I have a feeling that the tragedy that occurred today at VA Tech is going to lead to a reopening of the gun control debate in the United States. It took no time for gun control advocates to release statements blaming the gun for the violence. The president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Paul Helmke released this statement, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the Virginia Tech University community, and to the families of the victims of what appears to be one of the worst mass shootings in American history. Details are still forthcoming about what motivated the shooter in this case to act, and how he was able to arm himself. It is well known, however, how easy it is for an individual to get powerful weapons in our country.”

The Violence Policy Center released a statement too, “Mass shootings have come to define our nation. Today’s shooting at Virginia Tech — the largest mass shooting in U.S. history — is only the latest in a continuing series over the past two decades. These tragedies are the inevitable result of the ease with which the firepower necessary to slaughter dozens of innocents can be obtained. We allow virtually anyone the means to turn almost any venue into a battlefield. In the wake of these shootings, too many routinely search for any reason for the tragedy except for the most obvious — the easy access to increasingly lethal firearms that make mass killings possible.”

On the other side of the debate, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, “As far as policy, the president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed. And certainly, bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting numbers — I don’t want to say numbers, because I know that they’re still trying to figure out how many people were wounded and possibly killed. But obviously, that would be against the law and something that someone should be held accountable for. ”

 Republican presidential candidate John McCain said, “We have to look at what happened here, but it doesn’t change my views on the Second Amendment, except to make sure that these kinds of weapons don’t fall into the hands of bad people. I do believe in the constitutional right that everyone has, in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to carry a weapon. Obviously we have to keep guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.”

The person who carried out this attack could have just as easily used a bomb as a gun. Because of the lack of campus security, this was a unique incident that should not be lumped in as part of the gun debate. I have always thought that if someone is intent on killing they will find a way. Removing all guns isn’t the answer, but I do think that we need to ask ourselves why does the U.S. have so many more violent incidents like this compared to the rest of the industrialized world. It isn’t an easy question to answer, and I don’t think the solution is as simple as taking away all the guns. I am far from what would be considered a “gun nut,” but to me it is clear banning guns, except assault weapons, isn’t the answer. I think our societal problem rests more in the hearts of the individuals that carry out such actions than in the instruments that they use to kill others.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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