South Carolina sheriff tells women to carry concealed firearms
The sheriff of Spartanburg County, S.C., turned a news conference about an attempted rape in his community into an extended rant Monday in which he slammed a criminal justice system preferred by "liberals" for failing to keep the repeat-offender suspect behind bars -- and implored the women in his community to pack heat for self-protection.
"I want you to get a concealed weapons permit," Sheriff Chuck Wright said at the Monday news conference, as reported by TV station WYFF. "Don't get Mace. Get a firearm."
The sheriff alleged that a 46-year-old man named Walter Lance abducted a woman while she was walking her dog Sunday afternoon and attempted to rape her.
Lance was arrested and charged with kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and grand larceny, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported.
In the news conference, Wright said Lance had been convicted of 20 crimes dating back to 1983, including disorderly conduct, domestic violence, assault and battery with intent to kill, and resisting arrest, among others.
"Now if anybody sitting in this room had been charged with any of that stuff, they'd probably be finding a tall oak tree and a short rope for us," Wright said.
"I can tell you that our form of justice is not making it," he stated. "This fellow that has been charged numerous times for crimes against women and crime in society ... he's been in jail more times than I have, and I'm the dad-blame [guy] over the jail over there. And he seems to get out quicker than I can get out. And I am aggravated.
"I've had liberals call me and tell me, 'The chain gang is not going to work.' Well, let me inform you that your form of justice isn't working either."
Wright suggested that the women of Spartanburg carry their weapons in fanny packs. "You can conceal a small pistol in them," he said. "They got one called The Judge that shoots a .45 or a .410 shell. You ain't got to be accurate. You just have to get close."
Gun control, he said, "is when you can get your barrel back on the target quick. That’s gun control."
The rant is making the rounds of the Internet, and being warmly received by conservatives and weapons aficionados.
"Sounds like the kind of guy you'd want to elect," a St. Louis-based member of the TaurusArmed.net firearms forum wrote. "Frankly, I thought all the 'straight-shooting' sheriffs were in Arizona."
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Photo: A recreational shooter firing a 9mm Glock pistol at the United Shooting Range in Gromley, Canada, in January 2003. Credit: Kevin Frayer / CP via Associated Press