Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Things are getting crazier in gun world

Most gun owners are perfectly rational and law abiding citizens who agree with the idea that we can pass laws to keep guns away from those who shouldn't have them. Gun safety reform does not threaten them or their rights because they understand that gun rights and gun safety reform/stronger gun laws are not mutually exclusive. But the minority of gun owners, many of them extremists, lobby elected leaders to vote against public safety and common sense. Why does this happen? Fear mostly. But either willful failure to understand the facts or denial of the facts seems to drive the debate about gun safety all over the country.

Is it my imagination? Are there more crazy ideas and crazy and tragic incidents that actually prove that more guns have not made us safer? The answer is yes. While legislators are considering bills to weaken gun laws the violence and crazy stuff is all around them. I doubt that most legislators pay attention to what is happening in the real world while they are in their legislative cocoons. If they did, perhaps they would reconsider some of their positions.

The thing is, rights come with responsibilities. Gun rights advocates deny that or don't seem to care or have a version of the truth that doesn't fit with reality. Too many of their own are irresponsible with guns and too often, this results in avoidable and preventable gun deaths and injuries. Legislators who only listen to one side are complicit in this gun culture. Their responsibilities are to all of their constituents who have been shown to be in favor of reasonable gun laws. The fact that they cowtow to the extreme minority shirks their own responsibilities in the area of public safety. We didn't elect them to make things worse. But that is what we've got. Just because the concerns of people who want stronger gun laws doesn't fit with their reality or that foisted upon them by the noisy gun lobby, doesn't mean the concerns are less real. In fact, often constituents who have been victimized and are survivors of gun violence come before elected leaders and they are not taken seriously. Indeed, they are sometimes mocked and belittled. And while all of this is happening, 80 Americans a day die from firearms injuries. The problem stares them in the face and many choose to ignore it.

Some of these folks must think that bad things will never happen to them or their families. If they live their lives through without a tragic incident, they will be lucky. But too many of us have had opposite experiences that deserve to be heard and taken seriously. Hiding behind the second amendment is not a good way to make public policy. The constitution allows for stronger gun laws. See Justice Scalia in the Heller Supreme Court case.

