Gun Control Reform

The Virginia Tech shooting became a driving force in those petitioning for gun control reform, especially in Virginia. As previously mentioned from the immediate review the VTRP found that Cho, had his mental health issue been reported to CCRE, should never have been able to legally have the firearms he did. As a result the Virginia Governor, Timothy Kaine, made an executive order that anyone who is determined to be “a danger to himself or others, regardless of whether designated for inpatient or outpatient treatment, be immediately reported to all relevant databases, including the CCRE.” Moving into the federal level President George W. Bush, in 2008, signed the NICS Improvement Amendments Act which was created and intended to improve the NICS by promoting faster reporting, keeping updated records, and more collaboration between State and Federal agencies.1 This will allow for these to be a more reliable form of checks and balances on those who are looking into obtaining a firearm.

Not only were there legal shifts but there were more discussions about opinion and ideas involving gun control following a school shooting, like the one at Virginia Tech. While there was little evidence that there was a large shift in actual opinion the resulting discussions allowed people to share their concerns. There was a growing concern that despite the increased regulation on guns that people who wanted to use them in a horrible and illegal way would always find a way. Many used the argument that gun rights protection is important because it is embedded into our Constitution, however, others pull on the changing atmosphere of the nation and why current events should be able to change previous understandings. For some it was clear that while regulation would be helpful there needed to be a greater emphasis on improving mental health help since this was more likely to help someone who was in distress and at risk of causing these horrible actions. (How to go about improving this mental health help from professionals at university help centers can be found in the mental health concern tab of the website.) While others still argued on the impact of the stricter gun regulation and how it could possibly deter someone who had bad intentions when getting a firearm. Unfortunately, it becomes more clear that as time goes on sometimes the only way to learn about the effectiveness of these changes is to see the long-term benefits it has or does not have. This requires patience and time but also the initiative to begin the research so the information that is uncovered can become of value.2

Image Credit: The Washington Post

  1. Schildkruat and Hernandez, “Laws That Bit The Bullet”, 367. ↩︎
  2. Schildkruat and Hernandez, “Laws That Bit The Bullet”, 369-371. ↩︎

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