Two firefighters with concealed carry permits may have prevented a tragedy in New Holland, Wisconsin last Tuesday.
According to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, two of their officers responded to a call on May 5th. Shots fired at Station 2 of the New Holland Fire Department. When deputies arrived, firefighters had detained a man named Chad Barker. They told police that Barker had come to the station, got out of his car, and began firing his gun into the air and pointing it in the direction of the firefighters. At least one of them decided that he wasn’t going to wait around for a bizarre situation to turn deadly.
“I came out of the office, saw the man with the gun, told everybody to leave out the back quickly, that there was a man in the parking lot with a gun, and I was not kidding,” said Gary Knoll, a West Holland firefighter with a concealed weapons permit. He and another firefighter with a permit headed out front with their guns drawn. They were able to convince Barker to lay down his weapon, at which point Knoll got the gun away from the assailant.
Police arrested Barker on charges of Pointing and Presenting a Firearm and set his bond at $20,000. Neither the charges nor the bond sat well with Knoll, who is concerned that Barker is a menace to the community as well as his fellow firemen. “He’s a hazard to everyone here,” Knoll told local reporters. “We can’t possibly think about going to a fire call without having to worry about whether this guy’s standing in a tree stand somewhere with a high power rifle.”
How much jail time Barker winds up serving remains to be seen, but in the meantime we have another example of why concealed carry is not the American boogeyman that so many pretend it is. How many people would Barker have killed had he not been stopped? How would the news reports read if no one at Station 2 had been armed?
Of course, stories like this one never get the traction they deserve. They never wind up featured on the national news. They come and go quietly, rarely leading to any reasonable discussion about the flip side of gun control. Is it because people aren’t interested in stories that don’t end in bloodshed? Or is it because it conveys a message that doesn’t fit the narrative?
Liberals claim that more people are killed by their own guns than are saved by heroes like Knoll. Even assuming that’s true – and with the way they manipulate statistics, that’s not a wise assumption – is it not every American’s right to defend themselves? Shouldn’t it be up to the Gary Knolls of the world to decide whether or not it’s worth the risk?
The great American gun debate is far from over, but it’s a safe bet that it’s settled at Station 2 in New Holland, Wisconsin.