For years the National Rifle Association’s mantra has been that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. So after a good guy without a gun bravely put an end to a deadly mass shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House on Sunday, the organization took some time to formulate a response.
On Monday, Grant Stinchfield, host for the organization’s NRATV, praised James Shaw for his heroism, but simultaneously suggested that it would have been better if he had been armed and could have shot back.
“I will say without a shadow of a doubt, that man saved countless lives,” Stinchfield said. “There would have been many people dead inside that Waffle House if it wasn’t for James Shaw.”
But he then noted that it was “amazing” that “critics of the NRA are quick to use James Shaw as some kind of strange example as to why guns aren’t needed.” After denouncing “the left” for politicizing a tragedy before it was even over, he then suggested that things would have gone even better had Shaw had a gun.
“He stopped a crime, yes, he saved lives, yes,” Stinchfield concluded, “But to me, the story still proves that if anyone had a gun there, include James Shaw, the attack would be over, there would be no manhunt going on right now. Instead we have a city on lockdown. But a big thanks to James Shaw.” His remarks came before the alleged shooter was taken into policy custody on Monday afternoon.
"I look at James Shaw as a hero and I say thank you and may God bless him. Without a gun his bravery is even more impressive. He stopped the crime, yet this story still proves if anyone had a gun the attack would be over. Instead we have a city on lockdown" –@stinchfield1776 #NRA pic.twitter.com/qrueyUs69Y
— NRATV (@NRATV) April 23, 2018
As in many recent mass shootings, the gunman used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, which the NRA praises as “America’s rifle.” Had Shaw attempted to shoot at him, rather than disarming the gunman, is it equally possible that the event would have been more deadly. Indeed over and over, the NRA’s “shoot back” talking point has been proven false: An FBI study of mass shootings found that unarmed people were more often successful in ending the attacks than armed ones.
Rather than join the NRA in speculating, Shaw has created a GoFundMe page to raise money to help the families of the victims of the mass shooting.