SEBASTIAN – Earlier this week, the Sheriff in Brevard County posted a video on Facebook urging citizens to get concealed carry permits and to arm themselves with guns at all times.
“Now more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the first line of defense, not only for them, but for their families when the attack happens,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said.
“For those who think it can’t or won’t happen here, trust me when I tell you that it’s already happening all around us, and the only thing left to question is where and when it will happen again and how many more innocent lives will be lost,” said Ivey. “Let me be perfectly clear: Doing nothing or just hoping it won’t happen to you is not going to save your life,” he said.
The statement comes at a time when Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar issued a press release Tuesday about the rise in gun violence. Loar says there were four shootings during a five-day period and no one called 911 to report it.
“Three of the four shooting incidents originated from Emergency Room staff calling us to report gunshot victims,” Loar said. “This continued gun violence must end before another life is lost.”
To make matters worse, one man shot himself in the leg last weekend in Gifford.
So here’s the question: Should residents in Sebastian arm themselves with guns?
We asked Sebastian Police Commander John Blackledge this question:
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“The Sebastian Police Department is fully supportive of citizens’ rights to bear arms, and their use of reasonable and necessary force to defend themselves, others and their property as is allowed by Florida Statutes (F.S. 790 and 776) and the Constitution,” Blackledge told Sebastian Daily.
“To that end, we strongly encourage that anyone who possesses weapons intending to use them to defend themselves consider three critical aspects. First, you should be properly educated on exactly what the law allows. Far too many people read the statute and misperceive the actual meaning of these laws. Second, get quality training not just in the use of a firearm or other weapon, but in elements of defensive combat of an aggressor. Finally, and most important, the carrying of any weapon comes with the responsibility to ensure it does not end up in the wrong hands,” said Blackledge.
Blackledge also suggests that if you have a firearm in a home that has children, secure it.
Also, don’t leave firearms in vehicles when parked at night.
“Many firearms left in cars are stolen and the offenders, many being juveniles, escalate their criminal acts,” Blackledge added.
As for Ivey, some people say he’s paranoid. The statement urging others to be armed with guns could create a more dangerous climate in Indian River County. However, that’s just speculation.
What do you think?