LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Of the more than 2,600 people who took our poll, 58 percent say the threat of violence downtown for Thunder and other Derby Festival events will keep them at home.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s request for people to leave their guns at home for Thunder isn’t sitting well with a lot of people.
It was an announcement that ruffled a lot of feathers; the request for people to leave guns at home whether they have a permit or not.
Navy veteran Phil Crea never leaves home without his gun, “Yes, always, I have it right here.”
He calls Mayor Fischer’s request “ridiculous.”
“I think it’s my job to protect myself and my family because it might not be enough time to dial 911 and wait an hour,” he said.
But, that’s all it is, a request. Police cannot make people leave their legal guns at home.
“People have a constitutional right to carry a gun, open carry or conceal and carry with a permit, so we start with that. But, the police chief both here in Louisville and over in Southern Indiana and myself say, you have the right, but it’s probably not a good idea,” Mayor Fischer said.
There’s some worry that after the violence downtown a couple weeks ago, people may try to take matters into their own hands at the first sign of trouble.
“I guess my biggest concern is, I hope people don’t come down here looking for trouble,” Heather Peters, who is planning on bringing her kids to Thunder, said.
“Vigilante justice is illegal,” explained LMPD spokesman Phil Russell, “But, the right to be able to protect yourself and your family, is obviously something that we would be supportive of, except in this case, we’re just asking people to use some common sense.”
Crea said most gun owners are trained to use their common sense.
“I’ve had a permit for years, I’ve never shot anybody, I don’t want to shoot anybody, but I don’t want to die and I don’t want my family to die,” he explained.
Thousands of officers will be patrolling the Waterfront and the Indiana side of the river Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to turn out to this year’s Thunder Over Louisville.