In the wake of the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, many have turned to the issue of security and a debate over how to protect against similar terrorist attacks on soft targets.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble had some interesting comments for ABC News today in a post titled Exclusive: After Westgate, Interpol Chief Ponders ‘Armed Citizenry.’  The comments are likely to spur even more debate between proponents of gun control and 2nd amendment advocates.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month’s deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya – and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called “soft targets” are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.

“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”

Speaking earlier to reporters, Noble emphasized the challenges that face law enforcement in this day and age, in an environment where terrorist groups are urging other smaller groups to strike soft targets.  “How do you protect soft targets? That’s really the challenge. You can’t have armed police forces everywhere,” he said.  He also talked about efforts to screen passports and trying to limit the movement of terrorists.

Noble, an American who previously oversaw several prominent law enforcement agencies, was rather forthright in his interview with ABC News.

“Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?” Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. “What I’m saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?’ This is something that has to be discussed.”

“For me it’s a profound question,” he continued. “People are quick to say ‘gun control, people shouldn’t be armed,’ etc., etc. I think they have to ask themselves: ‘Where would you have wanted to be? In a city where there was gun control and no citizens armed if you’re in a Westgate mall, or in a place like Denver or Texas?'”

Read the whole thing at ABC News.