By Jessica Farrish
Police and civilian gun dealers also attended the special police training event held at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center Monday and Tuesday.
Mark Dempsey, general manager of Flat Top Arms of Beckley, unabashedly displayed semi-automatic weapons, along with smaller calibre handguns.
He said Flat Top Arms supplies law enforcement agents, along with security officers and civilians.
Dempsey’s guns ranged from the strong, lean lines of an AR semi-automatic rifle used for sniping to the minuscule handguns designed to be hidden.
“Guns are tools,” explained Dempsey, who said his dad taught him gun safety when was a child. “It’s just like a hammer in the hands of a carpenter.
“A criminal’s intent is to do damage or cause harm,” he said. “It’s all in the intent of the user.”
Dempsey, whose background is in architectural engineering, said he’s always liked to shoot and compete with guns.
“I just decided I may as well turn my hobby into something to make a living,” he explained.
An avid hunter whose family member was the victim of a crime, Dempsey said he keeps guns mainly for self-defense.
“Criminals attack at a time of their choosing, and their convenience, so I always believe in being prepared,” he said. “I don’t believe in pushing my views on anybody else.
“If somebody wants to own a firearm, that’s their choice,” added Dempsey. “If they don’t want to own a firearm, that’s their choice, too.”
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