A former student dressed in black walked onto the stage of a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opened fire on a packed science class Thursday, killing five students, wounding 16 and setting off a panicked stampede before committing suicide. Another student died overnight, bringing the death toll to seven. The campus gunman has been identified as 27 year-old student Steven Kazmierczak
The shooting was the fourth at a U.S. school within a week.
On Feb. 8, a woman shot two fellow students to death before committing suicide at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge. In Memphis, Tenn., a 17-year-old is accused of shooting and critically wounding a fellow student Monday during a high school gym class, and the 15-year-old victim of a shooting at an Oxnard, Calif., junior high school has been declared brain dead. A student at Virginia Tech killed 32people last year. Columbine, which at the time seemed like such an anomoly, has become a faint memory tainted by a slew of copycat killers.
The graduate student who massacred students in Northern Illinois University lecture hall bought three of his four guns on Saturday - indicating that he had been planning his assault for at least six days. But how long did it take for him to get his guns, and is it is time to look at gun control again?
The Brady Bill Act initially required purchasers to wait up to five days for a background check to occur before being allowed to purchase a handgun. The waiting period provision of the Act expired in 1998 when the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) came online. NICS is managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The system runs database checks on criminal records. A handgun purchaser may still have to wait for up to three business days if the NICS system fails to positively approve or deny his or her application to purchase a firearm; if the denial is not issued within those three days, the transfer may be completed at that time.
Many will claim that the Second Amendment protects their right to bear arms, but the Supreme Court has said differently. Since the Second Amendment right "to keep and bear arms" applies only to the right of the state to maintain a militia, and not to the individual's right to bear arms, there can be no serious claim to any constitutional right of an individual to possess a firearm." (Stevens v. U.S., United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1971).
Obviously, the system in place is not working. Our country is the most violent country in the industrialized world. While we are spending billions policing the rest of the world, we are unable to stop the violence on our own streets. I'm not sure what the answer is, and I'm not sure how many dead children we'll have to see carried out of their classrooms, their supposed sanctuaries, before our government take effective steps to end these slaughters.