Murder On UNC Campus

On Monday afternoon, a Ph.D. graduate student from China murdered Prof. Zijie Yan on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Yan was an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physical Science and a noted expert in nanoscience. He was both the murderer’s advisor as well as co-author with him on a number of academic publications. No other students or faculty were targeted or harmed.

Was this a school shooting? I guess you could say it was only in the strictest sense as the location of the murder was on the university campus. Given the personal nature of this murder, it could have taken place anywhere.

Notwithstanding the personal nature of this murder, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action had issued a press release on it by 8pm Monday evening. The press release was a data dump of statistics and other data that had no relevance to the murder on campus. It was also an attack on the Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly for overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the repeal of the pistol purchase permit.

From the press release:

This past session, North Carolina passed a dangerous bill that repealed the background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales. The bill was vetoed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, but then overridden by the legislature.

The pistol purchase permit was a Jim Crow-era law that was designed to prevent blacks from purchasing handguns. It was issued by the sheriff of the applicant’s county and was good for 5 years. Unlike the NICS check system that is constantly updated, once a person had the permit, he or she could commit a disqualifying crime yet still walk into a gun store and purchase a firearm. Yes it would be illegal and they would be lying on the Form 4473 but they could obtain a firearm. Thus, you have the gun control industry complaining about the repeal of an ineffective law that came into being in order to further solidify the racist, white supremacist regime of early 20th century NC Democrats.

Another press release solidified this line of attack on the pistol purchase permit and noted they would be protesting along with the UNC College Democrats.

The walkouts come in response to a legislative session where Republican lawmakers passed a law to repeal background checks on handguns, which Governor Roy Cooper vetoed but the legislature overrode. The bill, SB41, repealed the pistol purchase permit, effectively creating a loophole between state and federal gun laws in which a person would be able to purchase handguns at gun shows or from strangers they meet online with no background check, no questions asked.

Given the overwhelming majority of handgun purchases at any gun show which I’ve attended have been with FFL’s who do run a NICS check, this is bullshit.

What this hyperbole ignores is in working to create the impression that if only the evil Republicans cared less about constitutional rights and more about gun control then the murder of Prof. Yan would not have happened. The killer has been charged with both murder and possession of a firearm on a university campus. As of now, police still have not recovered the pistol used by the murderer. It has been described as a 9mm but who knows. Thus, we do not know how he obtained the firearm.

These leads to another law that the killer is assumed to have broken. As he was a Chinese national in the United States on a student visa, he was considered legally a nonimmigrant alien. Unless he met a specific exemption, he was not allowed to possess or purchase either a firearm or ammunition. We don’t know if he possessed a hunting license which was have been a valid exception. Further, to be honest, the law is not clear on whether possession of a firearm by a non-immigrant alien who meets the valid exception pertains to all firearms or merely to long guns.

The bottom line here is the repeal of the pistol purchase permit is irrelevant. Further, for all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, cries that I was scared due to the campus lockdown, and who is going to protect us, this was a targeted murder whose location just happened to be on the UNC campus and could have been anywhere.

3 thoughts on “Murder On UNC Campus”

    1. It does sound and feel similar.

      Moreover, it is not like the killer was some bewildered kid in his early 20s. He was 34 y.o. with degrees from Wuhan University and a masters from LSU. I am guessing the Chinese government wanted him to learn as much as possible about US strides in nanotechnology and bring it back to China. Literally 50% of the grad students in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences at UNC are from China and that doesn’t include the killer. I counted 34 grad students and 17 have ethnic Chinese names.

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