Mano a mano: Guns


By: Kip Biby

I first got the Fox News alert on my phone about the Paris attacks and immediately turned on the news. As the facts became more clear, I shook my head in disgust. “Did you hear about Paris?” I asked my friends. This question could be interchanged with, “Did you hear about California,” or “Did you hear about…” you can fill in the blank.

Whether it is Islamic extremism, thugs shooting each other in Chicago, and Detroit or a fanatical man or woman with dark desires, these shootings need to be prevented.

A lot of people are quick to blame America’s gun laws for these despicable people taking lives in the name of an extreme ideology, gang affiliation or just plain insanity. It is a knee-jerk reaction that makes sense to a lot of people and I can understand why. These people were killed with guns, so taking away the guns prevents these tragedies, right?

The truth is, guns are not the reason for the problem. If you take away the right for good guys to have a gun, the only people left with guns will be the bad guys. In France, it is difficult and almost impossible to obtain a license to carry a firearm. Why didn’t these gun laws prevent the attack? It’s like banning cocaine and wondering why people still use cocaine. Because they want to.

Farbeit for me to display a problem without having a solution. To say for certain that any policy or tactic can prevent these lunatics from killing people is just not realistic. But, we need to look at where these shootings are occurring. California, whose public is largely against people carrying guns, Paris, where civilians carrying firearms just does not happen, gun-free zones like the recruiting center in Tennessee, the Planned Parenthood facility or a public school are among the many places where carrying a firearm is against the law or against the rules.

These gun-free zones are practically a guarantee for crazy people that nobody will shoot back. It is said over and over again, if someone wants to kill as many people as possible, they will go to a place where people are sitting ducks. Doing away with these zones will finally let people defend themselves. Nobody can say that the good guy with a gun will always win against the bad guy with a gun but at the very least the good guy will no longer be a fish in a barrel.

I am lucky to have lived in two states where laws did not stand in the way of me refusing to be a helpless victim. In Michigan, I have a concealed carry license. When I was 17, I begged my mom to take me to the gun range for a basic pistol safety class. Even though neither of my parents had shot a gun in their lives, my mom agreed and nervously took me. Since then, I have been to the range many, many times. I have become a skilled pistol shooter and pride myself in my understanding of safety and proficiency with a firearm.

I know that if I was in a situation where I needed to protect my own or my families safety, I could do it. I went through the background checks, took the class and displayed my knowledge and skill level that the state of Michigan deems acceptable to carry a pistol.

My fellow Torch writers are very intelligent and share the same concerns about gun violence that I and many people do. But if someone who was upset with an article burst into the office with a gun, I doubt they would prefer to sit and take the assault without a person to defend them.

No guns

By: Marshall Scheldt

“What the hell is wrong with people?” I think to myself on countless occasions.

I asked myself the same question yesterday as I sat in my finance class and tried to ignore my cell phone despite its violent vibrations in my pocket. After four straight notifications, I had to look to see what it was. I was expecting a phone call from my mother or father, but what I saw were notifications from CNN, USA Today, The Buzz: FSU and a text from a friend.

I ignored the text as I read multiple headlines about an active shooting occurring in San Bernardino, California where 14 lives were taken, and over 20 other victims were left wounded. As I read the headlines, my body flushed and my head became very warm. I have grown accustomed to this feeling. I have become numb to reading horrific headlines.

While everyone was paying attention to what was happening in San Bernardino, another mass shooting occurred on the other side of the United States. This time in Savannah, Georgia, Randolph Scott, 28, was killed in the shooting. Four others were injured including two adult women and two children, an eight year-old boy, and a two year-old girl.

This all happened just five days after a gunman, later identified as Robert Lewis Dear, killed three and wounded nine in a shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

So far in 2015, we have seen at least 354 mass shootings in the United States, according to shootingtracker. com, which describes mass shootings as shootings that leave four or more dead or wounded. We have only been through 337 days of the 2015 calendar year. That means that on average, there are roughly 1.05 mass shootings in the United States per day.

A total of 462 people have died, and 1,314 have been wounded during these occurrences in 2015 alone.

My question is, what have we done to stop it? What has our government done to decrease these occurrences? Nothing comes to mind.

I don’t know an incredible amount about politics, but I do know that something must be done to decrease the level of gun violence in America. I think the first step is requiring stricter background checks and testing before anyone can purchase a firearm.

When I wanted to get my license, I had to take weekly classes that tested both my ability to drive a car and the laws that I had to abide by when driving a car. The steps to buying a gun are much simpler than this.

I understand why I went through so much testing before getting my license because driving a car is a huge responsibility, and anyone behind the wheel can make a split second decision to harm themselves or others.

Guns fall under that same category, but for some reason all someone has to do to purchase a long gun (the type of gun used in the San Bernardino shooting) is be at least 18, have a valid form of ID, fill out a six-page document and pass a background check.

According to an article written by CNN reporter Corinne Jones in April of 2013, as of that day, only two percent of 118 million requests for firearms were denied since the implementation of background checks in 1998. With this in mind, it becomes apparent that these checks need to be more in depth.