10.03.2018

Larry Ward

Michel Martin sits down with gun rights activist Larry Ward, a year after a heavily armed gunman massacred 58 music fans in Las Vegas.

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Larry Ward thank you so much for joining us.

Thanks for having me.

So let's just start with gun dynamics.

You're raising money to do what?

We're helping gun inventors and gun manufacturers raise money to bring products to market.

Really interesting products new inventions in the in the in the gun space and the right.

Oh we have a couple of them probably we have it we just one one we just close is a trigger for the ST 1911.

It's an adjustable trigger helps you know keep the..So you have one gun and different people can fire it and be comfortable is that it?

Absolutely.

Just adjustable triggers for the finger length.

Our founder Larry Lopata took this to a crowdfunding platform and got kicked off.

And then he went to another crowdfunding kept platform and got kicked off and eventually he came to us and he said we need to build the crowdfunding platform for the gun industry.

To do your own thing.

So the goal it seems to me is to make more guns available to more people is that right?

Well it's it's this is actually to help bring gun technology and you know bring technology from an accuracy perspective from a scope from hunting from you know lots of different products and you know quite frankly the inventors don't have access to capital to bring these things to market.

So you know the reason I'm curious about why you say that is that there are some 300 million guns already in circulation in the United States so it doesn't seem to me that there's any shortage of guns here.

No but there's not there's not a shortage of knives either and you know occasionally you want to buy a new set of steak knives or there's not a shortage of cars but you buy a new car occasionally.

So you know and there are people turning you know 18, 19, 20 who want to arm themselves.

There's always a need for having new new inventive intelligent guns.

Most industries try to meet multiple demands of the market particularly something like the auto industry right.

The auto industry is always trying to come up with ways to make driving more fun and more sexy and more exciting.

But they also try to meet the demand for safety.

I don't see your company doing that.

I don't see the industry doing that.

At least safety where the public is concerned.

That's not true at all.

I mean you know there are gun manufacturers go, matter of fact if you if you know any you know gun owner or or people who manufacture guns or sell guns or sell guns, safety is always on.

Safety for whom though.

Safety for the shooter, safety for the person around them.

Part of the problem is is you've got a lot of people with good ideas coming up with different ways to bring products and services to market whether it be recreational whether it be hunting whether it be safety.

Right.

And these the banks and the and the financial institutions particularly the bigger banks that have very liberal boardrooms are not giving them access to take these inventions invented to market.

Give me a sense though of what sense of responsibility you feel to the rest of the public.

A lot of people in this country with lots of different points of views about guns right.

And you've got some people who feel really strongly about their guns and feel that they're an important part of their sense of self, of their citizenship, their responsibilities.

You've got other people who are desperately afraid and really feel that something has kind of changed in this society where kids aren't even able to go to school without being you know without having to have like active shooter drills and being afraid of being shot.

Do you feel any responsibility to meet those citizens somewhere.

I would suggest anybody who's afraid of guns should go out to a range, should learn how to fire a gun should realize that it's not as scary as it looks.

And that it can be held responsibly can be held lawfully and it can be used to protect yourself and your loved ones.

And we don't take that approach to other things that harm people even if used correctly or incorrectly like opioids for example I mean opioids have had tremendous benefit to society but they also kill people.

So we don't just say you know what this is a good thing we're going to trust you to use it.

We regulate those things we regulate all kinds of things that are a benefit to society.

That can also harm them.

Why isn't this the case with guns.

But we don't have a constitutional amendment that says opioid use shall not be infringed.

We have a we have a Second Amendment that is there for a very very good reason that most people don't truly understand.

Well the Second Amendment is really breif we can recite it together shall we.

You know a well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free State the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

You don't belong to a militia.

What it's saying is we need a military to keep.

We need a militia to protect from invasion.

So it's necessary for a free state.

And the second part of it is that's why we need the citizens to have guns because it's not just for you know for the military and for the state to have the guns for the government to have the guns.

It's for the citizens to keep the government in check.

You know it and for if we all of a sudden elect a tyrant and a tyrant goes out and starts acting tyrannical and taking away our other rights and jailing people for political purposes or whatever it is we have the right to remove that person by force and we can't do that if we don't have an armed society.

Is there any- I don't know what word to use here- I'll just use the word restriction on ownership or access to guns that you would be prepared to accept?

There are restrictions.

You know there's restrictions on automatic weapons.

There have been restrictions on those for 100 years.

I'm advocating that we overturn that.

I believe that any gun that the that the government engages citizens with any weapon that the government engages citizens with the citizens have the right to own and possess and to do to this date the American government has not engaged us with automatic weapons so I see no need for us to have automatic weapons.

But I was walking out here in New York City and police officers are carrying AR 15s.

And there's nothing wrong with the American people using an AR 15 a semiautomatic weapon.

I was looking at your Web site as I said your your newsletter as it were.

And these are the recent headlines- corporations are diving into leftist politics.

Heavily armed illegals cross the border.

Man arrested in his own backyard.

You know most of the Go Fund Me site so I look at are like hey let's great let's put on this record.

Yours is very much they're out to get me who's out to get you?

Of course they are the corporate corporations are engaging in leftist politics.

Citibank recently released a policy that they won't allow gun purchases without a background check.

Try to advertise for a gun or on Google on Facebook on any any kind of social media or Internet platform.

Ninety nine percent of them don't let you advertise for guns or gun parts or anything like that.

And yet somehow there are still 300 million guns in this country.

Because there are still gun stores and people know where to get them.

