Gun Control Subplot | 2:20 PM ET Predictably, gun control has emerged as a major subplot in this story. Under Virginia law, many college campuses are gun-free zones, including Virginia Tech. Last year, a piece of legislation sought exceptions for licensed gun owners, but it didn’t make it out of the statehouse.
President Bush’s press secretary relayed his first comments on the subject, saying that he “believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed.'’ That was after he expressed “deep concern for the families of the victims, the victims themselves, the students, the professors and all the people of Virginia who have dealt with this shocking incident.”
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit observes: that “these things do seem to take place in locations where it’s not legal for people with carry permits to carry guns.” Andrew Sullivan doesn’t think this is an appropriate time to have the debate, but many other were on the other side of the argument as well, including some of our commenters below. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more on this.
'Certainly, bringing a gun into a school domitory and shooting ... is against the law and something someone should be held accountable for,' [White House deputy press secretary Dana] Perino said.
Meanwhile, as someone with college age children, I am horrified, shocked, and very, very grieved.—konolia
Optimus Chyme: Nominees for most disgusting comment about this incident:
Gnostic Novelist: I'm not saying it isn't a tragedy, and my heart goes out to the family members, etc, I'm not talking about them
klangklangston: Or, fuck it, discuss this.
modernnomad: Are we all fucking children here?
1) It's harder to conceal and smuggle guns then it is drugs. They show up easily on x-rays and metal detectors. They're big and heavy.
2) Drugs are much more desirable then guns. Drugs are physically addictive and directly pleasurable, while gun nuts mostly enjoy weapons as a hobby, it doesn't give them the same direct pleasure. People might risk jail for something they're chemically dependant too, but not a hobby. Gun nuts can probably channel their desires into fast cars or motorcycles.
3) Most gun enthusiasts make a big show of how "Law abiding" they are, and love of guns is associated with the Right-wing authoritarian mindset. Those people are obviously going to more inclined to follow laws, even if they disagree with them.
4) Especially in terms of keeping Guns out of the hands the casual person who might flip out one day and shoot up a school: They probably won't have any friends with access to weapons, since the vast majority of people are simply not interested in shooting illegal weapons for fun, the "social" distribution networks won't exist.
When I was growing up, gun ownership was pretty much 1-to-1 for the populace, kids included. That didn't stop a president from declaring martial law and suspending the rule of democratic institutions. Marcos maintained power by maintaining the loyalty of the military, and there's not much that a revolver or carbine can do against a tank or helicopter gunship.
You know what got rid of Marcos? Shame, sympathy and peaceful protest. In some cases, wringing your hands does work.
Still love those guns, Virginia?
...You've been shrugging for decades as illegal guns from your state plague our city, killing and maiming and terrorizing New Yorkers by the thousands, at one point comprising 47% of the guns our cops recovered.
...Your idea of gun control has been to pass a law making it illegal for undercover agents like those Bloomberg sent South to make such buys.
Never mind that a Virginia gun license is not half as hard to get as a driving license.
...Not even the worst campus massacre in American history is about to stop Bob Moates Sports Shop of Midlothian, Va., from going ahead with its big Bloomberg Gun GiveAway. The winner will receive a Para-Ordinance Model 1911 .45 automatic, silver and no less deadly than the black pistol a witness says the Virginia Tech psycho used. The 1911 is part of the company's new line of "Gun Rights" pistols, which carry the guarantee the company will donate $25 to the National Rifle Association for every one sold.
"The drawing is April 19," a man at Moates said yesterday.
No wonder some of our cops up here in New York say the bumper stickers down there should really read, "Virginia Is for Gun Lovers."
What do you say now, Virginia?
Yes, Virginia, guns kill innocents