Sheriff: Citizens licensed to carry a firearm PLEASE DO SO
The sheriff of upstate New York's Ulster County incited a slew of controversy on social media Thursday when he urged citizens there who are properly licensed to carry their guns.
The comment, which came a day after 14 people were killed in gun rampage in San Bernardino, Calif., was posted on the official Ulster County Sheriff's Office Facebook page and was signed by Sheriff Paul J. Van Blarcum. The office confirmed to the Poughkeepsie Journal that Van Blarcum posted the message.
"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," the post read.
December 3, 2015
ATTENTION LICENSED HANDGUN OWNERS
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....
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.
Paul J. Van Blarcum
Ulster County Sheriff
The post went on to say licensed gun owners should be "comfortable and proficient" with their weapons and aware of state laws regulating gun use. He also encouraged active duty and retired police and peace officers to carry a weapon whenever they leave their homes.
"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," the post read.
Ulster County is about two hours north of New York City.
The post has been shared nearly 15,000 times and "liked" by more than 10,000 users. More than 1,200 have left comments ranging from messages of thanks, support and agreement to blistering rebukes calling the post dangerous, reckless and irresponsible.
"It takes a good guy with a gun, to stop a bad guy with a gun. Thank you sheriff!" wrote one commenter.