Have you remembered to write your legislators?
The tragedy in Virginia has ignited a new fire under the gun control issue. You can help to douse that fire by contacting your legislators and encouraging them to refuse to support the debate. I dropped this one off to my congresswoman, and you should do the same, soon and often. Engage them at every pass so that they know this issue is important and where we stand on it. You can be sure the folks over at the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center are at their ears, make sure we get there too.
In the wake of the tragedy that occurred on the campus of Virginia Tech, many around the counry are already on their soapboxes claiming that more gun control would have prevented this tragedy. There have been calls on the congress to add more inneffectual gun control measures, and even to ban entire classes of firearms. I encourage you NOT to join them.
This tragic incident was an act of pure evil orchestrated by a disturbed young man bent on destruction. He chose a firearm as a weapon, true, but he just as easily could have chosen to manufacture homemade expolsives, use chemicals, knives, or any of a myriad of other weapons to execute the attack.
We do need to focus on trying to prevent such events in the future. However current reports, preliminary though they are, show that the police, local prosecutors, the university, and previous victims all had the power to prevent the sale of the weapons used in this heinous act within the framework of the current laws, and none of them chose to do so. He had been comitted to a mental health facility pursuant to a stalking incident, however no charges were filed and prosecuted. Had the police and local prosecutors pursued such an action, they may well have netted a disqualifying conviction. In addition to that incident, this young man was referred to counciling services for clearly disturbed ramblings by multiple instructors in the past. However those incidents were not followed up on by the university or forwarded to the police, either course which could have caused a finding of mental incompetence, which would also have caused him to fail a background check. The tools were, and still are there, if those in power properly executed their responsibilities to follow through when this type of information is in their hands.
Even with proper preventative measures in place, noone can ever completely prevent this type of incident. Whether a terrorist with a deep hatred of America, a mentally disturbed person who follows the voices in his head, or a person who preceives that he has been slighted by an employer, his family, or society as a whole, once a person had decided that he is willing to trade his life to complete a violent criminal attack, there is precious little that can be done to prevent the attack. It is unfortunately necessary in such circumstances to end the criminal attack on the spot via the use of force against the attacker. The police cannot be everywhere at once, and even if they were the Supreme Court of the United States has held that the police do not have a duty to protect the individual citizen. So it is left to us, the individual citizens to possess the means and the will to defend our lives under such circumstances.
The concept of "gun free" zones is a fallacy. People intent on comitting crimes have already abandoned following the laws. Laws prohibiting weapons in this place or that only serve to disarm the lawful citizen who carries a weapon for his own defense. Creating "gun free" campuses, schools, airport terminals, means that only criminals will have weapons in those places when they ignore yet another law, and those citizens with the will to bravely stand in the face of such criminals and thwart their attacks are denied the means to do so.
I encourage you to continue to oppose any new gun control legislation introduced in the wake of this terrible incident. Further regulation of an inanimate object serves only to place restrictions on lawful individuals whos possession of weapons pose no risk to society. Further, I encourage you to author or co sponsor legislation that would extend the right to carry weapons for self protection to all law abiding citizens who possess a valid license to carry concealed weapons in any state, similar to the structure of HR218, or the Law Enforcement Officers Safety act. As witnessed in Virginia, Law Enforcement Officers are not the only people who may be subject to criminal violence. We should extend the right to possess the means to defend ourselves to all law abiding citizens in this country at all times.