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VA Tech Doesn't Move Needle on Gun Control

Three new polls indicate that there's been little change in public support for gun control since last week's shooting rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech.

An ABC News poll released Monday found that 61 percent favor stricter gun control laws; the same percentage as in a Post-ABC poll last October and virtually unchanged in polls since 1989.

Opinions on gun control are relatively fixed in part because guns are a familiar topic to many Americans. In the ABC poll, nearly half, 45 percent, said they or someone in their household owns a gun.

And two other polls released this week found similar attitudinal stability.

In a survey by the Pew Research Center, 32 percent said that it's "more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns" than to "control gun ownership." Despite some blips up and down, that percentage nearly matches their data from December 1993, when 34 percent put a premium on gun rights. Fourteen years ago, 57 percent thought gun control was more important; now it's a similar 60 percent.

The third poll, from CBS News-New York Times, showed that going back to 1981, a stable majority has supported making "laws covering the sale of handguns" more strict. In their most recent poll, 66 percent support stricter laws, compared to 71 percent in May 2000, 67 percent in August 1999 and 62 percent in April 1981.

Post-ABC News Poll Trend: Do you favor or oppose stricter gun control laws in this country?

FavorOpposeNo opinion
April 200761%36%3%
October 200661372
May 200257376
January 200159392
May 200067303
April 200064342
September 199963352
August 199963343
May 199967311
October 1993*64333
June 1989*60346
*Gallup: "Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose enacting tougher gun control laws?"

More information about Post polls is available at

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  April 24, 2007; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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May we review all comments

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

This is such disappointing news. I understand that people want the right to own guns for hunting, and while I don't truly understand the idea that guns can provide effective protection, I respect others' views to that effect. But, I can't comprehend the need for automatic or even semi-automatic weapons. Is there really a situation in which law-abiding citizens would need to squeeze off numerous rounds in seconds? Cho would not have been able to take so many lives if semi-automatics were not available for purchase. I have heard semi-automatics fired in my neighborhood. The pop pop pops are so many, so quick, so easy. I have children, and the fact that these guns are available is frightening. It seems that the possession of these guns results far more in injuries & deaths than in effective protection for individuals. Who needs a gun that fires so many rounds so easily besides someone who intends to kill another human being? I honestly think people want them because they feel powerful & glamorous like an action hero in a movie or video game. I had hoped we would have at least learned the grim reality of semi-automatics with last Monday's tragedy.

Posted by: Gretchen | April 24, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This article doesn't get to the heart of the matter. Most Americans support stronger gun control, but NRA members are much, much more likely than gun control supporters to vote against a political candidate based on this single issue. They view nearly any regulation, however minor, as a slippery slope to gun confiscation by the federal government.

I don't see any way to break this political impasse in the near future. Unfortunately, it's going to take many more tragedies before political pressure builds to restrict the manufacture and sale of semiautomatic weapons.

Posted by: AJL | April 24, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We should simply outlaw the sales of any type of firearm until the applicant for purchase has undergone a thorough background check for both criminal history and mental illness or unstable behavior of some type. The requirements for this extensive background check should be defined by experts who have no conflict of interest related to the sales of weapons or ammunition.

Posted by: Brian R. | April 24, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

As the Post said a few days ago; the NRA has the ability to drive incumbants out of the U.S. Congress. This makes them nearly unique and (for me) explains the current situation.

Posted by: Josey | April 24, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

If I need to use a pistol to defend you or others, since you can't depend on a single shot to effectively end the confrontation then you need to fire follow-up shots quickly. Also semi-autos are sfaer than revolvers in that they have safeties or built in mechanisms to prevent firing unless the trigger is pulled.

Another aspect is that it is the vast civilian market that lets these guns be avaiable at reasinable prices for the police.

Posted by: Stick | April 24, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

It's only disappointing if you are of the opinion that fewer guns is necessarily a good thing. According to one economist, there's actually a strong negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime rate. He took part in a discussion today on the washingtonpost website. (Link follows).

Posted by: chuck | April 24, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Gretchen: To start with: Where does the second amendment say anything about hunting? The second amendment is about having the ability to protect yourself! (From criminals and tyranny) There is a lot of propaganda out there that will tell you otherwise, but even a cursory review of the Federalist Papers will show you the truth.

