Tuesdays mass mall shooting near Portland has many calling again for increased gun control. But in a debate on Seattle's Morning News, KIRO Radio's John Curley argued more guns are actually the way to stem shootings.
"If one of the 10,000 [people in the Clackamas Mall], maybe four of them, would be near that shooter as that kid walks into the one store and yelled out 'I'm the shooter,' it would be nice for somebody to say 'Oh what a coincidence, so am I' and with that they shoot and kill the guy," Curley said.
But co-host Tom Tangney vehemently disagreed. He argued there's a big difference between trained gun users and the average Joe packing heat.
"The thing is that when everybody has guns, I think more people would die with friendly fire than from these individual nut jobs who were going off shooting," Tangney said.
It's a controversy that rears up whenever there's a mass shooting, like the one this summer at the Batman premier in Aurora, Colorado, and there's no easy answer.
Gun control advocates argue more guns mean more shootings. They've called for, at the very least, more restrictions including longer waiting periods, closing the gun-show loophole, and mandatory reporting by mental-health professionals of patients they believe shouldn't own guns.
Curley, however, pointed to a recent Atlantic report that found despite passing a controversial concealed-carry law in 2004, the firearm crime rate stayed steady rather than increasing.
A study from a UCLA professor found concealed weapon permit holders commit crimes at lower rate than the rest of the population.
With approximately 300 million guns already in America, many argue it's too late to keep them out of the hands of the wrong people.
Curley says all the efforts to create gun-free zones and keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens do nothing to stop the unstable ones.
"That [gun-free zone] sign says to the gunman 'Come on in. It's a free shooting range. You can kill anyone you want because most of the law abiding citizens are not bringing guns in here.' If there was a sign that says 'Owner of store is armed' do you think there's a likelihood that person will be shot or robbed?" Curley asked.
"I'm just saying more armed citizens that know what they're doing are more likely to be able to stop the guy," Curley said. "Most people will say 'I don't wish I had a gun, but I'm hoping the guy next to me did.'"