A South Carolina Sheriff is urging local women to arm themselves in the wake of a recent attempted rape in Spartanburg County.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright made the suggestion Monday at a news conference about the arrest of a suspect in an attack that happened at a community park Sunday.
"I want you to get a concealed weapons permit," said Wright at the Monday news conference. "Don't get Mace. Get a firearm."
Police charged Walter Monroe Lance, 46, with kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and grand larceny in connection with the Sunday attack on a woman walking her dog, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Lance was ordered held without bond.
Lance’s criminal career dates back to 1983 and includes convictions for disorderly conduct, domestic violence, assault and battery with intent to kill and resisting arrest, according to Wright.
Wright urged local women to carry a .45-caliber handgun in a fanny pack while jogging, according to reports.
"You ain't got to be accurate, you just have to get close," he said.
Carrying a concealed weapon in the state is legal, but requires completion of a training course, a background check and fingerprinting, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which issues the permits.
Aside from urging women to get a concealed weapons permit, the sheriff recommended women walk in groups to dissuade future attacks.
It is something Wright said could have prevented the attack Sunday by Lance.
Wright’s remarks at the press conference echo the frustration of the community because of the recent attack.
“I want these people to forever stop doing this,” Wright said. “I am tired of looking at these victims. I am tired of looking at these people and saying, 'There is life after this.'"
Wright, in the news conference, also urged gun safety.
"Gun control, to me, is when you can get your barrel back on the target quick," Wright said.
Wright said the support for his statements have been overwhelming, according to a Fox News report. The Sheriff said there have been more than 200 calls of support and only one in opposition to his stance.
“We're not trying to raise up a militia here, we're sending a message to the bad guys that we're tired of it," Wright told Fox News.