As a proud American, a strong candidate for Iredell County Commissioner, and as a law-abiding citizen, I believe candidates and elected officials should uphold the Constitution and all Amendments, in addition to all local, state, and federal laws.
With that said, I support the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment supports an individual’s inherent right to own guns for lawful purposes. And, I personally believe that an individual should have the right to own firearms because it promotes protection for yourself and your family.
I also support background checks and rigorous screening for those who want to carry a concealed weapon, or own a gun in general. There is an extreme importance in that our country pay attention to an individual’s mental health needs, and in-depth screening standing between an individual and a firearm would be the beginning of such a process.
Recently, Iredell County commissioners discussed a resolution to support the Second Amendment and gun rights, and if adopted, this resolution would essentially propel Iredell County to join the nationwide movement of declaring counties as ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries’.
Additionally, Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell will be presenting a similar resolution to the commissioners in support of the ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ resolution, feeling that this a necessary step for Iredell County residents to support our rights as American people.
To be forthright in my opinion, I again say that I support the Second Amendment and the ability to protect oneself with a firearm.
I myself, carry a concealed weapon. Two years ago, my husband, Mike, and I decided to take a concealed class. Having the legal opportunity to have a handgun on my person gives me a feeling of confidence and protection. My first line of defense is always being aware, choosing to avoid situations that could be dangerous, and using good judgement. But even with those preemptive decisions, there is never a guarantee that I — or someone I know — will not be the victim of criminal activity.
Therefore, having the ability to protect myself and my family, should the situation arise, is of utmost importance to me.
Here, I will add that respectable gun owners should always be responsible with their firearms and their actions. For example, as a family, we practice with our firearms frequently, and when they are not in use, we keep them safe and secure yet accessible if needed.
To add more to my support of the Second Amendment, I believe that law-abiding citizens — who are armed — can be a deterrent to violent crime. Citizens who carry concealed firearms can significantly decrease crime levels by asserting a sort of “equality” in their chances of protection, while also possibly deterring that specific crime. As one of our most recent examples of this type of deterrent, I’ll refer to the recently attempted church shooting in Texas that was stopped (almost immediately) by a gun-carrying parishioner (https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/30/us/guns-legal-texas-church/index.html).
Although the Second Amendment continues to draw debate and more observation, within our county, I want to be a part of the continuity of our Second Amendment, making sure that Iredell County residents have a right to bear arms and protect themselves and their families, should they ever need to.
And while I’m on the subject, I’d like to share and recommend an amazing opportunity for Iredell County citizens to familiarize themselves with the county’s law enforcement, and the ways in which they keep our citizens safe:
IREDELL COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE CITIZENS ACADEMY
In October of 2019, Sheriff Darren Campbell and skilled members of the Sheriff’s office provided an opportunity for members of the community to be a part of a hands-on, educational, and eye-opening Citizens Academy. Myself and my husband, Mike, opted to attend the evening academy.
Within this educational program, I had expected to hear general information and see some equipment. However, the academy far exceeded my expectations with its insight into the crime-solving and preventative measures that the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office performs on an everyday basis.
I would recommend you attend this program to grasp what it was like to participate, see equipment, visit the jail, plus hear compelling, first-hand stories from local law enforcement.
In order to keep this a quick read, I am only going to mention my most memorable highlights from those fall classes.
During the Citizens Academy, we experienced:
➤ A finger-printing demonstration, in which we attempted to find finger prints on a drinking glass or can. (This task I was not very good at. But what an impressive skill!)
➤ We learned that a footprint can tell a lot about a person. As a class, we actually took impressions of our shoe prints to witness this extreme differential between individuals. (And the most fun was that, on the last day of the academy, we were presented with those shoe prints to keep.)
➤ The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit is quite impressive. The dogs truly do possess their own individual personalities, and to see why they are good at what they do is obvious just by their temperament.
➤ The Sheriff’s Office high-tech, versatile drones gave our class a demonstration. Watching them in action, showing their capabilities of zooming in for visual information, only further enhanced my understanding of how this technology can be used as a search aid.
➤ One dark evening, our class was put in a simulated hostage situation, in which we waited for the special unit team to arrive, in full gear, to release us. That same gear was accessible to us and we were allowed to strap on vests, helmets, and protective wear which I found to be quite heavy and rather cumbersome to move in. Although simulated, the situation felt so real and to understand what equipment these individuals operate within and with to move so evasively was a moving moment.
➤ As a class, we were instructed on the proper procedure for a traffic stop situation. Then, the roles were reversed, and we received the opportunity to conduct a simulated traffic stop ourselves. But despite the setting being a controlled parking lot, and the set-up being purely instructional — it still felt intimidating. To go into more detail, we were in a dark parking lot, with the car running, and an individual behind the wheel. We were given enough information to know that we were to proceed with caution, as there was an expectation that the driver would be using a weapon. Individually, one-by-one, we made the approach and communicated clearly with the driver. But despite the intended simulation, my heart wouldn’t stop pounding and my senses were all on high alert. To realize that this is a very real and possible situation for our local law enforcement was quite eye-opening.
➤ During this class, the most impactful experience for me was getting to use the interactive, potentially life-threatening scenario training simulator. We were allowed to use the “training weapon,” which was extremely tuned in response to our own reaction and response. The simulator displayed a variety of scenarios including a hostage situation with an active shooter, fights, domestic violence, or unpredictable individuals with weapons like a knife. In response, we were to act as the law enforcement on scene and to make that split-second decision on how to protect others (and ourselves) while stopping the threat. And all of this occurred in a matter of minutes, or sometimes seconds. As each class participant was given a turn in a situation, the others watched. Sometimes we witnessed good outcomes but other times, the simulated deputy did not survive the situation. This was a humbling feeling and indicative of the life-threatening scenarios that our local law enforcement can face.
Our Sheriff’s Office and all law enforcement face these challenges and more everyday, several times a day. They go into situations relying on training, equipment, each other and their experience.
It is impactful for a citizen to undergo this educational program. And even more crucial, it is important for citizens to support your local law enforcement and their everyday efforts to keep this county safe.
If you haven’t already guessed, I am a big supporter of local law enforcement, which includes the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, and the Statesville, Mooresville, and Troutman Police Departments. These individuals serve our citizens and strive to increase our protection, while also sacrificing so much of their own lives.
I believe that in conjunction with this support, our solidification as a ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ can further help our local law enforcement’s mission to both stop and prevent crime because we as citizens can ensure our own protection, by proving ourselves with a means — and a fair chance — in determining our own safety.
Please stand with me in supporting our local law enforcement, and in protecting our inalienable rights to bear arms, and vote for “A Leader Like Neader” on March 3 during the primary election.