4/08/2008

Virginia Tech blocks plans Brady Campaign April 16th Plan

The Richmond Times-Dispatch writes:

Virginia Tech said yesterday that it will not allow a national gun-control advocacy group to hold a campus demonstration on April 16 while the school commemorates last year's massacre.

Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said neither the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence nor the co-sponsor of the planned demonstration, ProtestEasyGuns.com, had applied for an assembly permit, and even if they had, Tech only issues permits to student groups.

Tech's position threw the Brady Campaign's plans into disarray yesterday: The noon demonstration at Tech was supposed to be the centerpiece of a nationwide series of events on April 16 in more than 70 cities and towns.

"I think we'll have to figure out what's going on," said Brady Campaign spokesman Doug Pennington. He added that students and friends of last year's shooting victims are among those who want to participate in the demonstration, "so, I'm sure where there's a will, there's a way without breaking any rules."

The planned demonstration at Tech called for individuals to lie down on the Drillfield in groups of 32 -- to recall the 32 victims of gunman Seung-Hui Cho -- for a few minutes. The brevity of the "lie-in" is meant to highlight how quickly a gun can be purchased in the United States. The Brady Campaign is calling on Congress to mandate background checks of buyers at gun shows.

Tech is marking the shootings on April 16 with a ceremony that begins in the morning and is expected to run past noon. The daylong memorial ends with an evening candlelight vigil.

Hincker said no student group will be given an assembly permit for the Drillfield at noon. . . .


Apparently, the Brady Campaign is still going ahead with their protest even without the permit:

BLACKSBURG — Gun control advocates are sticking to plans to protest April 16 on Virginia Tech’s Drillfield despite the fact that the university has said it will not issue permits for groups to assemble there that day.

Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence, said the group has been working with Tech students. Their protest involves a 32-person "lie in" at noon April 16, the one-year anniversary of shootings on campus that left 32 death plus the shooter. The Brady Campaign sent out a media advisory last Thursday announcing the event, planned in conjunction with the gun control group ProtestEasyGuns.com.

Hamm said today that the gun-control groups had not discussed the event with the university.

Permit or no permit, the event will go forward, Hamm said. He said the organization would be happy to discuss an appropriate change of plans for that day with the university, but he’s not encouraged by what he’s heard through the media. . . .

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