Gun-control group on VA Tech shooting


The lobbying group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence just weighed in with statements on today’s Virgina Tech shootings. Here’s some excerpts:

Jackie Kuhls, the group’s executive director, said: “It is discouraging to listen to the news as they talk about SWAT teams and security checks but not about the ease with which almost anyone in this country can obtain firearms. Our reporters and our lawmakers need to focus on where and how the shooter got the gun. We can and we must fix our pitiful patchwork of gun laws in this country that allows virtually unfettered access to all types of firearms by all individuals…. Until we are willing to talk about the guns – the common denominator is all such tragedies, all the security and all the SWAT team techniques will not prevent such terrible shootings.”

Roger Hayes, chairman of the group’s board, said: “The Congress just called for a moment of silence. Indeed a moment of silence is appropriate for such a devastating tragedy with such pain for families and students. But we also want a moment of noise. We want Congress to look hard at the gun issue and the fact that our country has such a high homicide rate compared to other developed countries. We want them to act on sensible laws land and stop being afraid of the gun lobby.”


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  1. The common denominator in these acts is assault and murder, both of which are illegal. The truth is that more laws will not prevent criminal behavior. Murderers by definition show a complete disregard for the law, so it stands to reason that they would show no respect for gun laws of any type. Tightening firearm laws would only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. Just think–if students at VA Tech were armed, they could have prevented many of the killings. In 2002 there was a shooting at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, VA. It was stopped when students retrieved firearms from their vehicles.

    Removing all firearms from society is neither possible nor is it desirable. If firearms were not a legitimate form of self-defense, police wouldn’t carry them. Police cannot be everywhere, so it stands to reason that citizens be allowed to protect themselves. The right to carry and the right to not carry must be preserved, but the choice must ultimately be left to the individual citizen.

  2. As an alumnus of Virginia Tech I find Mr. Wilson’s comments offensive. We should condone a society where ANYONE, much less college students or high school students should have to carry weapons to defend themselves. The kind of society I want to live in is one that does not enable someone who loses control of his/her mental facilities to easily get a destructive implements such as a Glock pistol with 50 rounds of ammo. The quote by a representative from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun violence says it best:

    “The key thing that we have seen in all of these school shootings is easy access to high firepower weapons. These killings can’t be done with baseball bats and knives.”

  3. I meant to write “We should NOT condone a society…” in my second sentence. Apologies for the typo.

  4. The premise that gun violence like this VT tradgedy can be prevented by passing more gun control laws is purely wishful thinking. This is the same as believing we can eliminate drunk driving, which kills tens of thousands yearly, by outlawing automobiles and/or alchohol. I’ll try not to confuse you with the facts. There are already more than 20,000 gun laws on the books. 99%+ of gun owners in the U.S. are law abiding and any one of whom, myself included, would have taken this loser out if on the scene of this horrific atrocity in Virginia. Washington DC has among the most stringent handgun control laws in the country and has the highest murder rate per capita in the nation. Florida’s violent crime rate went down more than 40% after allowing any law abiding adult to carry a licensed concealed handgun. Florida has issued more than 350,000 permits statewide with no ‘wild west’ vigilante shootouts that anti-gunners were predicting – just a serious reduction in crime! Surprise, surprise. Our troops in Irag are being killed daily by suicide bombers willing to trade their lives for some seriously twisted cause they belive in. These rampage killers have the same mentality and unfortunately their suicide missions are virtually impossible to predict and prevent in our ‘free’ and open society. Unfortunately, these freedoms which are unigue to this country can allow tradegies like this to happen. These events are rare, but when they occur, the body count can be significantly reduced by intelligent, swift, and decisive action by officials, law enforcement and the heroic acts of citizens. A fountain pen can draft the Declaration of Independece or a declaration of war depending on who is holding it. We cherish this first amendment right and we should cherish our second amendment rights equally. ‘…the right of THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’. Our founding fathers had is right. God bless those in Virginia who lost their lives and their family members and loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. I actually do know how to spell ‘tragedy’, ‘believe’ and ‘Iraq’. Sorry, it is 4 in the morning!

  6. john hereford on

    I agree…… At the very, very least, school staff members capable of conceal carry permits should be allowed to carry if they choose. They should not let anyone know (including co-workers) that they have chosen to carry, and it must not print on their outter clothing in anyway.

