On this afternoon of national sorrow, President Bush offered his prayers to those who are suffering as a result of today’s enormous tragedy at Virginia Tech, as well as his support for a full investigation.

His statement of grief came shortly after White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had voiced this sentiment, “The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed.”

It seemed to me there was something missing in the response of the President and his administration.

Perhaps Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, put it best in issuing this statement today: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the Virginia Tech University community, and to the families of the victims of what appears to be one of the worst mass shootings in American history… Eight years ago this week, the young people in Littleton, Colorado suffered a horrible attack at Columbine High School, and almost exactly six months ago, five young people were killed at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania.  Since these killings, we’ve done nothing as a country to end gun violence in our schools and communities.  If anything, we’ve made it easier to access powerful weapons… We have now seen another horrible tragedy that will never be forgotten. It is long overdue for us to take some common-sense actions to prevent tragedies like this from continuing to occur.”

It’s time to move beyond thoughts and prayers.