US Should Follow Saudi Lead on Gun Ownership, Group Says

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05pm EDT

( - A Second Amendment advocacy group is hailing the government of Saudi Arabia for allowing foreigners who fear for their safety to carry a gun. Saudi Arabia's decision comes in the wake of the kidnapping and beheading of American contractor Paul Johnson.

"This sensible move by the Saudi government should send a signal to other nations around the world, where citizens have been essentially disarmed and left to the mercy of a growing criminal element," Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said in a statement.

"For example, Great Britain, Canada and Australia have all imposed horribly restrictive gun laws on their citizens, and look what's happened. Violent crime has soared, and the public is defenseless."

Saudis have the right to carry a weapon if they have a permit. "Likewise, a foreign resident, if he felt in danger he could get a permit to carry a weapon," the official Saudi Press Agency quoted Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz as saying. "I mean a personal weapon which a person can have in his own country," the prince added.

"Certainly," Gottlieb said, "[Nayef] would be baffled at the way citizens in so-called civilized nations have been left defenseless against criminals and thugs, while in his own country, the government is now allowing even foreigners to go legally armed for their own protection.

"It appears that the Prince fully understands that citizens, and even non-citizens, are entitled to protect themselves against criminal attack," he added.

Gottlieb said he is "gratified by this gesture of the Saudi government toward the safety of foreigners living within their borders, including many American citizens.

"We think the leaders of other countries, not to mention the governors of states like Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska -- where concealed carry remains illegal for law-abiding Americans -- could take a lesson from Prince [Nayef]," Gottlieb concluded.

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