Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Killer's gun purchase was 'unremarkable'

The owner of Roanoke Firearms said Cho Seung-Hui bought a Glock pistol just over one month ago.

Cho Seung-Hui bought a Glock 19 9 mm pistol 36 days ago, paying $571 for it with a credit card in an "unremarkable" purchase, the owner of Roanoke Firearms said Tuesday.

John Markell, the store's owner, said Cho was very low-key when he purchased the gun and 50 rounds of ammunition.

Even though Cho is a resident alien, Markell said, it was legal for him to purchase a firearm and he presented three forms of identification: a driver's license, a checkbook with an address matching the driver's license, and an insurance card.

State police conducted an instant background check that probably took about a minute, the store owner said. Cho did not say why he wanted the gun, Markell said.

He said the transaction -- which was with one of his associates, not Markell himself -- was "probably the most unremarkable sale ever" and he was shocked when three ATF agents arrived at his store Monday with the receipt for the weapon.

The Glock 19 is one of his biggest sellers, Markell said. It's used mostly for competition and self-defense. Markell said he is shocked and saddened by the shooting at Virginia Tech.

-- From Drew Griffin, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 4:33 PM ET
  66 Comments
It is too easy to buy a gun in this country. Period.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 4:58 PM ET
I dont' know if it would make a difference but maybe as part of the process to purchase a firearm one would have to state why. I suppose you could lie or say it is for self defense but 50 rounds of ammunition should have raised some kind of alarm?
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 5:01 PM ET
"I dont' know if it would make a difference but maybe as part of the process to purchase a firearm one would have to state why. I suppose you could lie or say it is for self defense but 50 rounds of ammunition should have raised some kind of alarm?"

50 rounds of ammunition should never raise any kind of alarm. If you are purchasing a new gun for self defense, you should be going to a range to practice with it at least once and you will easily shoot than many rounds in a single evening of practice.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, Winsted, CT : 5:17 PM ET
I disagree with the above two posters. Here in CA we require showing "good cause" before you can obtain a permit to carry concealed weapons. It sounds like a good idea, but in practice, it just results in campaign donors, movie stars, and friends of the sheriff to get permits when normal citizens can't.

Also, 50 rounds of ammunition is actually quite a small amount. It sounds like a lot, but think about how many rounds you would shoot in just 10 minutes at a shooting range. Besides, ammunition is expensive and many gun owners buy in bulk to save money.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, San Francisco, CA : 5:17 PM ET
As a military service member and firearms owner, I can tell you that 50 rounds of ammunition is next to nothing. During a single trip to the firing range to train and maintain pistol marksmanship proficiency, I will easily put 200 rounds or more down range.

The focus in this tragedy should not be placed on a gun; it should be on the criminal.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Atlanta, GA : 5:18 PM ET
No one under 30 should even be allowed to purchase a firearm. 50 rounds of ammunition?? only in america! When will the NRA start opening their eyes and establish strict gun laws in this country?
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Raleigh NC : 5:23 PM ET
My prayers go out from my little island, Jamaica to all the victims' families and friends.
I would love to hear what 'proud gun owners' like Mr. Charlton Heston have to say about a tragedy like this. It's way too easy for 'average joes' to acquire deadly weapons of mass destruction.
Posted By Anonymous Maurice Brown. Jamaica, W.I. : 5:32 PM ET
Before this becomes a debate on the US' gun laws, it should be said that it would be impossible to prevent a person who wanted a gun from getting a gun even with the strictest gun laws. There are so many illegally possessed guns, that preventing the legal possession of guns would merely increase gun violence as those with illegal guns have less to fear.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Worcester, MA : 5:35 PM ET
I have some serious reservations about the politics surrounding firearms. However, I think some states have taken appropriate actions--Virginia clearly is not one of them.

Many states have long waiting periods that prevent people from buying out of temporary anger; others have talked about gunowners needing to provide proof of use--self defense, hunting, target shooting, etc.

The fact is, you can never "prevent" a crime of this nature, but you can do a lot to deter criminals...to put time and tests between them and their tool for murder. I think one little-considered idea is a mental health check, something used in institutions that handle other dangerous items and materials.
Posted By Anonymous Todd Brogan, Wisconsin : 5:38 PM ET
I find it disingenuous when people who sell guns for a living are "shocked and saddened" when the guns are used to kill. Do most people who purchase Glock 19's intend to use them for target practice and competition?

I can understand hunting (my brothers do it) and collecting guns (my brothers do it). But the US has so many of these mass killings, more than any other country. How can we keep guns out of these people's hands. I guess it's impossible to screen out those people bent on killing. Something has to be done. It's so sad.

