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Va. Tech Shooting Puts Politics on Hold

I just wrote a piece on how the presidential campaign is observing an unofficial day of mourning today in honor of those killed yesterday at Virginia Tech.

This cessation of politics is not without precedent. Following former President Ronald Reagan's death and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks -- to name two -- campaigns were put on hold for several days with things slowly but surely returning to normal.

Most presidential candidates seem ready to resume normal political activities as early as tomorrow. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) will participate in a host of campaign events tomorrow in New Hampshire including a 5K fun run in Manchester. Sen.Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will travel to New Hampshire on Thursday and spend the weekend campaigning in the Granite State. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) canceled a planned foreign policy speech today in Chicago, rescheduling it for next Monday.

Feel free to use the comments section below to offer your own thoughts on when politics should begin again and how long-lasting the impact will be on the political debate.

Update 2:45 pm: An astute reader pointed us to this story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that says Obama took part in two fundraisers last evening -- a small dollar gathering where the recommended donation was $25 and a larger dollar event later in the evening. Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed today that the Senator attended both events.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 17, 2007; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Cho was not an American citizen. He was a foreign national from South Korea living here legally. As such, the Supreme Court gives him most of the protections and rights in our Constitution including the Second Amendment.
Curiously, The Fourth Amendment is not extended to foreign nationals..particularly in cases of national security.

The gun was purchased legally..actually both of them were, but one was purchased over the Internet.

Posted by: Michael Rowland | April 20, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

[really early, someone wrote:]
"The NRA has strongly opposed any background check or licensing requirement to owning a gun. The idea that they only oppose these arguments to because they are afraid of someone ten steps down the line taking their guns away is ridiculous. Don't oppose good policy simply becuase you're afriad of what will happen twenty years in the future.
Sweet! Does this mean liberals won't oppose the partial birth abortion ban as encroaching on the 'freedom of choice?'

Posted by: JP | April 19, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Seen it in the news today another moron went on a rampage at VA tech now the gun laws are under fire, of course if any smart person noticed the gunman ( a criminal) didnt follow the gun laws criminals never do and the people that did follow them are dead, if the school would have at least had armed security guards if your wondering why they didnt there giving all kinds of excuses but truth is security is only there to give them a big insurance discount, the law is there so if anyone breaks it they goto jail but in the case of a spree killer like the man at va tech most end with the gunman taking his on life so the law abiders are actually the victims makes me wonder who are they making gun laws for, and the fact every mass gun murder occurred in an unconstitutional gun free zone there was a leader who once said because of gun control our streets will be safer our police more efficient and the rest of the world will follow our lead - adolf hitler 1933 think about it.

Posted by: Josh Blevins | April 19, 2007 6:55 AM | Report abuse

"Judge": I just bought an AK47 on the internet last week, and I'm going to pick it up this week when UPS delivers it. What's your point? I still have to fill out paperwork and go through a criminal check to see if I'm allowed to pick that gun up or not. I have to be a US citizen or legal resident, have my driver's license with me, have no felony charges, and submit to a local, state, and federal background search. It's only instant if you're "pre-approved" by not committing any crimes or being flagged for any reason, and they flag for all kinds of reasons like buying too many guns in a short time period or entering a mental institution. If I'm not cleared and meet all the requirements, they send my AK47 back to where I bought it.

Did you have your criminal record checked to get your driver's license? I don't think so, but maybe your state is different. The bit about him entering a mental institution, if true, should spur better state law enforcement. It's already illegal to buy a gun if you have a history of mental illness, but it's only a yes/no question you voluntarily answer on the federal gun form if your state doesn't track mental illness. Write your state's senators and your congressperson about this to ensure that crazy people aren't passing local/state background checks. The federal gov't doesn't track mental illness at all. I know I write my state and federal congresspeople and senators regularly about things like this.

Posted by: CoryH | April 18, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Cho was admitted to Carilion St. Albans Psychiatric Hospital in nearby Radford, Va., on Dec. 13, 2005. Officials said they believe Cho entered the hospital voluntarily. They would not say how much time he spent there, citing privacy rules."

Here's a simple idea: don't let people admitted to psychiatric facilities buy guns unless they've undergone specific testing.

CoryH: "Joe Dowdy, owner of JND Pawnbrokers in Blacksburg, said Cho did not purchase the gun from him but came into his shop to pick it up, probably after buying it on the Internet. Dowdy said he received the gun from another vendor. Cho came into the shop, showed his ID, filled out some paperwork, waited for a background check and paid a $30 fee."

Oooh, he bought it on the Internet! Like a bunch of flowers. To obtain MY driver's license I had to (a) take a driving test in a real car with a real evaluator (about an hour of total time) (b) have my vision checked with a machine (a few minutes) (c) take a written test (about half an hour). Maybe things are different now but when I contrast my experience with Cho's above your comment appears to be the absurd one.

How long does an 'instant' background check take? And why, on earth, doesn't being admitted to a psychiatric facility show up as a disqualifier in these background checks? What the heck constitutes "mental illness" in these checks, anyway? Mass murder? It's scary to think that Virginia is actually selling guns to OTHER people who have been admitted to psychiatric institutions.

Hopefully that's not true and this was a one-time screw up. But if so, in my entirely fake legal estimation I'd be willing to bet that the families of these victims and the surviving victims have utterly fantastic grounds for a $MM lawsuit against both the pawnshops and the great State of Northern Virginia.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 18, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Goodness gracious, what a load of misinformation in this page now!

"If eveyone had guns there would be less major killings and much much more little ones. It will be like the wild west all over again." - rufus1133

Wrong! Just the mere threat of citizens being armed is enough to keep crime low in my hometown of Kennesaw, GA. We're required by law to own a gun. Even with undesirables moving into the entire region (e.g., illegal Mexican gangs), we have kept a low crime rate, and the criminals move on to easier marks. You can read about it here:

"Why is it more difficult to get a driver's license than it is to purchase a gun? Why do we test the vision of people who apply for driver's licenses but don't bother to check the sanity of people who buy guns? We don't think that putting a blind guy behind the wheel of a large automobile is a good thing. Why do we not care if a lunatic owns a gun?" - Judge C. Crater

While it's certainly not easier to get a gun than a driver's license (absurd - you've obviously never filled out all the forms and waited on a background check, which includes a check with your state bureau of investigation for history of felony and/or mental illness), there really should be some better way to track the mixture of mental illness and any weapons. I can't think of any way to do it short of violating an individual's rights to privacy, however, can you?

"'While in jail awaiting trial for attempted armed robbery, Morva was taken to Montgomery Regional Hospital on August 20, 2006...he assaulted and knocked a deputy unconscious using a metal toilet-paper container. He seized the deputy's gun and shot Derrick McFarland, a hospital security guard who was running to the deputy's aid. McFarland died from his wounds.'"

Very true story and there are many more like it (the Nichols case in Atlanta, for one). Even if we have no guns, cops still have them and can have them taken away and used against us. Shouldn't we have the right to defend ourselves and protect our family and neighbors when it happens?

Also, what does this have to do with "assault weapons"? The killer used a pistol. Nobody in the entire world can label that an "assault weapon". Plus, the differences between real assault weapons (fully-auto) and "assault weapons" as defined by California and the like are huge. The "assault weapons" only look evil and have pistol grips, bayonets, and the like. They're no more effective at mass-murder than a simple hunting rifle is. People are judging the book by its cover.

Posted by: CoryH | April 18, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I think that poll question is loaded. Stricter gun laws would get a very different result than more specific phrases.

Posted by: J Perez | April 18, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Dave: "Its so easy to pick out the lunatics of the world after they go on their killing spree. Before that, they tend to just be our quiet neighbors that keep to themselves."

There's a saying out there that I thought was attributable to Churchill: "all that is needed for evil to advance is for good men to sit back and do nothing." You are advocating doing nothing.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 18, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Vietnam Vet: We, as a country, are always ready to go to war. Harsh as this statement is, it is true. MONEY is and has been the factor in all of these begining with Korea. These other places you mention are a way of life to the folks there, but MONEY is the prime motivation. The USA is the country that profits most. We have the knowledge to produce the most effective weapons at a reasonable cost and then sell them to nations around the world. Many times we sell the same weapons to both sides in a given conflict. Another thing worth mentioning is the FACT that the USA has supported each and every one of our enemys at some point in time. This is best known as to The Shah of Iran and the one on our most wanted list, Osama bin Laden, that we have just about given up as a lost cause, and keep spending the lives of our young men and women for the profit of a few. I realize how the lies got us into Iraq, and can find no other reason but MONEY.

Posted by: lylepink | April 18, 2007 2:46 AM | Report abuse

Judge C. Crater,
"We now as a society choose to keep Imus off the air. Aren't we violating his 'right' to free speech?" Society did not - 2 corporations did. The first amendment refers to Congress making laws to prohibit so, while it is not technically a violation of the Constitution, it certainly goes against spirit of the amendment.

"Preventing access to any 'arms' beyond a musket is an attempt to read the minds of the long dead Founding Fathers." Interestingly enough, the Constitution does not say "musket", it says "arms". The founding fathers spent the better part of 2 years working out the precise wording of the Bill of Rights. I'll take them at their word that they meant "arms" and not only "musket".

