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Is Gun Control Back in Play? The Times Hopes So

Will the massacre at Virginia Tech cause the Times' hostility toward guns to flame up again?

After Monday's massacre on the campus of Virginia Tech left over 30 dead, will the Times'long-timehostility toward guns flame up again in new calls forrestrictions on gun ownership? Reporters Leslie Eaton and Michael Luo run a little air over the coals in Wednesday's "Shooting Rekindles Issues of Gun Rights and Restrictions."


"Five weeks ago, a Virginia Tech student walked into a nondescript gun store next to a pawn shop in Roanoke, Va., and paid $571 for a Glock 9-millimeter handgun and a box of ammunition.


"On Monday, the student, Cho Seung-Hui, made a horrible kind of history by using that gun and another pistol to go on a murderous rampage at the university, in Blacksburg, Va., before taking his own life.


"As described by John Markell, the owner of the store, Roanoke Firearms, the purchase was a routine transaction. Virginia requires residents to present two forms of identification to buy a gun, as well pass a computerized background check, and Mr. Cho showed a salesman his driver's license, a checkbook and his green card, because he had immigrated with his family from South Korea.


"'He must have bought a lot more ammo somewhere else,' Mr. Markell said.


"But this unremarkable purchase by Mr. Cho is drawing attention to Virginia's gun laws, which some gun-control advocates described as lax. The purchase has prompted calls from several Democrats and at least one leading presidential candidate, John Edwards, for measures to restrict gun sales, even as they proclaimed their support for the Second Amendment."


The story itself was fairly balanced, and featured Sen. John McCain offering a defense of the Second Amendment, as well as notingthe "muted response was a testament to political realities" among Democrats trying to make inroads among pro-gun constituents.


But not until the third-to-last paragraph did the Times introduce the main point conservatives have made regarding the massacre at - the complete ban on guns on campus: "In Virginia and on gun-rights blogs, some critics were challenging Virginia Tech rules that prohibit gun owners from carrying their weapons on campus. A committee of the State House of Delegates has considered legislation to override the ban, which is common at many other colleges."


Even then, the Times concluded with a quote from an anti-gun group challenging the notion.