But never mind. The gun lobby and their pocketed elected leaders continue on their path of pandering and craziness. You can decide for yourself if this is the kind of world we want for ourselves, our kids and our grandchildren after reading these examples of our crazy gun world:
  • The now well-known "good guy with a gun" C J Grisham of Open Carry Texas has made it clear in a Facebook post that he is ready for anything. Here is what he said in response to the spree shooting in Missouri ( more on this to follow):"If you're going to just kill yourself after murdering innocent people ( assuming they were innocent), just do it. Don't take others with you. This, however, is why I carry a gun virtually everywhere in my house or at least within reach. You never know when some gun control nazi is going to charge through your door and start spraying bullets." No words except to say that one should NEVER use the word nazi when referring to people you don't like. It's a really #badidea.  
  • Another toddler found a gun and shot himself. This is becoming a regular news story in our country. Why is it so often Texas and Florida? I'm just asking. From this article: " "I know those parents are going through a difficult time obviously right now, but my first thought is how does a 3-year-old get his hands on a gun?" one resident told KPRC 2 News." Good question. It deserves an answer.    
  • I added this one after posting. In Texas, again, one man shot and killed another over a salary dispute. The thing is, people shouldn't die over salary disputes. But when guns are at the ready, it happens too often. And note, from the article, that they were both carrying guns. Guns escalate ordinary every day disagreements into deadly events. It's crazy stuff. Now one man is dead and another will never be the same. The whirlpool gets wider and wider as more and more people are affected by violence. Why are we letting it happen?
  • In Pennsylvania, a gun rights lawyer is trying to intimidate people on the side of gun safety reform by requesting names of those who have contributed to a fund to fight against a lawsuit brought by gun rights advocates. "A gun-rights attorney wants to know who's given money to Lancaster's legal defense fund set up to fight the National Rifle Association's lawsuit against the city. ...Prince wants donor names, addresses and how much they've given to commonsenselancaster.com. He also wants contracts and communications with law firms the city is using related to the NRA's suit and "any other record in any way relating to the current litigation..."Prince also acknowledged, as posted on his blog, that he wants donors prosecuted on grounds that they are conspiring with the city to violate state laws by contributing to the city's defense.Gray, an attorney, was perplexed by that."That whole concept is beyond the fathom of any lawyer I talked to," Gray said. "No one could understand what he's talking about." (...) Gray said donors were exercising their right to free speech by supporting the city's fight, just as gun rights' groups such as the NRA have the right to collect from donors. Former Lancaster mayor Art Morris, who's donated to Lancaster's fund, said Prince's request was an attempt to scare donors." Crazy and intimidating as well as bullying. See my last post. Anything goes, apparently. This is the insane gun culture that the gun lobby and its' followers, a clear minority in America, has fomented. 
  • In Nebraska, a hearing was held in a legislative committee about a Stand Your Ground bill. It was pretty calm compared to those in other states but the lead sponsor of the bill posted on his Facebook page that 4 hysterical women testified against the bill. I have seen a video of the 4 "hysterical" women testifying. No hysteria noticeable- just reasoned testimony opposed to the bill. This article makes no mention of hysterical women. I get that both sides can be upset by testimony opposed to bills they support. But why demean and belittle testimony and even make things up? Bullying and intimidation continue in the crazy world of gun rights advocates. Name calling isn't a valid response to your opposition. You can see the video of the "hysterical" women in this article. Better yet, watch it below and decide for yourself how hysterical the women were-or was it the legislator who was hysterical? 
  • Arkansas legislators are set to force college campuses to allow loaded weapons in spite of recent domestic shooting involving a prominent Arkansas college professor. From the first linked article: "Collins successfully sponsored legislation in 2013 allowing staff members to carry concealed handguns on college and university campuses. But to gain passage, he was forced to amend the legislation and give schools the choice of opting out and banning handguns. All 33 public higher education institutions passed anti-gun policies." So let me get this straight. All of the public colleges opted out of the forced policy but the sponsor isn't satisfied with that. He wants to force something that the colleges and students don't want. Crazy and dangerous. We already know that those armed professors are not necessarily safe with their guns and shoot others in moments of anger, despair, depression or for whatever reason as shown by the awful murder/suicide committed by Professor Wilbanks (above article). What makes these legislators so sure that other incidents like this won't take place on campuses once more people are armed? Owning and carrying guns is risky. Should we be reassured that the gun lobby doesn't care about that?
  • 3-D printers are allowing people to make guns and gun parts at home. But Fed-Ex and UPS won't ship the machine needed to make them. Good for them. A little common sense is coming from businesses. Why abet the making of potential crime guns? They would be shipped presumably with no background checks.   
  • I don't want to end before referring to the always crazy NRA's own Wayne LaPierre speaking at the annual CPAC conference. It's always a good show. You can watch the video for yourself but here are a few choice quotes from the ever entertaining gun lobbyist:  
  • "We as Americans are wary, we’re despairing, we’re sad."
  • "The threats are all around us."
  • "I’m for bullets for Jihad butchers."
  • "Hackers, identity thieves and genuine monsters are just a click away."
  • "We fear for our moms, for our sisters and daughters."
  • "We are Charlton Heston vowing, 'From my cold dead hands.'"
Right then. Moving right along. There are just a few more. Bear with me. There's a new crazy guy in town. He might just be as bad as the also ever offensive NRA Board member Ted Nugent. His name is "Kid Rock". Here is an interview with him:
“You have to get these pre-1985 with a silencer. I bought it when Obummer came into office, because I’m thinking, ‘What if he f*ckin’ bans guns?’ ,” he explained.
There's more, but you get the picture.