"If we could reanimate Cho Seung-Hui would you demand that he be given free and total access to guns?" If he had not abused his rights (if he had not shot anybody yet), he should have his guns. If you are asking if, in hindsight, i think that i would still give him a gun, no. But that is a philosophical argument. In reality, nobody knows what a person will do with a gun (or a knife, or a bottle of vodka and a car, or an airplane full of fuel and people, or a musket) before hand so unless they have demonstrated that they should not have this right, they are entitled to it. Its so easy to pick out the lunatics of the world after they go on their killing spree. Before that, they tend to just be our quiet neighbors that keep to themselves.

Posted by: Dave! | April 17, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Amen Bill Harris. I was just discussing that point with someone close to me. what happened is a terrible tragedy, but in the scope of the world, it is just another day in many places...Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Burma, etc. Is it different because these students were in class rather than buying their vegetables at the market or living in a refugee camp? Something to think about.

As to someone's (anonymous) response to my previous post, the Morva situation and this are completely different. If you read my post, you may understand.

A young man commits what may be a crime of passion. He then leaves the scene, and two hours later returns to murder 30 students.

Morva was a convicted prison escapee that had killed a security guard and a sheriff's deputy. The knowledge of him, what he had done, and what he was about...was readily available. Morva did not enter a dorm, classroom building, or athletic facility and start shooting any student he came across.

In this case, someone shot two people (I believe only 1 death was initially reported). Identity unknown, motive unknown, and on and on. He was believed to have fled the university...and bottom line is they had no idea who this was at the time. No information.

So, my question to you, (anonymous), is what if Tech HAD locked down, and this guy killed 30 students in his dorm instead? Does that solve the dilemma for the institution?

In this case, it was really an unwinnable situation. It's sad and unfortunate. It makes me angry. But the ONLY person you can blame for this is the young man who picked up the gun and decided to murder 32 people before killing himself.

Posted by: tdr | April 17, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Many stats can be found that appear to confirm that a gun in the home is most likely to be used on purpose or accidently to hurt/kill someone than it would protect the home from a robber, intruder, etc. In my early years, pre-teen and teen years, I practiced with a BB gun and a 22 cal. rifle by striking the big kitchen matches with both, and with the 22 shooting thru the neck of a bottle, breaking the bottom. This was done from a range of 30 to 50 yards. Yes, I was very good and living in the country, guns for target practice and hunting were a way of life that I cannot recall a single time anyone even mentioned the banning of any type of gun.

Posted by: lylepink | April 17, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Dave: "Should we curtail the freedom of speech because of Imus?" We now as a society choose to keep Imus off the air. Aren't we violating his 'right' to free speech?

If we could reanimate Cho Seung-Hui would you demand that he be given free and total access to guns? Wouldn't that be his 'right?' Heck, the second amendment can easily be interpreted as guaranteeing access to grenades, shoulder-mounted rockets and nuclear weapons. Why not give him (and all lunatics) access to those as well since they are apparently a 'right?' Preventing access to any 'arms' beyond a musket is an attempt to read the minds of the long dead Founding Fathers.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 17, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

My Friends:

I happened to be traveling today and had a great deal of time to think about the recent tragedy at VA TECH and am looking for some "good news" to come out of it.

Well, just think of these facts:

32 dead by a single gunman in Va.

Over 30 young people, same age as the students, dead per month in an illegal war in Iraq.

Over 30 women, children and young people killed each day in Iraq by guns and bombs.

Now, maybe the American people will have an idea of what is happening to our children daily.

32 young people dead is a tragedy, but not news. Just everyday in Iraq. I weep for us.

Bill Harris

Posted by: Vietnam Vet | April 17, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

It is hilarious that the gun lobby uses this event as proof that guns should be easily available - so that others can perhaps shoot the bad guy in the middle of his rampage and everyone starts shooting each other, perhaps.

The saying "only in America" about this sort of stuff is true (with occasional exceptions). When guns are availble, people use them...

Posted by: JayPe | April 17, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe anywhere in the post about the Illinois bill banning guns was the name Obama mentioned. Nor does if name have anything to do with Illinois more or less forcing gun owners to remove currently owned firearms from their residence.
Keep trying...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Judge c. Crater,
"Why is it more difficult to get a driver's license than it is to purchase a gun?"
Because a driver's license is a priveledge and owning a gun is a right. Being able to enjoy the freedoms, rights and liberties that our founding fathers bestowed on us does not mean that life is always clean, neat, easy or painless. Remember, it's the "pusuit of happiness", not just "happiness" that is one of our "certain unalienable Rights". I hate using quotes from comic books but i can't think of anything better than "with great power comes great responsibility". Our rights and liberties give each of us something most other people in the world don't have. It allows us to do things others can only dream about. It is our responsibility to use it wisely. But, human as we are, that is not always possible. Should we curtail the freedom of speech because of Imus? Should we curtail freedom of the press because Memogate? Should we curtail freedom of religion because of a few peoples hateful interpretation of Islam? No. And we should not curtail the right to bear arms because of this. There is no magic dialogue to allow Americans to end "all forms of senseless tragedy". The founding fathers were well aware that when they created this country, it was not the end of the story, but the beginning. They knew that Americans would need to grow to become better humans and that we, as humans, would need to grow to become better Americans. They gave us the guiding principles. It's up to us to live up to them, not to change them when we think that its convenient or get rid of the ones that seem to make no sense at the current moment. There have been some comments about how there is a "gun culture" here in America and how guns are "ingrained" in our lives. All that is true, just like there is a "free speech culture" and a "due process culture", none of which we have perfected.

Posted by: Dave! | April 17, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I mentioned the gun debate only a few days ago, now this. The arguements for or against are really the same ones used for years. No matter how reasoned, logical, well thought out, or just plain stupid, they will continue with little being gained by either side. The only thing that has had a lasting effect is the ban on machine guns, and the newer guns are quite simular except for the capacity of the clips.

Posted by: lylepink | April 17, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Just want to call this to y'all's attention: John Edwards sent out an email to his supporters expressing condolences for the victims yesterday. So much for putting politics on hold. Personally I find it offensive that he decided to insert himself into this story - this has nothing to do with him, and no one asked what he thought. He has every right to express his opinion, but not to use this horrific event as an excuse to remind everyone how empathetic he is.

I will be unsubscribing from his email list.

Here's the text of the email:

"We are simply heartbroken by the deaths and injuries suffered at Virginia Tech. We know what an unspeakable, life-changing moment this is for these families and how, in this moment, it is hard to feel anything but overwhelming grief, much less the love and support around you. But the love and support is there. We pray that these families, these students, and the entire Virginia Tech community know that they are being embraced by a nation. There is a Methodist hymn that gave us solace in such a moment as this, and we repeat its final verse here, in hopes it will help these families, as it helped us:

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing, in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Our dearest wish is that this day could start again, with the promise of these young people alive. Knowing that cannot be, our prayer is for God's grace and whatever measure of peace can be reached on this terrible day.

John and Elizabeth Edwards"

Posted by: abby | April 17, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Ban every gun in the USA and take them away from all the legal owners. That is a great idea.... then only nut cases like this guy will have access to one. Them "dudes" and them there GANG BANGERS..... that spend 4 or 5 years in PRISON... then get all buffed out on my tax dollars, and then come and force entry into homes and rob businesses.... and of course THEY have guns... and they are ILLEGAL....... the nut cases and crooks will ALWAYS have guns.... don't take them away from those who may someday find a "use" for them other than hunting and target shooting....

Posted by: Brad | April 17, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

'Bush on gun control: 'Crack down on people who commit crimes'

Hilarious. You don't try to stop people from murdering, you just arrest them after. Brilliant.

Posted by: True Leadership | April 17, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

MikeB, you used the forbidden term 'Indian' in your post.

I'm afraid the correct term is 'Casino-Owning American'. Please make a note of it.

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

tdr - It's not the first time this has happened there.

The following is from wikipedia, but the sources are mostly the Roanoake Time and the Post:

"While in jail awaiting trial for attempted armed robbery, Morva was taken to Montgomery Regional Hospital on August 20, 2006...he assaulted and knocked a deputy unconscious using a metal toilet-paper container. He seized the deputy's gun and shot Derrick McFarland, a hospital security guard who was running to the deputy's aid. McFarland died from his wounds.

"This initiated a manhunt for Morva, who on the morning of August 21, 2006 shot and killed a Montgomery County sheriff's deputy, Cpl. Eric Sutphin,...near the Virginia Tech Campus. Police evacuated and searched Squires Student Center on the campus after someone fitting Morva's description was seen inside. However, this sighting turned out to be unfounded.

"Virginia Tech canceled classes and closed campus."

Morva was captured close to the campus. The question has to be asked, if they closed the campus in August when there were "reports" of a killer (which turned out to be true), why didn't they do it when they had actual homicides on campus with no killer in custody?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person." - Madison

Where was this when I got my Draft Notice?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Why is it more difficult to get a driver's license than it is to purchase a gun? Why do we test the vision of people who apply for driver's licenses but don't bother to check the sanity of people who buy guns? We don't think that putting a blind guy behind the wheel of a large automobile is a good thing. Why do we not care if a lunatic owns a gun?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 17, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Leaving gun issues aside, I question the statements made that the administration was at fault for not locking down the campus.

