NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said in a Facebook posting Friday that "fellow Christians" should consider getting a handgun carry permit after a gunman killed nine people at a community college in Oregon.
Survivors told authorities that the gunman in Thursday's carnage demanded that at least some of the victims state their religion before shooting them at a community college.
In his Facebook posting, Ramsey, who is also speaker of the Tennessee senate, said the recent spate of mass shootings around the nation is "truly troubling."
The Blountville Republican said, "whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West."
"I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit," Ramsey wrote. "I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise."
Ramsey provided a link on how to obtain a handgun permit in Tennessee at the end of his posting.
Democratic state Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville said in a statement later Friday that Ramsey's comments "reek of fear mongering and religious crusading."
"There is an eerie absence of logic in his statement that ties one's Christian faith to firearms ownership that is offensive to all religions," Clemmons said. "Senator Ramsey is essentially saying that we should all run out and get a handgun carry permit to prove how serious we are about our Christian faith."