Growing Number of Law Enforcement Officials Encourage Gun Ownership

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It’s Florida Sheriff Grady Judd’s duty to protect the citizens of Polk County — but he figures it’s their job, too.

One of a growing number of rural and big-city law enforcement officials who openly encourages responsible gun ownership, Judd believes guns allow citizens to defend themselves when police cannot.

“If you are foolish enough to break into someone’s home, you can expect to be shot in Polk County,” Judd said in a statement after a homeowner shot a would-be home invader earlier this month. “It’s more important to have a gun in your hand than a cop on the phone.”

Such full-throated embrace of the Second Amendment as a crime-fighting tool isn’t confined to red states like Florida.

One California police chief is backing teachers in his district packing heat. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been a leader in urging his community to arm itself. A Maryland sheriff is working with the state’s general assembly to try to make it easier for citizens to obtain handgun permits.

In the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s most recent ranking of states with the strongest gun laws, California (1), Maryland (4) and Michigan (15) ranked near the top of the pack.

Some gun rights advocates say terror attacks at home and abroad have contributed to a change in attitudes about gun ownership among community members and authorities, even in locales historically hostile towards the Second Amendment.

“That has helped play into it, and there’s no doubt the active shooter scenario has, too,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. “You’re seeing people say, ‘How do you respond?’”

The answer varies based on where you live, and how your law enforcement leaders are selected.

Police chiefs are typically appointed by mayors, and their politics tend to line up with whoever chose them. Sheriffs, in contrast, are voted into office and in some cases espouse values of a constituency that is growing ever-more pro-gun.

“Historically, sheriffs have been very pro-gun rights,” Gottlieb told FoxNews.com. “But they’ve stepped out of the box and they’re now publicly making it known that firearms are good for self-defense.”

In Oklahoma, Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes and Creek County Sheriff John Davis have each recently reduced costs associated with getting a gun license. Davis is also keeping administrative offices open longer on weekends to allow more people to apply.

“As a result of the ever-increasing violence being committed upon the American citizen and the current state of our country, I encourage each citizen of Creek County who is legally able to fully utilize their Second Amendment right ‘to keep and bear arms,’ as legally prescribed by the Oklahoma Defense Act,” Davis said in a statement.

Rhodes said his plan made simple fiscal sense.

“The benefits of people getting their license, carrying lawfully, certainly outweigh the money I would lose,” he told KFOR.

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SOURCE: Fox News, Cody Derespina