A study by Pew Research showed that the only gun crimes on the rise over the last two decades have been mass shootings in gun-free zones or so-called "soft targets."

A study by Pew Research showed that the only gun crimes on the rise over the last two decades have been mass shootings in gun-free zones or so-called “soft targets.”

Now is not the time for Americans to cower in fear, be intimidated by liberal ideology, or apologize for one of America’s longest standing constitutional rights – the right to bear arms – say a growing chorus of religious, law enforcement and political leaders.

Several sheriffs have sent out warnings in the wake of the recent Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, Mali and San Bernardino that Americans, now more than ever, need to get armed.

The first was Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona who on Dec. 1 called for 250,000 armed citizens to stop terrorism and mass shootings in Arizona. This represents the number of concealed carry permit holders in Arizona.

“I’m just talking about the areas where you have large crowds and someone pulls out the gun and starts shooting. Maybe somebody with a concealed weapon takes the guy down,” Arpaio told a local CBS affiliate.

He was criticized by some others in law enforcement who said they didn’t think armed civilians shooting bad guys in public places was a good idea because it could lead to “collateral damage,” Tuscon News Now reported.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona

Encouraged to carry

Then came Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum of upstate New York. In a Dec. 3 Facebook post following the deadly jihadist attack on San Bernardino, he said the county’s 10,000 residents who have concealed-carry handgun permits should use them.

Like the reporting you see here? Sign up for free news alerts from WND.com, America’s independent news network.

“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to please do so,” Van Blarcum said in his Facebook post. “I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, make sure you are comfortable and proficient with your weapon, and knowledgeable of the laws in New York State with regards to carrying a weapon and when it is legal to use it.”

Van Blarcum’s Facebook post received more than 24,000 “likes” as of Friday, 3,289 comments and was shared 30,000 times.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig weighed in on Dec. 2 and said he believes terrorists would be reluctant to target Detroit, as they had Paris last month, for fear armed citizens would shoot back.

“A lot of Detroiters have CPLs (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug,” Craig told the Detroit News. “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”

Oakland University criminal justice professor Daniel Kennedy agreed with Craig that terrorists would be reluctant to attack armed citizens.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been an outspoken supporter of citizen gun rights.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been an outspoken supporter of citizen gun rights.

“We don’t have laboratories where we can test these theories, but there is something to the argument that terrorists want a high body count — and if they can only shoot a few people before they’re taken out themselves, it wouldn’t have the kind of impact they want,” Kennedy told the News.

“An armed citizen won’t give them a high body count. Look at the theater in Paris,” the Bataclan Café, where four men with AK-47 assault rifles killed 89 people during a rock concert. “If some of those people had been armed, it would’ve been a much different story.”

‘A day of reckoning has arrived’

Carl Gallups, who served 10 years as a Florida police office before becoming a Baptist pastor and talk radio host, has authored a new book called “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.” In that book he admonishes Christians to take a fresh biblical look at the issue of guns and self-defense.

Pastor and author Carl Gallups

Pastor and author Carl Gallups

“In light of several prominent United States Sheriffs, and even well-known media personalities, now advising America citizens to ‘arm themselves’ (specifically in preparation for the possibility of armed Islamic attacks on our soil), I think people can now see where we really are in America at this point in history,” Gallups told WND. “A day of reckoning has arrived.”

Part of the battle is being able to recognize propaganda in the media, which reports that it’s the availability of guns that causes “gun violence.”

In a rare piece of honest reporting on the subject, the Washington Post reported Dec. 3 that there has actually been a “massive decline in gun violence in the United States” since 1993.

The only exception is mass shootings in gun-free zones, according to the Post report, citing an analysis by Pew Research Center. It states:

“Premeditated mass shootings in public places are happening more often, some researchers say, plunging towns and cities into grief and riveting the attention of a horrified nation. In general, though, fewer Americans are dying as a result of gun violence – a shift that began about two decades ago.

