NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – All licensed handgun owners in Ulster County should carry their pistols.
That’s the message Thursday from the Ulster County Sheriff.
Ulster County is located about two hours north of New York City.
“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to please do so,” wrote Sheriff Paul J. Van Blarcum in a Facebook post. “I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, make sure you are comfortable and proficient with your weapon, and knowledgeable of the laws in New York State with regards to carrying a weapon and when it is legal to use it.”
“I also want to remind all Police/Peace Officers both active duty and retired to please carry a weapon whenever you leave your house. We are the thin blue line that is entrusted in keeping this country safe, and we must be prepared to act at any given moment,” Van Blarcum wrote.
Van Blarcum told CBS2’s Sonia Rincon that the post was not intended to spark debate.
“All I was doing as reminding people that here in Ulster County, if you are a licensed hand gun owner, and you feel comfortable carrying that handgun, you’re proficient with that handgun, and you’re responsible with that handgun, then I encourage you to carry that handgun,” he said.
There are strong opinions on both sides.
“I think law enforcement is there and paid by us to look after us, and shouldn’t need help from the citizenry to do that,” one man said.
“They wouldn’t have a license if they weren’t able to carry them, you know what I’m saying. The world is getting crazy now, and some way or another you gotta have protection,” another countered.
President Barack Obama said the shooting was another opportunity for America to come together to push for gun control measures.
“We all have a part to play. As the investigation moves forward, it’s going to be important for all of us, including our legislatures, to see what we can do to make sure that when an individual decides they want to do somebody harm, we make it a little harder for them to do it. Right now, it’s just too easy,” Obama said Thursday. “We’re going to have to, I think, search ourselves as a society.”
Van Blarcum’s call comes as the New York Daily News criticized Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates for not pushing for tougher gun control measures.