The number of times a homicide has occurred on a college campus, and then the perpetrator has returned hours later to commit mass murder is exactly zero. There is no precedent. Murders may have occurred elsewhere first (i.e. killing family members prior to the final acts), but not at the same location of the schoolyard/campus killings. One would have expected that if he were intent on killing many students, he could have done so right where he was in the first dorm.

The fact is, a crime of passion is one thing. Mass murder is something entirely different.

If the administration should have locked down Tech, why don't local police set up blockades and forbid travel each time a murder is committed in their jurisdiction? It's not practical. Period.

This leaves out the fact entirely that locking down a 2600 acre campus is not something that can happen quickly, particularly when police are currently investigating a previously committed crime. Blacksburg is not NYC with thousands of cops to move around.

Posted by: tdr | April 17, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse


The above stat can be found below. I would note that in rural communities suicide is higher but in urban area homicide is higher and in general death by fire arms is higher in urban areas.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

That law has nothing to do with Obama, as he wasn't even in the Senate at the time. Keep trying.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

MikeB - Your posting of those unattributed unsupported guesses about Virginia Tech were irresponsible.

Your'e not just having coffee with your neighbor at the local cafe when you post here. This is a website which has people from all over the world looking at it.

The comments which you made yesterday, and some again today, were not supported by what was available in most of the media at the time you made them.

The comments about foreigners and terrorist plots against schools could have been picked-up by reckless readers, blown further out of proportion and made into fear generating rumors spreading rapidly over the net. And the net is perfect for that.

Posting speculation on such a topic on this website without a reliable source was simply irresponsible.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse


Comparing US to Japan is ludicrous. Did you compare deaths by other means in Japan to US? I would imagine that the US is still higher. That would indicate that we have a move violent society. Explain this statistics gun ownership in rural communities is higher than in urban communities, yet death by firearms is higher in urban areas than in rural communities. How do we explain this statistics?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the early report was of two gunmen and the gunman was identified as Asia and NOT Amercian. I mentioned that here when some wingnut claimed it was an NRA member!
As for advocating gun confiscation, it's surprisingly easy. There was a Senate and House Bill, attached to the original Homeland Security budget, that allowed for or opposed confiscation of guns "in the event of a national emergency". The votes were quite clear. For confiscation of private firearms: Clinton, Schumer, etc. In the hysteria after 9-11, these people would toss our Constitutional rights. The bill, if I recall correctly, was SA4615. I don't much care why or their excuse, I simply am alarmed by people who so casually take the Second Amendment and toss it.

As for CoryH, I was trying to make a point. The Sue's of the liberal world toss off sexist insults in these debates all too casually. And, I AM NAive Amercian and I was called a drunen Indian by some swine on a Post Forum.

And, those Jefferson and other Founding Father quotes are pretty plain, healthy lifestyle and all:

"The said constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress
to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens
from keeping their own arms." - Samual Adams

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Thomas Jefferson

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."
Thomas Jefferson's advice to his 15 year-old nephew

"(The Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
James Madison, The Federalist Number 46

.... This proposed amendment to the Constitution exlains the thinking of the FOunding Fathers:
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person."
James Madison, Proposed Amendments to the Constitution June 8, 1789

"... of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trial by jury of the vicinage in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms.... If these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachment, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny."
James Monroe (1758-1831), 5th US President

Anyone can look these quotes up. There are countless examples. There isn't one, not one, by any Founding Father that advocates gun control or reserving firearms for the military or other government authority.

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

'It wouldnt have taken much for him to go to the store and make bombs out of propane tanks.'

Oh please. Most ridiculous comment of the day, from many ridiculous comments.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

It is a gun issue. It is also a societal issue. It is also a mental health issue. Everything is fair game for dissection. We, as Americans, have to step back and take a good look and wonder what the hell is going on. The rate of these shootings have skyrocketed during our lifetimes. Can you deny that? Our government now acts like they are doing us a favor by being in Iraq, but sometimes the real threats to our lives are right under our nose. God forbid anybody should discuss it, claiming that we "never saw this coming." But rather, we just wait for massacres in Columbine, Amish country and Virginia Tech to happen so then we see what already has been clear as day: We act like we care, but we're actually not trying hard enough. We know this has happened before. But we seem to not remember a week later. Each and every time. And it sickens me.

Drunk driving. Assault weapons. Suicide. These are all stupid pointless vices that destroy lives. The President spoke today about how we can cope with the reality in Virginia. But he never spoke about how we can prevent it from happening again. And whether you like to talk about it or not, this is the reality, and we need to start a real dialogue about ending all forms of senseless tragedy. If you think terrorism is the only thing to be afraid of in America, you are missing the picture so much I cannot imagine how you ever get by.

One more though: After that first killing in the dorm, they should have SHUT DOWN CAMPUS. But they didn't, claiming that it was just an isolated domestic incident. But, seriously, how often is there ever a HOMICIDE in an on-campus dormitory?! By not locking down immediately, the school set up the deaths of 30 more people in the engineering building two hours later.

Posted by: jojo | April 17, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

sascha - Don't seem to recall LBJ or Nixon attending any Vitenam funerals.

Who might "the others" have been.

Grenada doesn't count.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The Portable Weapon of Choice - Propane tanks!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"I read the report that this person had a receipt in his backpack, too. That does not mean that the gun was aquired legally or even that such a report is true. Also, that report conflicts with the FBI release of information that the serial numbers had been filed off the guns. Why would this person file the serial number off the guns and, then, turn around and carry a receipt of the purchase of such a weapon. It doesn't add up. The report of the receipt is likely false." - MikeB

From the story currently (4:18 pm) on the Post website site:

...Cho purchased one of the guns he used in the shooting, a 9mm Glock, from Roanoke Firearms, which captured the transaction on a surveillance camera, law enforcement sources said today. The gun was bought in March and authorities found a receipt from the store in Cho's backpack, the sources said."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

To those that have no clue about gun-issues outside of their local area there are states trying to ban firearms and force owners to turn said weapons in within 90 days or face felony persecution.
Illinois is one such state the is currently in the process of voting on a bill that would ban "assault" weapons and even several firearms used for hunting. Notice the quotes since these are only cosmetic difference and do not affect the function.

To the misinformed poster of this comment

"'He could have killed this many people in so many other ways.'

uhh, no. guns are easy to get, quite efficient and portable, and can be easily hidden. the perfect killing machine. that's all they're for -- to kill."

It wouldnt have taken much for him to go to the store and make bombs out of propane tanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I have a much bigger probelm with the ultra-violent video games that this unstable student was a big fan of, according to those that knew him. He liked online games, particularly Counterstrike, a hugely popular online game, in which players join terrorism or counterterrorism groups and try to shoot each other using all types of guns.

wtf?? Isn't this the same crap those Columbine murderers were doing to pass the time? This garbage is polluting and de-sensitizing young minds, and is especially dangerous for somone with mental problems.

Posted by: jorgey19 | April 17, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

More guns=more killings. Why is the U.S. murder rate, by guns, way higher than any other western nation? Let's talk about the causes not just the effects. I saw Obama mentioned something to this effect. If your hero is Rush Limbaugh, hate spewing attack dog, you probably are going to be an angry person. Combine that with a love of guns you have a problem. I think it's funny that people think if we all have guns we will be safer that's horrible. Whoever first made that argument is a moron. If eveyone had guns there would be less major killings and much much more little ones. It will be like the wild west all over again.

The conservative movement needs to realize the year is 2007. The red scare tactics of old will not help us now. To start to re-build the nation, as one, we need rush/coulter/hannity/o'Reilly/savage off the air. Do that and I'll give you Olberman. That's a fair trade right?

Posted by: rufus1133 | April 17, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

'arahA - How do you attend the funeral for one KIA, without attending them all?

If he did attend some, then he would be castigated for not attending others.'

No, other presidents have done just that. He just wants to deny it's happening. Just like they hide all the caskets coming in at Dover.

Posted by: sascha | April 17, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

CoryH - One of MikeB's Founding Father justifications for 2nd Amendment Rights last week was a quote from Jefferson to the effect that carrying a gun would be healthy exercise when out and about.

It had nothing to do with the Right to Bear Arms, and everything to do with a healthy lifestyle.

MikeB is not the best spokesman for anything. Yesterday afternoon without explaining where this came from he posted that the Virginia Tech situation was "TWO gunmen, each taking a separate area. Both gunmen are described as "foreign" and, thus, the guns were NOT legal. (Only U.S. citizens can purchase guns.) Nation wide there are warnings going out to campuses, as this may be part of some sort of terrorist action."

MikeB seems to be of good heart, but providing good solid information is not a strong suit with him.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to retract my "MikeB for President" comment earlier. I assume there's a background situation here between Mike and Sue I can't see, but he sure got bent out of shape over a cheesy Freud (gun = phallus) reference awfully easily. That's a standard tactic anyone who doesn't like something uses - try to associate the disliked object with some kind of greed, perversity, or other morally-objectionable thing like baseness. It was even used on Freud himself (remember the "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" quote?). That kind of comment shouldn't even be given two seconds' thought. Sue sure didn't give it that much time in the formative process.