And then there's the Sheriff in charge of the most extreme amongst them- Constitutional Sheriffs. He made some interesting and crazy statements:
Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, who now heads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, told Steve Deace yesterday that although he is a “pacifist,” states and counties need to enforce their “sovereignty” in areas like marriage equality and gun control, or else “we will lose liberty in America, and we will not get it back unless there’s bloodshed.” (...) 
Later in the interview, Deace compared the Obama administration to Nazi Germany, saying that the National Parks employees who shut down monuments during the federal government shutdown in 2013 were “not too many steps” from “other people throughout history who have said similar things and committed far greater acts of man’s inhumanity to man and said ‘I’m just following orders.’”
“It is so scary how many similarities there are between Nazi Germany and the Obama administration,” Mack agreed.
Mack also agreed with Deace that Obama is a communist, saying, “You’d have be stupid not to know that he’s a Marxist.”
Oops. The nazi and communist thing again- really a #badidea.

And these are just a few. Is it me? Is it getting crazier out there? Remember that these are mostly "good guys with guns" who are supposed to be dealing with the "bad guys with guns." It's just not happening is it? The fear, anger, hyperbole and paranoia are concerning.

If these are the "poster boys" for gun rights, we are in for some very crazy times. What we need is gun safety reform. Most Americans want gun safety reform. The gun rights extremists represent about 10% of adults, if that. A recent poll proved that even most in Texas want common sense and not what Open Carry Texas wants. But they intend to push this on the public anyway. It's past time to get to work on changing the conversation, changing the gun culture and working towards strengthening our gun laws. We are better than this.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gun bullies and trolls- offensive language alert

This post has been edited since first posted.

For my readers- the language used in the quotes I provide here is not my own but from those who wrote them. I did not provide names of the commenters.

This classic political quote, made famous in the 1800s and sometimes attributed to Mark Twain, is apt: ""No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session”". Legislatures are in session. The corporate gun lobby is busy introducing insane laws to weaken gun safety and increase their own members and sales of guns. And gun bullies are showing up all over the country to intimidate reasonable people who just want laws to keep us safer from gun violence. And the legislators themselves? Bullied. Either that or complicit. What happened to civility? When it comes to guns, there is little of it. The thing is, many of the bullies are armed. Read more.

A story from a mom in Vermont highlights the treatment she and her young daughters received when they went to the state house to testify in favor of a gun safety reform bill:
We arrived at a Statehouse packed with people in hunting orange. People were being sent to overflow rooms to listen to testimony. My daughter and her friend donned some fresh GunSense T-shirts and asked if they could go up to one of the balconies to find a place to squeeze in and watch. I told them where we would be and let them go. A few minutes later they returned, looking stricken. It turned out that someone in hunter orange had walked by these two 10-year-old girls and made the comment, “Nice shirts, girls. Hope they’re bulletproof.” 
Hope they’re bulletproof. 
I wish I could say that the bullying ended there, but it didn’t. I was told that I should be tried for treason, which I was able to simply laugh off. Not so laughable was the experience of a survivor of domestic violence who testified in favor of the bill. When she returned to her seat, a man dressed in orange seated behind her gave her the two-fingered “I’m watching you” sign. A woman who spied my daughter and her friend in their green T-shirts brushed by me and muttered, “Those poor kids.”
Now I know that not everyone there who opposed the bill would make nasty or menacing remarks to two children, or anyone for that matter. There are opponents, I trust, who are thoughtful, who talk to their children the way we talk to ours. There must be people who are compassionate, who respond to someone’s story of losing a loved one to gun violence with something other than laughter and derision. But I didn’t see or hear them at the hearing. These are the people that need to speak up and come to the table, people who can see that Vermont is not an island, that we face the same problems faced by the people of Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, and Marysville, Washington, and Santa Monica, California. And short of reasoned people coming to the table, we must beseech our lawmakers to recognize that, while Vermont is often touted as one of the safest states in the nation, it is unlikely to remain so without action. 
Yes. This is what we get for speaking up for common sense.

