BARBARA Montgomery's letter of April 26 is essentially what you'd expect from the Brady Campaign.
Like all Americans, my thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Virginia Tech community. But this tragedy is not about gun control, it's about the problems in a system that recognized an individual as a danger, yet failed to act on it.
Ms. Montgomery's derision of the Second Amendment is plain in her repeated use of quotation marks around the word "right." While she claims to want a dialogue, the mission of the Brady organization is clear: prohibition. Thankfully, most Americans don't agree.
We have enough guns laws on the books. It was not the gun laws that failed Virginia Tech. In an ABC News poll conducted in the wake of the tragedy, respondents, by a 52 to 29 percent margin, favored enforcement of existing laws over the creation of new ones.
And only 18 percent blamed the availability of guns for gun violence, while 35 percent blamed parenting (or the lack thereof) and 40 percent blamed popular culture. No less an authority than Paul Helmke, the Brady Center president said, "We believe that, based on existing federal law, Cho Seung-Hui should not have passed his Brady background checks."
Last year the Virginia legislature passed a law prohibiting schools from expelling suicidal students (wouldn't want to hurt their feelings, I guess). And the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits schools from disclosing mental-health issues without the student's permission. That Cho was a danger was well known to the Virginia Tech community. That the university chose not to act on that information is something that it will certainly be called upon to explain.
Finally, Ms. Montgomery would have us believe that it would take a John Wayne-style hero to have been able to stop Cho, even if university students were not required to check their Second Amendment rights at the door. I disagree. The massacre lasted nine minutes, during which Cho fired 170 rounds. Even with high-capacity magazines, this required several reloads. A student or faculty member with a concealed-carry permit and a legally-owned handgun would have had several opportunities to end the carnage before nearly three dozen innocents were dead.
Tom McCourt, Philadelphia
Ms. Montgomery says of the Second Amendment: "Now this right has gone way beyond its intentions." When those parts of the Bill of Rights that tie the hands of the police return to the intentions of 1787, I'll listen. Till then, I'm grateful that the Second Amendment is keeping up with all those other "rights" that keep predators on our streets.
Peter Fallon, Philadelphia