The American Family Association's news service has decided that the proximate cause of yesterday's tragedy at Virginia Tech was the fact that concealed weapons were not allowed on campus:
Virginia Tech official in 2006 praised the defeat of a proposal to allow students with state-issued concealed handgun permits to carry their handguns on college campuses in Virginia. At least 30 unarmed students were killed on the VA Tech campus Monday morning by a single gunman. advertisement
Virginia House Bill 1572 was proposed in 2005 by Shenandoah County, Va., Republican Del. Todd Gilbert after a VA Tech student with a state-issued concealed handgun permit was arrested and charged only with "unlawfully" carrying a handgun on campus. The bill would have prohibited state universities in Virginia from enacting "rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student who possesses a valid concealed handgun permit ... from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun."
After the proposal died in the state's House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety, The Roanoke Times quoted VA Tech spokesman Larry Hincker as celebrating the defeat of the bill.
"I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions," Hincker said on Jan. 31, 2006, "because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."
Following Monday's multiple-victim shooting at VA Tech, Erich Pratt with Virginia-based Gun Owners of America called that philosophy "idiocy."
I received a special alert on the item at 1:47 p.m. central time. I believe there is very little that can be done stop school shootings once an attack has begun. I believe there may be more we can do to prevent these types of attacks in the weeks and months before they occur.
I understand that the Gun Owners of America have an agenda to push. I think it's grossly inappropriate to push their agenda while the blood is still flowing. I think it's curious at best that the American Family Association would be highlighting this agenda.
Then there's this. If you go the Virginia Tech police home page, you find this "Important Campus Safety Bulletin":
Monday, Jan 8, 2007
During the Christmas break, officers reported several instances of individuals tampering with bicycle racks, and two arrests were made in relation to larceny of bicycles. As you return to campus, please check your belongings, be it bicycle, vehicle, room, or stored items. Please report any missing/vandalized items to the Virginia Tech Police at once. Be sure to have any serial numbers on hand if available, or be able to provide a detailed description of the item(s).
Virginia Tech has 38 full time police officers plus security guards. That seems like a strong force to me, though it obviously wasn't enough yesterday.
Again, I don't know how you prevent these tragedies. I think we should still be offering our compassion and sympathy to the victims and their families. Let's let the facts develop before making a political argument.
Meanwhile, concealed carry is a big topic on Fox News and elsewhere. I think these appropriate questions -- for another day.
Labels: Virginia Tech shooting