Linda, Boulder, Colorado
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Boulder, Colorado : 5:43 PM ET
The campus is so anti second ammendment that their own police are not allowed to hold firearms. I'm not suggesting a complete lack of gun control, but perhaps some lives would have been saved if either the campus police or even students were allowed to have firearms.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Baltimore, MD : 5:44 PM ET
50 rounds will never set off an alarm in a gun shop. A decent round at the firing range will easily go through that many bullets. Unfortunately there IS no way of knowing "who is the killer?" when that person walks into a gun shop. Background checks don't stop first-time offenders. We can't read minds. Either we go completely gun-less or live with the consequences of a society with access to firearms.
Posted By Anonymous Nathaniel C, Chicago IL : 5:45 PM ET
"50 rounds of ammunition should have raised some kind of alarm?"

Handgun ammunition comes in boxes of 40 or 50. For .22 (a common small caliber), these boxes are often combined in 'bricks' of 10 boxes.

It might indicate a lack of forethought to only buy enough ammunition for a round or so of target shooting, but I don't think it's terribly suspicious given that the buyer might have more at home or might not want to spend so much money in one go.
Posted By Anonymous Beth, Denver, CO : 5:47 PM ET
The issue is not the buying of the gun. Although the weapon was purchased legally, it was carried illegally and it was used illegally. I have heard no mention of his having a concealed weapons permit. And even if he did, carrying a weapon on a college campus is still against the law.

And as for the 50 rounds of ammunition raising alarm-- that doesn't hold water. Anyone used to dealing with firearms will tell you that purchasing 50 rounds of ammunition is no big deal, especially in 9mm. In fact, police officers around the country routinely carry 52 rounds of 9mm on their person, all day and every day. (18 rounds in gun, 2 backup magazines of 17 rounds each)

Firearms are neutral. They are neither good nor evil. It is the person using it that makes the difference.

Our hearts go out to the families of those lost.
Posted By Anonymous Evan, Indianapolis, IN : 5:52 PM ET
I read somewhere that it might be helpful for there to be a psychological assessment requirement for anyone who wants to purchase a firearm. Wouldn't it also be better if there were a longer waiting period for purchasing a gun? Don't people have a RIGHT to be safe as they go about their daily activities?
Posted By Anonymous Carol B., Frederick, MD : 5:53 PM ET
Most people are ignorant of gun issues. There are simply so many guns in this country, you don't have to legally buy one. So "too easy" is not the problem. Also 50 rounds is a box. If you buy a gun, you will not feel confident until you shoot several hundred rounds through it. If he'd bought 500 rounds, it still would have gone unquestioned. I have thousands of rounds and have never been in an armed confrontation nor been arrested.

Although a gun enthusiast, I do not belong to the NRA as they seem to say and do anything to promote the purchase of firearms. Two solutions are available. 1. Disarm the public, destroying all guns or 2. Arm everyone except criminals and the mentally ill, so the shooter will think twice about who is and isn't armed. How many would have lived in Virginia if several students and teachers were armed and trained to defend? Everyone at the gun club is extremely nice. I know why.

As long as there are millions of guns in this country, these events wil take place.

My above solutions may be shortsighted, but what other avenues are there?
Posted By Anonymous John Zurek St. Petersburg FL : 5:56 PM ET
Hello Drew,
People say," guns don't kill people, people kill people" but how many times have you heard of someone really and truly haveing to kill someone in self defense?
Guns are way too easy for civilians to aquire.
Did anyone else see the interview with Anderson and the sniper last night? I can't recall his name, but the gunman told Anderson that killing people was similar to playing a video game!!!!!
There is something terribly wrong with a culture that is focused on violence and killing.
It seems to me that psychological testing whould be in order for those who want to purchase a gun.
I have known many a person who had no business with a gun. We all have. Most of us know people who drink and play with guns, people who are mentally unstable and play with guns and we all even know hunters who mistake other humans for little defenseless animals, like quail.
It is TIME to protect the innocent!!!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 5:59 PM ET
I've said this before after other like tragedies; it is simply stupid to allow resident aliens to purchase and possess firearms. This isn't the first time that a resident alien with a legally purchased firearm has killed innocent U.S. Citizens. Non Citizens should not be entitled to all constitutional freedoms just because they are in this country. It is a ridiculous legal policy that has proved fatal for our nation, more than once.
Posted By Anonymous George, Phoenix, AZ : 6:00 PM ET
The comments that have been made show the total ignorance many people in the US have when it comes to firearms. One comment was "It is too easy to buy a gun" when in fact its actually not easy. You have to undergo a background check and do the federal paperwork. Another was "50 rounds of ammunition should have raised an alarm". Why? 50 rounds is single normal box of ammo.

