Florida sheriff's advice: Be ready -- and be armed

After two mass shootings in two weeks, the response from government officials has mainly been that we need to strip law-abiding citizens of their ability to defend themselves. Not so Sheriff Wayne Ivey of Brevard County, Florida, who says, “It’s time for America to get back to being America.” Ivey tells those licensed to carry firearms that they have a duty to protect themselves and others. “You and you alone may very well be the first line of defense for you, your family, and others around you in a terrorist or active-shooter-based scenario.” He has a few things to say about political correctness from politicians, too (via Fox Insider):

“The best law enforcement agencies in the country have response times in minutes, and a violent criminal can take your life in seconds,” Ivey said, echoing his video address.

“It’s a known fact the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

“So, we’re looking for our citizens to either have the ability to eliminate the threat or at the very least stall it until the cavalry can arrive.”

In case readers wonder about Brevard County, it sits on Florida’s Atlantic coast and hits the midway point between south and north. Sometimes called “Space Coast,” Brevard is the home of the John F. Kennedy Space Center. While not technically part of the I-4 Corridor geographically, it’s close enough politically to matter. As might be expected with a sheriff as outspoken as Ivey, Brevard is a fairly conservative and Republican county, with an R+9 registration advantage and an unbroken record for at least 20 years of supporting the GOP in presidential and gubernatorial races. Romney beat Obama by almost 13 points in Brevard.

Ivey makes a lot of good points in the video, especially his admission that police response is necessarily limited even with the best of intentions and circumstances, but he should have gone on in more length about the difference between defense and vigilantism. For people who see concealed or open carry permits as frightening and an endorsement of “frontier justice,” a detailed explanation from law enforcement leaders would be at least helpful in dispelling these myths. More than most citizens, carry permit holders know the limits of self-defense under the law, because they have to know it to pass their exams in states which require training. If anything, carry-permit training is a cold slap in the face about just what people can expect if they ever have to use their weapon to defend themselves or others — interrogations, second-guessing, and a not-insubstantial chance of prosecution.

Regardless, it’s good to see Ivey offer some straight talk about the reality of self-defense in these situations. He joins a few others, including the chief of police in Washington DC, in recognizing that the only way to stop these incidents before they play all the way out is to have someone armed to put an end to them. Too bad that Chief Cathy Lanier has only approved 48 permits all year:

Despite her call on Sunday night for civilians to “take the gunman down” in a mass shooting scenario, Washington DC’s chief of police has approved just 48 concealed carry licenses in the past year and nearly 80 percent of all applicants have been rejected.

Of 233 applications sent for review since the Metropolitan Police Department began accepting permits on Oct. 23, 2014, 185 licenses had been denied as of Nov. 14, a department spokesperson told FoxNews.com on Monday.

That low approval rate is seemingly at odds with remarks Chief of Police Cathy Lanier made on Sunday night’s episode of “60 Minutes.”

“If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there,” Lanier said. “And that’s – you know, that’s kind of counterintuitive to what cops always tell people, right? We always tell people, ‘Don’t, you know, don’t take action. Call 911. Don’t intervene in the robbery.’ We’ve never told people, ‘Take action.’ It’s a different – this is a different scenario.”

Law enforcement is beginning to catch up with law-abiding citizens on this issue — but obviously, some have a long way to go.

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