VT wasn't a gun control failure: Cho was a known stalker, but no charges were ever filed by the victims or the University, or the police. Had charges been filed, the NCIC would have flagged him. Cho was known to be mentally unstable. (The Post even published the commitment paperwork) A court found him to be a danger to himself and others, but a judge chose to allow him to 'commit' himself for outpatient treatment thereby bypassing the NCIC prohibition on mentally unstable purchasers.
Gun control, as it stands RIGHT NOW, would have ruled this guy out twice. It was only because 'well meaning' people chose to interfere with the system that this happened. Gun control was NOT the problem.
Effective gun control starts with one simple question: If there is someone you KNOW you can't trust with a gun, why are they allowed to walk the streets at all?

As 'gun free zone' VT proved to us, all gun control does is leave the law abiding defenseless. Time and time again, it has been shown that the only effective way to stop a determined killer is armed self defense. But because the Washington Post is so biased against guns, and rarely if ever prints those stories, you never read about those instances.
If you care about the truth, read the transcript of the chat with John Lott, "Debating Gun Control Laws" as a primer. Also look for his paper on "Multiple Victim Public Shootings".

Posted by: Anon | April 24, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post is biased and unfair. One can clearly see they manipulated the polls by editing them to fit their left wing views. Perhaps they fail to realize that 3.5 Million crimes are prevented each year by law-abiding gun owners (most with CCW Permits.)

Posted by: Andy | April 24, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Another interesting point with regards to this survey is what the phrase "gun control" means to different people. For instance, I say that I favor gun control, but what I mean is that I favor increased background checks and tighter restrictions on firearm ownership among the mentally ill and individuals with criminal records. Currently, the background check system has so many holes in it it looks like swiss cheese. I am emphatically NOT in favor of highly restrictive "prove you need a gun" policies or banning entire classes of firearms on the assumption that they are somehow worse than others. Additionally, I wish that the federal government would establish a federal program for gun registration and concealed carry permits so that greater consistency is achieved between states. Right now, criminals can take advantage of these differences between states to circumvent existing gun control legislation.
Obviously, my viewpoint on this is considerably different from that of others who think of "gun control" as a gun ban. It's differences like this that make polls like those discussed above virtually meaningless.

Posted by: Chuck | April 24, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Gretchen, a shotgun was used by the Trolley Square shooter, and a handgun fired by an off-duty police officer brought him down. I think the handgun in this case was a revolver, though. My point is that handguns are just as able to protect as to kill. If the Trolley Square shooter had not been stopped as early into his shooting spree as he was, the 50 unexpended shotgun rounds found on him would have been used to kill many more people. He also had a revolver on him, and that could have killed more. It would have been best if the VT shooter had not been allowed to buy weapons, or had otherwise been prevented from acting as he did. The last resort was for defenceless heros to try to hold doors closed against him. A more effective last resort might have been desirable.

Posted by: bill Mosby | April 24, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious to know why I, and millions of others, should be punished for something we did not do and had no part of. Or is collective punishment now the American Way?

Posted by: S. H. | April 24, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Gun control laws do nothing to prevent crime. It only takes guns away from law abiding citizens and increases crime. This has been proven time and time again. Just look at crime rates in the UK, Australia, etc. after their gun bans went into effect. You could ban all guns tomorrow but criminals could still get them very easily. Drugs are totally illegal and look how easy it is to get them. I could drive down to DC anytime and buy any drug I want and I bet it would be very easy to buy a gun too. If Cho had been unable to buy a gun legally there is no doubt in my mind he could have gotten one illegally (The same way all the other criminals get theirs).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 24, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Could you be a little more specific, SH? Did you think you were posting on a discussion about reparations for slavery?

Posted by: chuck | April 24, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

people kill , not guns

Posted by: alain | April 24, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

people kill , not guns

Posted by: alain | April 24, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Public opinion on gun control might change when somebody launches a full scale assault on NRA headquarters. What delicious irony that would be. . .

Posted by: bkp | April 24, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

It's still easier to get a gun than get a license to drive a vehicle. It would be very difficult to kill 30 people with your car, don't you think?

Some have said the students should have been armed to protect class. How does that work, exactly? In my backpack I have books, pens, calculator, iPod, oh and a revolver, too?

