“I am offended, and every Arizonan should be as well,” Arpaio stated.
Speaking days after the terrorist attack at a social-services center in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead, Brown told the Sacramento Bee that even though California has strict gun laws, the “wide open” gun laws in Nevada and Arizona present a “gigantic back door through which any terrorist can walk.”
Because guns used in the attack were purchased legally in California, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey immediately shot back, calling Brown’s comments an “out of bounds” attempt “to politicize a tragedy.”
“Not only will we be ignoring [Governor} Brown’s advice, but I call on him to retract his incredibly thoughtless and ill-advised comments,” Ducey added.
In a video statement posted on his personal YouTube site, Arpaio echoed Ducey’s sentiment, calling the statement “an insult” and writing on social media: “We do have gun laws that allow our citizens to legally carry AND PROTECT THEMSELVES if needed.”
“Now I don’t know if [Governor Brown] saw my social network message, which, by the way, reached over 13 million people,” Arpaio bragged to the camera, “but I’m very sad at his insult against the people of Arizona insinuating that we have such liberal gun laws that terrorists can get their guns here in this state and move across borders and commit terrorism acts.
“I would hope that the Governor would apologize to the people of Arizona.”
Brown has issued no such public apology.
I want to remind gun owners to take action & my response to CA Gov. Jerry Brown about AZ gun laws. Watch: https://t.co/D32HKgu28c— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) December 8, 2015
The embattled sheriff — who's a facing a possible criminal-contempt referral in federal court — book-ended his statement about Brown’s comment with an appeal for citizens of Arizona to contribute to public safety by carrying concealed or open weapons when out in public – a request he’s made a few times since the winter holiday season began:
“This year a different situation is occurring with the rampage, the shootings of people –innocent people – in churches, theaters, schools, and now we have an international threat involving terrorism,” Arpaio said in one video.
People “should take action whenever there is a crowd and perpetrators try to come in and kill the people in that crowd. I want those with concealed weapons to defend themselves and defend others in that environment,” he said in another.
This is not the first time Arpaio has asked the people of Arizona to carry weapons in case of a public-safety threat, and in fact, three days before the San Bernardino attacks, he initiated his 22nd annual call for the 250,000 Arizonans with concealed weapons permits to help patrol malls and other places.
“My goal in using 250,000 citizens with concealed weapons is to stop the carnage, stop the killing before cops arrive…It’s been a very successful program,” he claimed last week.
There's no evidence that it has been. But Arpaio rarely misses an opportunity to impress his arch-conservative fans by capitalizing on a big news story.
Watch Arpaio's full statement: