From today’s White House press briefing:
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.
Boy, that didn’t take long.
It figures that this sicko goes straight to an environment where he can be fairly certain that no one else will be armed. (You notice we haven’t seen any attempted armed robberies of NRA headquarters, police stations, and hunting lodges, no?) Even the mentally unstable criminals tend to avoid locations where a lot of people can shoot back at them.
As several people have noted, this article is horrific in hindsight:
Seventy-five guns sit in a weapons storage facility at the Virginia Tech police station.
The guns are secured inside storage compartments in a locked room slightly larger than a walk-in closet.
University policy requires students and employees, other than police, to check their guns there. If they want to take them off campus, they have to sign them out, and a university police officer must retrieve them.
Regardless of whatever permits they may have, those students and employees are not allowed to possess guns on campus.
The issue of guns on campus received attention at Tech last spring when a student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, despite having a concealed handgun permit…
But National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre, who was in Roanoke on Wednesday to speak to a Kiwanis Club gathering, pointed out that guns can actually make campuses safer.
He cited the fatal shootings at the Appalachian School of Law in which several armed students subdued the gunman.
Van Cleave pointed out potential safety problems facing women going to night classes.
“You never know when evil will pop up,” he said.
Van Cleave said his group has heard from several students who want the right to carry guns on campus.
Stephanie Harmon, president of the Radford University Student Government Association, said she would bring the topic up at a student senate meeting Monday before the student government took an official stance on the bill.
But she opposes it.
“It’s not that I’m opposed to gun rights, it’s just not necessary,” she said. “It’s taking an increased risk of something happening when you allow a gun in the classroom.”
If the student referred to in that January 2006 article had been near the shooter on campus today, and was permitted to carry his or her handgun, this killer might have been stopped before he took 31 innocent lives.