From his place on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, Robert Lovingwood felt the December 2nd tragedy that befell his community in a way that Americans on the other side of the country could not. Though the terrorist attack on that day shook all of us, it left a permanent impact on a county that seemed insulated from the kind of atrocities seen in Paris and New York City. If an Islamic terror plot could unfold in such a place, truly it could happen anywhere.
Lovingwood, writing an op-ed for the local Victorville newspaper, argued that in such an environment, the citizens of San Bernardino deserved the right to protect themselves. “Society relies on the armed forces and law enforcement to protect us from those that would do us harm,” Lovingwood wrote. “But mass shootings are changing how we think about security, and we need to make a strategic shift.”
Lovingwood praised the sheriff’s department for increasing patrols, but said that police efforts were only part of the solution. The next step, he said, was to make sure the people themselves were empowered to act as their own means of security:
That’s why I am advocating for a policy change to allow volunteers among the County’s workforce to be trained and authorized to carry concealed weapons and have access to weapons at County facilities.
Beyond this program, Lovingwood asked all responsible citizens to think about getting a permit to carry concealed. “As was the case Dec. 2, terrorists and criminals can strike defenseless civilians before law enforcement can arrive. So when seconds count, responsible armed citizens can act immediately to cut short a disaster. Armed civilians also deter crime. And research indicates that law-abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons do not increase gun crimes or deadly gun accidents,” he wrote.
It’s about time that local and state officials began to realize that encouraging lawful gun ownership is not the same as promoting gun violence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The right to bear arms is embedded in our national DNA, not just our Constitution. Without an armed populace at the time of the American Revolution, England would have put a quick end to our insurgency. It was only because the majority of the adult population had a gun that we were able to defeat the world’s greatest empire.
Today, the threats come not from rogue Indians or oppressive kings; they come from psychos and terrorists who want to kill civilians for sport and spirituality. It just so happens that these new threats are just as susceptible to a bullet, though.