Isn't it odd that no NRA members --or their children-- ever get shot at in these tragedies. Strange coincidence, ain't it?

Gun lovers have demonstrated that they will say almost anything if they think it will help them keep their guns. Why not, for one second, and share some candor with us? Do you honestly want me to believe that you think it's okay to PUT UP with all these shootings?

Posted by: tony | April 24, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I second what Chuck said. I would prefer some additional tweaks to the system to improve the background checks, but reject NYC, NJ or MASS *prove a need first* type of systems. Where would I fit into the poll?

Posted by: K-romulus | April 24, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: irvin | April 24, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

smith hates me avid

Posted by: guillermo | April 24, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Tony: the reason drivers' licenses are harder to obtain is that they serve as PRIMARY ID for use in doing things, like, boarding planes or presenting to the police when stopped during an investigation. As a former active duty Marine, I am smart enough to know that loaded firearms are kept discretely concealed in a belt holster where I have total control over the firearm, not left loose in a backpack. I dont like drunk drivers, but I put up with cars and their 42000 deaths a year. Who NEEDS a car when there is public transportation? 42000 dead people for someone else's convenience?

Posted by: K-Romulus | April 24, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

bkp, I think someone shooting up NRA headquarters would be about as likely as someone shooting up a gun store or police station. There's a reason a lot of shootings happen in gun free zones, even with suicidal shooters. They want to make a bit of a statement before they die, and their statements at the previously mentioned places would be short indeed.

Posted by: Bill Mosby | April 24, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Now let,'s not get carried away here. The bleeding heart liberals are making their usual huge fuss about these isolated incidents and trying to use them to stampede us into abandoning our Second Amendment Constitutional right to bear arms. My right, your right, and the right of every other homicidal maniac to own guns. And to kill people with them.

Posted by: Caspar Fomalhaut | April 24, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"But, I can't comprehend the need for automatic or even semi-automatic weapons."

This is like a caveman saying that he can't comprehend the need for fire, or even for hot coals. As he slowly dies in the cold. Wake up, people! When this country was formed, there were two types of people. The free people, who had guns, and the slaves who didn't, who could not legally own or carry firearms, who could not read, who could not even legally run away. Whose very children were property to be used at will, to be bought and sold, and their childrens' children too. Take a clue from history. You give up your ability to defend yourself, you give up your freedom, you give up your life. It's that simple. You can't understand why we need automatic and semi-automatic weapons? You've got one foot in the grave already. The only thing keeping you alive is all the other Americans with full-auto and semi-auto weapons! Obviously there were not enough of us for those 32 kids and administrators. Or the numerous school-shooting victims before them. Too bad for them. Their ignorant, foolish parents are still alive, though. Don't listen to them, or you and your kids will end up like their kids.

Posted by: ccw | April 24, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

There's an old saying that "God made men, but Samuel Colt made them equal." A firearm is designed to kill, and it serves that purpose well, regardless of whether or not the individual in quesition is morally right (or even sane) or not. However, situations like this Virgina Tech shooting do illustrate the problem with banning guns outright in any one location -- it basically assures those who do not obey rules and laws a clear field on which to write their names in blood. Had significant numbers of students or teachers on the VT campus been armed (as they are in Israel), the VT killer would have been far less able to achieve the casualty rates that he inflicted. Even the single brave but criminally-incompetent school resource officer at Columbine was able to save many lives by delaying the gunmen long enough for others to escape.

Given the current state of American jusprudence and social policies on firearm access, it might be more accurate to amend the quote to read: "God made men, Samuel Colt made them equal, and then well-meaning but misguided administrators made them unequal again."

Posted by: chuck | April 24, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The shooter was autistic and mean, but he wasn't stupid. He didn't attack a police station did he. He attacked the people in a "victim disarmament" zone. He KNEW his victims were unarmed. Virginia Tech CHOSE to disarm the students and staff. The shooter even went so far as to shoot people in another area and draw all the cops there before starting his real spree.

You want to prevent these infrequent events? Then mandate an end to "victim disarmament" zones like VT and Washington DC.

Posted by: Fiftycal | April 24, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Chuck, I suspect you're being disingenuous, but anyway: I've never killed anyone. Why should I, or anyone else, be forced to pay for crimes they didn't commit?

