Virginia state capitol
More than one year before today’s unprecedented shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, the state’s General Assembly quashed a bill that would have given qualified college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus.
At the time, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said he was happy to hear of the bill’s defeat, according to the Roanoke Times.
“I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus,” the Virginia Tech spokesman said.
The proposal, House Bill 1572, was initiated by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
But the bill didn’t pass its first stage, the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety.
Most universities in Virginia require students and employees, other than police, to check their guns with police or campus security upon entering campus.
Backers of the bill wanted to prohibit public universities from making “rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student who possesses a valid concealed handgun permit … from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun.”
The bill’s sponsor, Gilbert, told WND that with today’s tragedy still unfolding, he is uncomfortable commenting and cannot assert the university’s policy in any way contributed to the shooting. But he said, nevertheless, it’s clear it couldn’t have stopped the attack.
“The one thing that this tragic event does illustrate is that there is not a single gun law, rule or regulation that will stop someone with this kind of evil intent from going about their business and taking life at will, if they are committed to doing that,” Gilbert said.
While advocates of gun control often believe they are improving safety, they are depriving law-abiding citizens from defending themselves in dangerous situations, he contended.
“Had I been on campus today, and otherwise been entitled to carry firearms for protection and been deprived of that, I don’t think words can describe how I would have felt, knowing I could have stopped something like this,” Gilbert said.
People who are willing to jump through all the legal hoops necessary to get a weapons permit usually are not people society needs to worry about, he argued.
In the spring of 2005, a Virginia Tech student who had a concealed handgun permit was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, the Roanoke paper reported. Second Amendment groups questioned the university’s authority, but the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police argued against guns on campus.
In June 2006, Virginia Tech’s governing board approved a violence prevention policy that reaffirmed the school’s ban.
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