Appearing on Wednesday’s episode of “The Young Turks,” Omar Samaha, brother to one of the victims in the Virginia Tech massacre, said that he believes President Barack Obama’s executive orders strengthening background check databases for gun buyers “definitely would have prevented” the shooting spree that left 32 dead.
Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, had a history of contacts with university mental health professionals who felt he was troubled, and at least once after being admitted to the psych ward when a student claimed he was suicidal.
“The gunman that killed my sister and 31 others at Virginia Tech actually fell through the cracks,” Samaha said. “He passed two background checks to buy the guns that he used on April 16, and he actually was a prohibited purchaser at the time. The reason he was able to pass is because his name wasn’t actually in the national database.”
Among Obama’s executive orders, five deal with strengthening the background check system — something the National Rifle Association says it accepts.
However, Obama cannot close the so-called “gun show loophole” without Congressional action, but his proposals on Wednesday indicated he’s willing to fight for legislation that would potentially seal the route taken by the shooters at Columbine High School to obtain three of the four weapons used that day in 1999.
Obama’s new executive orders are unlikely to have stopped 20-year-old Adam Lanza’s shooting spree in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut because he stole the improperly secured guns that were legally purchased by his mother. However, Samaha said he believes Obama’s orders on the national background check database “definitely would have prevented Virginia Tech” had they been in place then.
“If someone tries to purchase a gun when they’re a prohibited purchaser and they fail, the state police and the local police where that gun was being purchased are notified,” he added. “Last year, that led to over 850 people who were prohibited purchasers actually being arrested, and a few of them, a handfull of them, were actually fugitives on a nationwide basis, and they were caught because of the background check system.”
This video is from “The Young Turks,” aired on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.