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South Florida Sheriff evokes “good guy with a gun” to counter shooter threats

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Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey is taking a hard stance on the risk of terrorist attacks.

In a nearly 7-minute video posted to the official Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Ivey calls on all residents, law enforcement, military or otherwise, to be “mentally and physically ready to respond to an attack.”

“Let there be no mistake in what I’m about to say, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Ivey said in the viral video.

That statement is one that stirs controversy and divides those who favor stricter gun control laws over those who stand in staunch protection of Second Amendment rights.

However, response to the video on the Brevard Sheriff’s Facebook page was overwhelmingly positive. Comment after comment praises Ivey for “telling it like it is” and having the guts to stand up for safety.

Some commenters even wrote that the video persuaded them to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to defend against potential threats.

At the end of the video, Ivey encourages those who already have permits and those who wish to acquire one to attend a once-monthly tactical shooting course where gun owners can learn shooting skills as well as the ins and outs of Florida laws such as Stand your Ground and self-defense.

“If you’re a person who is legally licensed to carry a firearm, now is the time more than ever to realize that you and you alone may very well be the first line of defense for you, your family,” Ivey said.

Ivey called shootings like those last week in San Bernardino, California, attacks “by armed, evil people.” He suggested that an armed citizen might be the one able to “defend and survive … until the cavalry can arrive.”

While the comments on Ivey’s professional Facebook page are overwhelmingly in support of his position, it is one of controversy throughout the nation. In the wake of other tragedies gun control backers have lamented that the “good guy with a gun” mentality is a slippery slope that could lead to a sort of Wild West kind of nation and encourage gun owners to take matters into their own hands.

Ivey assured in his video that his statements were not meant to encourage vigilante action.

“What I am saying is that we need to be mentally and physically ready to respond,” Ivey said.

He also called on elected officials and law enforcement officials nationwide to stop worrying so much about being politically correct.

“It’s time for PC to become the acronym for protecting citizens,” Ivey said. He add that it’s time for “America to get back to being American.”

And he encouraged the media to stop giving airtime to terrorists looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

Ivey’s statements come as tensions surrounding ISIS terrorism continue to boil. While the San Bernardino attacks have not officially been linked to ISIS, many have reinvigorated dialogue about Muslims in the U.S.

Presidential front-runner Donald Trump went so far as to say no Muslims should be permitted to travel to the U.S. Supporters praised his statements with the now-common assertion that he “tells it like it is.” Still others, many from within his own party, have been enraged by his over-the-top comments.

Ivey never specifically mentions Muslims and says in his video that it has nothing to do with religion or politics, but the dialogue is indicative of growing fear since the attacks in Paris last month.

“Together we can make a difference,” Ivey said. “One good person at the right place and the right time will make the difference.”

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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