I'd also like to know when Sen. Obama said he'd like to take away all handguns. He's much too junior in the senate to have a track record of supporting much of anything, but a comment like that would stop the campaign for many of his supporters quickly. Of course he still went to the fund raisers - he needs the money to beat Hitlery Clinton, and only the press is making him out to be some kind of messiah in the making. He seems like a stiff Bryant Gumbel type to me with as much personality as a maple tree.

As many have said - this is not a gun control issue. It's obviously a mental health issue. The killer was an introvert who (now reportedly) legally purchased a Glock 19 (9mm handgun) from a legal gun shop. I own a Glock 21 (.45 ACP) myself, as do many police officers. There's nothing magical about the Glock 19 - it has normal-capacity magazines (10 or 15 rounds), despite the fact that the media is already claiming he must have had "at least 33-round clips" for it. While an aftermarket company does manufacture 33-rd magazines for the Glock 19 (Scherer Magazines), no witnesses describe him using super-long, as in *sticking down 6 inches past the bottom of the gun* magazines. They just said he had a vest and belt with a bunch of magazines on it. He was just a nut job with mental problems. Make mental exams mandatory, if you want to do some good.

Oh, and if Japan's so safe after abolishing guns, why did one of their mayors just get gunned down in cold blood?

Posted by: CoryH | April 17, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"Attorney Gewneral Gonzales advocates the confiscation of all privately owned handguns. So does Barak Obama and several other memebers of COngress."

MikeB, I hope you have a citation to back this up. Sites such as don't attribute this stance to Barack Obama, and I've never heard any reputable source say that about him. (Or, as I said earlier, any other mainstream politician.) If confiscation of all privately-owned handguns is such a popular stance, you must be able to provide several non-NRA sources proving that.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

anon, April 17, 2007 04:26 PM - Oh, of course, well meaning liberals can use racist and sexist terms. They get a pass because they are soooo caring and sooooo enlightened and obviously Sue is a "wymen" and therefore "evolved" and I am a male and it is thus perfectly okay to use sexist language or call Native American's "drunken Indians" and to answer the bigot back is to somehow take leave of our good senses and sanity. Please give me a break! Okay? You're an idiot AND a bigot. Simply admit it and apologize and go somewhere and figure out where you went wrong. Calling youeslef a "liberal" and opposing Bush does NOT give you the right to act like an ass.

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

'He could have killed this many people in so many other ways.'

uhh, no. guns are easy to get, quite efficient and portable, and can be easily hidden. the perfect killing machine. that's all they're for -- to kill.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Also: Regardless of Japan's low Homicide rate they have a much small population but an astronomical suicide rate...

Gun ownership Homicide Gun homicide Suicide Gun suicide
rate per 100k rate per lm rate per lm rate per I m rate per lm
USA 85,000 9.3 6.40 12.0 7.1
Switzerland 43,000 1.5 1.40 20.4 5.8
New Zealand 29,000 2.6 0.49 14.5 2.5
Canada 24,000 2.2 0.67 12.8 3.
Australia 19,000 1.8 0.36 11.6 2.5
Britain 3,000 1.3 0.14 8.6 0.4
Japan 400 1.2 0.06 19.3 0.14
France (23,000) 4.9 2.32 20.0 4.9

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Earth to MikeB - Time to stop rant and make sense.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

SarahA - How do you attend the funeral for one KIA, without attending them all?

If he did attend some, then he would be castigated for not attending others.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

And once again I wonder how this became a gun issue.

When people are able to "accidentally" keep their foot on the accelerator of their car and mow through crowds, when people get mugged by people armed with pipes, when a person high on PCP can still kill a person bare handed after getting shot.

Their are all sorts of melees and tragedies. People burning families, drownings etc.

on Sept 11 over 3k people died without a shot being fired. So how is this a gun issue? He USED a gun, big deal? He could have killed this many people in so many other ways.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Sue... I cannot imagine using a term concerning the female anatomy in a derogatory manner as you do. Wasn't it for something similar that Don Imus was fired last week? Oh, I suppose because you are a woman you somehow feel entitled to disparage men? To disparage other people's likes and dislikes. You are quite simply a bigot. No different than the KKK swine that hung black people or the representatives being disparaged by Dick Cheney as "cowards", "enemy agents", and "the cut and run crowd". I would file a formal complaint with the Post, but you are obviously one of those Naderite-Animal Right morons who feel, because they are sooooo caring, they have the right to run roughshod over everyone else's rights and wishes. I would suggest that you look deep inside yourself before tossing off sexists insults in the future. It makes you look stupid and petty. Oh, people here know I a Naive Amercian - I have already been told to sober up and called a drunken Indian by similarly impowered Naderite twits in this don't bother. Bigot.

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

It's great to see President Bush "putting aside politics" to mourn with the VA Tech community over yesterday's events. How admirable of him. One question, though: Why can't he also bring himself to "put aside politics" by attending the funerals of the US servicemen and women who are losing their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan? I am sure that the average combined daily fatalities from Iraq (Iraqi military personnel,police and civilians as well as US military personnel)exceed the number of people killed at VA Tech yesterday.

Posted by: Sarah A | April 17, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We've all known the great melt-down was coming - and I think it's finally arrived. Rush Limbaugh has decided that since all those dirty hippie Libruls are out to get him, he'll just attempt a devastating first strike.

Unfortunately his mouth, just like his poor little vi*gra powered peck*r, is firing blanks.

On the April 16 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh called Media Matters for America "Stalinist" and part of the "Clinton machine agenda." He further falsely asserted that he is "not demeaning people on this program in any way."

Doesn't demean anyone - what about his little Michael J. Fox Dance? What about when he said that seperating Survivor contestants into tribes based on race wasn't because "blacks can't swim"? Or when he said some women would "love to be hired as eye candy"? Or that his cat taught him about women.

No, that's not demeaning or anything..

This the following comment is where he really jumped the shark, when he suggested that Imus' firing was all Hillary Clinton's fault.

Limbaugh asserted that syndicated radio host Don Imus was fired because he was "critical of [Sen.] Hillary [Clinton (D-NY)]," and added, "This is an election year. Clinton Inc., you get on their case, they're going to take you out."

And he wasn't done...

This is an election year. Clinton Inc., you get on their case, they're going to take you out. They're going to do what they can to marginalize you or do whatever.

I find all of this just so highly ironic because Media Matters is founded and run by David Brock - who used to be part of a right-wing Conservative attack operation funded by Richard Mellon-Scaif to Attack the Clinton's all during the 90's.

In his book, "Blinded By the Right", Brock describes faxing talking points TO LIMBAUGH for him to repeat about Anita Hill.

Brock also used to be close friends with Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter and on page 196 says...

Through my lawyer friend Ann Coulter, I saw a deeper level of partisan scheming and political manipulation in the Jones case, which Coulter herself later described as "a small, intricately knit right-wing consipiracy."

Posted by: sloan | April 17, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I realize that this incident immediately brings up the idea of gun control and a citizen's right to bear arms. In fact, that's about all I've been seeing and hearing on the news for the past day since this horrible act transpired. I know that we feel like gun control could change things or having another student have a gun might have changed things, but the fact is that 32 innocent people are dead. The ways this could have been prevented are numerous, but I would ask that people stop focusing on gun control and simply mourn the deaths.

This is not a time for anger or argument. This is not a time for debate, statistics, or political parade. This is a time for us to come together as a national community and remember what happened. This is a time for us to mourn together and support those who lost their lives.

A day will come again when we can discuss policy and controversial subjects, but set it aside for a while and focus on the people who were affected both directly and indirectly.

Posted by: Sam Haltiwanger | April 17, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

So why isn't crime lower where more people own guns?

I just read that Japan has less than 100 gun deaths last year IN THE COUNTRY!

Law enforcement has the best training for the operation and situations that guns are used. They STILL shoot innocent or the wrong people. How much better are untrained people going to do? That's not to criticize law enforcement's use, just to show that they are dangerous for even trained people. Should we trust people who trained watching fantasy cop shows on TV?

Posted by: JohnJ | April 17, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Ryan, excellent post.

Dana, I can feel your hatred for the NRA. To understand their (admittedly, sometimes extreme positions) put yourself in the shoes of a gun-owner (and I myself own 3, all long guns). Much of the gun-control crowd would happily ban all categories of guns, period. And many more would ban handguns, which the founders would certainly have felt are legit instruments of self defense.

Many people, especially those in rural and isolated areas (like Blacksburg, btw), don't have the luxury of a cop on every corner. Having the means to defend oneself is part and parcel of liberty and freedom in their eyes. Yet the WaPo editorial board, among others, would take away all guns if they had their way. This is the reason many of the NRA's arguments are framed in the apocolyptic tones, it's a slippery slope thing for them (like the pro-choice crowd and partial birth bans...its thought of as just the first step).

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness this Thompson guy is a nobody with a snowball's chance of winning a nomination for dog catcher. He sounds like a moron!

