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Citizens urged to fight back against terrorists

Posted at 7:01 PM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 21:01:19-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Some Sheriffs across the country, including in Arizona, are urging citizens to arm themselves and prepare to fight back against terrorists and others in active shooter situations. 

"Be armed to protect yourself and protect your family until we can get there," said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

However, some Southern Arizona Sheriffs do not believe that is the best approach to fighting terrorism and think it will only make things worse. 

"I get it. I get their frustration to come out and say, 'We need to do more than we're doing.' But I don't think we need to call on our citizens to do law enforcement work," said Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos. 

But Babeu said armed citizens would not take the place of law enforcement. "We  want a citizen to add to the equation," said Babeu. 

Still, Nanos said putting the call out on social media, like Sheriffs in Oklahoma and New York did, may put the message out to the wrong people.

"Obviously it's going to encourage the wrong people to take that message. You're talking about gangs, you're talking about people that are not, you know, mentally stable. I think it's a bad idea," said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada. 

Both Nanos and Estrada admit law enforcement agents cannot be everywhere all the time, but they do not think citizens should fill in those gaps in active shooter situations. 

Nanos said no armed citizen has ever stopped an active shooter situation.

9 On Your Side asked Nanos about the argument that if San Bernadino did not have some of the strictest gun laws in the country and a citizen had been armed there they may have been able to take down the attackers. He replied that Arizona had very lenient gun laws on January 8th, 2011 and no one stopped Jared Loughner from killing six people and injuring 13 others.