Sheriff: Got a permit? Carry your gun

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Blair says armed citizens could be first line of defense

By Jim Clark
Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair is urging residents who have gun permits to carry their weapons.
In a letter posted on the sheriff’s Facebook page, Blair, reacting to “a level of violence and hatred that we have never seen before,” says to local citizens, “If you are certified to carry a gun, I would like to encourage you to do so. Those who carry firearms responsibly and are confident in their abilities can — and should — be our first line of defense in an active shooter situation. A lot can happen in the minutes it may take for us to respond to those in need, and to have someone there to bring the fight to the attacker will help save lives.”
Blair joins sheriffs in Ulster County, New York, Boone County, Kentucky and Brevard County here in Florida in urging residents to arm themselves.
Blair tells the people, “I hold and teach a concealed weapons class – which close to 600 Marion County citizens have attended – in order to make sure our citizens who want to be armed can lawfully do so. Most importantly, we make sure these citizens are skilled in firearms tactics so we have capable citizens out in our community who are confident and able to defend themselves and others safely.”
These actions have been taken in the wake of last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were killed and 17 injured. The two shooters were killed a few hours later during a gun battle with police on a street in the neighboring town of Redlands.
The shootings sparked a spirited debate involving gun control, and also spawned a remark by presidential candidate Donald Trump that all Muslims should be stopped from entering the United States. His statement has drawn almost universal condemnation from other candidates, from government officials and even from countries overseas. The two California shooters were Muslims, a husband and wife with an infant child.