Local News

Brother of Chapel Hill shooting victim glad tragedy is part of gun control talks

Posted January 5, 2016

— During a Tuesday morning speech on gun control, President Barack Obama mentioned a number of high-profile mass shootings, including the Chapel Hill shootings a year ago that resulted in the death of three young Muslims.

On Monday night, the brother of one of the victims said he wished the tragedy had never happened, but believes it’s good that the killings are part of a larger discussion about gun violence and gun control.

“The right to pursue liberty, life, and happiness and things like that that should be afforded to every American was stripped from my brother, Yusor, Razan, and my family,” said Farris Barakat.

His brother, Deah Barakat, along with his wife Yusor Mohammad and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha were shot and killed inside their Chapel Hill apartment in Feb. 2015. Police identified the shooter as 46-year-old Craig Hicks, who was charged with first-degree murder.

Obama’s speech wasn’t the first time Hicks was referenced when arguing gun control, on either side of the issue.

“It’s crazy how one person can do so much harm to so many people and the gun just allows him to do that. It amplifies his ability to violate other’s rights,” said Barakat.

Barakat admitted he has mixed feelings when it comes to gun control, largely because of his very personal and tragic experience with gun violence.

Hicks did have a valid conceal-carry permit at the time of the shooting. Barakat said he’s not opposed to the President’s stance which, in part, seeks to expand background checks on potential buyers.

“People who have guns and are proud of it should accept that people are being killed with these guns and should be able to look at the other side and say ‘ok, so maybe out look at gun control should be one that can address these issues’,” he said.

Barakat said he believes there is some middle ground when it comes to gun control.

Gun rights in North Carolina

With President Barack Obama announcing plans to expand background checks to cover more firearms sold at gun shows, online and anywhere else, the issue of gun rights is again at the top of minds across the state and country.

For the second time in three years, WRAL.com is curious about what readers think about different gun rights issues, and whether those views have changed since 2013. Questions included in the poll below were generated for a 2013 study commissioned by WRAL.

See the results from WRAL.com's original poll in 2013.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

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  • James Scandrick Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    Steve Clark, this also isn't a Black on Black law, and there was no reason for the comment to go there, but it shows the thoughts of many. This isn't about Black on Black because the President is, this is about our country and where it is going in it's current state, with these senseless deaths. Big Willie Johnson, I agree with you, who is to determine the level of crazy. My calmness today, doesn't prelude might crazy tomorrow. Illegals and immigrants aren't the link to gun violence either. Those that do not look like you, does not mean they are the problem nor beneath you. Every life matters, even when some seem to be devalued, by those who are sworn to protect it.

  • James Scandrick Jan 6, 2016
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    Steve Clark, Black lives do matter, and do you think that movement is in place, because there is nothing better to get behind? What color was Sandy Hook, and the race of the shooter, that killed the 3 innocent ppl we are commenting on? Your options are viable, but it still doesn't stop the initial onslaught of guns hitting the streets, either by way of gun shows or some dark alley in every county, city, state in this country. A black life did not shoot up the movie theatre in Denver or shoot the defenseless woman in Az. All lives that are taken are not black on black, but imagine if Black cops began shooting defenseless, weaponless white boys, girls, men and women. The lives that have been lost because someone wants to make a name for themselves is ridiculous. Ask the 9 Black lives that was taken in SC, that wasn't black on black, that was hate, but funny when some commit these crimes, they are given the title of mental illness, but when others do it, they are deemed as savages.

  • BigWillie Johnson Jan 6, 2016
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    My problem is WHO determines mental instability? Agents of the government, (doctors who receive ACA or Medicare subsidies)? What then would determine mental instability. Gun ownership, voting Republican, member of the Tea Party, being Christian. I would not want any member of the current tyranny making those determinations, that is why American are protesting against this EA.
    Already, how many veterans go to a Doctor for PTSD? This is the way to take the ability for military vets to own guns. To the tyranny class this is important, as vets would be in opposition to them, and their blue State views in a Civil War.

