Arm Police On and Off Duty, Says French Parliamentary Commission — All police should be allowed to carry guns on and off duty to boost personal and national security, according to a French parliamentary report yesterday. One of the authors is the former head of the national police SWAT team who was present at the Bataclan raid in Paris in November 2015.

The trend of arming police has been picking up in recent years and should be amplified, Jean-Michel Fauvergue and Alice Thourot, two members of parliament, said in their report (in French) to the French prime minister yesterday after six months of interviews.

Police help to guarantee safety wherever they are, whether or not they are on duty, the 180-page report said.

“To this effect, the commission considers it a good thing for the state’s security-force agents to be authorized to carry their arms off duty in public across the country in order to be able to intervene quickly notably in case of a terrorist attack,” the report said.

Local police are often targets for criminals and terrorists, the report said. Only 44 percent of municipal officers had duty firearms in 2016, the report said.

“Since they are targets, they need to be able to defend themselves with the appropriate means,” Fauvergue and Tourot said.

Arming police would require increased training and testing, they said. They encouraged harmonizing training and guns with the national police to make it easier for fellow officers to use each others’ weapons and ammunition, the authors said. Common gear would also help local authorities negotiate discounts from suppliers for large orders, they said. reported on the Fauvergue-Thourot study earlier today.

France has some of Europe’s most-restrictive laws on private gun ownership, but simplified its licensing and classification system five years ago. In some aspects French law is less limiting than Canadian law. The trend in most of the European Union is towards more restrictions on private gun owners.

Fauvergue, the head of France’s RAID (Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence) team from 2013 to 2017, led the assault in January 2015 against a jihadi cop killer and hostage taker at a kosher supermarket near Paris. That was two days after jihadi gunmen slaughtered staff at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. He was also present for the assault against jihadis who massacred more than 90 people at Paris’s Bataclan concert hall in November 2015.

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