VA Tech Tragedy Should Not Propel Political Opportunism

As America comes to grips with the deadliest shooting in its history, this should be a time for grief, sorrow and reflection. This should not be a time for politics, but sadly, that seems to be where certain members of Congress and other advocacy groups seem to be headed.

According to today’s Opinion Journal’s Political Diary, Paul Helmke, former mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., and current president of the Brady Campaign, immediately issued a statement calling for more gun control measures to be put on the books. While his sense of timing is a bit grotesque, Mr. Helmke should know that lawmakers can’t legislate sanity; a deranged individual who apparently obtained his firearms legally and senselessly killed his classmates can’t be stopped by more gun control laws.

And yet, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), who lost her husband to a gunman on the Long Island Railroad in 1993, had this to say about the Virginia Tech tragedy: “The unfortunate situation in Virginia could have been avoided if congressional leaders stood up to the gun lobby.” Again, lawmakers cannot legislate rationality — does Ms. McCarthy actually believe that the gun lobby is responsible for the actions of a madman who killed 32 innocent students yesterday?

In fact, Virginia Tech is one of the institutions of higher learning that prohibits all guns on campus. Back in 2005, Tech spokesman Larry Hincker offered the following: “We believe guns don’t belong in the classroom.” Guns don’t belong in the classroom and they don’t belong in the hands of people who use them to slaughter innocent human beings.

In the aftermath of he horrific tragedy in Blacksburg yesterday, I hope that lawmakers from all stops along the political spectrum examine how best to protect our students in the classroom without abridging the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. Let’s all take a deep breath and focus on the families and friends who lost loved ones in yesterday’s horrific attack.

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