?'” Leghorn says.

Leghorn also admits that if the measure of “success” is that no one dies – the reality is grim. In every scenario there were casualties. However Leghorn believes the real conversation lies elsewhere.

“If we can save just one life by using a firearm to defend lives, then the scenario was a success,” Leghorn says.

[cq_vc_thumbnailcaption images=”2268″ minheight=”100%” smallheight=”100%” imageposition=”top” backgroundcolor=”#efefef” autoplayspeed=”4000″ imagewidth=”480″ captiontitle=” Weaver” caption=”A patron at a gun appreciation rally wears a handgun. Texas is one of 40 “shall issue“ concealed handgun states. “]