Posted by: S. H. | April 24, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Effective gun control starts with one simple question: If there is someone you KNOW you can't trust with a gun, why are they allowed to walk the streets at all?"

Hm, an actual intelligent comment. The answer is because you don't *know* who can't be trusted with a gun. Unless they are using one in the commission of a crime, or about to do so.

The problem is that we have laws now which punish people for doing things that are not in and of themselves, "criminal", otherwise. It is like a ladder of guilt. You step on one rung, you are closer to being "a criminal". But not quite "a criminal" yet. The process exists to isolate and control *likely* criminals but as such it catches up a lot of non-criminals in its net, thereby reducing the effectiveness of it. Still it's what they can do, you know, write more laws, arrest more people, bring that crime rate down. You never know for sure who is going to commit a crime unless they are actually in the act. Hell, we don't even know for sure who *has* committed a crime. And we don't care. All we care about is who we THINK has committed a crime, or who we THINK is *going* to commit one. Especially when we are sure of it. Facts are incidental. Innocence and guilt are as much subjective qualities as objective qualities. And certainly, we have laws on the books that allow people to be convicted of crimes simply for doing things that other people don't like. For example, stalking. You mentioned that, but Cho would not have been prevented from buying a handgun at least by federal law even if he was a "known stalker". Only in violating a protective order would that have done the trick, and again, only if VA had passed that info up into the NICS system. Cho probably evaded a protective order because neither women ever actually dated him, and they did not press charges in criminal court.

The point is, though. As you do not KNOW who can and can't be trusted with a gun and you KNOW there are people out there who can't be trusted and you KNOW there are armed and dangerous criminals out there, why would you not want to carry a gun for self-protection? Why would you want to make it illegal for other people to do so, if they felt it necessary to do so? My answer is that you yes you want to disarm the general population to reduce the chance that you will be a victim of gun crime. But in doing so you actually make it more likely that you will be a victim of gun crime. And this is a well-established fact. HOWEVER. Fear rules. Ignorance trumps intellect (especially since most people don't have the intellect to handle even a mildly complex sociopolitical problem, but they have a lot of fear as a result of them). And stupid people who want to ban guns disarm us all, and make us all even less safe. Instinctively people believe that less guns and more laws make them safer. The fact is, no law can stop a determined criminal. And disarming yourself and others around you makes you unsafe. Period. You are merely hiding until he finds you and shoots you. These 32 kids, like all the other kids in all the other school shootings, weren't hidden well enough.

Now throw in one other thing. We have a constitutional amendment on the books that sanctifies our right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. When you want to ignore that and depend on the law, at the same time, you want laws that are blatantly unconstitutional and in violation of that amendment, you are being an utter hypocrite. And YOU are the problem as much as the shooter.

Posted by: cc | April 24, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Lets get the gun-toting NRA voters, to meet with the over zealous religious anti-choice anti-abortion folks. Maybe the gun toters will shoot the anti-choice folks, and then Cheney can shoot them?

Posted by: Idea Man | April 24, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

There are only two things that stop a determined criminal. One, being shot. Second, being arrested. Now, the wildcard here is that there are many ways to be a determined criminal. Many laws exist on many books. It is not all just Mans' law. Sometimes you simply violate Natures' law. You can be perfectly innocent of violating Mans' law, and still be a major violator of the laws of Nature. Because Man does not make Reality. Man is just part of Reality. Man is not a deity. People who forget that, often find themselves rudely shocked when Mother Nature reasserts herself. Again, I think the parents and relatives of these 32 victims were just that. Rudely shocked by the Laws of Nature. Looking for more manmade laws may be the historical method of solving problems in their lives. and as such, still, they refuse to see the reality of this situation. The question is merely how deep and strong do the rivers of denial run in their heads. This is 2007. Columbine was, what? Over 10 years ago? Those who look for more law to solve these problems will never learn. They refuse to learn. It doesn't work, it *can't* work. And they refuse to accept that. Isn't the continued denial of reality a mark of insanity? Well, maybe their desire to make it harder for members of the general population to keep and bear arms, should be a mark of insanity too.

