A police chief the Texas town of Hughes Springs, which has population of 1,760, called on residents to “arm yourselves.”
The video shows Police Chief Randy Kennedy making comments about President Barack Obama’s speech on Sunday.
“I watched President Obama tonight and heard what he had to say about confronting terrorism, and I didn’t find his words encouraging at all,” Kennedy said in the viral Facebook video. “What I’m asking all of my citizens to do, all my law-abiding citizens, I am asking you to help me and our fellow law enforcement officers by arming yourselves.”
He said citizens need to be protected.
“I’m not asking my citizens to go out and be John Wayne, I’m not asking them to take any unnecessary risk,” Kennedy added. “I’m asking them to become familiar with a weapon, learn how it works, how it operates, what to do with it.”
Kennedy also said he felt he needed to send a message to the president about his comments on terrorism.
“Now, Mr. Obama you need to understand what the second amendment is for,” Kennedy said. “I do not want the citizens in my community or surrounding area to be recognized as soft targets. I want these jihadists to know that the people here will fight and do what’s necessary to protect their families and their lives.”
Residents of the East Texas town said they agree with his message.
“It’s way better to be prepared,” said resident Randy Watkins, reported KLTV. “I would much rather be in a situation that I didn’t need a gun and have it than be in a situation that I needed the gun and didn’t have it.”
“For me it’s alright,” added resident Israel Gomez. “Everybody needs to have a gun to protect themselves.”
A number of other sheriffs across the United States have urged residents to carry guns in the wake of the shooting at a San Bernardino, California, public services building that left 14 people dead.
Sheriff Michael Helmig, of Boone County, Kentucky, gave a “call to action” on the department Facebook page. “I have reminded my current and retired Deputy Sheriffs of their responsibility to carry their firearms while off-duty,” Helmig wrote. “I would also like to remind the people who have applied, been trained, and issued a license to carry a Concealed Deadly Weapon (CCDW) that they also have a responsibility to carry their firearm.”
Brevard County, Florida, Sheriff Wayne Ivey in a viral video said citizens carrying guns are the first line of defense in active-shooter situations like in San Bernardino, reported NBC News. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Ivey said.