As to address the 'why would anyone in today's US need a gun' - I live in an area with black bears. We actually saw one walking around in my mom's yard last year, and we see tracks all the time. We have to deal with snakes, wild dogs, panthers (no kidding), and of course criminals. If you live in an urban area that has great police/military coverage that means you don't need guns, hooray for you. I don't have that luxury, and my gun keeps me any my family safe from all the harmful elements. About everyone I know owns a gun or multiple guns.

Why do we need "30+ round 'clips' ('magazines' is the correct term, by the way)? We don't *need* them. We're just too lazy to reload and would be stupid to force ourselves to do so in a self-defense situation if we didn't have to. Most of us (gun hobbyists) can change even low-cap mags faster than you can pull the trigger, anyway. For self-defense and target shooting, fast magazine changes are just as important as learning how to shoot in the first place. A ban on "high-capacity magazines" will only mean criminals reload more often. Magazines aren't heavy (especially low-capacity ones), so criminals will just carry more of them, and you'll be no safer from guns.

Bans don't work in the real world. Common sense (even if it's forced by law) that keeps guns in safe/trained hands is what's needed.

Posted by: CoryH | April 17, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The events at VTech are a national tragedy. The CNNs, MSNBCs and Foxs of the world want to look for someone to blame - the administration, police, gun rights. Let's put the blame squarely where it belongs - on the murderer. No amount of blame is ever going to undo this event and will probably not prevent actions like these in the future.

Who could have ever guessed a very troubled young man in Blacksburg, VA, would carry out such a horrible atrocity? Would you? Not me.

There's an old saying that's probably appropriate in times like these, no amount of security you impose, if someone wants to hurt someone else, they're going to do it. Sad but true.

This murderer set out intent on hurting as many as possible, and he did just that. Those are the facts, and at this time, we need only to pray for the families of the victims.

Posted by: LoydSmith | April 17, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

anon poster, April 17, 2007 03:31 PM - You are likely, then, to come from France. In Scandinavian countries, the owner keeps his or her guns, in their home, in a locked safe exactly of the sort I advocate. Checking your guns in at a club is a very expensive alternative that has been tried in Germany and Austria and put the cost of firearm ownership out of the reach of ordinary people, making shooting sports the property of the wealthy and privileged. I am opposed to this, just as I am opposed to the wealthy receiving tax breaks or even being allowed to muddle in politics. Look to the recent breakup of the royal twit, Prince William with Kate, and the subsequent comments by the English elite given as a reason....I mean, Kate's mother asked the Queen if she could use the bathroom? Give me a break. The rich, the wealthy, the elite, are an active menace, parasites that don't begin to pay their way in any case, and I cannot fathom your wanting to reserve to them some other privilege.

As for "self defense"...I don't. I cannot imagine harming another human being and simply leave my guns locked up at all times unless I am target shooting or hunting. If someone were breaking into my house at night, I have no idea of what I would do, but grabbing a gun wouldn't be on a long list of options. I have a semi-automatic target pistol, three rifles (one hunting rifle and two purely target rifles...all bolt action), and one shotgun. I do not have nor want what you call "assault rifles", but I know of people who do competition shooting with AR15's and they enjoy it very much. I would not press for any law that would deny legitimate target shooters from owning such a gun.

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

the difference between guns and knives/bombs/etc is the ease at which they can be used and how quickly they can kill people and the terror they bring. a guy with a gun can just do more damage with more ease than a guy with a knife. and a guy with a knife is easier to run from or fight. i hate that comparison. it makes no sense. if it did, then all the people who want to keep guns in their houses for "protection" would simply keep huge knives--if they did the same thing, why not just keep a knife by the bed?

Posted by: not the same | April 17, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course Obama is still doing fundraisers. Even before I read that update, I assumed most candidates would. Politics going on hold means campaigning (rhetoric, speeches, etc.) is on hold but fundraising still goes on. I wouldn't say that fundraising events will normally be prevented by tragedies.

Posted by: J Perez | April 17, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Maybe i should add another clarification - i do not propose a confiscation of any handgun, but i want to understand the thinking behind this hmm Paranoia? (not sure if its the right term)with gun control.

I cannot imagine that owning a gun would make me safer. And i agree that will always be an illegal way to purchase a gun. But for me it makes a differnce if i can go in the next store and by a gun and ammunition or if i have to search for an illegal way to buy one.

This can make a differnce between an planned murder or massacre and an impulsive one.

Posted by: Kavalor | April 17, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

'But it actually gets worse:

During the speech, Thompson also called himself the governor of the first state to buy "Jewish bonds" -- presumably meaning Israel Bonds -- and said his friend who persuaded him to buy the bonds was also a big supporter of the "Jewish Defense League" -- hopefully meaning the Anti-Defamation League, not the militant group.

The JDL is thought of in Israwl as a terrorist organization, for the record.

Posted by: Thompson steps in it: | April 17, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I am always disturbed and saddened by the willingness of my fellow liberals to ardently defend all Constitutional amendments save the 2nd. Like Mike B, I am a liberal and a gun owner. The last thing I want to do is place the possession of firearms solely into the hands of the government.

Whether or not one is "comfortable with" or "sees legitimate reasons" for private fun ownership is, frankly, irrelevant. There is not enough room here to expound upon it, but if you are against gun ownership, and you are hanging your hat on the "well-regulated militia" clause, I suggest you read a little further and little deeper on the Second
Amendment. There is adequate contemporary commentary to indicate that by "militia", the framers did, in fact, mean the "people". Although I may shudder at some of the company I must keep in being on this side of gun ownership, I feel that I must support the entire Constitution and all of its' Amendments.

For those whose politics leans to the left: With the tendency among neo-conservatives to want to privatize many aspects of our government, imagine a corporate "security force", or privatized local law enforcement agency with a particular political and/or religious ideology patrolling the streets of your neighborhood. Paranoid? Perhaps. But thirty or forty years ago who could have envisioned the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, voting machines without a paper trail, or the largely overlooked illegalities of the Bush administration? If, God forbid, your home should ever be invaded by a criminal or a warrantless public or private agency, you may pray that the man next door is a liberal with a gun.

Lastly, to reiterate: Whether you do or do not support private gun ownership is of no matter. As of this writing, the 2nd Amendment guarantees my right to do so.

Posted by: cyanatic | April 17, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The one argument I love to make that really POs gun lovers...a gun in your house is between 30 to 60 times more likely to hurt an innocent person, either by accident, or in a fit of passion than it is to protect you. That doesn't even count the fact that the "bad guys" usually steal their guns from people that think they are going to protect themselves with them. (Too much TV).

One other note: you know that nasty guy down the street from you that yells at any kids insight, calls the police on all the neighbors, and threatens everyone who says hello? Thanks to the NRA, he has several assult rifles, and a dozen hand guns, all loaded. And the police are not allowed to even keep a record of that. Now do you sleep better because you have your little 38 special?

What I think is really sad is there is Scrub, cashing in politically on more death. Interesting that he goes to a memorial for bunch of strangers (to him) tragically killed by a nut case; but where was he when they buried the over 120 Texans he signed the death warrants for, or the 3300+ brave Americans he caused the death of for the Bush Royal Family honor? Why couldn't he at least show up for one of those funerals? (I've got it, some of the other people there may have guns!)

Posted by: JohnJ | April 17, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

this is someone in favor of guns. so i guess we should just give up and figure if you send your kid to school, there's a good chance he'll get shot, but 'oh well'...

Im stating facts here bucko, these nutjobs are not attacking rifle ranges and police Departments for a reason.

Schools are prime targets. Thanks in part to their refusal to hire POLICE and USE them, and CNN, and of course, helpful people with answers like yours.

Either be a good citizen and take a cellphone picture of the guy who shot you, or shoot him yourself.

You dont want to defend yourself fine.

I have a first aid kit , a fire extiguisher, and a rifle.

You go call 911 and hide under a desk.

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

'House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) both maintained strong approval ratings as they passed the 100-day mark as leaders of their chambers, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.'

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

' It was the hysterical soccer moms like you, looking for "security", that brought us Bush.'

I'm not a mom, friend, nor am I hysterical. Nor would I in a million years vote for bush. You gun people are the ones that are getting hysterical.

You're all just a little emotionally attached to your peni -- I mean gun.

Posted by: Sue | April 17, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse


you misunderstand me. What i wanted to say is that i dont see many (if any aside from sport shooting) valid reason to own a gun in this supposedly civilised time. And i come from a country with strict gun contol laws (in Europe). If i want to do sport shootings i could , and the weapon would be safe in the club i do my sport. If i would like to hunt, i could get a license and do so.
The historical developments leading to this difference are logical in my opinion. In the early US and before in colonial times life was quite dangerous and wild (at least in the frontier) so guns were a necessity of life. In Europe the political situationw as different - the government was afraid of armed people and life was already settled down so guns were no necessity of life and we still managed our revolutions. So the laws are different. Are the same reasons still valid today.

You say that the you could need the gun for selfprotection. ok but what are the chances you have it around exactly when you need it. And is the situation not more likely to escalate if both parties are armed?

On another point - the easier it is to purchase a gun - the more likely it is that someone is using it. It will always be possible for someone to obtain a gun illegally - if someone wants to break a law he will allways find a way. But would the reduction of the number of guns not at least make it harder to obtain a weapon illegally or make it more expansive.

