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'It's never the weapon': Advocates say responsible gun ownership will make a difference

Ken Price, a trainer at SafeSide Tactical, demonstrates how to safely load an AR-15. In terms of gun violence, he says, "It's never the weapon. It's always the person." (Photo: WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Protests and sit-ins calling for gun restrictions are still making headlines after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Experts at SafeSide Tactical believe it's best to be armed. They said if someone wants to shoot a person, they will find a way, regardless of any restrictions.

According to local gun advocates, there are better solutions to gun violence than restrictions, such as proper training.

Safeside Tactical provides safety courses that help people meet state requirements for carrying a gun.

An AR-15 was the gun used in the recent mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. It is also the reason students are protesting and calling for lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws.

However, trainers said it all boils down to responsible gun ownership.

"If that person had been properly trained, properly raised, he would be able to control the impulse to do something bad," said Ken Pricer, a trainer on staff at SafeSide Tactical.

Those taking the training agree.

"You make a conscious effort with what you do with a gun. You can do good with it, or you can do evil with it," said Debra Wood, a person taking the safety class.

However, they regret the countless lives lost in the increasing number of mass shootings.

"Anytime anybody loses their life, it's terrible, specifically to a tragedy caused by another person. There's just no sense in it," Price said.

Wood said she doesn't know much about an AR-15, but she remains strong in her convictions.

"Even if one of my children was to pass that way, I would still want my right. All we can do is pray for those families and hope somehow they'll get through it," she said.

Many gun advocates agree with President Donald Trump ordering a ban on bump stocks, which are attachments that make guns fire faster, but they are sticking to their guns on the right to bear arms and against any effort to take them away.

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