Re: Reuel Hamilton’s letter to the editor of April 7 on the Columbine and Virginia Tech school shootings
Hamilton’s letter reveals problems in the legal system that could possibly prevent future shootings. Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung Hui was known on campus to be mentally ill and had sought professional help. Tech officials did nothing nor were his parents notified. He legally purchased a Glock 19 and Walther P22 from a local gun store and five 10-shot magazines on eBay.
At Columbine Robyn Anderson, a friend of Klebold and Harris, bought the shotguns and the Hi-Point 9 mm carbine at a gun show in 1998 from unlicensed sellers. Because Anderson purchased the guns from someone else the transaction constituted an illegal “straw purchase.” Klebold and Harris bought the TEC-DC9 from a pizza shop employee who knew they were too young to purchase the assault pistol but, nevertheless sold it to them for $500.
I doubt mass killings will ever end in a society awash with firearms but those who are mentally ill should be identified and offered help. The straw purchasers, unlicensed gun sellers and those who sell weapons to minors should be held legally responsible to the fullest extent of the law.