Yet another mass shooting in a 'gun free zone': At least 32 dead at VA Tech

Editor's NOTE: This story was updated throughout the day Monday, April 16, 2007 as new information became available.

It is a story that is all too familiar, and it's happening again.

The Associated Press is reporting that a man opened fire in a 'gun free' dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing at least 32 people and wounding many others.

Details are still being learned, but it seems clear than none of the students were able to defend themselves by use of a firearm, and many died while depending on campus security and police to find and stop the killer.

From the story:

    The shootings spread panic and confusion on campus. Witnesses reporting students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to escape the gunfire. SWAT team members with helmets, flak jackets and assault rifles swarmed over the campus. Students and faculty members carried out some of the wounded themselves, without waiting for ambulances to arrive. A student used his cell-phone camera to record the sound of shots echoing through the stone classroom building.

    The massacre took place at opposite sides of the 2,600-acre campus, beginning at about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory that houses 895 people, and continuing at least two hours later at Norris Hall, an engineering building about a half-mile away, authorities said.

    Two people were killed in a dormitory room, and 31 others were killed in the classroom building, including the gunman, police said.

    ...Police said they were still investigating the shooting at the dorm when they got word of gunfire at the classroom building.

    After the first shots were fired, students were warned to stay indoors and away from the windows. But some students said they thought the precautions had been lifted by the time the second burst of gunfire was heard, and some bitterly questioned why the gunman was able to strike a second time, two hours after the bloodshed began.

    Police said they were still investigating the shooting at the dorm when they got word of gunfire at the classroom building.

    ...Some students bitterly questioned why the gunman was able to strike a second time.

    "What happened today, this was ridiculous," student Jason Piatt told CNN. "While they send out that e-mail [about the first attack], 20 more people got killed."

    ...It was second time in less than a year that the campus was closed because of a shooting.

In it's coverage, The Drudge Report linked to the following story under the headline 'Gun Free Zone':

    Gun bill gets shot down by panel
    HB 1572, which would have allowed handguns on college campuses, died in subcommittee

    "In June, Tech's governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities."

After Virginia declined to extend self-defense rights to college students who were properly trained and licensed, a Virginia Tech spokesperson had this to say:

    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."

It is a sad testament that this university acted in ways they hoped would allow students, faculty and visitors to “feel” safe rather than “be” safe.

In the coming days, gun control groups like the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, the Brady Bunch and the Joyce Foundation's Gun Guys, will be calling for tighter gun control measures as a result of this massacre. It is the duty of every gun owner to make sure the facts are explained to the gun ban extremists' unpaid media accomplices: every victim’s body at VT is piled up in a 'gun free' zone, and state and campus officials took affirmative action to make sure those victims were defenseless.

And it could happen here.

Ohio law prohibits anyone, including law abiding citizens with a valid concealed carry license, from carrying on school or university property. Not that criminals like the one who acted today would care. As we have seen many times, they are not 'gun free' zones, but victim zones. On days like today, it seems like 'killing fields' is a more appropriate definition.

Some might claim we are making these observations in hindsight. But in 2004, Gerard Valentino, Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair, wrote that "it's time to ask how many more people must needlessly die before gun control activists and legislators realize that disarming law-abiding citizens leaves them easy prey to criminals. gun free zones only benefit criminals."

The body count continues to rise, and the question for our politicians remains - How many dead bodies do they need before it becomes politically acceptable to change our law?

Buckeye Firearms Association sends our deepest condolences to the victims, their families, and their friends.

Related Stories:
The uncomfortable truth about school shootings

Op-ed: The False Hope of Gun-Free Zones

Recommended Reading! Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement

Op-Ed: Road to bad laws paved with good intentions

UPDATE: The media is already hard at work spinning this massacre as a need for more gun control:

  • Lapse of Federal Law Allows Sale of Large Ammo Clips
  • European press blame Charlton Heston for shooting...
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