And there is another point i don't really understand. You are not allowing teenagers to drink alcohol but you allow them to legally own a gun. For me this is not logical. If i cannot be considered old enough to drink alcohol (and be a adult person) or take part in an election. Why i should be allowed to own a gun. With what could i make more damage to others?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

For the edification of those who wondered what Tommy Thompson said to a jewish group:

'WASHINGTON - Former Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential hopeful Tommy Thompson told Jewish activists Monday that making money is "part of the Jewish tradition," and something that he applauded.

Speaking to an audience at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington D.C., Thompson said that, "I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."

Thompson later apologized for the comments that had caused a stir in the audience, saying that he had meant it as a compliment, and had only wanted to highlight the "accomplishments" of the Jewish religion.

"I just want to clarify something because I didn't [by] any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things," he said. '

Thompson, another of the herd of republicans running for president, is known mostly for the great deal he cut for Big Pharma as part of Medicare Part D --and then probably went to work for them. He's an expert on finding ways of funneling tax money to global corporations.

Posted by: Jane | April 17, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Sue, "No other country allows anyone to own a gun..." Oh yes they do. I lived in Sweden. Ordinary people there own guns at just about the same rate that we do. Same for Norway. Denmark has a bit more restrictive laws, but gun ownership is nearly as common there as in the U.S. Same for New Zealand, Switzerland, lots of Western countries. Gun band exist almost nowhere. In England and Australia, gun ownership is reserved for the wealthy privileged classes because their gun "bans" amount to nothing more than an extremely high tax that puts them beyond the means of ordinary people. Please, restrict your hysterical comments to subjects that you know something about. Facts ARE important. It was the hysterical soccer moms like you, looking for "security", that brought us Bush. Usually, after bone headed jistakes like that, people have the courtesy to simply shut up for a while, but not you and your fellows in the soap opera crowd....

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

First off, MikeB for President! I, like him, think the NRA is full of just as many half-witted zealots as the anti-gun crowd is. I am the proud owner/collector of many firearms, including so-called "assault weapons" (AK47s, SKSs, and AR15s) and handguns. I don't hunt, but I do target shoot quite often, and I enjoy shooting as a hobby and stress-relief mechanism. All I have ever killed is time, money, and paper. Does that make me want to cast my lot in with a bunch of seemingly crazy people (the NRA)? Absolutely not!

Pay closer attention to what MikeB said - anyone MUST address the clarification of the 2nd amendment before addressing what weapons (if any) to ban. The only reason this hasn't been pressed by the NRA is because they aren't sure they'd win in the current supreme court. If the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to personal ownership of weapons, and the founding fathers somehow misrepresented it (and somehow lied in their personal writings), the anti-gun crowd wins. If, as is seemingly obvious to anyone who reads the other writings, the 2nd A *does* apply to personal ownership, then we have that right. You can THEN register anything you want, since you can't take my guns away. I am already a registered gun carrier, in fact, as I consented to be finger-printed and have a background check in order to get a concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit in GA. I determined that I need a handgun on my person for self-defense, as I live in an area in North Georgia full of illegal Mexican gangs, and I abide by all laws. I wasn't about to go carrying a gun like a vigilante - I took the legal route.

This killer was not legally able to purchase a handgun. Even if he WAS, campus laws forbade possession of a handgun or any other weapon on campus. Laws didn't stop him, so why would any additional laws do any more to stop anyone else? If you think a total ban of guns would solve anything, you're wrong. How long until some coyote brings in a big load of guns from Mexico for the huge profit to be had from other criminals? They're doing it already, but there's currently more money in the tons of drugs they bring in each year, so the guns aren't as important to them. A gun ban would mean that would change, and they'd be pouring in over the border in no time along with your landscapers and maids. Banning guns will take them out of legal citizens hands and leave only the criminals with guns. I live in an area where the police sometimes take almost an hour to get here when called (quite rural) - we only have a dozen or so county deputies to cover the whole huge area. Without a gun, I can't defend myself from a criminal with a gun, and I can't afford to wait for the cavalry when my family is in danger.

Like another comment above states, gun laws should be local, and bans should occur where they make sense (if that's anywhere). If NYC or San Francisco want to ban guns, the gun-lovers can leave for neighboring areas that match their preferences better. If all of the US tries to ban guns, where do gun owners go? To the gun safe to arm ourselves for the next revolution, I guess? I certainly hope not, but what other options are there if you try to take away our defenses and leave us nowhere to go?

Posted by: CoryH | April 17, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes, no other country allows their citizens to own guns like the United States.

No other country in the world respects and trusts their citizens enough with the responsibility. Are you saying the American public needs a babysitter?

Personally I would rather live in a land where I could make my own choices.

You might disagree with people's choice to own a gun, but that doesn't mean you can take that choice away from them.

Conversly, conservatives cannot take away a person's choice to get an abortion even though they are personally against it.

This is what makes the United States the land of opportunity.

There is no such thing as opportunity if you can't chose to take advantage of it.

Posted by: Ryan | April 17, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I never see anyone refer to the actual text of the 2nd here it is
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The right to bear arms is directly related to protection against tyranny. The founding fathers weren't advocating that any idiot should be able to own a gun. These were men who were concerned with the next revolution because surely this loose confederation of states would not last say 400 years... I think we've proved them wrong so why are we still arguing about this. No one who wantonly kills 30+ people is attempting to ensure the security of the free state. And to the whole background check argument, this kid nor the majority of perputrators in similar atrocities would have failed a background check. Every felon had a clean record at somepoint.

Posted by: dana | April 17, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

No other country allows anyone and everyone to own a gun like this one does. Any lunatic can get one.

And consequently, we have the highest rate of gun violence in the world.

Posted by: Sue | April 17, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I live in Northern Virginia and know many people who either went to Virginia Tech or have kids at the school. I am left speechless at what this person did.

Having said that let me say I hate the NRA. To me they are the most vile NGO in the US. Why you ask? Because they fight any and all gun control legislation. Below is a list of some of the insane things they fought against.

1. Banning bullets that rip through Kevlar
2. Banning gun clips that hold over 30 bullets
3. Banning assault weapons.
4. Waiting periods to obtain a gun
5. Background checks.

Banning these items does not infringe on people's second amendment rights. They can still own handguns and rifles. What it does is outlaw idiotic items that law abiding gun owing citizens do not need.

Banning these items does not stop any law abiding citizens from hunting, target shooting etc.. It does stop some idiot from being able to shoot through a cops bullet proof vest, spray a crowd with over 30 bullets in less than 2 minutes and keeps criminals from walking into a shop and buying a gun on the spot. Yes, they may be able to get one from the black market but it won't be at a gun shop.

Now I will say I am not for banning all guns. I believe people should have the right to hunt. I just don't think you need a 30 shot clip or Kevlar pierecing bullets to kill a deer. While I may not like handguns, I don't believe that banning athem all will work beacuse they have become too ingrained in our society.

No, I just feel common sense legislation is ok and I think the items I listed are common sense. Yet the NRA fights even these items so you now know why I despise them.

Posted by: Smurf | April 17, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

'Predators choose weak targets.

Schools are prime.'

this is someone in favor of guns. so i guess we should just give up and figure if you send your kid to school, there's a good chance he'll get shot, but 'oh well'...

Posted by: Loons | April 17, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I'll admit: I do not typically post my comments to articles or forum discussions. However, I feel there is something I need to clarify here.

The second amendment is not designed to guarantee people the right to go hunting with guns. It's purpose is not to guarantee people the right to participate in a local militia with their guns.

It guarantees people the right to possess firearms to protect themselves from an unjust and tyrannical regime. The right to defend themselves.

I don't rely on my government to take care of me. If someone, a criminal or a terrorist, wants to threaten me I shouldn't have to wait for a policeman or someone from the military to back me up.

To the posters (care bears) who use crime statistics to support gun abolishment: this would do nothing - criminals do not buy guns at legitimate establishments or gun shows. Anyone who has ever been to a gun show would know that gang bangers and city thugs don't attend. They would REALLY stick out.

The only thing a ban would do is take guns away from the people who want to defend themselves. It would create more victims.

How different would this tragedy in Blacksburg be if a student in that dorm or one of the classrooms had a concealed handgun license and had their weapon with them? I bet that death toll would be lower.

I think the current background checks and waiting period requirements are perfectly reasonable for any legitimate gun owner.

I don't own a handgun, and I won't own one. That is my choice - it's not the 1880s anymore and I am not afraid of outlaws.

However, I respect the right for people to chose to carry if it makes them feel safer. I only hope they also chose to be responsible with their firearms. The gun control problem cannot be solved appropriately by a federal arm - the people just have to be more responsible.

Gun safety courses and an information campaign (maybe like DARE) would have a greater positive impact than a ban or heavily increased restrictions.

Posted by: Ryan | April 17, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

'gun ban people are more vocal, especially in the wake of tragedies.'

turn on your radio -- there's gun nuts ranting about their 'right' to shoot innocent people all over the dial...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

More people are killed each year in alchol related incidents than are killed in gun related events. Using the logic displayed on this board should we not go back reintroduce Amendment XVIII. It didn't work before but it will make you feel good knowing that you banned an evil substance while not holding the abuser responsible.

