Does someone big as Fetterman need a gun?

Most Democrats, especially those in the North, are averse to guns, which are officially known as firearms.

John Fetterman’s official state photo

Far fewer Democrats (18%) own shooting irons than Republicans (50%), according to

Included in the 18% of Democrats who own guns are West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, former D.A. Lynne Abraham, columnist Stu Bykofsky — and uber liberal Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

As soon as the hulking Fetterman announced early this week that he would run for Pat Toomey’s U.S. Senate seat in 2022, a 2013 gunplay incident involving Fetterman emerged. (Fetterman had a failed Senate run in 2016.) 

In the gun episode, a really huge white man — Fetterman — pulled a gun on an unarmed, innocent Black jogger.


Can his political life survive this?

Before I answer, let me introduce Big John, who wears the bluest collar you have ever seen on a man who carries a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Intimidating, Fetterman stands 6-8, weighs around 260 (having come down from more than 300), has a goatee, and a small array of tattoos not usually found on Harvard men. (Most of the tatts are the dates people were murdered in Braddock, Pa., when he was mayor).

He is making a statement, as he does with his shaved head, and tieless gray work shirt he wears in his official government photo, which almost looks like a police mug shot. It is all calculated by a man who understands imagery.

The 51-year-old also made a statement after grad school by going into public service, abandoning Chubb, the insurance company where he was on a glide path to financial success, in favor of social work.

Before grad school, he helped set up the first computer labs and taught GED classes to young mothers and fathers in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District. 

After Harvard,  he returned to his home state (he grew up in York), to start a GED program in busted down pre-dominantly Black Braddock, population 1,869, not far from Pittsburgh.

In 2005, encouraged by his students and motivated to do more to address the inequality plaguing his community, Fetterman ran for mayor of Braddock. He won and served until 2019.

That job paid $150 a month. Fetterman has long been supported by his rich father, who bootstrapped his way from poverty to owning a successful insurance agency. 

Along the way Fetterman married an illegal immigrant, who has since achieved citizenship. They have three children.

That brings us up to date.

Having gotten current, I turn the clock back to the 2013 gun incident. 

Back then, The New York Times reported, “Mr. Fetterman used his shotgun to stop an unarmed Black jogger and detain him, telling the police that he had heard shots fired near his home and spotted the man running.” The story was based on a police report.

“‘Fetterman continued to yell and state that he knows this male was shooting,’ the police report says. Two other people told police they had heard several shots as well,” the Times reported.

This certainly invokes memories of last year’s murder  of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger in a South Georgia neighborhood. 

The key difference is that Arbery died, while Christopher Miyares, then 28, the man detained by Fetterman, was not harmed.

Police released Miyares without charges, Miyares filed no complaint against Fetterman. Miyares said Fetterman had pointed the gun at his chest. Fetterman denied that. 

At the time, Fetterman defended his actions in a local TV interview. He said he was walking with his 4-year-old son when he heard a “burst of gunfire” (this was not long after Sandy Hook), and saw someone dressed in black heading toward an elementary school.

Fetterman called 911 and gave chase in his pickup truck and stopped the jogger using a 20-gauge shotgun he kept in the truck. Police arrived within a minute.

Was Fetterman a vigilante? 

To some it might seem like that. To me, Fetterman was acting at least in part in his role as mayor, keeping his town safe.

As it turned out, he got the wrong guy, but he didn’t harm him. Thank God he didn’t shoot Miyares (who is currently incarcerated for committing various felonies in 2018 and is not available for comment). 

I don’t think this single incident disqualifies Fetterman for running for office.

Matter of fact, the fact that this notoriously progressive Democrat owned a gun might help his political ambitions in Pennsylvania, which has the fifth most registered firearms in the U.S. 

14 thoughts on “Does someone big as Fetterman need a gun?”

  1. Another great article. This about John Fetterman who I’ve always thought to be a good guy. I didn’t know about the 2013 incident you mentioned. You said it brought to mind Ahmaud Arbery, maybe because they were both joggers. I don’t see an equivalency between the two incidence.

    When you said Christopher Miyares was the wrong guy, but at the end of the article, “Miyares is currently incarcerated for committing various felonies.” That brings the thought to me that he may have had the right guy.

    Your article was completely fair, I’m sure someone will write a hit piece on him over this. John Fetterman may be a huge guy, but bullets won’t bounce off him. I think that he did what he had to do.

    1. If incident occurred in Philadelphia, the police would not have been able to stop the male. Read the Bailey agreement. I think he acted in good faith. He has an interesting background and work history. I am sure his political opponents will use this event to their advantage.

    I think that the Republican Party has their hands full in finding a worthy adversary for Mr. Fetterman.
    As for carrying. At 6’8″, that’s a big target ! He needs body amour. Of course, a sawed off shot gun is always a crowd pleasure.

  3. He’d make a great Governor. I watched a blurb about him a few weeks ago on the news. Was a movie segment. He really cares for people. Just my humble opinion.

  4. Wow, the New York Times writes about an elected well- paid Mayor of a small city in Pennsylvania how he stopped a black man after hearing shots fired nearby. Why did they write the story? What crime was committed by Fetterman? Was the story written within the perception or agenda of the paper to focus on pigmentation rather than a possible citizen arrest of someone involved in a crime with a firearm? At best the action taken can be questionable but not worthy of the New York Times coverage. I have limited knowledge of his qualifications as a person except for his record as Lt. Governor that he will offer the voters of Pennsylvania. But in my mind, he has one plus and that is the Times attempt to place his actions as being racial simply based on their conclusion of what type of story can stimulate the reader’s sensitivity. Bias without proof can ruin the career of any individual in the public arena and in this case, I think the paper was reckless and the story as written not worthy of publication.

  5. Fetterman did what he thought was the right thing based on the gunshots he heard and the man he saw running. No harm, no foul. And why do so few Democrats arm themselves? Because they find it easier to scream for help.

  6. This is an informative and thought provoking article. I personally, am anti-gun. So much so that I think the 2nd amendment should be repealed. But… will I hold this incident against Fetterman when casting my vote? NO! I liked him before this read, and your article further reveals aspects of his character that I find admirable. I cast my vote with those who most CLOSELY share my values, maybe not 100% of the time. I’m not a Cult- follower that must praise everything my chosen elected representative does or says. Generally, I believe it is not smart to “cancel” someone based on one issue or incident. We need to look at the totality of the person we are giving power. The comparison to the Awbry shooting is close, but there are some key differences besides the fact that Fetterman did not murder the “suspect”. Having heard gunshots, it seems Fetterman feared for his life and/or the life of his son. With the Awbry tragedy there was never any indication that these two murderers were in any danger.

  7. still HAPPY SUNDAY!!!
    I need to point out a few things.
    1) these weapons incidences are totally unrelated and do not bear any resemblances
    2) Braddock was the land of steel mills. No collar neighborhood. Never mind blue collar. There was a bar across from
    the mill, where everyone would cash their paycheck – at no charge. Just drink there, was all. You are talking about
    BIG bucks in that safe. Never been robbed. ( go figure )
    3) It wasn’t all that long ago that just about every pickup had a gun rack in it. Not unusual to several rifles or shotguns,
    depending on the hunting season.
    4) For a mayor to get involved in protecting his town, you better believe that that was the norm.
    Of course, I haven’t been out that way in a bit.

  8. If he had an “R” next to his name, do you have any doubt that Antifa, BLM and the Democratic party would be railing against him because of that incident.

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