After Monday’s deadly rampage at Virginia Tech, gun-control advocates said the shootings pointed to the need for tougher laws, while supporters of gun rights kept their heads down, the Los Angeles Times says. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y), whose husband was among six people killed by a gunman who opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993, asserted that, “The unfortunate situation in Virginia could have been avoided if congressional leaders stood up to the gun lobby.”
Virginia’s gun laws make it easy to buy and own firearms and the state often is criticized as the source of guns used in crimes in the Washington area and other East Coast cities. It is not known what role, if any, state laws may have played in the Blacksburg killings. The National Rifle Association expressed its condolences but said, “We will not have further comment until all the facts are known.” Joshua Horwitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence also sounded a cautious note: “I can’t say how this will play into the debate until we know how old the shooter was and how he got his guns.” Virginia Tech officials today identified the killer as 23-year-old Cho Seung Hui of Centreville, in northern Virginia. Cho was a South Korean native who immigrated to this country as a child, officials said. He was a senior majoring in English, and lived in a dorm on campus.