preview

Local and State Law Concerning Massive Shootings

Local and State Law
Several issues surrounding lacking state and Federal laws came to light immediately following the shootings. First, laws concerning the privacy of health and education records were called into question. The camps cited condusion as to what information should be released or withheld in regards to student records. Cho displayed many signs of mental instability during his Junior year, which many individuals and departments within the university knew about. However, no one communicated these incidents with one another or Cho’s parents because they believed federal laws prohibited them from talking about it (Summary of Key Findings, n.d.). Virginia’s heath laws were flawed and there was widespread confusion about what federal and state privacy laws allowed concering heath care records. The law was also vague on submissions of health records to a database used to perform background checks on gun purchasers, and since Cho was never committed to an instituion, his records were never sent to the database (Summary of Key Findings, n.d.). Virginia has since updated their laws concering the submission of mental health records to the Nation Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). They have passed laws authorizing the submission of mental heatlh records to NICS (Mental Health, 2013).
Second, debates about whether colleges should contintue to ban concealed guns, or whether allowing students and faculty to carry concealed weapons could have resulted in fewer deaths (Buchanan, 2010). According to Andy Pelosi of the Capaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, the US “faced a push by the gun loby to expand conceal-and-carry rights at colleges (Buchanan, 2010).” Some argue that allowing guns on campus would act as a deterrent and offer more protection should a shooting happen, but gun control advocates say it would only promote more violence. In 2010 26 state prohibited conceal and carry on college campuses, while 23 states left the decision to the schools. In those 23, many prohibit conceal and carry (Buchanan, 2010). In 2013, at least 19 states passed laws that allowed concealed weapons on campus in some regard, and 22 states leave the decision up to the university (Guns on Campus, 2014).

The Role of Technology and Campus Safety Procedures
In the wake of the shootings the administration at Virginia Tech began working on making the campus a safer place, and implementing new safety procedures. In 2008, just one year after the shootings, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Special Review Task Force published an “Overview of the Virginia Tech Tragedy and Implications for Campus Safety.
Get Access