  • Steve Clark Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    James - I think I understand where you're coming from, but also ask yourself "what difference will these 'new' laws make"? The bottom line is, you can't legislate crazy. You asked for an alternate plan; LOCK UP people that use guns during the commission of a crime (for a Long time!). DEPORT 'undocumented residents' that use a gun (no sense in our tax dollars paying for their prison stay). REMOVE ALL "gun free zone" signs; they may as well say 'defenseless targets here'. EXPAND concealed carry classes. ELIMINATE ONE 'assistant dean' position in schools and hire Trained, ex police/military for school security. And Lastly, FOCUS on the real problem areas of gun violence (hint: it's not white cops shooting black kids). Black lives DO matter, including the ones that are ended by fellow blacks.

  • Roy Hinkley Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    For the record, rights aren't supposed to be earned...they are simply endowed upon us at birth. Privileges are things you earn, such as driving a car.

  • Janet Ghumri Jan 6, 2016
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    If Craig Hicks had undergone a recent psychological eval, possibly, just possibly someone (other than his wife /ex-wife) would have identified his mental instability before he committed this horrible crime.
    These beautiful young people should not have had to die for Mr. Hicks mental deterioration to be an issue. From the start it was obvious he had mental /anger issues. The right to owning a firearm should be earned, just like the right to operating a motor vehicle is earned. It angers me that a Parking spot was the tipping point for this heinous crime. When you get to the point that your anger could make you pull out a gun and murder 3 people over a parking dispute, you no longer have the RIGHT to own a firearm. Treat the mental illness BEFORE it ends up in murder.
    The families of those murdered have my deepest sympathy. Those young lives were just starting, and an angry, unstable gun owner took their RIGHT TO LIFE. There is no justification.

  • James Scandrick Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    Once again,does anyone have a solution,other than to critique the one proposed? Jailing those who use the gun for crime is great, but does that stop the gun being able to hit the streets and be purchased first? Collection of guns can & is a hobby for most, but as with many other things, the ppl that are collecting bodies attached to those guns, are the ones he is trying to detect. To make it more difficult to obtain, will allow those who want them for protection, collection, and hunting, will have no problem going thru the necessary steps to continue to want them for protection, collection, and hunting. It's like a mail in rebate, stores provide them, because they bet on us not going thru the steps to get the money back/discount. It's the reason now for the waiting period, it stops the hot heads from running out to get a gun, & revenging whatever they believe they need it for, whether right or wrong. What we can't stop,we can at least slow down, and that is more what this is about

  • Robert J. Howarth Sr Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    James the answer is to fully use the laws on the books. Do you know it is a mandatory 5 years in jail, if a gun is used in a crime? That is a Federal law! Did you know anyone selling guns on the internet must have a federal liscense? LAW on the books

  • Sonja Yagel Jan 6, 2016
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    [b][/b]You can tell the prez has been to Hollywood, he can cry on demand. What is so out of touch is he gets so mad about Sandy Hook so he is going to penalize the law abiding citizen. The kid who did these shooting did not buy the gun, his mother did and paid with her life. If he wants to get real, which I don't believe he does, he will pass laws that keep people in prison who use guns in a crime. These are apart of the big problem in killings today. If criminals were kept off the streets there would be a lot less bloodshed.

  • Derril Salter Jan 6, 2016
    user avatar

    James, while it's true you cannot use but one gun at a time, a lot of folks just love guns and love collecting and shooting them. As a hobby. Also, collecting guns are like some women with shoes, you want more than one pair. Different guns are for different purposes..a small pocket pistol with a concealed carry permit is better than trying to hide a Colt 1911 45. The .45 is a better home defense weapon. And there is a difference between a shotgun and a rifle by the way. Some have need for both. Why do people like guns? Why do they want guns? Well....why do people want a 600 hp Corvette when the speed limit is 70 max? Just because they do.