The Communications Director for the Brady Campaign reported a gun bully who was actually a dangerous extremist, to the FBI. The man is sitting in jail now facing some serious charges for his threatening tweets. Numerous articles have been written about the threats made and the arrest that followed. Here is one from National Public Radio:
It can be risky to engage with trolls, particularly potentially violent ones. But with the Internet awash in hostile statements by anonymous people on social media, law enforcement around the country still relies largely on actual people, not software, to detect threats.
Which is just what Hutson did: He called the FBI. It took the report, but Hutson had the feeling that the agent on duty didn't really "get" Twitter. So Hutson kept at it himself, trying to figure out the tweeter's location.
At this point, you should know that Hutson is a former reporter who now works as the chief communications officer for the Brady Campaign, the anti-gun-violence group based in Washington, D.C. So he knows something about digging for information — and organizing that information in a way that will get people's attention.
In this case, a young man who owned guns and had anti-Semitic feelings, appeared to have serious thoughts of shooting Jews and/or children. From the Southern Poverty Law Center about the threats:
In a YouTube video three years ago, the suspect, believed to have used the name “David Dave,” brandished a .32-caliber Caltech semi-automatic handgun and said that he used it for concealed carry.
FBI agents and local law enforcement agencies in Montana, Oregon and Michigan were able to track and ultimately locate the suspect because of the work of Jonathan Hutson, the chief spokesman for the Brady Campaign.
“Of all the people on Twitter with whom this white supremacist chose to tangle, he picked me,” Hutson told Hatewatch today. “I just happen to be a spokesman for the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence and I have a background as an investigative journalist.”
Hutson has 53,000 followers on his Twitter account. Lenio, using the handle @PyschicDogTalk, responded after Hutson posted a Twitter message about double killings at a free-speech event and a synagogue on Saturday in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Since last Thursday, Hutson learned, the Holocaust-denying Lenio has tweeted comments saying he wants to execute 30 or more “grade school students” and “shoot up a school” and a synagogue, and put “two in the head” of a rabbi or Jewish leader. He also said he hoped to go on a killing rampage until “cops take me out.”
Wait what? He was a law abiding concealed carry permit holder? I thought they never did anything wrong and were perfectly law abiding people. Just trust them with their guns in public. But I digress.

In Texas, open carry advocates have threatened law makers who are considering a bill that will allow them all to carry any gun they want anywhere. Aside from the obvious reasons why this is a bad idea, here is a major concern that cannot be ignored. More than a few of these guys are prohibited gun purchasers and carriers, by Texas law. But they want to carry loaded guns around in public anyway. Legislators do actually believe that open carriers need to have a license to carry their guns in public which means they can't have a class B misdemeanor or worse. So here's the rub ( from the article):
CJ Grisham, founder of Open Carry Texas, and Kory Watkins, leader of Open Carry Tarrant County, have arrests on Class B misdemeanor charges of interfering with the public duties of a peace officer, reported the Houston Chronicle. (...) Watkins said he would never “ask for permission” to carry a weapon by applying for a license, and Grisham said the only people who should lose gun rights are those who “abuse those rights.”  
Grisham was arrested during a hike with his son while carrying an AR-15 and is appealing his conviction for interfering with law enforcement officers’ duties.  
Watkins and two other open carry activists were arrested in September while videotaping Arlington police officers with the Cop Watch group, and he’s due to appear in court next month.  
Both gun activists argue that requiring a license and fees to carry concealed weapons violates their Second Amendment rights.  
“We live in a constitutional republic and what that means is, it doesn’t matter what the other side says,” Watkins said. “I have a right to bear arms, and it shouldn’t be infringed upon.”  
Grisham said he would sue the state if lawmakers require a license to openly carry handguns, saying the requirement was unconstitutional.
And then, from the article, a Texas legislator accidentally or purposely spoke the truth of the matter:
However, the former state senator who wrote the Texas concealed carry law disagrees.
“I don’t think there’s a legitimate case for that,” said former lawmaker Jerry Patterson. “No right is absolute.” 
No right is absolute. Absolutely. These Texas activists are not alone in their faulty and insane ideas about what is constitutional and what is not. Apparently when it suits their purposes, they act within the constitution and the law. And when it doesn't fit with their agenda, the rest of us are trying to do something unconstitutional. The cynicism is rampant. They don't have to follow the rules or the laws already on the books. What could possibly go wrong?

