Sgt. Trevor Shelor can think of many circumstances in which people should not buy guns.

Charleston's crime prevention specialist is not opposed to crime victims arming themselves, but doing so in the first days after the crime might not be a good idea, he said.

"When they're upset and they carry, they wind up scared and paranoid," Shelor said. "Then you get spooked."

It's a dangerous situation that could lead to an accidental shooting.

"You can spend the rest of your life defending yourself or in jail," Shelor said.

Ron Acierno, a criminal psychologist, sees many victims as the director of the Older Adult Crime Victims Clinic at the Medical University of South Carolina. He said he would not advise against a patient arming himself or herself if the patient were emotionally stable and had taken gun classes. It can be an empowering and appropriate response, he said.

"If somebody is psychotic or having delusions, then it's not a good idea," Acierno said. "But that is atypical with crime victims. It's very rare."

Anyone in revenge mode, however, should not buy a gun, he said.

Some people consider buying a gun for protection even if they haven't experienced a crime.

Parents should think carefully before making such a purchase, Shelor said.

Sign up for our new business newsletter

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

Even when a gun is well-hidden, a curious child can still find it, he said. And if it is locked away securely, it doesn't do much good if it's needed quickly, he said.

"It's a major consideration if you have children in the house or you have other people's children that come to your house," he said. "You have to think of the responsibilities."

A gun kept in the house in case of a burglary will generally defeat the purpose, Shelor said. Most burglaries take place when residents are away from home, and if there is a gun in the house, the burglars will likely find it, he said. Then the criminal is armed.

Carrying a gun in case of a robbery can backfire on the gun owner, Shelor said. If you get nervous and fumble with the gun, you give the robber a moment to shoot you or to grab your gun, he said.

"If you are going to make that commitment to carry a gun, you've got to be ready to use it," Shelor said.

Couples with relationship problems should not keep a gun, Shelor said. No one in a volatile relationship should have access to a weapon, he said.