But that doesn't mean that's an unfair business practice right.

There are there are lots of coffee shops but if only Starbucks gets to advertise is that unfair.

That's unfair.

You could advertise gun control on Google.

You can advertise gun control on Facebook and Twitter.

No problem.

You can't you can't advertise for gun rights you can't advertise for gun gun parts or ammunition or anything else so these businesses need to get their message out to the people and that's why gun Gun Dynamics.

Talk to me a little bit about yourself if you would.

You're from New York.

I'm From New York.

Born and raised?

Born and raised.

On Long Island?

On Long Island.

Did you grow up with a gun in the house.

I did not.

I actually grew up in Long Island New York is it's not a big gun culture community.

So how did you get introduced to guns?

Well you know what, I'm not an outdoorsman.

I'm not a hunter.

But what got me interested in guns was the Constitution.

You know I started looking at well why is this second amendment here.

And it makes a lot of sense.

We have to protect ourselves from an out of control government.

We have to protect ourselves from invaders.

We have to protect ourselves from people who would want to do us harm.

And you know guns are a tool.

Well how old were you when you got your first gun?

In my 30s.

In your 30s?

Moved down to Virginia.

So how come?

Why did I buy my first gun- protect my family?

As I understand it you are a person in fact I think you claim credit for arming the teachers at least that is a phrase right.

As I as I understand the story that in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, am I right about that.

There was.

There was a protest coming from that's coming.

My office was in between the NRA lobby office and the RNC.

They were coming down the street screaming shame the NRA two days after Newtown and I lifted up my window because I know that I have children right and and I don't see school safety the way they do and they're screaming shame the NRA like you have signs with me or you have blood on your hands and stuff like that.

I don't see it that way.

So I lifted up the window and I screamed arm the teachers because the only way to prevent a school shooting is to have armed guards or armed teachers or armed principals.

People who are not not everybody you know not mandating people but having having people who want to be armed and arrayed to defend their students to be able to do that and not a gun free zone to be able to defend and shoot-that principal in Newtown, who can who bravely confronted the shooter and was killed.

If she had bravely confronted the shooter and shot him it had been a different story.

So then forgive me because this is such an awful construction in a situation like that where there is so much loss of life.

So I'm going to apologize in for my advance language.

Whose fault was that?

It was the shooter's fault there.

That's the only person's fault it is.

You know I'm not even going to go as far as to say the politicians who made it a gun free zone.

It's not their fault it's the shooters fault.

It's not a policy's fault.

It's not it's not a tool's fault it's the shooters fault.

You know you know people make mistakes too but we don't say you know what there's nothing I can do about that.

Like an airplane crashes we say how can this be safer.

There's lots we can do So let's make schools safer.

Let's reinforce the doors.

Let's let's have better security on staff.

Let's have armed guards.

Let's have places where where you know the school doors where they close the door and maybe it's locked and reinforced with steel.

There's lots of things that we can do to help protect kids in the future from from this happening again.

So the bottom line is for you Larry you're not willing to change anything about your lifestyle and your access to guns not just you personally but others, people who agree with you.

You're not willing to do anything.

All the change needs to be elsewhere outside of you and I'm asking you as a citizen in the country as a person who you know other people have a stake in the society too.

I say that gun control causes more deaths than gun than actually gun rights and having having the ability to defend oneself and one family.

And that's that's you know proven in the areas that have the strictest gun control we have elevated gun violence.

Chicago is a war zone.

But regular good responsible citizens can't get guns.

So Larry.

When are those kids who saw their friends get shot in Parkland, Florida.

Right.

Whether or not they've ever shot a gun before.

Because some of those kids have right a lot of their parents have guns for whatever reason and who saw their friends get shot.

Are you really prepared to tell them that that is not that the level of mass shootings in this country is acceptable.

Well it's a personal it's a personal story.

I'm not crass I'm not going to make somebody feel bad but there are gun rights folks that came out of Parkland who are still talking about the right to defend themselves.

And talking about arming teachers and talking about commonsense gun rights legislations and other ways to protect kids in the schools.

And there are there are there are plenty of families from these incidents who see things our way.

They don't get their story told in this.

At the same level.

So I'm not going to tell a David Hogg or any of his friends you know that their pain isn't real because it is real and their emotions are real.

And I stand by their right to fight for what they believe in.

But what I will say to them is you know open your minds and if you really truly are interested in saving more lives.

Look at the other opportunity.

Look at look at the ability to have have an armed guard on on campus and look at that at some other ways that we can keep our schools safe.

And what about you.

Have you ever considered that they might be right.

Have you ever allowed yourself- of course -to consider that they might be right.

Of course.

I Listen to both sides of the argument and I I'll have this conversation so I have.

I've been thoughtful of the pther.

The problem is the logic doesn't pan out.

What does society look like five years from now?

What I see right now the fight that's going to continue five years from now is is in the free market and I believe that the only way to battle the free market is with the free market and that brings us back to companies like Gun Dynamics and it's not just going to be Gun Dynamics, there will be other companies that are going to be out there to offer solutions to go around these big corporate monsters and you know make sure that that they can provide their goods and services and their products and their inventions and bring them to the marketplace.

Larry Ward thanks so much for joining us.

Thank you.

Appreciate it.

Thank you for coming.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour interviews Michael Lewis, author of “The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy,” “Moneyball,” & “The Big Short;” and Peter Szijjarto, the Hungarian Foreign Minister. Michel Martin interviews Larry Ward, the Chief Marketing Officer at Gun Dynamics.

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