Are these the good guys with guns that NRA spokesperson Wayne LaPierre claims will save us from the bad guys with guns? Just asking.....But remember that Wayne LaPierre also proclaimed that "the guys with the guns get to make the rules." See below:

I just love that little video clip and use it often on this blog. It explains everything doesn't it? The corporate gun lobby is busy trying to make the rules while encouraging their own not to follow them. The corporate gun lobby actually believes that "good guys" with guns will never do anything wrong with those guns. And yet, daily stories in various media sources show us otherwise. But never mind the facts. Make them up as you go. Here are a few recent shootings by "good guys" with guns that lend the lie to the gun lobby talking points:
And these are good guys with guns. How can they protect us from the bad guys with guns? They can't even protect themselves or their families from harm. Following the rules and safety practices seems to be optional for these folks. The trite old gun lobby talking points should be thrown in the trash bin of history and left to die a proper death. Pretty much most of the country knows these guys and their own rules are extreme and represent a minority viewpoint. But some lawmakers have been deceived. Follow the money. Lawmakers don't realize apparently that gun rights and gun safety are not mutually exclusive. And if they do realize it and support these extremists anyway, more cynicism and an a failing grade for them. Is there no shame? They are way behind their public on this issue. 92% of Americans know the truth and believe in common sense.

You may remember my own experience at the Minnesota state Capitol a few years ago when hearing rooms turned into armed camps. While sitting in a hearing about a bill to require background checks on more gun sales than are now occurring in the state, one of the gun bullies tweeted at me while in the same room and asked how I liked being surrounded by people with guns. This is the same guy who traveled 150 miles to a community discussion at my church with a friend who sported a small video camera on the side of his head. I recognized him immediately. He and his friend claimed they were interested in joining in the discussion. All they wanted was to find out what we were "up to". What are they so afraid of anyway? They're the ones with the guns.

Yesterday I went to the Minnesota state capitol for a lobby day. Some photos about our event, Every Life Matters, were posted on the Protect Minnesota event page. Immediately upon posting, we noticed racist and offensive comments mostly on photos of people of color. Here are the comments:
  • "criminal and gun grabber lives don't matter"
  • "What are you monkeys ooking and eeking about now?"
  • "Sheeeeeeeit. Does it cum wiff fryed chikn n sheeeeeeit?" ( their words, not mine)
  • "Hello Marxist"
  • "Gun-grabbing liberals spreading their insane lies and hate. gun control=victim disarmament=defenseless citizens=enabling criminals=aiding and abetting murderers"
  • "Take your Marxist gun control and get the fuck out of this country you stupid bitch."
I should say that some of these came from a Facebook page that appears to represent a group of hateful and conniving Americans. They have been noted as a white supremacist group of trolls who change their iteration but their intent is to take down other Facebook pages and intimidate people they don't like. Nice. If this is for attention, these folks do attract some attention. But it may not the be the attention they want in the end. The fear, paranoia and hatred is ramped up amongst themselves until it spills out for the rest of us to see. We do actually know who they are and monitor what they are doing. We block them which makes them angry because, well because. When will that hatred and anger spill over into the nation's next mass shooting or a shooting of an individual?

