UK cops investigating whether citizens with guns can use them on terrorists
A police and crime commissioner in the UK has promised to talk to her chief constable about whether people with gun licences can use private weapons to defend their community against terrorists.
Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, was taking part in a phone-in on BBC Radio Cornwall when a caller suggested the idea.
The caller said they were an "ex-registered firearms dealer" and a gun owner in the Bude area and asked what would happen if there was a terrorist attack and they tried to defend themselves.
Ms Hernandez replied that it was "a very good question" and said she wanted it put to her in writing.
When challenged by the presenter as to whether she was advocating vigilantes, Ms Hernandez replied: "I'm just saying... let's officially have a look at that and see what would be the implications of it. Let's unpick it a little bit.
"We work with businesses to keep our communities safe. I'd really be interested in exploring that with the chief constable.
"I think the reality is... if your community was coming under attack, people would do all sorts of things to try to save their community without even thinking.
"Look at how some of the emergency services responded, some of the community responded, on the bridge in London.
"People will do incredible things without thinking to protect themselves and the community around them."
Devon and Cornwall Police said that, when faced with a terrorist attack, people should run, hide and call the police and "under no circumstances" should a member of the public arm themselves with firearms.
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton said: "Quite obviously a marauding terrorist is the most challenging of circumstances, the police response requires significant professionalism and training as well as firearms capability.
"During these incidents, highly trained police firearms officers and special forces will be deployed to protect our communities.
"We would only use the normal military in response to a national security threat level and they would be deployed to free up police resources from their security duties.
"Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.
"Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.
"Having said that, I accept that British policing will require an uplift in resources in response to the unprecedented threats we are currently facing.
"This includes additional operationally firearms capability as well as an investment in our local policing which does so much to identify and prevent people from committing terrorist acts.
"In light of the recent terrorist attacks and the threats that the UK are facing, we have already reviewed our resources and are working with other agencies to ensure that we have the capability to meet these threats."