The true culprit in this matter is the young man who killed, regardless of what tool he choose to commit the senseless violence with.
Posted By Anonymous James, Charlotte, NC : 6:14 PM ET
Until there is a Federal law that regulates a waiting period there is not going to be any way to stop a person from using his/her natural born right to purchase a firearm. A State waiting period will not stop a person from buying a weapon, if they want it bad enough they will go to another state that doesn't have the waiting period. To Jolene, 50 rounds is nothing to raise suspicions about for a semi-automatic weapon.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce F. Roanoke,Va. : 6:22 PM ET
In response to a previous comment made, one could say that the gun is being bought for casual target shooting. In that case, 50 rounds is not a lot at all as I expend 100 rounds at a time when I go target shooting.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, North Tonawanda, NY : 6:23 PM ET
Any person wishing to purchase a firearm, especially a handgun, should be placed on a mandatory 1-2 week waiting period. During this waiting period, 3-5 people that have been listed as references by the purchasee as references should be contacted and informed of the intended purchase.

Anyone who can't justify to 3 people WHY they wish to purchase handgun, shouldn't be awarded the "freedom" to own one.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, Washington D.C. : 6:26 PM ET
In reply to Jolene, St. Joseph, MI:
50 rounds of ammunition is unremarkable, as 50 rounds is the common box size for pistol ammunition. Also it is common for someone going out for target practice to shoot 100 to 200 rounds of ammunition.
Posted By Anonymous Ray, Salt Lake City, UT : 6:28 PM ET
Why is it as easy to buy a gun in Virginia as it is to buy a pair of socks? I can't help but think that if there had a waiting period of 48 hours, or at least longer than a few minutes, maybe this shooter would have had a couple of days to mention his intentions to someone. Or rethink his plan. And how is it that in our society, the purchase of a Glock 19 and 50 rounds of ammunition is "probably the most unremarkable sale ever"? Maybe that mindset is the fundamental problem. Maybe all gun sales should be considered remarkable.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, New York, NY : 6:28 PM ET
This is a very sad situation for all and my heart goes out to the families. My God Bless Their Souls.

In Michigan the applicant must be 21 yrs of age and the local police authority will check for any criminal record at both the state and national level prior to issuing a purchase permit. Also the permit is only good for 10 days and you must register your weapon with your local police department with in 10 after taking possession of your weapon.

Michigan's CPL/CCW requirement goes even further. The applicant must take a course in gun safety; submit to a more extensive criminal and mental background check.

There is nothing alarming when purchasing 50 rounds of ammunition.

What this guy did was evil and wrong. This act of evil is shedding negative light on law abiding gun citizens.
Posted By Anonymous Andre - South East, Michigan : 6:34 PM ET
I dont know why the US continues to be a country that lives in the dark ages. Many countries in the modern world have outlawed guns. Please don't be illusioned, it's an instrument designed to hurt/kill people. If you are looking for some recreation activity, try soccer.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Boise, Id : 6:41 PM ET
9mm ammo doesn't come in a box smaller than 50 rounds. You can go through that in about 2 minutes at the gun range.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Provo, UT : 6:42 PM ET
50 rounds of handgun ammunition is NOT remarkable. This is the standard quantity sold in a box of handgun ammunition for sale in the US. Rifle cartridges, other than .22 caliber Long Rifle, tend to be sold in 20 round boxes.

The questions asked of any gun purchaser include questions about felony convictions, mental illness, drug use, etc. A lie to any of these questions is a separate Federal crime for each question. Asking someone who is premeditating murder "why" is not going to stop him.
Posted By Anonymous John, Waynesville, NC : 6:44 PM ET
As an owner of a handgun and being licensed to carry it legally, I can say the phrase, "guns don't kill people, people kill people!"How he got the gun or what kind of gun it was does not matter!He chose to use it in a manner that was WRONG! Guns are easy to get nowadays. The system has speeded up the process from the old day's when it took 5 day's to get a background check done to 5 minutes! Way to easy! I do not know if there is a way to prevent this from happening. It needs looking into! Disturbed people should NOT be able to buy guns!
Posted By Anonymous James N. Kelly,Montgomery,Alabama : 7:06 PM ET
I don't know which is the biggest tragedy. Loss of life, extreme media overreaction and coverage, or the leftist communist wolves waiting in the shadows. It breaks my heart that this individual went on this senseless rampage. But it is not the fault of the gun, the gun manufacture, or the seller of the gun. You would have to get Spock to do a mind meld in order to stop these actions completely. People should not be surprised by this persons actions. America no longer has parenting. Young kids are allowed to kill daily on games and when watching movies. Parents are at work being greedy trying to best the Jones's and not paying attention to their children. That is America's problem. But then you get an individual like this who writes dark stuff and makes negative comments about rich kids and snooty girls, is from another country (it doesn't matter which) and you have a very angry person that was told how good america was, yet the people of america really suck and are spoiled with their little groupie attitudes. So don't blame the gun, don't blame the individual, blame spoiled americans and their shutdown attitudes towards other people. If the leftist communists like Clinton and Pelosi have their way, this will become normal daily news because then only outlaws and criminals will have guns. And only a fool and an idiot would think otherwise.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Elms, Kingsburg, CA : 7:13 PM ET
Dear Drew,

Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter, the weakness of our gun control laws in the United States which contributes greatly to tragedies like this.

