Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”     Abraham Lincoln,    First Inaugural Address, 4 March, 1861

April 17, 2007

Did Virginia Tech’s Policies Contribute To A Disaster ?

by Doug Mataconis

There is a back story to the horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech that hasn’t made its way into the public domain yet.

Virginia, as you may or may not know, allows it’s citizens to carry concealed weapons after obtaining a permit. However, Virginia Tech, along with many other college campuses, forbids anyone other than law enforcement from carrying a weapon on campus.

During the course of this year’s Virginia General Assembly session, bills were introduced which would have allowed citizens who have a valid CCW permit to carry their weapon on campus. As this story from the Roanoke Times, which was ironically published only one week ago, those bills went down to defeat:

A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1572 didn’t get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill’s defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”

Yea, right, safe.

First of all a few caveats, almost none of the students at Virginia Tech would have been legally able to carry a weapon yesterday to begin with. Under Virginia law, you have to be 21 to obtain a concealed carry permit. Nonetheless……the question remains, would things have been different yesterday if someone had been carrying a weapon ?

Frankly, I don’t know the answer to that question. From the information we’ve seen so far, it seems like the killer was both methodical and without fear. He sounds like a man on a suicide mission. Such a person probably would not have been deterred by one or two people with a gun, or by the thought that he might face someone who was armed.

Nonetheless, one shot might have made all the difference.

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6 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Comment by David — April 17, 2007 @ 3:27 am
  2. Does anyone else remember a TV-movie from the 85-86 season that dealt with the issue of gun ownership? A city councilman whose wife was killed in a robbery gets a law passed allowing open-carry (is that the term?) for all law-abiding citizens in town. I don’t remember the details of the last scene but it did seem pretty fairly balanced, if not more on the side of gun owners. More people carried in the movie than I expect would do so in real life.
    I will have to use Google to find more detail.

    Comment by Tom Gellhaus — April 17, 2007 @ 6:59 am
  3. Many of those killed were graduate students and Professors. They could have carried legally.

    “…almost none of the students at Virginia Tech would have been legally able to carry a weapon yesterday to begin with. Under Virginia law, you have to be 21 to obtain a concealed carry permit.”

    Comment by Jonathan — April 17, 2007 @ 7:39 am
  4. I’m not for or against gun control, but I will say that professors have enough to deal with, without having to worry that one of their students or many of her students might shoot him or her. the risk goes up significantly higher in people’s mind when anyone can be armed in the classroom. it seems to me that guns and classrooms just do not mix. so many other countries seem to do so well without that situation too.

    Comment by Jeremy — April 17, 2007 @ 8:03 am
  5. Interesting that gun control advocates often point out that the War on Drugs is a failure because, among other things, drug addicts can get the drugs whether they are legal or not, yet these same people don’t see that if guns are made illegal the criminals will get them.

    It’s real simple: 32 people were executed yesterday because there was not ONE person on that campus that was allowed to carry the only means possible to stop the slaughter.

    If I were a teacher, I’d take my chances on my students (after a background check) being armed because if one wingnut in the class opens fire, at least someone will be able to stop them.

    And let me say it again for all of you who still feel we must have gun control: It didn’t work yesterday. There is a reason the Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd amendment and once again we see that when you mess with the constitution, bad things happen.

    We don’t live in a perfect world, and people are going to die violent deaths no matter what, but someone bent on killing people is more likely to prey on an area where they know that no one is armed and nothing the anti-gun people can say will change that fact.

    Comment by Bill Clausen — April 17, 2007 @ 5:14 pm
  6. I’m not for or against gun control, but I will say that professors have enough to deal with, without having to worry that one of their students or many of her students might shoot him or her. the risk goes up significantly higher in people’s mind when anyone can be armed in the classroom. it seems to me that guns and classrooms just do not mix. so many other countries seem to do so well without that situation too.

    I really hate the argument that “Other Countries” get along with this or that. We are not other countries, and sometimes in very fundamental ways. But people who use that excuse always cherry pick the laws they think do well, without taking into context how that law works, how it is aided or hindered by the socioeconomicpolitical enviroment.

    Other countries may get along with without as many guns. But often those countries are also deprived of other freedoms. I often hear that the UK gets along without a lot of guns. But they also have one of the broadest camera networks out there, have plans on placing every child in a database.

    Just a thought.

    Comment by Ted — April 17, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

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