    Please remember to pray for the families.

  7. Pat may actually know how to spell, but like so many gun fanatics has a little trouble with facts.

    A quick and easy search of Florida’s violent crime rate ( reveals two clear contradictions to Pat’s ‘facts.’

    First, violent crime was already declining in Florida, well before and at a higher rate than after any enactment of CCW laws. Concluding, therefore, that Carrying Concealed Weapons (CCW) was the main factor in lowering violent crime in Florida is a naive assumption at best.

    Second, from 2004-2005, a period after the enactment of CCW laws, violent crime numbers actually increased. As Florida grew in population it was only the rate (or the number of violent crimes per person) that decreased. Reporting that violent crimes decreased, much less by 40%, would simply be dishonest.

    With Pat’s questionable Florida statistics, I can only hope that in fact 99% of gun owners are responsible. The only thing certain about handgun owners, however, is that like the rest of us they are human and at times humans get stressed, have too much to drink, have faulty judgement and at times are quick to temper. Does it make any sense at all to put a deadly weapon in their hands in these situations?

    The answer everyone would agree is no. The problem is that with CCW and easily available handguns, we can’t make that decision. People would have access to guns in any mood and any state of mind.

    Pat seems to think that we couldn’t stop drunk driving if we banned cars. Of course we could, because we would take the ‘driving’ out of ‘drunk driving’. This solution is, however, ridiculous because our society depends on private and commercial transportation to thrive.

    Our society does not depend on or need handguns. We have police and other law enforcement agencies (all of which, by the way are in favor of stricter hand gun laws) to protect us. Taking away a major contributor to violent crime (guns) would reduce violent crime. Think about it, just how bold would that car jacker, mugger, or drug addict be if he didn’t have a gun.

    Many people moan over the number gun laws that are on the book. I agree. You can reduce them all by either outlawing handguns outright or restricting their use to target ranges. The key is to get handguns off the streets. If, however, they made their way to criminals hands, then throw the book at them when they are arrested.

    Others moan about our Constitutional rights. In case people haven’t noticed, our Constitution has been regularly amended to reflect current society. Most notably have been amendments for voting rights for women, minorities and 18 year olds. Today, we are in no danger of being invaded by Canada or overun by Mexico. And, if we were, we have a standing volunteer military to protect us. Hunters could keep their weapons as a tool for their sport and hobby. Handguns, on the other hand, have no place in our society. Banning handguns, weapons designed for close combat with other humans, is no more against the Constitution than banning bazookas.

    A few decades ago Americans finally realized the hazards tobacco posed and the serious toll on family, friends and loved ones who contracted cancer and other lung diseases associated with smoking. The loss and the suffering was too much to bear and the country came together to join the difficult fight against this unnecessary loss of life. How high does the death toll have to reach, how close to home do the bullets have to strike, how frightened of one another do we have to be before we, as a country, decide that enough is enough? America has set the standard in smoke-free environments and advancements against cancer. This week’s tragedy is a horrible reminder how far we still have to go as a modern civilized society. Our past, however, tells us that if we join together we can work to prevent our son’s and daughters from ever having to worry about handguns and the violent crimes they spawn.

  8. Thank you for that eloquent and well reasoned response. I could not have said it any better. I do not want to have to carry a handgun with me to protect myself from people who do not have the ability to make decisions between right and wrong.

  9. What everyone is focusing on is guns being the problem with Cho. It wasn’t guns as much being the problem as much as the person using the gun. The fact is there were already laws on the books that could have prevented him that were not utilized. Instead of creating more laws we should better enforce the laws we already have. If we ban all handguns, it does not mean that there are no more handguns it just means that there are no more legal handguns. Handguns will be just like Marijuana, its prohibition laws will make it worse for violence instead of better. If the demand for illegal weapons goes up due to a criminalization, the supply will go up to meet that demand which will create more criminals. Criminals selling the guns would not be forced to give background checks to people wanting to buy the guns since theyre already breaking other laws. Stricter gun laws does not have a correlation with less crime. In Canada and Vermont alot more people own guns and gun crime is almost unheard of. During the 90’s crime dropped while gun ownership rose. This is not to say that it was due to the guns but it is to say that more guns does not mean more crime. We need to all unite because we all don’t like crime to find the best way to enforce the laws already on the book and to see if any new laws would be well crafted.