KINGSTON - Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum is encouraging private citizens who are licensed to carry a handgun to take up arms in the wake of the rash of mass shootings.
Van Blarcum, a Democrat, released the message via the Ulster County Sheriff's Office official Facebook page Thursday.
"In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO," the post reads.
Van Blarcum urges Ulster County citizens to "responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm." He estimates there are more than 10,000 licensed handgun owners in Ulster County.
The message comes one day after two heavily armed attackers killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. A gunman killed three last week in Colorado. Terrorists took 130 lives on Nov. 13 in Paris.
"Look at all the mass shootings around; people are getting slaughtered and nobody has a gun," Van Blarcum said. "If you don't have a gun, you're useless."