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EDITORIAL: At this juncture, gun discussion is a waste of time

Whenever multiple gun deaths occur, the gun control debate again emerges, and this week has been no exception. This time, many continue to argue it's too easy to buy a gun. Obviously, one should not have landed in the hands of Cho Seung-Hui, who ...

Whenever multiple gun deaths occur, the gun control debate again emerges, and this week has been no exception.

This time, many continue to argue it's too easy to buy a gun. Obviously, one should not have landed in the hands of Cho Seung-Hui, who was mentally unbalanced.

But there's a growing din from those who promote the virtues of having more guns on U.S. streets. With a growing number of states allowing people to carry concealed weapons, numerous pundits have argued the Virginia Tech attack would have ended more quickly if professors and students had been armed.

We'll never know the answer to that one, but there clearly are flaws in both arguments.

Those who advocate for tighter controls are right in saying someone with Cho's mental health record shouldn't have been allowed to carry a fast-loading semi-automatic firearm. But in this situation, it wasn't law enforcers or gun dealers at error. Rather, it was medical privacy laws that denied proper authorities access to important information about a deranged gun buyer.

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Even with tighter controls, let's not forget there are literally thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands, of stolen guns on the street -- ones taken from unlocked storage cabinets in rural cabins, homes and retail stores. They're already in the wrong hands, and there's no way to recover them.

If there's virtue in the concealed carry argument, it certainly doesn't resonate with everyone. A great many people want nothing to do with carrying a loaded weapon. And many of those who believe in concealed carry would freeze if it ever came time to killing another human being, whether they admit it or not. Despite second amendment arguments, most in law enforcement oppose the initiative, fearing it decreases safety for everyone.

But in the end, the entire discussion is moot. The United States is awash in guns. Anybody who wants one will get one, through legal or illegal avenues. Any control measures are decades too late. You can't stuff the Genie back into its bottle.

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