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Sticking to his guns: Arpaio unfazed by pushback over gun rights comments

LISTEN: Arpaio unfazed by pushback over gun rights comments

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is doubling down on his controversial comments about gun rights.

The self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff in America” called for gun owners to carry and use their weapons this holiday season if needed. He stood by his statements Tuesday when questioned by the media about the comments.

“If it’s controversial (that is) okay, let it be controversial but we have to protect the public,” Arpaio said. “We’ve have ISIS, we have international terrorism, we’ve got guys shooting up places so what is wrong with trying to protect the public?”

Some Second Amendment and gun rights advocates in Arizona caution have reservations about Arpaio’s comments.

“Even when you are trained sometimes things go wrong,” Chief Deputy at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Steve Henry said. “If you are in a large crowd of people you have to know what your backdrop is, you have to know what is around you, you have to know your environment and sometimes it is not proper to pull the trigger because the collateral damage is not worth it.”

The lawman said having multiple people shooting at each other, even if one side is trying to take out a threat, can make it hard for police to differentiate between the suspects and those trying to protect themselves.

“We don’t want to walk into a gunfight between anybody but much less a gunfight where people are untrained,” he said.

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