Posted by: cc | April 24, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"It's still easier to get a gun than get a license to drive a vehicle. It would be very difficult to kill 30 people with your car, don't you think?"


not much harder than killing 30 people with a handgun.

well, the more people talk, the more stupid people will say stupid things.

Posted by: cc | April 24, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

A holster. Good. Hook me up. I can just see myself walking around with a G-D holster and my Dodge City firearm ready to protect me and the wimmen folk.

I'm starting to hear how many gun deaths would finally be unacceptable-enough to get a smart Marine to consider more prudent gun security measures. 42,000 gun deaths per year is not out of our reach?

This is a great country. We --really-- just want to be able shoot each other in peace. I really doubt Mr. Crazy Pants Cho picked his victims with any knowledge of whether or not VT was a gun-free zone. Don't give me that.

Posted by: the real tony | April 24, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"We should simply outlaw the sales of any type of firearm until the applicant for purchase has undergone a thorough background check for both criminal history and mental illness or unstable behavior of some type. The requirements for this extensive background check should be defined by experts who have no conflict of interest related to the sales of weapons or ammunition"

...that is like saying that our government should be run by people of good moral character, with no criminal intent or ties to private industry. Any system created by Mankind is doomed to eventual failure. Not to mention systems that are run by Mankind. Look, you've got a nation that is being flooded by illegal immigrants from south of the border despite decades of government neglect, in fact they are enticing more to enter the country now. Why do you think they can come up with and manage a legitimate, effective gun-control system? Besides, everyone is born with a clean background. And criminals buy and sell guns all the time, illegally. More law and more regulation are not the answer to crime. Crime happens in SPITE of all the law and regulations on the books today. In fact, a lot of people depend on crime, for their living, you know, lawyers, politicians, law-enforcement agents, people who sell security systems, etc. Like those "mobile chemical plants" that Saddam supposedly had, our government and the people who run it and feed off of it, need crime to keep their jobs. And like Colin Powell, innocent people get caught up in it all the time. You would trust George Bush and his ilk, people who cannot even acknowledge that the Grand Canyon is over 6,000 years old, with your self-defense? Not me. Now way, Jose.

Posted by: cc | April 24, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

the Republicans would prevent anyone who isn't a loyal Republican from owning a gun, or even voting. Gun rights would be sold like rewards for campaign contributions, a 5 million dollar contribution would buy you the right to own and operate a fully-armed Apache helicopter. The Democrats would outlaw the private ownership of guns entirely, except for the friends, family members and business associates of gun manufacturers in their home district. In fact any sort of weapon that could be built and sold at government expense, would be perfectly fine, for military use or for export. No American without a legitimate law-enforcement tie, or, at least, a personal security operative for a Democratic politician or campaign contributor, could actually own a firearm of any sort. However all Democratic staff members and their associates and family members would own firearms without fear of prosecution. That would probably go for Republicans, too.

Gun laws are great for keeping guns out of the hands of "the Other People", you know. Responsible, respectable citizens like Us need to have guns to protect ourselves and our loved ones from Them.

Ask Nancy Pelosi how many guns she has within 500 feet of her and her family members. And she's the biggest gun-control advocate in Congress. Ask Patrick Kennedy if he has a gun, see if you get an honest answer. Ask all the drinkers and smokers in Congress if they have guns. Likewise. Or do you think that alcohol and nicotine aren't drugs?

Posted by: cc | April 24, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I hear a lot of assumptions that your guns are going to be used to defend yourselves. How often does that really happen?

I just don't buy the Gun Math. And I don't interpret the 2nd Amendment the way you do. It is for States to establish militias--a body of armed forces. Originally this was a check on the Federal Gov't, but look at your history and you know how that went.

Oh, and the dem/gop thread----nice. You guys are sounding mighty desperate to hold onto your thundersticks.

If Homeland Security wants to haul yer ass in, I bet they can whether they have just cause or not. All day long. Whether you are armed or not.

Posted by: tony | April 24, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

cc, you make a lot of good points, but you read a little too much or perhaps too little into my statement.

My point was meant to convey this:

I want everyone out there to ask themselves: If there is someone out there who would fail a NCIC, or any imagined gun control check (for whatever reason), why are they allowed to walk the streets?

