The day after the San Bernardino, California shooting which took the lives of 14 and injured an additional 21, Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum of upstate New York’s Ulster County is is telling residents who are licensed gun owners to carry their guns with them when they leave their homes.
Citing the recent shootings and terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Paris, the sheriff, a Democrat, wrote on the county police department’s Facebook page, “I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm,” according to ABC News.
According to Van Blarcum, Ulster County has about 10,000 licensed handgun owners.
“There were more positive comments than negative, but the negative ones are very adamant,” Van Blarcum told ABC News. “I respect the people who disagree with me. As a licensed handgun owner, you make the decision whether you want to carry it or not. It’s a personal decision.”
ABC News also reported the sheriff told police officers to remain armed even when off duty.
Ulster County is a little over three hours to the east of Ithaca and about two hours north of New York City.
In light of the recent shootings and terrorist attacks in Paris and the U.S., most recently the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, it only makes sense that more law-abiding citizens should carry their firearms when outside of the home. Having a larger presence of armed citizens has two positive effects: (1) it raises the probability, even if only slightly, that one could use his weapon to kill or injure the shooter, and (2) the public knowledge of where large groups of people are well-armed serves as a deterrence to a would-be shooter (hence why you don’t see mass shootings at gun shows or NRA events).
On the other hand, liberals across the country, and of course here in Ithaca and at Cornell, have renewed calls for restrictions on gun sales and ownership. The left’s argument basically boils down to empty, fact-less emotional appeals or bloviating rhetoric. For example, the oft-cited “there have been more mass shootings than days so far this year” claim is woefully inaccurate. USA Today counts 22, a Stanford project counts 51, and the progressive site Mother Jones traces just 3 from lone-wolfs in 2015.
Additionally, there is no word yet on how “common sense gun laws” would have prevented the San Berardino attack, or how, for example, banning “automatic weapons” would prevent massacres when a six-chamber revolver could do as much damage in the hands of a shooter who has ample time to reload (which is the case when no one has a gun to shoot back).
Even if the nameless “common sense gun laws” are passed, what then will liberals do to prevent lawbreakers from obtaining weapons illegally? Surely, “common sense gun laws” will work as effectively as common sense marijuana laws, common sense underage drinking laws, and common sense speeding laws.
The most inconvenient truth is that most of the country’s gun violence occurs in select neighborhoods in inner-cities where there is a breakdown of community-police relations, breakdown of family units, breakdown of the local economy, breakdown of the education system, and extremely high incarceration rates.
The places are run by liberal Democrats, by the way. See Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, etc.
Unfortunately, rather that focusing on policies and actions (like electing conservatives to local and state public offices) that would help people living in these neighborhoods, the Left prefers to blame lawful gun owners and shame them into surrendering their 2nd Amendment rights.
In close, good for Sheriff Van Blarcum and Ulster County. If the 10,000 residents who are licensed gun owners heed the sheriff’s call, their communities won’t be immune to gun violence, but they are certainly more well-defended against it than liberal, hapless Ithaca.