There has been much outrage expressed by the media and the citizens of this country over the Virginia Tech murders, yet gun control laws like the Brady Bill continually come up against strong opposition. It is possible that the five-day waiting period that the Brady Bill requires might have turned up Cho Seung-Hui's mental instability. As recently as last March the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the District of Columbia's handgun law.

I was sickened today as I watched George W. Bush, who always buckles under to the will of his cronies in the NRA, stand there in Blacksburg giving is "condolences" to the grieving friends and families of the victims.

Like everyone else who is opposed to gun control in this country, Bush's finger was right there on the trigger with Cho's.

Let us not forget that the Columbine shootings happened almost eight years ago today. What have we learned since then? What real progress has been made to prevent these types of tragedies? Maybe something will be done before the next gun massacre. I doubt it.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 7:14 PM ET
I am a licensed handgun owner, but this incident has caused me to reconsider if I want to personally own a gun. Many of my colleagues often scowl at any limitations placed upon the purchasing of firearms. However, I believe that it is only reasonable to place certain restrictions upon such deadly weapons. No one should be able to purchase fifty rounds of ammunition at one time. I believe in upholding the rights of the constitution, but I also believe that we should take the necessary steps to prevent incidents like these from occurring. If that means limiting my ability to purchase, carry, and/or own a gun—then so be it.
Posted By Anonymous Langston, Arlington, TX : 7:14 PM ET
Everything that the killer did was unremarkable. Target ammunition is typically sold in boxes of fifty and in a day of target shooting at the range using two hundred or more rounds is not uncommon. The two most common calibers used for target shooting are 9mm and 22lr. The Walther that the killer used is almost exclusively used for target shooting and is not generally considered to be a self defense firearm. The killer raised no red flags because he had thought out what he was doing and acted in a way that would raise no red flags. Had a more restrictive system been in place he would have worked around that too. He had a clean criminal record and since the University did not share their concerns about his mental health with the state, nothing showed up on his background check when he made his gun purchase. He had planned this for months and shared his plans with no one. You cannot build a system to stop someone like that. If he could not have gained legal access to firearms he would have gotten them illegally. If that would not have been viable, then he would have used another method such as bombing or God knows what else. While a tragedy like this cries out for blame,meaning and some hope for future security, the sad truth is that for something like this there in no one to blame but a profoundly troubled young man, there is no meaning except what was in the killers head and the next rampage killer that has taken months to plan his crime and has no fear of death quite simply cannot be stopped by any system that we can come up with.
Posted By Anonymous John, Tuscaloosa, AL : 7:28 PM ET
It is too soon to really understand what exactly could have been done to prevent this. Gun laws are the red herring in every discussion like this. Banning guns only keeps them out of the hands of law abiding citizens. There is no easy solution, no country to point to and use as our model. Our thoughts and prayers are needed now for the friends and families impacted by the events at VT. The debate over how we move forward can wait for another day.
Posted By Anonymous Brian T- Tampa FL : 7:32 PM ET
I apologize for my earlier comment about the ease of getting guns in this country. Because, I digress...this is much too tragic of a story. I shouldn't have invited such debate because at the center of it all remains the fact that people have lost their lives. Their stories deserve sympathy, not argument. Their lives meant more than that and I am so very sorry for the victims, their families and their friends. This isn't the time for speculation about why it happened-it just did happen and now these people have to go on with their lives in spite of it-and that's a horrible place to be.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 7:32 PM ET
Making gun laws tighter is not going to make this country safer, since most crimes involving guns are purchased illegally.

