Biden: Mental Health Check May Have Prevented Virginia Tech Shooting

Jan 25, 2013 5:53pm
gty joe biden ll 130111 wblog Biden: Mental Health Check May Have Prevented Virginia Tech Shooting

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Vice President Biden says a mental health check on gun sales may have averted the 2007 mass shooting on Virginia Tech‘s campus. Biden’s comments came after a roundtable discussion in Richmond today that included experts involved with the gun control commission convened after the university tragedy.

The vice president reported the panel had reached “pretty broad consensus” over what criteria they proposed should deny a sale, including “mental capacity.”

“One of the problems that was pointed out here was that there was an adjudication of the young man that committed the crime at Virginia Tech, and yet he was able to go out and purchase two weapons,” he said.

In April 2007 student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 at the Blacksburg, Va., campus using two handguns. Cho had purchased the weapons legally, but subsequent investigations following the deaths found Cho had a well-documented history of mental health issues. At the time the Virginia Tech shooting was the largest such incident in U.S. history, but was surpassed in 2012 by the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

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Biden also said convicted felons and those found guilty of domestic abuse should be denied the ability to own firearms.

The remarks come amid a push by activists and Democratic lawmakers to strengthen gun control measures in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting last month in which 20 first graders and six adults were killed.

Last week President Obama proposed universal background checks for all gun sales, and expanding the data involved with those histories. Obama’s proposals also include a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday found 53 percent of Americans favored Obama’s gun control plan favorably, 41 percent unfavorably.

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