Media Blog

AP spins VA Tech Shooting

The AP has an article out on the VA Tech shooting that spins the President’s reaction to the news.  Here’s the segment from the AP article: 

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush was described Monday as shocked and saddened by the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, the deadliest incident of campus violence ever in this country.
“He was horrified and his immediate reaction was one of 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,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. “His thoughts and prayers are with them.”
“The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed,” Perino said, noting that Bush and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings held a conference on school gun violence last October. “Certainly, bringing a gun into a school domitory and shooting … is against the law and something someone should be held accountable for,” Perino said.

This makes it sound like the President issued some sort of statement that combined his long held stance on the 2nd Amendment with today’s events. That’s not what happened. Dana Perino was responding to a question from a reporter. Here’s the exchange from the WH transcript:

Q    Dana, going back to Virginia Tech, what more does this White House think needs to be done as it relates to gun issues?  The President says current laws need to be strengthened, anything beyond that — you had a conference on school violence with guns — what more needs to be done? 
MS. PERINO:  I would point you back to the fact that President, along with Secretary Spellings, hosted last October — October 10, 2006 — a conference on school gun violence after the Amish school shooting and the other shootings that had happened, because the tragedies are the ones that just collectively break America’s heart and are ones that we deeply feel, because all of us can imagine what it would be like to have been at your own school, your own college, and to have something happen.  And those of us who are parents, or brothers or sisters of people at the schools have to take that into consideration. 
As far as policy, the President believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed.  And certainly bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting — I don’t want to say numbers because I know that they’re still trying to figure out many people were wounded and possibly killed, but obviously that would be against the law and something that someone should be held accountable for. 
Q    Columbine, Amish school shooting, now this, and a whole host of other gun issues brought into schools — that’s not including guns on the streets and in many urban areas and rural areas.  Does there need to be some more restrictions?  Does there need to be gun control in this country? 
MS. PERINO:  The President — as I said, April, if there are changes to the President’s policy we will let you know.  But we’ve had a consistent policy of ensuring that the Justice Department is enforcing all of the gun laws that we have on the books and making sure that they’re prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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