ISIS names Las Vegas as a high profile target. But, in the event of an attack like we saw in Paris, there's a secret security force armed and ready to open fire. Action News Crime & Safety Expert Lt. Randy Sutton introduces us to them.
There have always been dangerous people in Las Vegas. There's been the criminal element and now there is the fear of terrorism. But there's one thing they should know. And that is that there are thousands of men and women, retired law enforcement officers, who are armed, trained and ready to take them on.
The Las Vegas Strip is one of the most famous destinations in the world. Thousands, hundreds of thousands of tourists come here from all over the globe. And the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a tremendous presence on the strip, both in uniform and people who are not in uniform.
If someone wants to attack the Strip, the opportunity for them to be engaged by an armed retired police officer is very great. There are thousands of retired police officers that make the city of Las Vegas their home. And every one of them is a trained professional when it comes to defense of others, and use of firearms. They have the legal authority to carry a weapon.
There's people like Lt. Karen Hughes, who retired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who consciously is aware of the threat level on the Las Vegas Strip and has made the conscious decision to arm herself even though she is no longer obligated by law to do so.
"Always carried a firearm. Always had a plan for how I would use a firearm, under what circumstances and how I would contain the situation if I had to use a firearm," says Lt. Hughes.
"Because I don't want to be put in a situation like what we saw, what we're seeing unfold, what we saw unfold in Paris," she added.
Clark County has more than 56,000 concealed weapons permit holders. These people train and they go through the legal process where they are legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon. So there's not just armed retired law enforcement, there's an army of armed citizens.
They're legally allowed to carry a weapon anywhere, except where it is expressly prohibited. Places like federal buildings, concert halls, some of the casinos don't allow that. But everywhere else, if you have concealed weapons permit, you can carry your weapon.
"More guns is not the answer and it's not going to solve these problems. Less guns is the answer. And making sure we're closing background check loopholes," says Annette Magnus, executive director of Battle Born Progress.
Carrying concealed weapons is not without controversy. Gun control advocates fear people with good intentions, but having little or no training, is an issue.
"I want to make sure that if we're talking about gun violence prevention, because that's what this really is about, that we're leaving the crime fighting and the shooting of folks to officers, to trained officers," says Magnus.
Joseph Wilcox was a member of the Las Vegas community. He died in the CiCi's Pizza rampage when he drew his weapon against armed subjects who had just murdered 2 police officers. Joseph Wilcox made the conscious decision and the effort to have a concealed weapons permit and when the time came, he believed that he had the time to use that weapon.