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This day in WND history: Sheriffs warn Americans to get armed now

A study by Pew Research showed that the only gun crimes on the rise over the last two decades have been mass shootings in gun-free zones or so-called "soft targets."

A study by Pew Research showed that the only gun crimes on the rise over the last two decades have been mass shootings in gun-free zones or so-called “soft targets.”

Sheriffs send message to America: Get armed now

WND-20-YearsDec. 6, 2015: Now is not the time for Americans to cower in fear, be intimidated by liberal ideology or apologize for one of America’s longest standing constitutional rights – the right to bear arms – said a growing chorus of religious, law enforcement and political leaders in 2015.

Several sheriffs sent out warnings in the wake of Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, Mali and San Bernardino that Americans, more than ever, need to get armed.

The first was then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona who called for 250,000 armed citizens to stop terrorism and mass shootings in Arizona. This represented the number of concealed carry permit holders in Arizona at the time.

“I’m just talking about the areas where you have large crowds and someone pulls out the gun and starts shooting. Maybe somebody with a concealed weapon takes the guy down,” Arpaio told a local CBS affiliate in 2015.

He was criticized by some others in law enforcement who said they didn’t think armed civilians shooting bad guys in public places was a good idea because it could lead to “collateral damage,” Tuscon News Now reported.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona

Encouraged to carry

Then came Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum of upstate New York. In a Dec. 3, 2015, Facebook post following the deadly jihadist attack on San Bernardino, he said the county’s 10,000 residents who have concealed-carry handgun permits should use them.

“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to please do so,” Van Blarcum said in his Facebook post. “I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, make sure you are comfortable and proficient with your weapon, and knowledgeable of the laws in New York State with regards to carrying a weapon and when it is legal to use it.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig weighed in on Dec. 2 and said he believed terrorists would be reluctant to target Detroit, as they had Paris, for fear that armed citizens would shoot back.

“A lot of Detroiters have CPLs (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug,” Craig told the Detroit News. “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”

Oakland University criminal justice professor Daniel Kennedy agreed with Craig that terrorists would be reluctant to attack armed citizens.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been an outspoken supporter of citizen gun rights.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been an outspoken supporter of citizen gun rights.

“We don’t have laboratories where we can test these theories, but there is something to the argument that terrorists want a high body count — and if they can only shoot a few people before they’re taken out themselves, it wouldn’t have the kind of impact they want,” Kennedy told the News.

“An armed citizen won’t give them a high body count. Look at the theater in Paris,” the Bataclan Café, where four men with AK-47 assault rifles killed 89 people during a rock concert. “If some of those people had been armed, it would’ve been a much different story.”

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