Honestly bans don't work. But perhaps education, training and swift enforcement of the current laws instead of the touchy/ feely atempts to understand and reform the criminals might have better results.

Posted by: RM | April 17, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Ban the Bomb

Posted by: Ban the Bomb | April 17, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

No shortage here of big government liberals wanting to take away everyone's rights because of a single nut-job. that's good policy for Dems, its called the grandma rule. Examine everything in the view of how it effects my grandma. Ignore society as a whole. that is not how one makes sound policy. and by the way, how will you eliminate all the guns presently in the US? Osmosis?

PS - I don't post things unsigned. I am proud and determined on my views. Why would I hide from them. I am not an ignorant coward or drindl who likes to throw unattributed bombs. I post links to others works. It is called academic property. but you bidens and kennedies of the world don't believe in taking your own tests or writing your own papers. Must be a lib thing. I also don't cut and paste items from others statements intending to be funny. there is no humor in plaigerism.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 17, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

No more guns for anyone!!! So if some psychopath wants to go on a killing rampage they have to do it the old fashioned way... with a knife. That'll make them earn their kills.

Posted by: TimC | April 17, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Looks like all the usual battle lines have been drawn, while Tommy Thompson's anti-Semetic "compliment" to a Jewish group had gone largely unnoticed, especially surprising in the wake of the whole Imus mess.

I know TT doesn't stand a chance of becoming prez (I've also said this about Reagan, Bush I, etc), but I hate to see such naked cluelessness ignored by a distracted media.

Posted by: Mildred Machiavelli | April 17, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Not knowing anything about guns, I was wondering how much do those guns cost. Is it the same as buying legally. Or legal ones more expensive? Just curious about how market economics work in such cases.

On the political side, of course the incident could be used by both sides to make their point, but it can't be argued that without a gun, one could not do as much harm as say wielding a stick or a sword.

Posted by: Kevin | April 17, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Gun Control and the NRA care very little about saftey, Rights,or the Common good. they care for very little in fact.

Votes and money.

Sarah Bradys Guards have handguns.

Banks are allowed to defend their money with guns, and women at home are not.

Student Visa and Exchange students ought to be carefuly screened.

Anyone caught with a stolen gun should spend immense time in jail.

America used to taste good, until your kids grew up and your bellies got soft.


There were armed and off Duty Cops on duty in my school, where no one was ever shot , stabbed, killed, or otherwise.

Predators choose weak targets.

Schools are prime.

No manufacturer of firearms (domestic OR abroad) will stop making guns because SOME people in America want to make a law.

No law heals critical head wounds.

Life sucks. Stop trying to repossess 150 million legal (That means "signed for") rifles and put an armed Cop on the beat.

There will always be nutjobs. The only difference is weather or not YOU will be able to defend your kids.

(ps, Im tired of people making my hunting rifle out to be a murder tool because of your ill-willed kids and exchange students on Student VISA's e.i 911)

Posted by: Chris | April 17, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Why is this a gun issue? He could have killed people with home made bombs made from easily attainable items that aren't regulated. He could have made a nerve gas. Just because he used guns to senselessly kill people doesn't make this a gun issue.

Posted by: | April 17, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Actually, yes. Attorney Gewneral Gonzales advocates the confiscation of all privately owned handguns. So does Barak Obama and several other memebers of COngress. On this forum, witness poeople like Sue and jaa3 and Kavalor, who are representative of a certain hysterical segment of the population who would gladly surrender my rights in return for feeling secure. Never mind the facts. After the wholesale confiscation of guns in Australia a few years back, the rate of home invasions went up ten fold, as did assaults of all types. They have NEVER gone down. Since then, voters have put restrictions on the gun control crowd and have allowed for some private ownership, but only for those wealthy individuals wo can afford their special licences and taxes. And, in the interim, the fanatics, as THAT is what they are, literally melted down every firearm they had confiscated when it appeared they were going to loose an upcoming vote on the issue. I find all of this somewhat frightening, not to mention Nazi-like; don't you?

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Just to add a brief note...It is not only non-citizens that are a danger to society. American citizens commit crimes as well. I just do not understand what the difference is whether the person was an American citizen or not...

Posted by: DJP | April 17, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

jaa3 - A similar argument has been made by the Bush Administration with reagards to the Bill Of Rights. The imprisonment of people a Guantanimo, Cuba has been roundly and rightly condemned by people, not becasue we love these terrorists, but simply because we are concerned that this or some future Administration might use such a pretext to imprison people who are crtical of it. Likewise, we are all concerned about government wiretaps, reading of our mail and email, and the insane spying on ordinary citizens with no court order at all or under the thin (and phoney) excuse of the FISA courts.

The citizens of Western democracies do own firearms for sporting purposes. Even in England, with their much touted gun control laws, guns are permitted. They simply tax them and ammunition so high that ordinary citizens cannot afford them. They are a status symbol of the wealthy. The exact same situation exists in Canada. Guns are not banned, they are simply a sport reserved for the wealthy and privileged. Rather like Bush's tax cuts. Eh? In Sweden and Norway and Switzerland, they have gun laws almost exactly of the sort I and other liberals advocate and they have very few crimes committed by firearms. And, when you hear some gun control advocate talking about the thousands of gun deaths every year, remember the statistics I cite. Also, when they talk about London having 64 murders last year, committed with firearms, whereas New York had nearly 400, remember that virtually all of those homicides, in both cities took place between gang members, usually minorities, in fighting over turf. The statistical difference in gang members between the two cities correlates exactly between the difference in those statistics. Nation wide, in the U.S. as in Europe, 80% of gun crimes occur as a result of inter-gang war warfare and the delta, again, between the U.S. and those countries tracks this difference precisely.

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

But MikeB, you blamed the gun-control crowd for the shooting, not the NRA. The NRA are the ones stopping reasonable gun-control policies from being enacted. Why are you attacking the groups you agree with (gun-control advocates) and giving the NRA a pass?

And you do agree with gun-control advocates. I have never heard any politician or any mainstream organization call for all guns to be confiscated and destroyed. They call for the same common-sense policies that you outlined: Background checks, mandatory safety training, etc. So I really don't understand your position here.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

jaa, I guess I'm trying to take the temp of the people on this board. Many people are quick to blame the gun laws after a tragedy like this. Clearly the constitution, specifically the 2nd amend, allows for gun ownership (and also allows for registration and 'reasonable' regulations, star11).

I wonder if it's time to amend the amendment, in light of today's supposedly different environment vis a vis the late 1700s. I suspect that the country isn't there yet, though, otherwise it would probably already be amended.

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

JD, what are you getting at? Are you trying to show that the gun control crowd is wrong because it is in the minority and because the constitution may not currently validate their position?

If so, that is an insane, anti-historical, reactionary stance to take.

If not, then clarify, please.

Posted by: jaa3 | April 17, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

In addition, yes, September 11 was a tragedy. I feel very badly for the family members and for every one affected by what happened that day.
What I don't understand is our lack of response to the continuing tragedy of the thousands who are killed every year by guns - it seems as though when something like the VA Tech shootings happens, we talk about the need for change for a week or two - and then we forget about it until it happens again.
Unfortunately, the families of the victims of 9/11 have not had their justice - but many of the families of those killed by guns every year do not get their justice, either. We have vowed to never forget the victims of 9/11 - but the families of those lost to gun violence miss their loved ones just as much as the families of 9/11 victims miss theirs. Will we remember these VA Tech families for much longer than a 2 or 3 week news cycle?

Posted by: star11 | April 17, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

anon., April 17, 2007 01:34 PM
I read the report that this person had a receipt in his backpack, too. That does not mean that the gun was aquired legally or even that such a report is true. Also, that report conflicts with the FBI release of information that the serial numbers had been filed off the guns. Why would this person file the serial number off the guns and, then, turn around and carry a receipt of the purchase of such a weapon. It doesn't add up. The report of the receipt is likely false.

Correction, April 17, 2007 01:06 PM -
There is no such thing as a leal citizen that is a noncitizen. This person was a resident alien. In order to pourchase a firearm, he had to have a special permit. In most states he could not even obtain such a special permit.

Blarg, April 17, 2007 01:24 PM , others:
I am not a member of the NRA. I think the NRA is basicly a Republican Party front organization that attracts red necks and right wing conspiracy theorists. I don't much care about the NRA or what they think. Moreover, I think they are (and I condemned them for the last paragraph of my post) the shrill voice of the anti-gun control, anti-common sense crowd. The genuine nuts from that organization can be depended upon to oppose any common sense rules. Those legitimate gun owners, and that s the majority of them, would support the common sense regulations I advocate.

