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How One Gun Manufacturer Is Responding To The Shootings In Dayton And El Paso


Now we're turning to Larry Ward. He is the chief marketing officer of Gun Dynamics. That's a crowdfunding platform for gun entrepreneurs. Larry Ward, thank you so much for joining us as well.

LARRY WARD: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: So two mass shootings within 24 hours - 29 people dead, dozens have been injured. You know, in other cases where public health is implicated, leading manufacturers are expected to participate in finding the solutions. So the question I have for you is, is this level of gun violence acceptable to you, and if not, what should gun manufacturers be doing about it?

WARD: Well, there's two questions there. One is no gun violence is acceptable to me. You know, quite frankly, the idea that question is asked is part of the problem. It's not that gun violence is acceptable to anybody on either side of this issue. And what should gun manufacturers do about it is, you know, they are doing something about it. They're providing - their right to provide goods and services to people who want to defend and protect themselves.

The two shootings - it crystallized exactly the problem with gun control. The first shooting in El Paso had took 20 minutes for it to - for people to actually respond to it and to, you know, to stop the shooting. The second shooting in Dayton, you know, quite frankly ended in one minute because there was a good guy with a gun. The difference is there was a gun-free zone in the El Paso shooting, and there was a good guy with a gun in Dayton.

MARTIN: Larry, there are many people armed in Texas. Texas has one of the largest populations of people who are armed with concealed weapons permits in the country. So how is it possible that there were many people who didn't have guns?

WARD: They were not allowed in that mall.

MARTIN: Let me just talk about your industry. I mean, Gun Dynamics was founded so that gun enthusiasts could back and buy the latest technologies from companies. The technologies that you promote on your website are things that would make it easier to get guns, easier to pull the trigger, easier to make guns at home. For example, you're a promoter of things like 3D printing so that people can make guns at home, which would obviate federal regulation at any level. Why is the focus on making it easier to get, make and acquire guns and to shoot them as opposed to making guns safer?

WARD: Well, I mean, there are lots of things to help make guns safer. You know, like, for example, we have a trigger that we spoke of last time that helps, you know, it's basically - it's a simple little invention where it helps the finger - the trigger go to the finger length, and it helps control, and it helps the bullet go where it's supposed to go. You know, those type of things are gun safety. You know, to talk about gun safety and the only way to have gun safety is to take guns out of them out of Americans' hands - law-abiding Americans' hands is not gun safety. That's gun banning. That's gun control.

MARTIN: Forgive me. The good guy with a gun in Dayton was a sworn law enforcement officer who had many hours of training in Texas. You can get a concealed weapons permit with six hours of training. Doesn't your argument suggest that the real issue here is that better-trained people, sworn officers are the people who should be having the guns in this country, not random people having access to double drum magazines with a hundred rounds?

WARD: Why just sworn officers? You know, American people are perfectly capable of defending themselves. And there's lots of cases - matter of fact, there were there were eight in a recent study the FBI put out. There were eight school shootings that were averted by a good guy with a gun.

MARTIN: Let me ask Mark Bryan to fact-check that.

WARD: Please do.

MARTIN: Mark Bryant is the CEO of gun - the Gun Violence Archive. And I'm going to ask him about Larry Ward's theory, that which is promulgated by other gun enthusiasts, about the good guy with a gun theory. How many shootings in this country have actually been thwarted by another citizen with a gun?

WARD: A lot.

MARTIN: I'm asking Mark Bryant.

MARK BRYANT: There have been some. There's a few. They're documented. We include them in the database because we think it's important to have all sides of the conversation in the data. But the number is minuscule compared to the number of people that are shot by other folks. But the thing that was brought up earlier, the gun-free zone argument is, in my mind, one of the sillier arguments, primarily because it suggests that armed gunmen are running around looking, and if they see a place that's got a gun-free zone sign, then they go. But if they don't, they run away. And we know that that doesn't happen.

WARD: Well, let me - may I answer that?

MARTIN: You may answer that quickly, and then we have to let you go, Larry. Go ahead.

WARD: Absolutely. Well, look. This was a gun-free zone. Most of these shootings happen in gun-free zones. Not one shooting has been prevented by a gun-free zone. Not one shooting has been prevented by a sign in front of a location that says you can't bring a gun in.

MARTIN: OK. We have to leave it there for now. That's Larry Ward of gun dynamics. That's a crowdfunding platform for gun entrepreneurs. Larry, thank you for joining us once again. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.