Georgia Sheriff Mike Jolley’s new welcome sign comes with a threatening warning for visitors: “Our citizens have concealed weapons. If you kill someone, we might kill you back. We have ONE jail and 356 cemeteries. Enjoy your stay!”
The Harris County sheriff put the sign in front of his headquarters Tuesday and told Patch.com the message is meant to be “tongue-in-cheek.” He wants visitors to come into town and say, “Wow.”
According to an AJC investigation into gun violence in the state last year, people in Georgia are twice as likely than those in New York to be shot to death.
Recent data from Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that Georgia’s gun deaths have been steadily rising for more than a decade. In 2016, Georgia ranked fourth highest with 1,571 deaths.
“Georgia is very much a Second Amendment state, and Harris County is a strong Second Amendment county,” Jolley told the Washington Post. “We want people to come and enjoy Harris County,” he said, “but we want them to do it in a safe manner, and we want them to know that they’re safe when they get here.”
This isn’t the first time the sheriff’s bold signs have garnered attention on social media or made national news.
In 2015, Jolley posted a sign that read,"WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America and In God We Trust. We salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you… LEAVE!"
While some Facebook users said the sheriff went too far, he told Channel 2 Action News the reception has been mostly positive.
But Jolley said he doesn’t mind the controversy.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office website even has a tab for folks to purchase “Politically Incorrect T-Shirts.”
“I’ve been in office a long time,” he told the Post. “So I like to stir the pot.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.