Gun Punditry

Guns, gun violence, gun control, and other gun-related news is obviously very popular this week.

Here are a few interesting bits:

glock19.jpg‘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

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.


  1. Mark Steyn has a post on NRO that stopped me in my tracks. (I have tried to post the link below). The massacre at VT is as plain a refutation of the ‘Wild West’ faux argument against concealed carry as I can imagine. How on earth could legally armed citizens have killed 30 innocent bystanders? Without assault weapons and boxes and boxes of ammo? The personal tipping point for me with respect to purchasing firearms was the chaos after hurricane Katrina AND that many of the heroes of flight 93 had been hunters and firearm owners. I wanted the experience of firearm training (and ownership) to prepare myself in case I ever needed to use them in defense of myself or others. Of course I live in Illinois, so concealed carry isn’t even an option. So, I do what I can… Standing up to evil starts with a decision…

  2. What I want to know is why is a citizen of a foreign country allowed to buy a gun here? They do not have a 2nd Ammendment right to anything. Legal or illegal, if you’re a foreigner and you’re here on a visa, you should not get to buy a gun legally without a special permit, period. If the country you came from wants you to be able to buy a gun, they should send your records along to our government along with an ok for your purchase. I’m damn tired of everyone and their dog having more rights than I’ve got. That’s total bs!

  3. I think he was a U.S. citizen and bought legaly but the news changes hourly so don’t quote me. For some reason he filed off the serial numbers of his weapons – big no no. Maybe he had an earlier plan to do a shooting and try to get away with it alive.

  4. @Dfens: He came here in 1992 and is a permanent resident alien. He renewed his green card in 2003. Virginia law allows the sale of handguns to properly documented resident aliens.

  5. Captain Ned and Dfens, MA does too, believe it or not. My wife, who is a permanent resident alien, and I both have the same license, which in MA is a License To Carry/High Capacity with all lawful purposes (not that ‘high cap’ actually means that in MA, but that’s another story…). If it makes you feel any better D, she doesn’t carry. But I do, and wanted her proficient in the fundamentals of weapon handling. And as you well know, it’s one thing for me to try and teach her, and another for an instructor to teach her the same thing. But let me say that I didn’t start out wanting to get her a carry permit. I actually wanted to get her some mace, but in MA you need a permit for *that*. So I said, f–k it, if I’m getting her a permit for anything, let’s do it for real.

  6. I think logically, all US states should offer CCW permits to people who are sane and mature and skilled in weapon use and maintenance, and there should be no restrictions on where they can carry, except perhaps in extreme and limited circumstances such as inside the White House. I suspect that, overall, that policy will lead to less deaths and injuries. Society is safer with such people around, even if very occasionally one of them will accidentally/purposefully shoot someone. That will be more than balanced out by the prevention of crime, including this one. Evidence (studies) show strict gun controls don’t reduce violent crime. Therefore I think my proposal can’t hurt, and possibly could help.

  7. Yeah, obviously most foreigners don’t go psycho and turn into mass murders, but hell, if I buy a weapon they do a background check on me. If someone comes here from some place like Islamofacistan, it doesn’t matter if they were a mass murder there. They can get a gun. You don’t have to prove your an American to get a gun. You can just walk into a store and buy one as long as nothing shows up on your criminal record check. It’s like every damn system we have in this country is set up to penalize you if you’re stupid enough to be a law abiding citizen. If you’re a psycho nut job with nothing to lose, the law doesn’t touch them. Yeah ok, maybe this is partially my tax day rant sliding into the gun control arena.

  8. I think everyone needs to back up and get a little perspective. We are worrying about one guy who was mentally ill. How about we worry about the thousands of Muslims, Mexicans and other legals and illegals that have weapons and plenty of ammo and really want to do us harm. The newsmedia doesn’t advertize it or even headline it anymore, but there are thousands of murders by gun in the U.S. every year. Most by criminals and gang bangers. In the near future aQ will give the word to their people here in this Republic to start carrying out mass murder by gun, bomb and any other method available to them. Some may even have access to ‘dirty bombs’, ‘biological’ or ‘chemical’ weapons. While I am as sorry as anybody about this insane person killing innocent kids, I know that what he did is just a preview of what is coming. Believe me. Papa Ray West Texas USA

  9. Apparently it’s a literary device used in somebody’s writing (I forget the name of the author).. something about an axe that can both create and destroy. I guess it makes some sense seeing as he was an English major. Just more proof of his insanity, I think. Sounds like he thought he was a figure from a fictional work come to life, or something bizarre like that.

  10. Papa Ray’s concern is mine too. That’s part of why it bothers me that just anyone from anywhere can buy a gun in our country. What if he had been a terrorist working with others instead of just one lone crazy dude? We’d be screwed. We arm our own enemies after we let the flood across our borders. The wonder is not that this happened as much as it is why this doesn’t happen more often.

  11. This is an interesting theory: As for the term’s meaning, one popular theory comes from a story in the Quran, the holy book of Islam, about Ibrahim and his son, Ismail. This theory picked up speed because many bloggers wondered if the shootings could be related to terrorism. In Islam, Ibrahim is known as the father of the prophets and, upset that people in his hometown still worshiped idols and not Allah, he smashed all but one statue in a local temple with an ax. Ibrahim’s son is Ismail, who also became a prophet. Ibrahim is Arabic for Abraham, who plays a significant role in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It wouldn’t surprise me if he wasn’t some Islamic nut.

  12. Defens, if the terrorists want guns, gun laws and making it more difficult for law abiding citizens isn’t going to stop them, they will steal, smuggle, or build whatever weapons they want because THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT LAWS AND RESTRICTIONS! How many potential mass murders like this have been thwarted by someone with a gun in these supposed ‘Gun Free Zones’? All the ones with a lower body count that you hear for about 24 to 48 hours and then when they findout someone with a gun stopped it, they shut down the coverage.

  13. I agree that we don’t need to make it harder for law abiding US citizens to buy guns, but I’d sure be in favor of making it a lot more difficult for non-citizens to get them. They might find ways around the laws, but the way it is now, it seems to me it is easier for them to get a gun than it is for me. That’s my gripe – ok, that’s just one of many, but it will do for now.