Columbine anniversary sparks annual spike in gun control debate

A closeup of a handgun

The Columbine school shooting anniversary has drawn attention to the gun control debate and a gun show loophole that allows handgun purchases without a background check. Wikimedia Commons photo.

The Columbine school shooting happened 11 years ago today — at the Colorado high school where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 23 others before shooting themselves. At the time, the Columbine massacre ignited an intense debate over gun control and was one of the top news stories of 1999.  Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is marking the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting with a renewed effort to close what is known as the “gun-show loophole.”

Columbine and Virginia’s gun show loophole

The Columbine school shooting in Colorado 11 years ago is drawing attention to a controversial element in Virginia’s gun laws. It’s called the “gun show loophole,” and it allows anyone to buy a gun from a private dealer without a background check. Many believe the gun show loophole led to a heinous massacre at Virgina Tech University. The Virginia Tech shooting happened on April 16, 2007 on the campus in Blacksburg. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many more before committing suicide. The Virgina Tech shooting is the deadliest peacetime mass murder by a single gunman in United States history.

Columbine anniversary focuses on mayor’s campaign

The Columbine school shooting anniversary has focused attention on Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which launched a national campaign to promote legislation to close the Gun Show Loophole. The campaign features an ad on national television and a website, The website provides an online petition asking Congress to close the Gun Show Loophole. Local ads airing this week are calling out Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in Maine, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, Sen. George Voinovich in Ohio, and Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner in Virginia.

Bloomberg marks Columbine, Virginia Tech shooting

Bloomberg chose The Columbine school shooting anniversary to make a statement about the gun show loophole.

“Last Friday was the three-year anniversary of the nation’s deadliest mass shooting at Virginia Tech. Each day, 35 people in America are murdered with guns – the equivalent of a Virginia Tech massacre every single day. Yet while criminals are busy evading critical background checks at gun shows, Congress continues to turn a blind eye to this glaring gap in our nation’s gun laws. This new national campaign will deliver a clear message to Washington: it’s time to close the Gun Show Loophole once and for all.”

Virginia legislature ignores gun show loophole

Since the Virginia Tech shooting, three Virgina congressmen have urged their colleagues to close the gun show loophole. A bill introduced last May to end the loophole has yet to be heard by committee or brought up for debate. Democrats  Jim Moran, Bobby Scott and Gerald Conolly wrote a letter to members of the House asking them to support a bill requiring background checks at gun shows. In spite of the congressmen’s recent appeal the gun show loophole remains.

Columbine shooting ingrained in culture

Since the Columbine school shooting, “Columbine” has become a euphemism for a school shooting, such as when Charles Andrew Williams, a 15-year-old  student at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., indiscriminately shot and killed two students and wounded 11 other students and two teachers On March 5, 2001. Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter in the Virginia Tech massacre, mentioned “martyrs like Eric and Dylan” apparently referring to the Columbine school shooting murderers. Meanwhile, Columbine High School was closed Tuesday to mark the tragedy.

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