Now the debate over the Virginia Tech shootings has shifted, very predictably, into a debate over whether the US should institute Eurpoean-style gun laws. As if that would have prevented this tragedy.
It is true that Cho Seung-Hui never should have been allowed to buy a gun. He had a history of mental-health issues, which should have easily been picked up by a background check, disqualifying him from being able to purchase any kind of firearm. But the assertion that banning all guns will prevent gun crimes is unrealistic and unhelpful. It may prevent a few gun crimes, but it will make people defenseless against criminals who obtain guns illegally, and will make robberies all the easier and more common. This has been a problem across England – they instituted a gun ban, and are now faced with robbery rates that rise every year. Washington D.C. instituted a gun ban, and they have one of the worst crime rates in the U.S. Why? Because criminals know that they can get away with muggings and robberies because no one is allowed to carry a gun.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, it would behoove the State of Virginia to institute more thorough background checks, and possibly mental health screening for potential gun owners, but banning guns, besides being Constitutionally questionable, will solve absolutely nothing.