Sue, Kavalor:
First, there is a Bill Of Right guarrantee of the right to keep and bear arms. That the Founding Fathers meant this to be an individual right is made very clear in the writings of Jefferson, Adams, Washingrton and others. You cannot easily reinterpret the Second Amendment to suit your irrational fear of firearms wirthout doing serious damage to someone elses reinterpreting another provision of those rights and doing grave harm to your ability to even post on forums such as this.
Moreover,the hysteria surrounding the entire gun debate is clouding the facts. Put this in perspective. There were about 17,000 homicides in the entire U.S. and terriroties last year. Of those, about 30% or 5,130 were committed with guns of all types. About half, or 8,735 were as a result of purposeful poisoning. At the same time, there were 22,267 suicides. Slightle fewer than 4,000 of these used a gun firearm of any sort. About 60% were a result of purposeful poisonings. put these into perspective, there were 13,000 deaths due to hanging Christmas tree lights and more than 80,000 heart attacks and 27,00 deaths due to shovelling snow. There were more combined injuries and deaths due to after achool sports than to firearms; twice as many, in fact.
Basically, your argument is based on hysteria and is simply nonsense. The same statistical model you use would provide a better excuse for men not doing yard work...or god forbid hanging Christmas decorations, than for gun control of any sort.

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I am someone who feels very strongly that there are very few legitimate reasons for people to own guns. There certainly aren't any reasons for individual people to own semi- or fully-automatic guns. Hunting rifles - well, if someone wants to hunt, fine. I think it is a little antiquated but I know for some it is a sport. But there is not a single reason for anyone to own these other guns - I don't know much about them.
Yes- the 2nd amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, but it says nothing about the right to acquire them without background checks, without required training, without heavy documentation as to who has these guns. This kind of tragedy happens too often for anyone to deny a cause and effect relationship. It is very sad when someone says the answer to these situations is more people carrying guns - that does nothing to solve the problem of resorting to extreme violence in response to what may seem like as major life trauma, but what does turn out to be, in retrospect, a little bump in the road. We need to give people alternatives - for example, we need to make it ok to seek out mental health help.
Gun ownership may be a right, but along with that right, goes extreme responsibility and privilege - and, perhaps, some loss of privacy.

Posted by: star11 | April 17, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't the constitution been changed to do so? Because the pro-gun lobby is too powerful and well-funded, and has too many legislators in its pocket. Next question.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

To those who would ban guns, or maybe just broad classes of guns such as handguns...

Why do you think the constitution hasn't been changed to do so? If in this day and age, the need for firearms has passed (as another poster suggested), why haven't all 50 states, or the 2/3 majority or whatever, gotten together to repeal the 2nd amend?

My guess is that there are more gun-rights people than gun-ban people, but the gun ban people are more vocal, especially in the wake of tragedies.

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Nobody but republicans politicized 9/11 -- and they still flog it to score political points.

Posted by: Jane | April 17, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The highest rate of gun-related crimes in the world. And the victims are overwhelming innocents.

Posted by: Sue | April 17, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Politics never really ceases in this day and age. Both events CC mentions (reagan and 9/11) were quickly molded to the advantage of one side or another through partisan spin. The VA Tech massacre is no different.

Posted by: matt p | April 17, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I find the logic also very strange. Ok i'am from a country whit strong gun control. I i never missed the possibility to own a gun. What would i do with it in a city in the middle of a civilised country. Hunting?

On the one hand America is very free in gun rights. But at the same time it has one of the highest, if not the highest rate of gun-related crimes. Also one of the highest suicide rate with guns.

And nearly half of all school- and university shootings are in the United States.

I cannot prove it, but for me it sounds related.

That the free availability of guns furthers serious crimes is a no brainer in my opinion.

Posted by: Kavalor | April 17, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

MikeB - Your going to have to stop ranting and do some research and provide legitimate sources if you want us to take you seriously anymore.

Va. Tech Gunman Writings Raised Concerns
Blacksburg, Va., Apr 17, 2007 (AP Online via COMTEX) -- The gunman suspected of carrying out the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 people dead was identified Tuesday as...Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old senior, arrived in the United States as boy from South Korea in 1992 and was raised in suburban Washington, D.C., officials said...One law enforcement official said Cho's backpack contained a receipt for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol. Cho held a green card, meaning he was a legal, permanent resident, federal officials said. That meant he was eligible to buy a handgun unless he had been convicted of a felony.

Investigators stopped short of saying Cho carried out both attacks. But ballistics tests show one gun was used in both, Virginia State Police said.{A29D30FC-0CF8-433C-A264-09E7216F2795}

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

McCain's comments today provide further proof that he is the Manchurian Candidate.

Posted by: Progressive | April 17, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

koz, you are so transparent. just sign the posts, for chrissake. everybody knows your issues. You right about them every five minutes. Seriously, get a life.

Posted by: Linda | April 17, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

And while we're at it, let's ban tobacco, alcohol, psychotropic drugs, automobiles, books, and whatever else we don't like that particular day. First of all, the whole point of freedom is that we should ban as few things as possible. Second, banning somehting isn't a very effective method of preventing people from obtaining a product. It simply makes them obtain it illegally.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

A lot of us are, tommy.

Bush going to the college to politicize this tragedy and turn it into a forum to score points for the NRA is beyond sick.

Posted by: Rachel | April 17, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

MikeB, that's the most insane logic I've ever heard. The NRA and other pro-gun organizations oppose the simple and reasonable gun-control measures you describe. And yet you don't blame the NRA. Instead you blame people who support gun control, just like you do! I seriously can't even describe how ridiculous that is.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

EVERYTHING politicians do is political.
Just the fact they want everyone to know
they are "mourning" is politcal.

THE TECH authorities are going to get fried
They wasted time which resulted in more deaths.

I wish the USA would get this worked up about our service men and women in Irag
Every week there is a least 30 + that are killed!

Posted by: tommy | April 17, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Do people really NEED guns? We no longer have to hunt for our food and we have the strongest military in the world defending the nation so there is no need for a militia. Why on earth would the public need to own guns? Unless you are in law enforcement or the military it isn't essential that you own a gun. Lets just ban then out right. Outlaw them all, everthing from BBs to assault rifles.

Posted by: TimC | April 17, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

'April 16,2007 | LAREDO, Texas -- Sen. John McCain says the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech does not change his view that the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to carry a weapon.'

Politics on hold? Oh, pleeeease CC. This isn't political? This isn't carrying the water of the NRA? This isn't blatant pandering? He didn't even wait for the bodies to get cold.

and he says 'everyone has a right to carry a gun.. by which he means non citizens, lunatics, and terrorists, presumbly.

Posted by: Jane | April 17, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Just a correction. The AP is reporting that the gun was bought legally as the killer was a legal citizen

Posted by: correction | April 17, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

A reply to Mike B:

You realize that most pro-gun advocates advocate very strongly against your proposals, right? The NRA has strongly opposed any background check or licensing requirement to owning a gun. The idea that they only oppose these arguments to because they are afraid of someone ten steps down the line taking their guns away is ridiculous. Don't oppose good policy simply becuase you're afriad of what will happen twenty years in the future.

Anyway, apart from basic background checks and tracking, I think most gun control laws should be local. Walking around with a gun in downtown D.C. is drastically different from doing it in the rural areas of Virginia. People in Texas getting angry because D.C. residents have gun control laws are crazy. They do not understand the dynamics of living in D.C. anymore than D.C. residents understand the dynamics of living in Texas. We have a federalist system for a reason.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I would like it noted that the person who committed this crime was not an American citizen and had no right to possess firearms. That the serial numbers were filed from these weapons indicates that they were likely illegally obtained, also. A firearm with the serial number filed off would not even be transferable at a gun show. It was very likely obtained via a gang or crime syndicate and was the result of a theft.

The blame for this mess and ones like it in the future lies squarely with the gun control crowd. First, a ban on private transfers of firearms at gun shows and through newspapers without a background check and clearance would prevent nonresidents from obtaining weapons. But this is not going to happen when every legal gun owner understands that for you, this is merely a first step in your ultimate goal of identifying gun owners so that you can eventually elect some like minded gun control fanatic who will confiscate and destroy every privately owned gun. It wouldn't matter if that elected official was later removed or defeated, the deed would be done. This is exactly what occurred in Australia and in England. No legitimate gun owner is going to even chance that happening. They await clarification from the Supreme Court that the Second Amendment applies to individuals, something that seems to this liberal to be obvious. Then, you can work with gun owners, acknowledging their *right* to possess firearms and drop this nonsense about confiscating their guns. Secondly, we can support and require some sort of simple but comprehensive test, similar to a driving test, that every gun or ammunition purchaser must pass to ensure safe gun handling. This would not have the remotest chance of becoming as law unless and until the Second Amendment issue is resolved. And third, you can require that all guns, unless under the immediate control of the owner, be locked in a steel safe weighting at least 200 pounds and that the ammunition be locked separately in a steel box. This would largely eliminate the availability of firearms obtained by theft.

If you are truly interested in gun safety, you will take these simple and logical steps. I am a liberal and a gun owner. There are A LOT of us and we have been making these points for quite some time, but it has been lost in the clamor and blathering of the wing nuts on either side of this issue. I, for one, am pretty sure that you are one of the gun control wing nuts and are not truly interested in gun safety, but rather only interested in furthering the hysteria to the end of winning "points" in the never ending sport of American politics. There are issues, and I think that this is one of them, that are too important to allow you and your NRA opposite to control. It's high time the adults step in and provide some calm and rational thought to this.

Posted by: MikeB | April 17, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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