“The law enforcement community and the citizens they are sworn to protect have no reason to fear an armed, law-abiding citizen,” Sean McGowan, executive director of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association (SSPBA), told America’s 1st Freedom. “On many occasions across our nation, armed citizens have come to the aid of an officer during the course of the officer’s duties when dealing with an uncooperative or combative violator. These people step up to do the right thing because they respect both the officers and the laws they are enforcing. Many lives have been saved by these good Samaritans.”
SSPBA issued a press release Jan. 24 in response to Virginia gun-control bills. “Members of the law enforcement community throughout the South stand united with our fellow officers in Virginia in opposition to Governor Ralph Northam’s gun-confiscation scheme,” McGowan said in the press release. “We know that a well-armed, well-trained, law-abiding citizen is our best friend. And these are exactly the people New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Governor Ralph Northam want to disarm.”
A new Democrat majority in Virginia has been pushing through extensive gun-control legislation despite fierce pushback. Opposition has come in many forms, including most Virginia counties issuing public proclamations supporting the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Gun-rights supporters have lobbied extensively, with large crowds attending both local meetings and state lobbying events. Several Virginia law-enforcement officers have suggested they would not enforce laws they deem unconstitutional, and one sheriff in Culpeper County said he would deputize civilians to help protect their rights.
When asked about the SSPBA statement, McGowan had strong words for lawmakers.
“Legislation to restrict firearms ownership for people exercising their Second Amendment rights has no impact on criminals who ignore the laws and defy the legal system,” said McGowan. “We view legislation to restrict Second Amendment rights as government overreach and an infringement on constitutionally guaranteed American freedoms. Citizens who responsibly own firearms, obey laws and regulations, and respect the criminal justice system should never be the target of a governing body. When dealing with gun violence, the armed, law-abiding, respectful firearms owners are truly not the problem, and restricting their freedoms will have no impact on criminal firearms violence. If anything, it will embolden the criminals.”
The SSPBA is a professional association that provides legal representation and lobbies for law-enforcement officers.