Gun Debate Heats Up

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Nationwide debate on whether gun sales should be restricted and whether colleges should – or can – ban firearms is heating up, following Monday’s massacre of 32 students at Virginia Tech by a student who subsequently shot himself to death.

Several Democrats are calling for more restrictions on gun sales following disclosures that the Virginia Tech shooter bought his Glock 9-millimeter handgun in a routine purchase at a Roanoke gun store, the New York Times (registration required) reports.

Supporters of gun rights, however, say students could have acted to stop Cho Seung-Hui if college rules had not barred them from carrying guns. Cho presented two forms of identification and underwent a computer background check, according to the gun store owner. Both are legal requirements in the state, which also restricts gun purchases to one per month.

Among those calling for change is Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

On the GOP side, John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani say they still support a constitutional right to bear arms, Associated Press reports. Giuliani has recently supported state solutions to gun control.

Meanwhile, advocacy groups are hotly debating whether gun bans by colleges are necessary or desirable. In Utah, which reportedly has some of the least restrictive laws on gun possession in the nation, the University of Utah tried, but failed, to impose a campus-wide ban. However, students there are allowed to request roommates who do not have concealed carry permits, reports the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

For more details, see this Daily News post from Monday.

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