Florida

‘A good person with a gun is not a danger to society,’ Florida sheriff says on video

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd

A day after 26 people were shot to death while praying at a rural Texas church, the sheriff of a Florida county posted a video calling for more people to get training and legally carry guns.

“A good person with a gun is not a danger to society,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in the 1 1/2-minute video posted Monday on the department’s Facebook page. “They’re an attribute. The bottom line to it is simply this: We’ve got to look out for each other in this society. We always have.”

On Sunday, Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, stormed the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, armed with a Ruger semiautomatic rifle and ammunition and began shooting. He killed 26 and injured 20; the victims ranged from 17 months to 77 years, officials said. A neighbor who heard the commotion got his gun and began shooting at Kelley, who drove away and crashed into a ditch. He was found dead in the vehicle.

Judd opened his Facebook comments by using the shooting as an example of why people should be armed.

“Children, adults are in church on Sunday morning in a small community in Texas worshiping and they’re assaulted by a nut,” he said. “I mean, this guy is mentally deranged, obviously. And someone’s got to be there with a gun to stop him.”

Kelley was only stopped when someone with a gun intervened, Judd said.

“Sure it’s easy to kill people when there’s no one there shooting back,” he said. “But all of that changed when the neighbor shows up with a gun and starts shooting at him.”

Judd then said he believed in the Second Amendment.

“I believe for those who care enough to learn how to carry a firearm safely, use a firearm safely, get your concealed firearm license and be prepared to protect your fellow person,” he said. “We have to be safe. We live under the illusion of safety if we don’t have the training and the equipment to protect ourselves.”

Carli Teproff: 305-376-3587, @CTeproff

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