Thanks to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) for this video, and for the following explanation of when it took place and what happened, exactly.
Violence prevention advocates including Students for Gun-Free Schools (SGFS), Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws (VRGL), and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) traveled to George Mason University (GMU) on November 9, 2011 to rally with students and faculty for a gun-free campus. On that day, the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) – a radical pro-gun group that seeks the elimination of all firearm regulations, including background checks on gun buyers – was on campus calling for legislation to force GMU to allow the carrying of loaded guns in university classrooms and dormitories. This video captures some of the debate that ensued between the two sides.
Watch in particular as Ladd Everitt of CSGV utterly demolishes, using fact and logic, the arguments of advocates for guns on campus. It’s fascinating, such as when one of the pro-gun people claims that “50 million handguns in the United States but ONLY 17,000 murders” means…well, something or other. “Only” 17,000 murders, eh? Can we say “callous?” Wow.
The facts are, as Ladd Everitt explains in the video, that laws – whether against murder, assault, or anything else – are there as deterrents, not with any expectation of 100% perfection. Everitt also explains that, “compared to other industrialized Democracies that have actual gun laws on the books, our rate of gun death is dramatically higher.”
For his part, Colin Goddard (shot four times in the Virginia Tech massacre) refutes the claim of a pro-gun activist that guns can’t be sold at Virginia gun shows without background checks. In fact, as you can see in this video, Goddard visited gun shows in the summer of 2009, wearing a hidden camera, and bought guns multiple times without showing any ID or going through any background checks. All he had to do was pay his money, take the guns, and walk away. Great, huh?
Meanwhile, Omar Samaha, whose sister Reema was shot and killed in the Virginia Tech massacre, correctly points out, “Virginia’s college campuses are currently some of the safest places in the state, in part because of their strict policies concerning firearms.” Samaha adds that “[t]he VCDL’s protest at George Mason is not about the safety of the student body or faculty [but] about the desire of a select few to dish out vigilante ‘justice’ as they see fit without regard to the potential collateral damage.” And, Samaha concludes, “A college classroom is a place for learning, not a place for violence. If VCDL truly cared about others’ welfare they would be acting to make sure the violent and deranged can’t gain easy access to guns. Their agenda speaks volumes.”
Finally, Lori Haas, whose daughter Emily was shot in the head during the tragedy at Virginia Tech (but thankfully survived!), and who also was at the GMU rally on Wednesday, states that “It’s unfathomable that the VCDL would advocate for the elimination of background checks on gun buyers in the wake of what happened at Virginia Tech.” Yet, sadly, that’s exactly what they’re doing, despite the fact that the vast majority of Virginians don’t agree with their agenda.
P.S. As NBC reports, “A George Mason spokesperson said the university respects the group’s right to express its opinion but said the university has no plans to change the gun policy.” Good.
This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.