Bloggers Debate Whether Students Carrying Their Own Guns Could Have Prevented Massacre
By SCOTT CARLSON
First came mourning. Then, at least in the conservative blogosphere, came outrage and speculation: If students at Virginia Tech had been carrying handguns, would this tragedy have happened? Would armed students have killed the shooter, or shooters, within the first few minutes of his rampage?
“These things do seem to take place in locations where it’s not legal for people with carry permits to carry guns,” wrote Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor well known for his conservative blog, Instapundit. “I certainly wish that someone had been in a position to shoot this guy at the outset.”
In the annals of campus mayhem, there is precedent for such rough justice. Peter Odighizuwa, who shot professors and students at the Appalachian Law School in 2002, was apprehended by armed students (The Chronicle, January 17, 2002). Charles Whitman, who fired at people from the tower at the University of Texas at Austin, took fire himself, not only from police but also from armed civilians. The Texas incident led President Lyndon Johnson to push for stricter gun-control laws.
The Virginia Tech shootings will very likely re-energize the debate about guns on both sides. To gun advocates, the incident had a special resonance: Virginia has a law that allows citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, but most universities in the state prohibit students and employees from bringing guns to the campuses. (more…)