A Florida Sheriff Wants You To Buy A Gun So You Can Stop The Next Mass Shooter Yourself
The Florida sheriff who told sexual offenders and predators to steer clear of shelters during Hurricane Irma has made another strong statement.
In a Facebook video, which had more than 73,000 views by midday Wednesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd called on residents to arm themselves to be prepared for the next active-shooter situation. He called the Texas gunman “a nut” and “mentally deranged, obviously.” Then he added, “Someone’s got to be there with a gun to stop them.”
“I mean, think about it,” he says in the video. “He shows up with an AR-15 and a lot of ammunition, sure it’s easy to kill people when there’s no one there shooting back. But all of that changed when the neighbor shows up with a gun and starts shooting at him.”
Judd is referring to Stephen Willeford, a local man who exchanged shots with gunman Devin P. Kelley, who killed and wounded dozens inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. Willeford, along with bystander Johnnie Langendorff, engaged Kelley in a high-speed car chase before his car veered off the roadway into a ditch. Officials found Kelley dead and said the autopsy revealed that he was shot twice — in the leg and torso — before shooting himself in the head.
Officials said Kelley killed 26 people during the church shooting, including the unborn child of a pregnant woman. A woman who was wounded during the attack said Kelley shot anyone who tried to escape. Other survivors told KSAT that Kelley shot crying babies point blank.
Judd encouraged his viewers to sign up for free active-shooter prevention training with his office so they are able to protect themselves.
“I’ve always had the basic philosophy that a good person with a gun is an attribute, not a danger,” he told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
“As long as we live in denial that it can’t happen to me and there’s not someone there ready to fight back, then those that want to harm us can freely harm us because there’s not going to be any resistance,” he said.
Judd said he’s thought this for a long time. He was born and raised in Polk County and is in his 13th year as sheriff. He’s been with the office for 45 years, he said.
The comments section of his video echoed the national gun debate. Many agreed with Grady’s assessment that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is by arming others. Others criticized his statement for being “ridiculous,” and argued that guns are best left in the hands of law enforcement and professionals.
“The only thing that prevents a psycho from attempting what these shooters do is the knowledge that there are a lot of armed good guys who will prevent them from doing it,” one person wrote.
Another wrote: “Introducing more bullets and potential chaos during a mass shooting, by someone who took some ‘training,’ doesn’t make me feel any safer, in fact it makes me feel less safe.”
Kelley should not have been able to legally obtain a firearm, but the Air Force failed to tell federal authorities about a domestic violence conviction that would have prevented him from buying guns.
There will always be “mentally ill people” and “terrorists” who try to kill others, Judd told The Post, so it is better for people to be prepared.
“I mean, go back through the shootings. Historically, there’s no active resistance,” he said. “Gosh, it’s easy to go in a one-room schoolhouse, it’s easy to go into Virginia Tech, or a theater, or Columbine, or any other place and shoot people up indiscriminately if there’s no defense there.”
His office has provided college professors, business owners, clergy and others in the community with free active-shooter prevention training, he said. He advocates for people to organize themselves, whether it’s their church, synagogue or mosque, and protect themselves.
“Say, ‘Okay, we’re the protectors, and if somebody comes here and thinks that they’re going to harm us, we’re going to fight them off until law enforcement can get here and take over.’ ”
For those interested in carrying a firearm, Judd said they prepare applicants with all the information needed to apply.
Judd’s tactical advice for responsible gun owners confronted with an active shooter situation?
“Shoot them. Shoot them a lot until the threat’s neutralized.”