Six years ago today, the second-deadliest act of mass murder to happen at a U.S. school tragically unfolded itself on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. On April 16th, 2007 in the early morning light, Seung-Hui Cho armed himself with a Glock 19 (9mm) and a Walther P22 (.22 caliber) and proceeded to murder 32 Virginia Tech students and staff before taking his own life. He also injured 17 people, in addition to 6 students who were injured when they jumped from windows in an escape effort.
Unfortunately, this calamity, like so many others, has not led to better public discourse on the issue of gun control. Recent tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School haven’t led to a better conversation about the efficacy – or lack thereof – of restrictive gun control, either.
Instead, proponents of gun control use these tragedies as opportunities—opportunities to make an emotional appeal for more gun control while casually avoiding the true debate: whether or not gun control and concealed carry policies actually prevent gun violence.
Victim Parent Holly Adams Opposes Stricter Gun Control
Holly Adams is the mother of Leslie Sherman, one of the victims in the Virginia Tech massacre. Although gun control proponents are quick to point out when parents of victims agree with their cause, Adams is an example of the opposite: someone who recognizes that the gun control issue is more complex than the simple banning of guns. In fact, Adams herself has labeled the movement for more gun control on campuses as “unfortunate.”
“Would the other parents of victims be forever thankful if a professor or student was allowed to carry a firearm and could have stopped Seung-Hui Cho before their loved one was injured or killed? I would be.“ Holly went on to explain the likelihood of prevention, had law-abiding citizens been armed during the Virginia Tech massacre. “I also suspect that the tragedy may not have occurred at all if Cho knew that either faculty members or students were permitted to carry their own weapons on campus.”
Her views reflect the views of many pro-gun advocates who believe that having more guns in the hands of good, law-abiding citizens is the only real way to prevent similar mass murders in the future. It is, after all, the law-abiding citizens who remain the only one to honor restrictive gun laws.
Preventing Campus Violence
Preventing this kind of violence on campuses is of particular concern to American parents. Liberty University(LU) now allows students with valid concealed carry licenses and special permission from LU to carry guns into buildings and classrooms. Pro-gun advocates believe that allowing students to defend themselves with this kind of force might be the difference between a large-scale shooting and an averted disaster.
Holly Adams’ commitment to protecting students runs deep: “I would give anything if someone on campus; a professor, one of the trained military or guardsman taking classes or another student could have saved my daughter by shooting Cho before he killed our loved ones. ”
It’s unfortunate how many crimes happen in gun-free zones. In gun-free zones, law-abiding citizens are disarmed while criminals ignore the rules. The end result is not that everyone is disarmed, but only that those who would avert a disaster are disarmed.
Liberty University’s strategy allowing students to carry weapons into classrooms may just be the experiment in school safety that the nation needs to return to rational views on gun control. As Holly Adams demonstrates, you can be emotionally invested in the gun control debate and still recognize which strategies work—and which laws simply disarm the law-abiding citizens.
Carrie is an avid 2nd Amendment supporter who works for RYP Marketing, a Blacksburg web design and internet marketing company. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys biking, running and hiking through the breath-taking mountains of Virginia. You can follow Carrie on Twitter: @rypcarrie