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S.C. sheriff urges women to pack firepower

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - A South Carolina sheriff is urging women to get concealed weapons permits and carry guns to protect themselves.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright made the suggestion Monday while discussing the arrest of a suspect in an attempted rape last weekend.

Walter Monroe Lance, 46, of Spartanburg, was charged Monday with kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and grand larceny in a Sunday attack on a woman walking her dog in a park.

"This lady's life was threatened so many times during this act - it's almost too bad that somebody with a concealed weapons permit didn't walk by and hear the cries. That would have fixed this," Wright said.

"If we don't do something in our society to change the way our justice system is not working, that's about what you're going to have start having. ... People are sick and tired of doing the right thing, doing the right thing, doing the right thing, and then people popping right back out of jail on account of a technicality.

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"I've had liberals call me and tell me, 'The chain gang is not going to work.' Well, let me inform you that your form of justice isn't working, either."

He suggested that women carry a .45-caliber weapon, and showed reporters at a news conference a fanny pack women could use to carry a handgun while jogging. "You ain't got to be accurate, you just got to get close," he said.

The sheriff also encouraged women to walk in groups. And he said it's better to carry a gun than mace.

"There won't be any doubt if you need to use your firearm to defend your life," he said. "I don't want this to happen, but I am telling you, I am tired of looking at victims and saying, 'I'm sorry, we've done the best we can to get them in jail.'"

In a video of Wright's press conference posted by CBS Affiliate WSPA, the sheriff said Lance had been charged numerous times with crimes against women and with crimes against society, but has gotten out of jail faster than he has. "Now if anybody sitting in this room had been charged with any of that stuff, they'd probably be finding a tall oak tree and a short rope for us," he said.

Referring to the suspect as an "animal," Wright said Lance faced charges in a sexual conduct case in 2009 but the case did not evolve, he said, because the victim could not be located. "The victim in that case was nothing like we have now. The victim in that case had some shades in her past. This latest victim didn't have those."

He also voiced his opposition to government control of firearms. "Gun control, to me, is when you can get your barrel back on the target quick," Wright said.

"I know I'm going to get lit up by people that don't like guns . Guns have not killed a single person without somebody being stupid being on the trigger anyway. I'm all about gun safety, but I want them to go get their concealed weapons permit. I'm want these people to forever stop doing this. I am tired of looking at these victims. I am tired of looking at these people and saying, 'There is life after this.'"

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