The Virginia Tech massacre raises questions about gun control in the US. How easy was it for Cho to buy a gun in Virginia? And what are the laws here in North Carolina? Gun control laws vary greatly from state to state. North Carolina has stricter gun control laws than Virginia. No matter what state you live in, there may be a loop-hole that allowed a mentally unstable man to buy a gun in the first place. Here in North Carolina, the law requires a person to get a permit before buying a handgun. That permitting process includes a background check by their local sheriff's department. But in Virginia, there is no such requirement. But even without that permitting process, many question whether the Virginia Tech gunman, who had a history of mental illness, should have been able to buy a gun. A required federal form asks whether the applicant is mentally incompetent or been committed to a mental institution. Answering yes to these questions would have affected the gunman's ability to buy a gun. "The problem is if someone has had some mental problems and they didn't get on their record, no one knows about it, then how do you stop the sale? You don't," says Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous. Further complicating matters was Cho's citizenship status. While he was in this country legally, he was not a US citizen. And to a gun seller we spoke to, that raises red flags. "We do not, in our company, sell to anyone out of state, no firearm," says Pete Jones, owner of Pawn USA. "Just the fact of trying to do a background check on them. I think that's where the problem would be." But Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous says more laws will not keep guns out of criminal hands. "If a bad guy wants a gun, he's going to get a gun." State lawmakers are weighing in on the issue. Senator Julia Boseman told me today that more gun control legislation is not necessarily the answer. She says in cases like the Virginia Tech shootings, schools should work on identifying mentally unstable students and taking a more pro-active approach to prevent tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech.
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