Before we put more restrictions on obtaining a gun, maybe we should start restricting the production of guns. That way we keep guns away from everyone, not just the people that take the proper procedures to practice their constitutional right.
Posted By Anonymous Costa, Fall River, MA. : 7:46 PM ET
I do not believe that a waiting period would have changed anything in this case, but some other aspects have to be taken in consideration.
When a patient is given certain medications (ex:narcotics), doctors have to signal authorities that the patient is not disposed to drive and the patient may have his driving license revoked for the duration of the treatment. Why aren't they using a similar procedure for people with important psychological problems.
A psychiatrist or a doctor should be able to signal people at risk, to interfer with the patient's ability to purchase weapons that can be used against himself or others.
Posted By Anonymous R.Lemay, Montreal, Canada : 7:50 PM ET
It's unfortunate that it is so easy to purchase a firearm. But, we can not blame the gun shop owners. If someone has deadly intentions, they are going to do whatever is possible to get a gun.
Posted By Anonymous Sophia (Canutillo, Texas) : 8:11 PM ET
Here's a thought. A very mentally disturbed young man threw many red flags out that unfortunately no one caught. No one is to blame but that man who pulled that trigger and destroyed all those lives. Meanwhile, many are in mourning and nothing will bring back their loved ones or the innocence lost in those tragic hours yesterday. This story isn't about accusations or what if's, but instead the ache of pain and loss and how people eventually get through those horrors.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 8:22 PM ET
I see a number of comments about waiting periods vs. instant checks. To those who think that a week or two of waiting period would have made a difference, please re-read the report on the shooters purchase which indicates the gun was purchased more than a month before the shootings Monday.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, Winsted, CT : 8:24 PM ET
I think it is utterly sad how so many people are turning this tragedy into their own personal political agenda. How about you stop using this as your springboard to accomplish your own goals and think of the people involved. Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives have been affected and here we all are arguing about gun control instead of thinking about and praying for the people who lost their lives and their families. We all need to get off of our soapboxes, go home and tell our friends and families how much we love and appreciate them. You never know how much time you have to spend with them. You might as well enjoy some quality time with the ones you love rather than wasting it in front of a computer arguing with people all over the globe over some stupid political issue that will continue to be debated for the next fifty years.
Posted By Anonymous John, Lincoln, NE : 8:29 PM ET
Virginia Tech's "Bloody Monday" Massacre was a senseless tragedy. I agree with a previous comment that the gun itself is 'neutral', it is the carrier/user that decides the fate. Guilt follows the path of the bullet. Remember, it is not the responsible individuals that usually commit the crimes.
Yes, we should be as diligent as possible when selling guns to try to reduce the possibility of questionable individuals obtaining them; however, the reality is when a disturbed individual is set on hurting or killing others, you cannot simply blame gun laws. Afterall, it could have been a different weapon of choice (bomb, knife, poison, etc.). The key here is to stop trying to "lay blame" on anyone other than the shooter. We should be researching his history, analyzing our responses and continually trying to improve our crisis management. There is always room for improvement and each horrible incident provides us knowledge on how we as individuals can be more astute and responsive.
Posted By Anonymous Dana--Austin, TX : 8:34 PM ET
Why in the world would anyone need to own a Glock? Even for target practice, what the heck do you need to do target practice for?

Hunting is ONLY a sport if the deer, moose or whatever you're shooting at has a gun too. Maybe in this case if some of the other students had guns fewer would have died so horribly. Then again if the shooter had known that others had guns and could have stood up for themselves, maybe he would have changed his mind about his ridiculous plan. He wouldn't have been such a "big man" without the gun.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 8:44 PM ET
Why would someone brin a Glock 19 and Walther P22 handgun and start a killing spree on the Virginia Tech that caused the lives of 33 people?

It's like he hates the people that surrounds him and would likely to start killing other people that he sees wherever he goes.

Also why arne't there any security cameras in the campus or in the dorm? This cameras could eventually helped on preventing the carnage that occurred in the campus.
Posted By Anonymous Danee Rivera, Manila, Philippines : 12:21 AM ET
The question that keeps recurring in my mind about the shooter is did his family have any clue what was going on with him? I don't want to put blame on them as I know nothing about them but when I read about young people using guns and violence as a solution, it drives me all the more to try and stay close to my son and try to know what is going on with him.