Another Facebook friend, active in gun safety reform, posted this comment put up on a gun violence prevention Facebook page recently:
"You are all a bunch of pussies, hell maybe youns' need to burn like 6 million Jews did, and watch your families and children be executed first. chicken shits. I can't stand idiots that live on false security."
Right then. Raise your hand if you think this is OK. If you are OK with this, don't send your comments my way.

Social media has allowed these comments and threats to spread. But it has also allowed us a view into their sick, racist, misogynistic, angry and insane world and exposes these folks for the ugly extremists they have become. Some need to be taken seriously because of possible real threats. There are home-grown terrorists- armed Americans ready to fight against their own government or people who don't look like them. As with the threats to attack the Mall of American issued by al Shabab, how do we know when to be worried about a real attack? We don't. But we know there are people who want to harm others. There are people and organizations with evil intent. They are trolls and bullies and they are using social media to further their evil and potentially dangerous agendas.

According to this site, there are different kinds of bullying. What I am talking about is verbal and cyber bullying. Here is a discussion of that kind of bullying:
Verbal bullying incorporates the use of words to carry out an act of bullying. In this type of bullying, the aggressor also known as the bully tries to verbally upset the victim through taunting and teasing. The verbal assault might focus on an individual’s appearance, lifestyle choices, intellect, skin color and even ethnicity. Most verbal bullies have a low self esteem and tend to bully others so as to increase their social standings and feel better about themselves. (...) This is one of the most popular types of bullying in the modern world. Cyber bullying can be described as any form of bullying that incorporates the use of technology. Cyber bullying is rampant on social networking sites and can be very difficult to know the real identity of a bully since most bullies do not use their real names....
Let's repeat this part:" Most verbal bullies have a low self esteem and tend to bully others so as to increase their social standings and feel better about themselves." That about sums it up.

There are numerous Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that make fun of and threaten gun safety reform advocates. Here is just one of many. Why are moms and women in particular who advocate for reasonable gun laws so threatening to these "good guys with guns"? Don't they have moms, sisters, daughters, wives, aunts and female cousins and friends? The question has to be asked and answered.

This is a side show and it's very purposeful. It distracts people from the main message that guns are dangerous and a risk to those who own them. Actually, it proves the message. In America, we make it easy for people who shouldn't have guns to get them anyway. And that means terrorists from abroad and right here at home. It also means gun extremists, gun trolls and gun bullies. If anyone thinks it's reassuring that the people who wrote those comments mentioned above have guns, let me know. Public safety is dependent upon us keeping some people with bad intentions from having guns. Guns are dangerous- designed to kill people. Why make it easy for people to purchase, steal, carry and transfer them given that we know this? Our laws should be strengthened rather than weakened. And that can be done without taking away rights, contrary to what the gun lobby would have you believe. Let's get to work. Every life matters.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Deadly gun clothing

I have written once before about concealable bra gun holsters and the potential problems associated with such clothing. For example, how do you get a gun out in a hurry given that you have to reach under a shirt to get it out? What if you have layers of clothing on making it difficult to get the gun out when needed.? But never mind. The gun lobby/industry pushes the carrying of guns anywhere by anyone and makes it easy for this to happen since the industry produces deceptive consumer products. For example, there's the purse with a pocket for guns that turned into a terrible tragedy last December in Idaho. That purse is really no different from purses I and other women carry every day. The "special" purse obviously didn't work as advertised.

