LAKELAND, Fla. – Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and President Donald Trump are seeing eye to eye following the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

The call from some to protect churchgoers with arms came after the president tweeted, “If they had some kind of protection inside the Temple, it would have been a much different situation.”

“Shoot him so you can read a newspaper through him.”

– Sheriff Grady Judd

Judd said he advocates having guns in houses of worship, reported Fox 13.

“If the active shooter is starting in the back door of your house of worship, you need to shoot him a lot,” Judd told FOX 13. “Shoot him so you can read a newspaper through him.”

Judd admits that guns in churches, synagogues, or mosques could make some people uncomfortable. Nevertheless, he says it is a new world. As a result, people have to come to terms with it.

stand watch

(Photo courtesy Jim McNeff)

“We can live in denial for as long as we want to, but the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said.

While he advocates the presence of firearms, it should not be done recklessly. He says the weapons should be concealed and the people carrying them should be well-trained.

Consequently, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office offers free courses on how to carry a firearm and survive an active shooter. The classes are designed for houses of worship, businesses, and individuals who want to be prepared, in case they find themselves in a life or death situation.


Judd adamantly supported this position with comments made last year.

“The armed assailant doesn’t plan on you fighting back,” he said in 2017.  “He plans on having a gun, doing all the shooting, and you’re just a sitting duck. Well, the ducks need to shoot back.”

Judd says citizens should have a concealed weapons permit and carry their gun with them whenever they can. He also says gun owners should keep their skills sharp.

Sheriff Grady Judd

“Ducks need to shoot back,” said Sheriff Grady Judd in 2017. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

And if a gun is not your thing, he says, you might consider another kind of weapon, like pepper spray or a Taser.

“If you’re not afraid of a gun, get one,” said the sheriff. “And if you need to shoot somebody, shoot ‘em a lot.”

gun control debate


The sheriff’s next Active Assailant Training class is coming up Tuesday, November 20 at the PCSO Sheriff’s Operations Center, located 1891 Jim Keene Blvd, Winter Haven, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The sheriff’s office also teaches concealed weapons permit courses. You can reach out to them for more information: [email protected].