Guns, gun violence, gun control, and other gun-related news is obviously very popular this week.
Here are a few interesting bits:
‘Gun-Free Zones’ by David B. Kopel in the Wall Street Journal
Last year the Virginia legislature defeated a bill that would have ended the “gun-free zones” in Virginia’s public universities. At the time, a Virginia Tech associate vice president praised the General Assembly’s action “because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.” In an August 2006 editorial for the Roanoke Times, he declared: “Guns don’t belong in classrooms. They never will. Virginia Tech has a very sound policy preventing same.”
Actually, Virginia Tech’s policy only made the killer safer, for it was only the law-abiding victims, and not the criminal, who were prevented from having guns. Virginia Tech’s policy bans all guns on campus (except for police and the university’s own security guards); even faculty members are prohibited from keeping guns in their cars.
This should be making big news. It WOULD be making HUGE news if it had passed and the killer legally carried his gun onto campus and killed just one person. The media would be saying that the lawmakers and pundits that had pushed it through were practically complicit in the murder.
People don’t stop killers. People with guns do by Glenn Reynolds in the New York Daily News
Police can’t be everywhere, and as incidents from Columbine to Virginia Tech demonstrate, by the time they show up at a mass shooting, it’s usually too late. On the other hand, one group of people is, by definition, always on the scene: the victims. Only if they’re armed, they may wind up not being victims at all.
“Gun-free zones” are premised on a fantasy: That murderers will follow rules, and that people like my student, or Bradford Wiles, are a greater danger to those around them than crazed killers like Cho Seung-hui. That’s an insult. Sometimes, it’s a deadly one.
A friend of mine just said that if the background checks for guns were the same as for CCW permits, maybe it would be easier to cut back on the number and/or size of gun-free zones as there would be more confidence in the people who could legally buy guns. I don’t know that I really agree with that premise, and I certainly don’t think that is what the result would be, but I wanted to mention it and see what readers thought.
Political leaders denounce shooting, call for tighter gun controls
(This isn’t about VT, but about the assassination of the mayor of Nagasaki on Monday.)
The mayor of Nagasaki has died, one day after he was shot on the street by a reputed gangster, according to Japanese media reports.
Japan’s Kyodo News reports: Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito was shot twice … The alleged shooter, Tetsuya Shiroo, 59, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder after being subdued by staff members of Ito’s office when he tried to run away, the police said. The suspect is an acting leader of the Suishin-kai gang group affiliated with Japan’s largest organized crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi.
They should enact strict gun control in Japan immediately.
Unarmed and vulnerable by Bradford B. Wiles in the Roanoke Times
Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness.
That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.
I would also like to point out that when I mentioned to a professor that I would feel safer with my gun, this is what she said to me, “I would feel safer if you had your gun.”
Wiles, mentioned in Glenn Reynolds’ piece above, is a student at Virginia Tech.
Illinois State Senator Introduces Stricter Gun Control Laws by Kim Priestap on Wizbang
State Senator Dan Kotowski pushed for stricter gun control laws a mere two hours after the mass murder at Virginia Tech, acknowledging that he didn’t even have all the details at the time:
Mannard, a gun control advocate, admits he doesn’t have all the facts surrounding the Virginia Tech shootings. But, he says all he needs to know is that handguns were used in the murders of 33 people.
“Guns, in general, are part of the reason why we have some many people dying in these types of situations,” he said.
This seems similar to the situation in Japan. Just how much more strict does Illinois think it can get?
The ‘unremarkable sale’ of gun to student killer by the AP on MSNBC.com
Roanoke Firearms owner John Markell said his shop sold the Glock to Cho in March. The serial number had been scratched off, but federal agents traced it to the store using a receipt found in Cho’s backpack.
“It was a very unremarkable sale,” said Markell, who did not handle the sale personally. “He was a nice, clean-cut college kid. We won’t sell a gun if we have any idea at all that a purchase is suspicious.”
The article points out that some ‘some people speculated‘ that high capacity magazines, maybe as large as 33 rounds, may have been used, then goes on about the 10-round limitation that had been imposed by the 1994 assault weapons ban which expired in 2004.
Cho Seung-Hui’s Plays on AOL
‘Richard McBeef’ and ‘Mr. Brownstone’. Haven’t read them and don’t intend to, though I’d caution against reading what he wrote and thinking that it should have been an obvious clue that he was disturbed. Fiction is fiction, and no doubt his fiction was disturbed because he was a disturbed person. But should we send SWAT to Stephen King’s house? I’ve been told that my own fiction was disturbing, including the use of some common tools as weapons of violence. Yes, I wish they had been able to do something before he went off. But don’t get too caught up in all this talk about his behavior and how people are somehow responsible because they missed opportunities to stop him.
Glock 19 Compact image from TeamGlock.