Upstate sheriff's comments get national attention - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate sheriff's comments get national attention

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Spartanburg Co. Sheriff Chuck Wright talks to the media. (Oct. 31, 2011/FOX Carolina) Spartanburg Co. Sheriff Chuck Wright talks to the media. (Oct. 31, 2011/FOX Carolina)

Some comments made by an Upstate sheriff Monday have grabbed the attention of the national media.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright recommended women lawfully carry concealed weapons for protection during a news conference about a woman who was attacked by a man while visiting Milliken Park on Sunday.

Investigators said that the victim was walking her dog in the park when she was approached by 46-year-old Walter Lance, of Spartanburg. They said Lance petted the dog to see if it was friendly. They said Lance then dragged the woman into the woods, threatened to kill her and then assaulted her.

Investigators said Lance then stole the woman's SUV, which was later found in a parking lot off Sibley Street. They said the keys were in the vehicle's ignition, and the woman's purse was empty.

Lance was arrested Monday morning and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and grand larceny greater than $10,000. He was denied bond.

During the news conference about the investigation into the attack, Wright encouraged women to walk in groups and get a concealed weapons permit in order to protect themselves.

"I want them to get their concealed weapons permit," Wright said. "I want these people to stop forever (from) doing this. I am tired of looking at these victims. I'm tired of looking at these people saying, 'There's life after this.'"

Wright, who is often outspoken, went on to explain that gun control, in his estimation is when a person can get the barrel of their gun back on their target quickly.

"Carry a concealed weapon," Wright said. "That'll fix it."

Wright said Tuesday that since his comments aired Monday he has received thousands of emails, Facebook messages and phone calls. He said all but two of the messages were positive. He said many national print and cable news media outlets have talked to him about his statements.

"Really, I don't know what it was that stirred up so much controversy or so much thought," Wright said. "I said what I meant. If some of these thugs would attack people that are carrying weapons, that problem could be stopped in a hurry."

Wright said he believes his statements resonated with people because they are "sick and tired of being sick and tired." He said he is not for everyone being armed, but the people who qualify should carry weapons.

In an interview with FOX News Wednesday, Wright spoke reiterated his statements in law-abiding citizens carrying guns. He also said that he doesn't think the sex offender registry doesn't work.

"I'm tired of looking at women in general or families and telling them I'm very sorry that our system has failed you again," said Wright. "I don't think we should have a sexual registry list. They should be in jail. They're just not going to be rehabilitated."

Wright said he thinks the chain gang is an appropriate measure of justice because he said the system is not working.

SC Rep. Bill Chumley, of Spartanburg, responded to Wright's comments and attention saying he supports his district's Sheriff's stand.

"The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees a citizen's right to defend himself and his family," said Chumley. "Our Constitution has been under liberal attack in this country for too long. I will continue to support Sheriff Wright without apology."

The sheriff said FOX News will interview him about his comments Wednesday morning.

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