Campus violence; red flags

This story in today’s New York Times discusses how universities seek to protect students without turning campuses into fortresses. It talks about some universities’ installation of phone/email/text alert systems. Many of these are likely tied into mass notification systems as well, something we’ve done a lot of reporting on. The story also talks about how some university presidents review on a daily basis all campus incidents looking for clues that might signal that a student is troubled. University officials are clearly working diligently to address violence on campus and the fire and security industry has stepped up to help. On the front page of the Times today, another story detailed the profoundly sad deaths this week of five students and a student gunman at Northern Illinois University. The story reported that the student gunman was well liked, a good student, and that there were no obvious “red flags.” The story also contained this paragraph: “The gunman bought his weapons legally from a Champaign gun dealer, officials said. He also bought some accessories from the popular Internet dealer who sold a gun to the gunman in the Virginia Tech massacre last year.” Isn't there a way to make the purchase of a handgun a red flag?