Shooting amps up gun debate


Shooting amps up gun debate


By: Alexander Trowbridge, Staff Writer
Posted: 4/25/07

The shooting at Virginia Tech last week put the gun control issue back in the national public forum.

While Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine dismissed taking political advantage of the incident as deplorable, both pro-gun groups and those advocating gun control rallied for change.

Barbara Hohlt, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, said stricter gun laws could have saved lives at Va. Tech.

"We do a very poor job in this country at doing adequate background checks."

Pro-gun advocates attacked gun-free safe zones such as the Va. Tech campus, which they claim prevented victims from protecting themselves.

Carl Abbe, the owner and president of Calibers Indoor Gun Range in Greensboro, said gun-free zones let criminals know that no one is there to stop them.

Abbe said Va. Tech should consider arming and training select members of the campus community to defend their fellow classmates.

"If that one professor who blocked the door had had a handgun, he would have been able to do more than just block the door," Abbe said. "He would have been able to stop that man."

The N.C. House passed a bill on Thursday that would allow judges to carry concealed weapons.

Rep. Walter Church, D-Burke, sponsored the bill and said it was a response to the shooting of a judge in a courtroom in Atlanta last year.

"The judges that I've talked to thought it was a good idea," Church said, adding that even those who don't carry guns appreciate the attention to their security.

The passage of the bill just days after the shooting at Va. Tech concerned some N.C. residents.

Lisa Price, executive director of the North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Education Fund, said courtrooms already are protected.

"In general, we dislike putting guns in more places," Price said.

The issue of gun control is complex, and in North Carolina it is not always divided along party lines.

Though Church sponsored the bill allowing judges to carry concealed weapons, he said he supports gun control and restrictions. He said the lack of a waiting period to purchase hand guns in Virginia is ridiculous.

"I would support someone having a waiting period, especially those with mental cases."

Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, voted against Church's bill. However, she said she would oppose restricting everyone with a history of mental illness from purchasing a gun.

"That is a very broad category of illnesses," she said, adding that while those at risk for violence should not be eligible to purchase handguns, not everyone with a mental illness is violent.


Original Source:<a href=ttp://>The Daily Tar Heel - April 25, 2007</a>


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Alexander Trowbridge, “Shooting amps up gun debate,” The April 16 Archive, accessed April 21, 2024,