U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- A county sheriff in Kentucky may be in for some interesting times and a good deal of publicity for telling a fiscal court meeting that his agency is owed a $75,000 payment from the court, so he temporarily suspended law enforcement services and posted a message to his constituents via social media.
And the message was blunt: “Lock your doors, load your guns and get a biting, barking dog.”
Martin County Sheriff John Kirk is in the spotlight, and apparently not without justification. Local governments in eastern Kentucky are all reportedly feeling a pinch due to a decline in coal severance tax revenues, but Kirk appears to be the only one so far advising his neighbors to load up. It’s the sort of thing that may make for a good storyline in a “B” western, but in a modern world of political correctness, that sort of reasoning makes liberals quiver.
The story has been reported by the Washington Times and other news agencies. But Kirk’s remark may “put him on the map” as he has emerged as one of a relatively handful of career lawmen who have publicly suggested that citizens could become their own first responders.
Kirk’s situation is hardly unique. In rural counties all over the country, and especially in the West, it is still recognized that sheriffs departments operate on smaller budgets with less manpower. The private citizen may find himself or herself in a desperate situation that requires an immediate and decisive response, rather than a dial tone, perhaps a recorded message or a “place on hold” and then a wait of minutes to possibly much longer for a siren and flashing blue light to appear. By then, whatever was happening to prompt a call to 9-1-1 has happened.
In recent memory, at least two sheriffs in Florida — Wayne Ivey of Brevard County and Grady Judd in Polk County — have encouraged citizens to arm themselves. Also notable for encouraging armed citizens is Detroit Police Chief James Craig.
Indeed, after one incident in Polk County in which a burglar was shot, Judd issued a statement: “If you are foolish enough to break into someone’s home, you can expect to be shot in Polk County. It’s more important to have a gun in your hand than a cop on the phone.”
Gun control proponents cringe when influential authority figures such as county sheriffs take positions like that, or they outright ignore what is being said, perhaps thinking that if they pay no attention to the “sheriff problem,” eventually it will go away.
But that may be wishful thinking. Right now, some 20 county sheriffs in Washington State have announced they will not actively enforce provisions of a gun control initiative passed by voters last fall, contending that the measure is either unenforceable or unconstitutional.
As this is happening, 29 county sheriffs in New Mexico are opposing several gun control measures that have been introduced in the state legislature, according to KOSA News in Odessa, Texas.
The story noted three bills specifically. House Bill 130 is a so-called “safe storage” measure that would penalize “gun owners who don’t store guns safely around children.” A second proposal, HB 87 would prevent people subject to protection orders from buying firearms.
House Bill 83 allows police or sheriffs deputies to “temporarily seize guns from people considered an imminent threat.” This is otherwise known as a “red flag law,” which a growing number of gun rights activists are raising alarms about since a Maryland man was fatally shot early one morning when officers attempted to serve such an order.
Proponents of these New Mexico measures say they do not infringe on Second Amendment rights, but sheriffs disagree, and one lawman, Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton, reportedly noted that there are already laws in effect that address these issues.
At one time, it was fashionable for anti-gun politicians to announce new gun control proposals while flanked or backed by groups of police and sheriff’s deputies. But that no longer appears to be the case as lawmen — at least those elected to office — are taking positions that confound proponents of increasingly restrictive laws.
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