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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Virginia Tech tragedy no cause to bear more arms

It wasn't long after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech that the gun lobby went to work. And why shouldn't it after an individual apparently walked undetected into a dorm and classroom with two pistols and enough ammunition to kill 33 people?

Believing the adage that a good offense is the best defense, Gun Owners of America skipped the predictable outcry of banning handguns and actually advocated more arms.

"It's irresponsibly dangerous to tell citizens that they may not have guns at schools," declared Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America.

His fellow advocate and author, police officer Pete Bollinger, wants properly screened and trained citizens walking around with concealed handguns because police can't be everywhere. Gun Owners thinks it's a good idea to arm teachers and professors and let them defend their classrooms.

Why this great tragedy happened is still being determined. No matter the reason, the incident is the worst of its kind in the nation's history.

The tragedy shocked and saddened all Americans and left them worrying about how best to defend society. The gun lobby quickly brought terrorism into the tragedy before officials identified the shooter. But this type tragedy took place on other campuses long before terrorism became the excuse to more heavily arm America.

It's easy to buy guns in Virginia: No waiting. Walk in with the cash and walk out with the gun. That, too, must be considered as a reason that the 23-year-old Korean native identified as the gunman had access to handguns.

The gun lobby, of course, is afraid of a groundswell against handgun ownership. In doing so, it negates society's long tradition of leaving law enforcement to the professionals. It wants to help them do their job. Properly equipped and staffed police agencies can do the job.

Handguns are so easy to acquire and even easier to conceal. That was the reason the shooter in the Virginia Tech shootings went undetected for so long.

Let's not forget, amid all of the sadness, about our easy access to guns.

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