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The Crimson Crier |



Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 Issue V

In the Line of Fire

an in-depth look at the deeply rooted culture
of guns in the South
Hannah Cox


here are more gun sellers in the
United States than there are
McDonald’s restaurants —at least 14,000
establishments. In America alone there
are 270 million gun owners out of 316.1
million people. The prominence of gun
ownership coupled with incidents of
gun violence, such as the Newtown and
Fort Hood shootings, have forced people
to consider which side of the great gun
debate they stand on.
Alabama Sen. Gerald Allen’s position
became clear as he pitched a controversial
idea: constituents should be allowed to
carry a loaded weapon in their vehicle
without a permit. Currently it is only
legal to carry a loaded gun in a car with a
permit, but Allen’s proposition, critics say,
could cause more harm than good.
Even with multiple safety guidelines set
in place, many have accidentally harmed
themselves and others with firearms —
Heather Garner and Veronica Rutledge fall
into this category. Twenty-nine-year-old
Garner was shot and killed during a dove
hunting trip when someone accidentally
discharged a gun. Rutledge was shot and
killed when her 2-year-old son reached
into her purse, where her gun was hidden,
and caused fired the gun. Despite the
regulations on guns put in place to prevent
accidents and murders, Alabama still had
the third-highest gun violence rate as of
2013 according to a report by the Center
for American Progress.
There are differing opinions regarding
the regulation and use of firearms,
but some facts remain the same: guns
require extreme caution and can be very
dangerous if handled improperly.
Some individuals, like Deputy Jeff
Graves, have no problem with gun
ownership. In his case, Graves carries his
mandatory gun while on the job as a school
resource officer. Although his job provides
the privilege of operating a firearm, he
believes gun control is something that
people need to be more aware of.
“I think guns are a great tool to use,
if used professionally. Guns are designed
to shoot things, kill things,” Deputy
Jeff Graves said. “[I] am trained that if
someone is putting my life in danger, and

someone is coming at me with a gun then
I’m not going to use a Taser; I’m going to
use a gun.”
Guns have been around for centuries
— A.D. 10 to be exact. Soon after the
Chinese invented gunpowder, the gun
was introduced to the world. The Chinese
invented the firearm for two purposes:
hunting and war. But now the usage of the
weapon has expanded to include fun and
self-defense outside of war and hunting.
But with the power that comes from gun
ownership is always accompanied by an
equal dose of responsibility.
“[Guns are] a trending topic in the
United States and different people look at
gun control in different ways,” Graves said.
“Civilians and citizens that are going to
carry guns need to read about gun control,
the rules and regulations and realize how
easily they can be taken away from you.”
Because junior Andrew Billions received
his first gun at five and grew up hunting,
his views on gun rights are clear and firm.
“I hunt. That’s me. We go hunting
and eat the deer we kill. It’s a way to feed
myself and my family,” Billions said. “I am
a believer in the Second Amendment.”
Billions goes hunting 40 to 50 times a
year and has collected approximately 20 to
30 firearms. They range from shotguns to
handguns used for various types of hunting
and shooting. He enjoys the use of guns for
entertainment purposes and has a strong
opinion in regards to the great gun debate
due to his years of gun handling.
“Guns do not kill people. People kill
people,” Billions said. “Another person has
to think in their mind whether to shoot
you or not. A gun has nothing to do with
Gun critics say that getting a gun — a
device that has the power to kill — should
be difficult to acquire. Sadly for the critics
that is not the truth. Acquiring this
weapon is actually quite simple through a
few steps. Any person 18 or older is legally
allowed to obtain a gun in Alabama by
getting an easily acquirable permit at a
local sheriff’s office. After paying the low
fee ranging from $7 to $20 for the permit,
one has obtained the green light to legally
buy a gun. And buying guns is just as
simple as acquiring a permit.
One often brought up solution is
requiring a background check before the
purchase of a firearm. Cringing critics
nicknamed one loophole the “gun show
loophole” which does not require the
majority of the states to have background
checks when buying firearms at gun shows.
This loophole is allowed in 31 out of 50
states; therefore in 62 percent of America
it becomes easier for convicted felons,
rapists, murders and other convicted
individuals to get their hands on a firearm
through gun shows.
“People need to evaluate their personal
affairs and make sure that they’re in order
because you don’t want to give a gun to
someone that is unstable or that cannot


cont. pg. 03
Photo illustration by Beryl Kessio

The Crimson Crier


News pg. 2-3, 16
Opinion pg. 4-6
Features pg. 7-9
Sports pg. 12-13
Spread pg. 14-15
A&E pg. 10-11



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