FT_15.10.13_gunViolence“In 1993, there were seven homicides by firearm for every 100,000 Americans, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2013, that figure had fallen by nearly half, to 3.6 — a total of 11,208 firearm homicides. The number of victims of crimes involving guns that did not result in death (such as robberies) declined even more precipitously, from 725 per 100,000 people in 1993 to 175 in 2013.”

Gallups said he wrote his book from the perspective of 10 years of direct law enforcement experience and 30 years in the ministry. In both cases, he’s been deeply involved in the traumas and disasters of life, including assaults on life, home, church and property.

“The fact that American law enforcement officials can even make a legitimate and legal call’ for Americans to arm themselves is an astounding phenomenon directly related to our Second Amendment rights and freedoms,” Gallups said.

“Very few nations of the world could make such an appeal to their common citizenry and actually have millions of people instantly ready (and quite capable) of protecting themselves, their families, churches, communities, and their nation,” he continued. “And, don’t discount the fact that millions of Americans don’t even need an appeal from law enforcement to know what to do and how to do it when it comes to being prepared to take defensive measures of protection.

“I know the leftist elitists hate this fact, but it is one thing that specifically defines and separates the United States from most of the rest of the world. This is the very reason why there is a continual outcry from the leftists for ‘tougher gun control laws’ in America. It is also the reason why Americans should never give up their Second Amendment rights.”

Many Christians have historically had a difficult time with the concept of arming themselves, and Gallups answers those critics.

He turns to the Founding Fathers for inspiration:

“That is certainly a matter of individual concern. However, we have been blessed for a long time in America even to be able to have debates about the topic. Our founding fathers and the early colonists certainly did not have that luxury. Generations before us that went through World War I and World War II didn’t have that luxury. Now, it appears that our generation will have to give serious thought and preparation to equipping ourselves so that our generation and the ones that follow might have some semblance of the America we know and love left to pass on.”

The concept of God’s people “arming” themselves for self-preservation is not a new one, he said.

“From the children of Israel coming out of Egypt to Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem to Jesus conversing with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal (and telling them to purchase a sword), the Word of God gives us many examples of using our common sense as we ultimately rely upon the Lord to lead us into ways of protection.”

Cruz defends gun rights

Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz also encouraged Americans to take advantage of their Second Amendment rights following the  San Bernardino terror attack.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

“Unfortunately, the goal of both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, is to consistently – at every turn – to look to weaken the constitutional rights of American citizens,” he told Breitbart. “And in particular, to undermine our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You don’t get rid of the bad guys by getting rid of our guns. You get rid of the bad guys by using our guns. And, rather than respond to radical Islam and terrorism with a commitment from the president to keep this nation safe–to kill the terrorists–instead, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton refuse to even utter the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

This infallible argument for armed self-defense presents real stories of Americans fighting back against criminals – and surviving because they were armed. “America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense In A Violent Age” is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered if concealed carry can actually save and protect.

Cruz said the gun-control push illustrates the misguided priorities of President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“They refuse to stand up and do what is necessary to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, to defeat ISIS, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said. “Instead, they remain obsessed with disarming the American citizenry, of stripping us of our fundamental right to protect our homes, our lives, and our families.”

“I would note that the calls from liberals for more and more gun controls in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings ignores the fact that California already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country–so their policies and solutions have already been implemented in California. And to the surprise of no one, the laws failed to prevent this horrific attack.”

Gallups said it all boils down to living a balanced Christian life.

“We live in a much different world than we did just a decade ago. Believers don’t need to wring their hands or get ridiculous about making “preparations,” but they should definitely be prepared,” he said. “Tough times have come to the world and tougher times than most living Americans have ever seen are coming to our own shores. Those who are prepared to live, defend, and protect – will also be the ones prepared to share the love of Jesus with the lost world around them. And that is the main reason the people of God are here in the first place.”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.