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An Election-Eve Letter on Guns

Amy Gardner

Just hours before the polls are due to open in this year's Democratic primary for governor, two young men touched by the Virginia Tech tragedy have sent out an open letter opposing Creigh Deeds because of his position on guns.

Colin Goddard, a victim who survived the mass shootings in April 2007 (and was in the room when shooter Seung Hui Cho killed himself), and Omar Samaha, whose sister, Reema, was killed, issued the somber letter just after 5:30 p.m.

They noted that Deeds voted against closing the gun show loophole before voting for it, and has supported allowing concealed weapons in bars.

"Senator Deeds has a record on guns that worries us," they wrote. "Senator Deeds opposes our one-gun-a-month law -- and even Bob McDonnell supported that."

"We believe Senator Deeds is a good person. And on many issues, we agree with him. But keeping the people we love safe is the single most important issue to us, and that's why Senator Deeds won't be getting our vote on Tuesday."

By Amy Gardner  |  June 9, 2009; 3:55 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Election 2009  
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I can't believe they are using the Virginia Tech tragedy to sway the results of the election. This is worse than in 2004 when the Republicans would say 9/11 in every sentence.

Posted by: F0X7 | June 9, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I can believe that Omar is saying such a thing. Omar fails to realize that it wasn't a loophole that ended his sisters life. Omar needs to focus his attention and energy to the root cause of the situation and stop being used by gun control advocates. I pray that Omar someday finds peace and understanding. More control has never prevented tragedies.

Posted by: DirtyFerrel | June 9, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

This is an excellent example of how various interest groups manipulate social issues to distract voters from the real issues at stake in elections.

The so-called "gun show loophole" had nothing to do with the Va. Tech massacre. The shooter purchsed his pistols through licensed dealers and his background check came up clean. That's because the judge who had jurisdiction over the shooter's mental competence case failed to enter anything about the latter's incompetency in the state criminal database.

Moreover, the issue of gun control in Virginia is dead. Like it or not, most voters simply do not wish to surrender their rights to own firearms to the whims of a few bureaucrats. The issue has come up repeadly and the outcome has always been the same. To put it simply, Virginia is not going to support restrictions on the ability of law abiding citizens to own guns.Although closing the "gun show loophole" seems inocuous, this issue is widely perceived as the first step in allowing even more intrusive gun legislation.

Instead of prattling on about this issue, it's time to start focussing on transportation, the environment, taxation and other real issues that dsperately need attention. To date, it has been too easy for politicians to avoid their responsibility for not addresing these issues by uttering platitudes about guns, abortion and other ancillary social issues that, besides being incapable of resolution, inhibit the ability of the Commonwalth to prosper.

Posted by: Tom-Fairfax | June 9, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I am a current student at Virginia Tech who has lost three friends in the tragedy, one who was my sister.

I do, though, get quite upset when people say that the Virginia Tech Massacre is used as a trump card.

I do also oppose stricter gun laws. I don't feel that it's the laws that were ineffective, but the treatment facilities and inattentivness of the family. The 2nd Amendement says that the public has the right to bear arms. Yes codes should be in place, but it's a gray area on how strict those laws can be.

As the saying goes, you might be able to declaw a cat, but he's still just as dangerous with teeth. I'm sure that the killer would've found another way to be just as deadly even without purchasing guns.

These families were very hurt, and are doing all they can to prevent others from being hurt the best way they know how. Please consider that, before making such hurtful comments.

Posted by: Gemin1 | June 9, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Gemin1 - I am sorry for you, your family, and each of the other victim's families losses. I have no issue with trying to prevent others from being hurt, which is why I encourage folks to look at the real cause of that was the man, not the means. It was the mental health system and a judge that failed that day....

May you find peace.

Posted by: DirtyFerrel | June 9, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

My heart goes out to the victims of the VT shooting but after seeing the ABC 20/20 program on Mr. Samaha and his quest to legislate background checks on private sales at gun shows, it has become apparent that he is either being used by the tragedy peddlers in the anti-rights crowd or is becoming one of them. When he testified at the Virginia Crime Commission late last year he told a story of how he went to a Richmond Gun Show and purchased numerous firearms without a background check, turning them over police after he did so. What he did not tell the commission at the time, and we did not learn until the 20/20 program, is that ABC gave him several thousand dollars to see how many guns he could buy in an hour. If I had a wad of money given to me, I could buy any gun I wanted too. As someone who has worked numerous gun shows as a volunteer for a candidate, most of the people I see walk into a gun show to sell a gun from their private collection, also walk out of the show with it. More than one USDOJ study has proven that criminals simply do not get their guns at gun shows.

Posted by: vssapresident | June 9, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

With what I am reading, I'm thinking that Moran picked the wrong issue to go after Deeds with.

The Heller decision pretty much ends the gun debate anyway. There will be a few technical issues to deal with, but the basic question of the right to own a gun in the home is settled law for the foreseable future (until most of that majority dies or retires - which could be decades). The rhetoric and the actual issues will die down - and so will the ability of the NRA to fundraise (which is why they never wanted Heller to go forward).

Posted by: michaelbindner | June 9, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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