I grew up in a rural community where people hunted and kept guns, my father included. He always stressed to me and my siblings how deadly they could be and the responsibility of being a gun owner. Plus they were locked at all times. Granted, we could make it more difficult to own guns but we also need to convey responsibility to our children. My siblings and I understood that from my father and to this day, none of us own any firearms.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa-St. Louis, MO : 1:15 AM ET
In America we have a right to bear arms. Period. The argument could be made that it is for militias (National Guard, Military, etc). However, when chaos breaks loose the NG will not necessarily be there, and the police will not necessarily be there. However, bad guys may be there.
Americans have the constitutional right to defend ourselves so that we may strive towards life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is NO WAY that guns should be outlawed.
However, a background check on a handgun should take more than a minute. If you had to apply for a gun, with a seven day wait (maybe more, maybe less) so that proper checks could be done, maybe mentally ill people would not get guns. It is possible that with a longer and more thorough search it would have been discovered that this killer was seriously disturbed.
It needs to be harder for bad people to get guns. Very bad people will still get guns, however, and that is why good people need to have the option to have guns so they can protect themself and their family, if they so choose.
Posted By Anonymous Nestor, Austin, TX : 1:36 AM ET
Last night, it was pointed out, if there had even been a misdemeanor on this guy's record, the sale of the weapon would have been slowed down by checking into his background more carefully. I am not blaming the young women who were stalked for not pressing charges, but if charges had been pressed against him, he would have already had a record by the time he tried to purchase a gun. I understand it takes a lot of courage to press charges against someone such as a stalker, but I can't help but wonder if this incident could have been avoided if criminal activity had been a part of his background history.
Posted By Anonymous Wanda, Nashville, TN : 10:06 AM ET
I have to disagree with the posts about longer waiting periods for guns and stricter laws. If you look at this tragedy and previous ones, they were premeditated attacks where the weapons were acquired well in advance. Even a two week waiting period wouldn't have helped. And all stricter guns laws do is make it harder for the honest person to enjoy their hobby. If a criminal or potential criminal wants a gun they will acquire it one way or another or just use other means to commit a crime.

I've also heard everything from music to video games being blamed for this. If that is the case then what happened with Charles Manson? I think that people should stop trying to push the blame on something else and put it where it belongs, on the murderer. He is the one that caused this tragedy, no one else.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Pittsburgh, Pa : 10:07 AM ET
If you want to play the blame game, blame the university for stripping these people of their right to self preservation. First of all, self preservation is a primitive right; one that came before dinosaurs, mammals, people, and especially the constitution. And second, don't assume your action of disarming law-abiding citizens is in their best interest. This type of situation is exactly why we prefer to be personally armed. We have wifes and children; we value our lives and know that we're not living in a magical dreamworld where violence never occurs.

"Illusion is the first of all pleasures. - Oscar Wilde"

The first thing anyone wants to do is blame guns and attack the process by which they are acquired when they have no clue what it involves. They are completely ignorant to the good that this tool has accomplished for this country. Let me remind you that your independence wasn't won by a debate club or a round of golf.

And in response to some of the above comments:

1. It's called a "mag" not a "clip". While they sensationalize it, the media gets it wrong too.

2. 50 rounds of ammo equates to exactly one small box (so no, it's not enough for an army).

3. And to Dave, Boise: Guns are tools. Good people use them for sport and survival. Bad people use them for violence. Unfortunately "soccer" is not the answer. When your wife and daughter are being raped, "soccer" will not help them.

4. If a weapons ban is truly the answer, you should write your rep and have them institute one in Iraq. It could end the war early and bring our troops home. Why didn't we think of that earlier!
Posted By Anonymous Brandon, Wilmington, NC : 11:57 AM ET
After reading several of the comments,the people of the USA seem to have it all wrong. Do not blame the gun, blame the person behind the gun! Just think if the Teachers had a right to carry a gun they could have stopped this. It would have been better for one to die than so many.
Posted By Anonymous Cliff, Galax, Va. : 12:14 PM ET
The term gun control laws don't make any sense. If the gun isn't in your own posession you can't control what is done with it. So that idea is flawed.

I read about the right to own a gun to protect oneself and those gun contol laws but I read very little about the very simple right to be save while beeing unarmed and unprotected. To me that is one of the basic rights in life and the true meaning of freedom. A right those students had and whas taken away from them.
Posted By Anonymous Nadine H. Zeist The Netherlands : 12:17 PM ET
Langston, from Arlington, TX, you are a liar. If you were really a licensed handgun owner, you would know that you can't buy 9mm ammo in an amount less than 50 rounds. I recently purchased 450 rounds of handgun ammo. This was a relatively small amount. I expect it will last me about two months.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Provo, UT : 12:49 PM ET
Why in the heck is a "resident alien" allowed to purchase a gun in the first place? Please don't say it's their "constitutional right" because they are not a US citizen. Also, whatever happened to the 48 hour waiting/cool-down period?
Posted By Anonymous Nicole Dayton OH : 1:05 PM ET
To Dave in Boise, Id:
The American Government can't keep illegal drugs out of this country, it can't keep illegal immigrants out of this country....what do you think will happen if they ban guns? I can tell you that the only thing that will happen is that guns will still get into this country and into the hands of the criminals and criminally minded. The issue at the heart of this matter is not gun control, don't use this terrible tragedy as a way to promote your own political ideas. A ban on guns would not have prevented this from happening. However, if college instructors were able to carry a weapon I am positive less blood would have been shed. Virginia is a beautiful state, Virginia Tech is a wonderful school where a very unfortunate event took place two days ago. We should be united in prayer for the victims of this tragedy not engaged in argument over where to lay the blame. The person to blame is dead. The only thing we can hope for at this time is God's good grace for these families and this beautiful community! Go Hoakies!!
Posted By Anonymous Heather Southern IL : 3:36 PM ET
As for the police officer that did the one minute background check on the boy, why was the fact that he had been to a mental institution ignored? Or was it even noticed? Also, I believe that all universities should do background checks on entering students, and who cares if it takes "too much time" because a life is more precious than a few hours or days saved. Also, the government needs to pass a no gun law for citizens to carry guns so easily. If you weren't allowed to have a gun, then people wouldn't buy a gun to defend themselves from people with guns! But, we know our government will NEVER do that; they have gotten too many wake-up calls by now, and not responded. I also believe that the media has made too big of a deal about how this is the worst school shooting on record. Why bring attention that this was a record?!?!
Posted By Anonymous Liz, Tallahassee, FL (FSU) : 4:42 PM ET
The mass shootings in recent history tend to fall into two categories:

1) The shooting occurs in a public place where the carrying of concealed weapons is legal by licensed citizens. However, no one is armed to protect innocent lives and the victims are helpless until the police arrive and shoot the killer.

2) The shooting occurs on an educational campus where the carrying of concealed weapons is illegal (state law) by licensed citizens and no one is able to protect innocent lives from an armed criminal.

So lets get this straight:
1) The state has TAKEN AWAY THE RIGHT for law abiding citizens to protect themselves.
2) Since the state has taken away this right the state is taking responsibility for protecting these lives.
3) The state failed to protect these lives.
4) The state should be liable for this horrible loss of life.

It is simple. Either spend billions of dollars on security to protect people where the carrying of concealed weapons is illegal or change the laws and allow people to protect themselves.
Posted By Anonymous David, Colorado Springs, CO : 5:20 PM ET
In response to Nicole Dayton OH

At the time that the "constitutional right" was written, there was no such thing as "US citizen". Everyone was a resident alien, and there was no Naturalization. In case it isn't clear to you, the 2A states "the right of the people" not "the right of Americans". Also, the 2A does not give people the right to bear arms, it protects it. The right to bear arms came BEFORE the constitution.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Raleigh NC : 5:28 PM ET
To Liz in Tallahassee:

"Also, the government needs to pass a no gun law for citizens to carry guns so easily."

The shooter was carrying the gun ILLEGALLY. It is against VA state law to carry a firearm on a college campus. The law that you feel needs to be created already exists. The problem is that bad people with bad intentions do not follow the law. The victims obeyed the law and they were unable to protect themselves against a murderer.

Also, "police officers" do not personally carry out the criminal background check when a firearm is purchased. The gun seller verifies the buyers information and runs a background check via a state agency.
Posted By Anonymous David, Colorado Springs, Colorado : 5:30 PM ET
I'd like to know how a no gun law would help prevent these situations? He obviously had no regard for the law to begin with anyways. If I recall correctly it's a felony to bring a firearm on school property to begin with. If anything I believe these situations would be a more common occurrence if you banned guns. The criminals would then be free to commit any types of crimes knowing that the honest law abiding citizen is unarmed and defenseless. Like someone mentioned earlier, if you think banning guns will actually keep them out of the hands of criminals then that means there are no illegal drugs or aliens in this country right?! If you follow that type of thinking then we should also ban cars due to vehicular homicides and ban planes because of terrorist attacks. These are only tools used in tragic situations.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Pittsburgh, Pa : 5:53 PM ET
Two points- the 1st a question, the 2nd a position. It is now common knowledge that Felons are restricted from legal posession of firearms, and that The Brady Bill requires a natoinal criminal background check for all legal firearms purchases in all states. I somehow was under the impression that the Mentally Ill (potentially violent, dangerous) individuals were also to be denied access legally to firearms - ?? No Database ?? or is this a privacy issue? 2nd point - Having tuned-in to several broadcast debates between 2ND Ammendment supporters (1st was free speach, right to bear arms 2nd!!) and Gun Control advocates, I am aware of the incredibly small / minute percentage of Legal gun owners commiting gun related crimes (many many more actually assist in crime prevention!) And that the vast majority of gun violence is perpetrated by individuals using Illegaly obtained firearms. -- Volume purchasers, secondary sales are the areas that require investigation and greater control. JTL Chester Cty.
Posted By Anonymous JTL Chester Cty. : 5:54 PM ET
Let me start by saying that i am a college student and a future law enforcement officer and i believe in concealed carry. If there is just a 1% chance that the killer could have been subdued and the outcome different, had there been a concealed carry permit holder there, that is a better chance than 0%.
True, first time offenders do not get detected and no one knows who they are. Thing is that he purchased them legally and if the 30,000, give or take, laws did not catch this guy then im not so sure one more will. He waited 30+ days to purchase the glock and would have cleared most, if not all, the waiting periods.
From viewing his videos I believe that he had been planning this for a long time and any waiting period would not have made him loose interest. If it wasn't guns it very likely could have been a bomb.
Fact: criminals do not fallow the law, they are criminals! Fact: many people use handguns to defend themselves. Not many instances result in shots fired but the mere sight a gun has scared off the attacker. Guess what wolf, this sheep has teeth!
I think the only thing to be done here is to open mental health history to the background check so that it will show on a check, that includes volentary addmissions. just some thoughts.
Posted By Anonymous Lance, Las Cruces, NM : 12:38 AM ET
Our hearts go to the victims’ families of the Virginia Tech shooting at Blacksburg. We pray they will be comforted. Considering the long range aspect of this incident, we think this is a wakeup call to not only review security procedure in colleges, cultural exposure to violent materials but also to review the health system we practise.

