Second Amendment Groups Bracing for Gun Control Moves

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - Gun control advocates in Congress are urging their colleagues to "stand up and do something" (as Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York Democrat, put it) following the mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

The Washington Times reported on Wednesday that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is pressing the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on the shootings.

That means gun owners will have to be "especially vigilant in the coming weeks to block any new attempts to infringe upon the Second Amendment," said Gun Owners of America, a gun lobby.

GOA insists that gun prohibitions -- such as those in effect on the Virginia Tech campus -- are part of the problem, not the solution.

"Our hearts and prayers truly go out to all of those affected by Cho Seung-Hui's evil actions," GOA said in a news release. "But not even senseless, brutal murder justifies taking away the God-given rights of the law-abiding."

GOA describes Virginia Tech as a "victim disarmament zone," where even people with a concealed carry permit issued by the state are forbidden to carry guns.

A bill allowing concealed-carry permit holders to arm themselves on state-supported college campuses died last year in the Virginia General Assembly -- "due in no small part to rabid opposition from Virginia Tech itself," GOA noted.

When it became clear the bill would not pass, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker praised the General Assembly's actions: "[T]his will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus," GOA quoted Hincker as saying at the time.

Gun Owners of America also wants Americans to remember that in 2002, two students at Appalachian School of Law stopped a gunman who killed three people on that southwestern Virginia campus. They did it by running to their cars to grab their guns.

Gun Owners of America said it is bracing for new forms of gun control to be pushed in the U.S. Congress - especially a Congress controlled by anti-gun Democrats.

"If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- certainly no friend of gun owners -- gives free rein to virulently anti-gun House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), literally anything can make it to the floor of the full House," GOA warned.

But GOA also said it believes the idea of firearms for self-defense in schools "is gaining serious traction."

Public outcry

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is among the groups pressing Congress to "stop gun violence."

The group says it is "working nonstop" to send the message that "there are solutions to gun violence."

Those solutions include a ban on "military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips that make it so easy to kill quickly."

The Brady Campaign also is demanding background checks for all gun sales, including those between private individuals at gun shows; and it is demanding an end to "large-volume gun sales that supply illegal gun traffickers."

Meanwhile, the group promises to build a "crescendo of public outcry to ensure that action is taken."

"Gun violence is a solvable problem. We know it won't be easy. But we can make it harder for the wrong people to get their hands on guns through strong gun laws," the Brady Campaign says on its "Stop the NRA" website.

'Firearm civil rights'

The Second Amendment Foundation is criticizing gun control advocates such as the Brady Campaign for using the "terrible crime" at Virginia Tech to advance a political cause, which SAF described as the continued erosion of firearm civil rights and the abolition of firearm ownership in the United States.

"Eighty million law-abiding gun owners in this country did not go to Virginia Tech or some other college campus yesterday to unleash carnage. They have harmed no one, and their civil rights should not be erased in response," said SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb.

Since Monday's shootings, Gottlieb said the Second Amendment Foundation has "been forced to respond to staccato attacks from gun control organizations whose goal is to destroy the Second Amendment." However, Gottlieb said he is grateful that the media has given Second Amendment supporters a chance to respond: "There was a time in the past when that did not happen," he said.

"There will be plenty of time in the days and weeks ahead to analyze what happened, to try and make some sense of such a senseless act, and to examine what may have gone wrong and learn from it," Gottlieb added.

"For now, let us direct our emotions toward where they will do the most good. Let us offer our prayers and support to the families of the victims, and to the thousands of students whose lives will be forever changed by this despicable, cowardly act."

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