You may remember some other incidents of guns discharging accidentally when being jostled in purses. In Wyoming a Dad gave a gun to his teen-aged daughter for self protection but she dropped her purse at a Starbucks and voila- the gun discharged. And then these- here, and here. But here is some advice for you about carrying in purses:
Let’s face it, clothing is the biggest reason most women prefer purse carry to the other possibilities. And it’s true enough that carrying in a purse involves very little wardrobe adjustment. Oh, you might have to get used to the idea of carrying a large purse rather than a tiny one, and surrender the idea of carrying a purse with a designer label, but that’s really about it. No wardrobe angst required.
But before you decide that purse carry is the only option that will work for you, I want to tell you a dirty little secret. It is my opinion, as an avid people-watcher, that roughly 95% of the outfits I see on other women would work for concealed carry with no alterations whatsoever. 1   Fond of tight, skimpy shirts and classic bootleg jeans? Guess what — that’s a great ankle carry outfit. The low-rise, wide-legged polyester pants that so many women wear to the office work well with ankle holsters too. Love shrug sets? If the cardigan hits the waist, it can conceal a behind-the-hip holster; if the cardigan is short, the outfit will probably work well with a belly band. Whether you love crafty vests, pretty blouses, boxy blazers, or cozy cotton sweaters, the chances are that with a little determination and creativity, you can wear a firearm on your body without altering your wardrobe nearly as much as you fear.
When it comes to fancy dress clothing, the pickings get a little slimmer (but still not entirely impossible). In some dress clothes, a carry purse might really be your only viable option. But unless you wear your party clothes twenty-four hours a day, chances are that you’ve got other choices most of the time.
If you do decide to carry in your purse, it’s really, really a good idea to purchase a quality holster purse. Carrying in a normal purse is so rarely a safe option, and is so slow to access, that it simply should not be done if you can possibly avoid it. On the other hand, a holster purse from either of the two biggest makers will set you back $150 to $300. No lie. They often cost as much as a good leather holster, plus the cost of a high-end leather purse.
Right then. Moving right along.....

Well, now the bra holster has caused a woman to accidentally shoot herself. This is, as all gun "accidents" are, tragic and avoidable. Her family is grieving her loss as is her community and her friends. At any rate,  a Michigan woman is dead because she was trying to adjust the gun in her bra holster. When guns become fashion accessories as apparently some people treat them, we can expect to see more "accidents" like this. Why? Because guns are not fashion accessories. They are deadly weapons designed to kill. And kill they do. Also they are actually hard to carry around concealed. Some people with permits choose not to carry their guns because they are inconvenient, they can be hot or cold depending on the weather and can get in the way when walking around. Thus they are often removed and laid down somewhere where another person( child) can access them. See incidents of guns found in bathrooms or discharging when people put them down or forget they have the gun with them- here, here, here, here, and here for just a few. I have written about these many times before.

The thing is, there are no excuses for leaving a gun behind or putting a loaded gun down and forgetting that others can access that gun and use it either intentionally or unintentionally to shoot another person. The media is littered with reports of such incidents. My last post listed a few of them. But I digress. Back to the bra holster.

Another article shows a photo of a bra holster. What I love about this article are the inane comments left behind by gun trolls. It's like a neck knife? Who carries a neck knife? In what kind of world are these folks living?

And this article has more information about the woman who died as a result of her "accident." From this article:
According to an obituary published by Florin Funeral Service, Bond joined the U.S. Navy out of high school, and served two terms as an active Military Police. She was an administrator for the Road to Life Church, and an “active member of the Christian Motorcycle Association.”
The obituary described Bond as being “on FIRE for the LORD.”
Last summer, she was elected as a Republican Precinct Delegate for Saint Joseph.
Shouldn't this woman, a former Military Police member, have known better? I'm just saying. Shouldn't all of those "law abiding" gun owners whose guns "accidentally discharge" while cleaning their guns know better? Shouldn't the gun owners who drop their guns, forget where they are, lay them down, put them some place where they shouldn't be, etc. know better? Why don't gun owners know better? Treating guns so cavalierly as if rights don't come with responsibilities is becoming more deadly in our country. There is no training required to own a gun, unlike a car. Shouldn't there be? Instead the corporate gun lobby is all about removing all training or permit requirements for gun owners and carriers. How does this make any common sense? Of course it doesn't but when the corporate gun lobby has managed to buy and pay for so many elected leaders, this is the country and the gun culture we get. It's not the country the majority wants, however.