Any gun control (short of absolute prohibition) seeks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the criminally insane, but for that to work, as you point out, you need to KNOW who falls into those categories. My point is, if there is someone who would fail a check, they shouldn't be walking the streets. And if 'society' was willing to recognize the truth of that, we'd be a lot better off. If a person wouldn't fail a check, (but should) then we are left with two options: total prohibition (fundamentally at odds with freedom) or concealed carry for defense of self and society (the epitome of freedom).

In short, what we need is better criminal control, not more gun control. If we were actually willing to punish criminals (and commit the criminally insane) we wouldn't need any gun control.

Personally, I'm a second amendment absolutist: There are no illegal guns, only unconstitutional laws.

Guns aren't evil. Guns are just things, with neither will nor intent. Only people can be evil. And THAT is a truth that most liberals don't WANT to believe. They so don't want to believe it, that they will happily let criminals out of jail, and lobby for them to vote and have a say in how society is run...but deep in the recesses of their mind is a small deeply hidden nugget of common sense that says these people really are dangerous, so dangerous that they shouldn't be allowed the freedoms of a law-abiding/mentally healthy citizen (freedoms like gun ownership). But on the surface, they can't admit that their politics are wrong-headed. So instead of adjusting their politics to address the real issue (i.e. these people aren't really reformed or safe to be released into society), they choose instead to blame the gun as a corrupting influence like it has some sort of magical voodoo powers. So, instead of just controlling known criminals and defending ourselves against new criminals, we find ourselves with 20,000+ gun laws that trample the rights of the law abiding, while doing nothing to prevent the horrors we have recently witnessed.

Posted by: Anon | April 24, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"And I don't interpret the 2nd Amendment the way you do. It is for States to establish militias"

Anyone who believes this is either:
(a) an ignorant fool
(b) being intentionally intellectually dishonest

The statement flies boldly in the face of a 400 year history of privately owned firearms in the US: from Jamestown right up to the present. Even a cursory review of the Federalist Papers makes it obvious that the founding fathers embraced an individual right.

Posted by: Anon | April 24, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

If VT had not banned teachers & students from protecting themselves this may not have happened. VT does not let people that have VA concealed weapons permits carry guns on campus and protect themselves from monsters like this. If one person had a gun they could have stopped this killer and saved lives. Instead 32 people died. No VT let these people be slaughtered. They should be held accountable. The police cannot protect you, you must protect yourself.

Posted by: marylandterps | April 24, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

All handguns and all automatic and semi-automatic weapons of any kind should be outlawed, and possession of them should become a crime punishable to the same extent that violent crimes are punished now. If the 2nd amendment stands in the way, we should repeal it.

It's that simple. Great Britain, in response to a school shooting 10 years ago, banned handguns entirely, and while illegal weapons still occasionally are used in crimes, the number of gun deaths in all of Britain--a nation of 70 million, including one of the five largest cities in the world--is less than one-seventh that of the city of New York, population 8 million.

Waiting periods and background checks simply will never be enough. We must ban all non-hunting-related guns, and round 'em up. Gun nuts can come up with all the cockamamie arguments you want about how "only criminals will have guns," but, point blank--Cho could not have killed 32 people last Monday had he not had those guns in his hands. Please stop pretending that you are taking the issue of gun violence seriously if you aren't willing to get rid of the guns.

The NRA will call me--simultaneously--a "latte-drinking liberal" and a "jackbooted thug." Well, look for me tomorrow at Starbucks--I'll be wearing my Doc Martens and planning to take away your precious right to own killing machines.

Posted by: ban handguns now | April 24, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Here is what I think is sad. The members of Congress are OUR REPRESENTATIVES. It is their job to enact the will of the people, not their own. According to this table, consistently for the past 18 years, the majority of the people favor more gun control, but our representatives, our voices in Congress, have not acted.

Why is it that WE the American public spend so much time asking our representatives what their opinion is on a subject? Shouldn't it be the other way around - them asking us what OUR opinion is?

Posted by: Jason | April 25, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with liberals with lattes? I'm one of those LOL! The problem with the UK example is that crimes with guns have INCREASED since the ban, and the homicide rate has remained FLAT since even before the ban. The WashPost had a whole article on the UK experience that was published just yesterday.

