Jon E. Dougherty is a Missouri-based political science major, author, writer and columnist. Follow him on Twitter.
The bodyguard of actress, comedienne and staunch gun-control advocate
Rosie O’Donnell has applied for a concealed gun permit, possibly to
allow him to carry a gun when accompanying one of her children to public
school later this year.
According to a report in
The Advocate, a Stamford, Conn.-based newspaper, police officials in Greenwich said they had not yet decided whether to issue the permit. But O’Donnell, interviewed by the newspaper, said the action was necessary because of threats made to her.
“The application, which is pending with the Greenwich Police Department, led to a rumor that the purpose of the permit would be to allow the bodyguard to legally carry a gun when accompanying O’Donnell’s son to public school in September,” the paper said.
O’Donnell told reporters that the bodyguard is seeking the permit at the behest of the security firm that employs him, not because she asked him to get one. She identified the firm as Kroll, and said the bodyguard is arranged by Warner Brothers on her behalf. Warner Brothers produces her television show,
“The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”
She said the guard is currently unarmed, though trained in self-defense techniques, and that there was never any intention that he would carry a weapon to school — a statement confirmed by Greenwich Superintendent of Schools Roger Lulow.
However, O’Donnell added that because of threats, she and her family — including 4-year-old Parker who will be attending school next fall — need protection, which she attributes ironically to her tough gun-control rhetoric.
“O’Donnell expressed concern that publicity about her son’s attendance at a local school — coupled with the information that the guard would be unarmed — could make him vulnerable to harm,” the paper said. No one is naming the school or O’Donnell’s neighborhood because of the potential security issues.
And, Superintendent Lulow did confirm that the school’s principal had been approached about whether an armed guard for Parker would be welcome at the school when he enters kindergarten in September.
“There was a request for information made to me that asked whether we allow security guards who carry weapons on school grounds,” Lulow said.
Lulow said he initially did not know the answer to that question, but after researching state statutes, he found he was empowered to grant the request under special circumstances.
“But before going any further, the principal asked if we should check to see if the bodyguard is going to be armed, and we found out he won’t be armed — so it’s academic,” Lulow said.
The rumor spread nevertheless, causing angst among some local parents.
Meanwhile, Greenwich Police Chief Peter Robbins confirmed that O’Donnell’s bodyguard, who he would not identify, had indeed applied to his department for a permit that would allow him to carry a concealed weapon.
“The facts are, (O’Donnell’s) bodyguard has made an application for a carry permit,” Robbins said. “It’s under review, and I haven’t yet granted a permit for this applicant.”
The paper said O’Donnell’s spokesman confirmed that O’Donnell was worried about potential threats — which she did not name — to her children.
Furthermore, O’Donnell herself justified her bodyguard being armed, though she remains a staunch gun control advocate.
“I don’t personally own a gun,” she said, “but if you are qualified, licensed and registered, I have no problem.”
O’Donnell is a single mother with three adopted children: Parker, 4, Chelsea, 3, and Blake, who turns 1 this month.
Last year, after berating actor
Tom Selleck on her TV show over his appearances in National Rifle Association-sponsored commercials and promotions, critics began to point to O’Donnell’s association as pitchwoman for the K-Mart retail chain and its large retail gun-sales division.
The criticism led to the end of her relationship with K-Mart, which she said was her idea.
“It’s only fair to K-mart that I stop doing commercials,” she told reporters at the time.
However, the New York Daily News said sources within K-Mart told reporters that O’Donnell was fired by K-Mart executives because of all the negative publicity her vociferous anti-gun rhetoric was bringing on the company, a claim both O’Donnell and K-Mart denied publicly.