Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd recently sent a strong message to rioters and looters potentially headed to his neck of the woods: just don’t. The Florida sheriff warned that he encourages his constituents to carry guns. And they have the green light to use them.

Polk County Sheriff Green Lights Residents to Defend Themselves

“I would tell them, if you value your life, you probably shouldn’t do that in Polk County,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “I encourage them to own guns, and they’re going to be inside their homes tonight with their guns loaded. And if you try to break into their homes tonight and try to steal, to set fires, I’m highly recommending they blow you back out of the house with their guns.”

The sheriff addressed rumors on social media regarding riot activity heading into residential neighborhoods. He quickly warned criminals that residents would respond, reported However, while extending the county’s curfew, the sheriff also acknowledged the senselessness of George Floyd’s death.

“The death of George in Minneapolis at the hands of that police officer was outrageous,” Judd said. “Had that police officer done here what he did there, he would have been locked up in the county jail by sundown.”

“But Minneapolis is not Polk County,” Judd continued. “And I want to say unequivocally that the community here is unbelievable … But please understand, that if you come here to riot, to loot, to injure people, we’re going to lock you up in the county jail.”

The sheriff further acknowledged the need for peaceful protests, but condemned the looting and rioting, reported

Ultimately, Sheriff Judd empowered his constituents. He didn’t say they could break laws. Nor did he say they could go out and murder protestors. He said they could defend themselves and their loved ones.

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