Community reaction: Do more guns make us safer?

Cropped Photo: Teknorat / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Cropped Photo: Teknorat / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0(KNOE)
Published: Aug. 4, 2016 at 6:18 PM EDT
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You might have heard this before: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." So, could it?

"I think that's a great idea," Lorelei Phillips, a Clarksburg resident and gun owner, said. "I don't think we should be left without the right to protect ourselves."

"I just feel that you can take them down," Kelsey Miller, a Bridgeport resident and gun owner, said. "If you're in danger, that's what it's for."

"You can't say 'hi' and be nice to him," said Greg Holden, a Clarksburg resident and gun owner. "He's going to shoot you, so you just gotta shoot him back."

The mantra has become a rallying cry for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Donald Trump has subscribed to the notion, as well. After the mass shooting in Orlando left 49 people dead, the Republican nominee said a good guy with a gun could have taken down the attacker.

"You don't hurt anything by taking control of the situation and diffusing it," said John Sheaffer, NRA election coordinator for northern West Virginia. "You can't lose that way."

But what about the risks?

"If a good guy with a gun is not proficient and does not have the proper training, then that could create more havoc and destruction than just one person with a gun," said Harrison County Sheriff Albert Marano.

Gun control advocates say there is no concrete proof to support the NRA's claim.

"If you go back to the Umpqua shooting at the community college in Oregon, or the Pulse nightclub--there was security there," said Brian Malte, Senior National Policy Director for the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence. "That didn't make a difference."

Malte believes the NRA's theory is a part of a broader agenda.

"Let's be clear. A lot of this by the NRA is a clear distraction," said Malte. "We're not talking about guns for self-defense. We're not talking about taking away anybody's guns. We are concerned about keeping guns out of the hands of people we all agree should not have them."

Here at home, some gun owners concede that while they value their right to protect themselves, law enforcement is most equipped to handle these situations.

"That's exactly who you call. If you have a problem, what do you do?" Donley Shultz, a Clarksburg resident, and avid hunter asked rhetorically. "You call a policeman. He is a good guy with a gun."

You can see 5 News' full conversation with Shultz above this article.