What happened to Cho’s mental illness follow-up from the time he was diagnosed to the time of the massacre?
What systems are in place to help mentally ill people before they become a threat to others? The system seems to wait for evidence that shows that a patient could harm himself. Why does the system overlook the evidence of Cho’s threat to other students?

We should animate discussions again on the orientation of our health system. Our prayers go to the Blackburg community. Thank you.
Samuel-Ojo, Plymouth, MN
Posted By Anonymous Samuel-Ojo, Plymouth, MN : 1:40 AM ET
First, it is very concerning that no further steps were taken to treat Cho's mental illness. I see and hear the news channels talk about how evil and insane he was- that's obvious, a sane individual would not go on a shooting spree. He should have been hospitalized for mental illness (against his own will if necessary). All the signs were there. It's sad that the next step never happened.
Second, I see the point that a longer waiting period may not have helped- he purchased the guns 30+ days before the crime- but maybe if there was a system in place to screen one's mental health before a gun purchase, this tragedy could have been avoided. Hypothetically speaking, if privacy is the issue, fine: when a gun retailer runs the criminal/mental health check and it is declined, he should just get a number or a code he can give to the potential gun owner and they can find out why. Also, it might not be a bad idea to have the proper authorities notified automatically that a mentally unstable individual tried purchasing firearms. All these good, law-abiding, gun-owning citizens I keep hearing about would still have their right to bear arms. If Cho would have been Baker Acted- deemed a threat to himself or others- and it was picked up by a background check, this might have been avoided. I'd rather have that small chance than no chance at all.
My heart goes out to all the victims, the survivors, their families, and the Virginia Tech community.
Posted By Anonymous Martin Kotowski, Jacksonville, FL : 9:53 AM ET
Fifty rounds is not unusual. I routinely purchase handgun ammunition in quantities of 1000 or more from my local big box retailer. I consume this ammunition at a rate of 100-200 rounds per month at range practice.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Atlanta, GA : 12:32 PM ET
As a concealed weapons permit holder in the wonderful state of Virginia, I feel as though a flag should be thrown up on anyone with a any type of mental illness history. During the process of obtaining the concealed weapons permit, a question is present that asks of your mental history. There is quite a waiting period, fingerprinting, and an in depth questionaire that is part of the process, not to mention a course that must be taken.

I am also a concerned mother of two that is tired of seeing the senseless violence with firearms. This is one reason I choose to carry. Our hardworking law enforcement officers cannot walk beside me and my children 24 hours a day.

My son of 13 is trained in the use of shotguns and rifles for hunting purposes. Guns provide protection and recreation when in the right hands and when used properly.

I would love to see the process of obtaining a concealed weapons permit applied to each and every gun purchase made. I believe at that point then we would have decent, well informed individuals carrying weapons and not souless murderers.
Posted By Anonymous Teresa, Bowling Green, VA : 1:01 PM ET
I find it ironic that people would suggest the removal of guns as a remedy to this problem. Despite the fact that it would require abolishing the 2nd amendment to do so, it doesn’t make sense either.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The key word here is keep. This kills the Nation Guard interpretation.

keep - Show Spelled Pronunciation[keep] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, kept, keep•ing, noun

–verb (used with object)
1. to hold or retain in one's possession; hold as one's own:

It doesn’t make sense either…these shootings always take place in areas where the shooters know there are no “other” armed people.
When is the last time you saw a “Police Station” shooting? You haven’t…because shooters know there are 20-30 armed/trained people with guns who will shoot back.

David
Kansas City
Posted By Anonymous David, kansas city : 1:38 PM ET
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