This Has Gotta Change and Change Now!

“A civilized society does not permit unidentified, untrained persons to carry firearms in and about a public demonstration.”

I have led the police response to hundreds of public protests; you know, those kind that are guaranteed under our Constitution. Through the 1970s and into the 90s, the Madison Police Department had a stellar protection record. I tell you this because I know something about crowds and their management.

Flash forward to 2020. Somehow we’ve lost our way and, perhaps, our sanity when it comes to guns and vigilantism.

Let me say this strong and bold: A civilized society does not permit unidentified and untrained persons to carry firearms in and about a public demonstration. Period, There should be no leeway here.

We have organized and trained police in our society to respond to these very important democratic expressions in our national life together.

This is NOT about the Second Amendment. It is about public safety — everyone’s safety. But it appears that our weak gun control laws are the excuse as to why our police cannot take this necessary and protective action. That is why the state and federal courts need to be petitioned.

Police leaders must make this argument. It’s dangerous and it’s foolish to permit people other than police to carry weapons anywhere near a public event.

Armed vigilantes jeopardize the safety of the protestors and the police officers who are assembled to safeguard and protect them.

If some citizens want to exercise their right to own and possess a firearm to protect their homes, I’m all for it. But do not let them impose their idea of justice and freedom by endangering our trained police professionals and other community members.

The judiciary must step in and they must do it now!

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[p.s. If the court will not take action and restrict the carrying of firearms in the area of a public demonstration, and I was back in my job as chief of police, I would disarm them, give them a receipt for their weapons, and tell them they can pick them up after this event. Why would I do this? Because I am sworn to protect my community and my officers and uphold the Constitution which permits people to peaceably petition their government for redress. I am serious about this!]

We all know about this “police helper” and what happened.