BLACKSBURG - On the campus of Va. Tech where one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history took place, the candidates for Governor crossed swords Thursday night.

Republican Ken Cuccinelli defended the rights of gun owners during his debate with Democrat Terry McAuliffe, saying tougher laws would not have prevented the massacre on Virginia Tech's campus that left 33 dead.

McAuliffe has seen his lead grow over Cuccinelli in polls. He said Thursday that government has a role in keeping people safe and tougher laws like expanded background checks could help. McAuliffe says, quote, 'some people should not own guns.'

The candidates met with less than two weeks before Nov. 5's election that could be a test whether a deeply conservative candidate like Cuccinelli can win statewide. They traded criticism over the economy, education and their records.

But the specter of the 2007 massacre on the campus was an early instance where Cuccinelli and McAuliffe split.

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