About a year ago, I moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech. Having not been here (or even in Southwest Virginia) when the Virginia Tech massacre occurred in 2007, I’m always a bit uncomfortable talking about the tragedy. What I’ve learned, over this year, however, is that most in this community hate the politicization of the massacre, by both gun control advocates and gun rights enthusiasts. That’s why it upsets me when I see someone like Senator Diane Feinstein using the event as political fodder:
“These massacres don’t seem to stop,” the California Democrat lamented, listing notorious rampages of past years known by the lone name of their locations — Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson and Oak Creek.
“We should be outraged at how easy it is” for attackers to get hold of the semi-automatic weapons or large-capacity magazines used in those slaughters, Feinstein told the event at the U.S. Capitol that she organized.
Given that she cited Virginia Tech, it’s worth asking whether or not Feinstein’s proposed legislation could’ve changed the outcome of the event. Her bill targets high-capacity magazines (those with 10 or more rounds of ammunition), as well as a number of “assault weapons” she wants banned. The Daily Caller revealed Feinstein’s list of proposed weapons:
So what did Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech gunman, use to kill 32 of his fellow classmates? He used two sidearms, a .22 caliber Walther P22 and a 9mm Glock 19. You’ll notice that neither of these semi-automatic weapons are on the list above. Cho also used a number of 10 and 15 round magazines. Theoretically, Feinstein’s bill may have limited Cho to smaller magazines (8 or 9 rounds each). Would this have made a difference?
It’s hard to argue that a high-capacity magazine ban would have made a difference. 203 rounds of ammunition were found to have been used in Norris Hall, where a majority of the violence occurred. That means that Cho reloaded well over a dozen times, between the two weapons. Assuming that he was limited to 8-round magazines, he would have needed to reload a minimum of 25 times to dispense over 200 rounds of ammunition. What’s the difference between reloading 17 times and 25 times? Not much.
This goes to show how tragedies are used for political purposes, even when it is illogical. The Virginia Tech massacre was a terrible incident, and we need to take every step necessary to prevent further damage, but the assault weapons ban proposed would have done nothing. Feinstein should be ashamed of her politicization.