A brilliantly warped mind like Cho's would have figured out how to kill 32 people one way or another. He was smart, remember? How many serial killers have remained on the loose? The Green River Killer alone killed 50 (thats five oh) women without guns.

Tony: thanks for helping me out by spouting angry gibberish. I appreciate the opportunity to provide contrast.

Posted by: k-romulus | April 25, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree with those that stated the Post's poll is bogus. I too support better gun control, but by that I mean the ability to have the NCIC report on mental illness. The fact is that most states don't report mental illness to NCIC. Virginia is in the minority that do. However, the judge Cho went before did not see fit to have him committed. In Virginia, you can't purchase a firearm if you have a restraining order against you. There should be an equivalent of a mental illness restraining order.
I don't support gun bans of any kind, so where do I fit in the Post's poll?

Posted by: G | April 25, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

It is truly pathetic the number of left wing posters who advocate violence against those who disagree with them.

Posted by: ron | April 25, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

It is the ultimate irony that many of those that most rabidly want to confiscate guns from law abiding citizens in the name of saving lives, also want unrestricted access to abortion, even of viable fetuses.

I guess for the hypocritical left, "pro-choice" only applies to taking innocent lives of the unborn, not to the right of those with no legal or mental issues to choose to own firearms for self-defense or any other legal purpose.

I am pro-choice--for the rights of law abiding citizens to choose to keep and bear arms without unconstitutional restrictions.

Posted by: Pro Choice | May 2, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

It's really amazing of the naive thought process of the gun control advocates here. Maybe naive is not the word; ignorance is. Strict gun control laws do not prevent or curb crime. Gun control does not = crime control. If you completely outlawed guns they would still be easily obtained by criminals and thus would make the criminal more powerful because they'd know that no honest person will have a weapon to threaten them. Don't think so? Drugs are illegal and completely forbidden are they not? Do drugs enter this country? By the ton. Millions of American's use illegal, banned drugs every day. If guns were banned then millions of criminals would have and use guns. If someone is that determined, such as the VA Tech or mall shooting in Salt Lake city, they will find a way to kill; gun or not. If there had been an armed citizen at VT or the SLC mall then MAYBE, just maybe they could have stopped the killers. Maybe not, but the college campus and mall laws that forbid guns on their property just insured not. I guess the killers forgot to read the laws and signs.

Think the police will protect you? Just remember when seconds count the police are only minutes away.

A good friend of mine was with his family in a public park. He believes in carrying a gun to protect his family. Unfortunately the city he was living in forbid honest citizens of this right. As his children were playing at the park a loose pit bull attacked and maimed his little girl. Eventually himself and several other adults were able to get the dog off of his daughter but only after she was destroyed for life. He told me there was a perfect opportunity to stop the dog if he had a gun just seconds before the dog attacked his daughter. He feels horrible that he had the means and skill to protect his little girl but was in fear of breaking the law by carrying a gun. He told me if he had to do it over he'd carry the gun regardless of the law because no law, police officer, mayor, or city was going to be there to protect his daughter that day.

People against guns misdirect their anger for crime and violence. They should be angry at the person, not the piece of metal they used. Would you go on a rampage against axes if a criminal axed someone to death? Think about it.

No you think to yourselves, "I don't like guns and if I don't think about it nothing bad will happen to me or my family". That's called denial. And those in denial fall harder when something bad happens. Remember it's fact that strict gun laws only affect those that are tyring to stop the criminal as criminals don't care about gun laws and like drugs they can get guns just as easy. Here's a good article to read from the CATO Institute:
Please be informed and educated and don't just jump on some silly bandwagon without thought or insight.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: uinbej qyucbr | May 12, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: xaoikblur xhgpwlsi | May 12, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Ladies and gentlemen: I have an announcement:

Killing people means you are breaking the law. That means that you don't really care about the law. That means you won't worry about laws against having any kind of gun you want.

Gun bans of any sort do NOT DECREASE THE NUMBER OF GUNS THAT EXIST. If you don't believe me, you have obviously never attempted to purchase a weapon on the black market.

Anyone who concludes that more government is the solution to individuals going crazy is on the basis of ignorance or pure stupidity.

Back when there was NO gun control we didn't have ANY school shootings. Why? Anyone who tried would have met armed resistance...not a poetic way to die.

Posted by: Shaun | May 14, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

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