But I digress again. Let's talk about another gun clothing problem- the shirts now produced by a Colorado company that depict a very real looking gun in a holster on the shirt:
Paul Liebe, owner of Nitelife Billiards and Supply in Grand Junction and co-creator of the T-shirts with Sean Strand, posted a warning on the website for the "Open Carry T-shirts" saying the image of a gun in shoulder strap holster on the shirt "looks like a real gun, at a short distance."
"Law enforcement officers may overreact to your shirt," the warning reads. "Listen to the officer. If he says, 'freeze, halt, stop,' just listen to him."
Good grief. Why even make a piece of clothing that could cause law enforcement officers to overreact? You really can't make this stuff up. So now someone walking around in public with one of these shirts on is risking their own safety and possibly that of those around them? Also, this article about these t-shirts suggests that wearing one while black could be particularly dangerous. What else can the minions of the corporate gun lobby come up with? I guess once you've managed to pass laws allowing just about anyone to buy and carry just about any gun possible and then take it with you almost everywhere, you have to find some other source for profits and a way to keep the gun extremists happy. This seems like a slippery slope to me. But I digress.

"Wearing" a gun just does not work out for a lot of folks. I have also written about many incidents of guns falling out of pockets and discharging accidentally. Check it out here, here and here for just a few.

Is that why they want to carry their guns in holsters publicly swaggering around as if the gun is like a belt or anything else people happen to be wearing? It's like a uniform for paranoid people but it's also intimidating to the public. And it's becoming more and more dangerous.

So, to summarize, wearing guns or carrying guns in purses, it turns out, can be quite dangerous. I have an idea. Why not consider leaving your gun at home? Your chances of shooting yourself or someone else by accident are greater than using that gun in self defense out in public. Of course, the same is true of guns in homes, but never mind the facts.

The fact is, these incidents are not that unusual. The gun lobby tries to make us think they are. I mean, the poster boy for the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, proclaimed that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun". This is a myth. And it's killing people. It's not just a few irresponsible gun owners who maybe shouldn't have had guns in the first place or were careless. Look at the examples above. These are just a few of many. Guns are deadly weapons designed to kill. They are a risk to their owners and others around them. Why that very important fact is ignored by the gun lobby is really not so mysterious. The Violence Policy Center published a report you should read: Follow the money. A recent report, also by the Violence Policy Center, highlights the dangers of conceal carry permit holders. You should read that one, too. The recent shooting at Chapel Hill is the 29th mass shooting committed by a concealed carry gun holder.

We have work to do to change the conversation and pass gun policy that will make us more safe, not less safe. The gun lobby could support such measures but will they? Doubtful. When profits come before saving lives, we know the result. 80 Americans are dying every day due to gunshot injuries. Don't you think we should be doing something about this public health and safety epidemic? If so, join me to support common sense life saving measures to stop some of the daily carnage.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Carrying water for the gun lobby and other gun tragedies

I was looking at what posts seemed to have attracted the attention of my readers and noticed that a 2011 post called "Good guys with guns" was at the top of the list. I never know what resonates. This one likely does because of all of the ridiculous proposals sitting in legislatures all over the country, including my own Minnesota legislature where a bill has been introduced to allow "Constitutional Carry". When so many people own guns and carry guns around in public, the inevitable has and will happen. More people will be shot by those guns. We have a dangerous gun culture resulting in daily tragedies, many of them avoidable and preventable. What we don't need is more people, some of whom can't pass background checks in the first place, carrying guns around legally in public places.

This is already happening in the state of Texas.:
It's not even that Watkins believes God has imbued him with the right to wear a handgun on his hip or that Hedtke thanks it's totally cool to talk about violent revolution because she might have to get concealed handgun before she goes and plays Wyatt Earp.
No, it's not any of that. It's that all of Watkins, Hedtke and state Representative Jonathan Stickland's succeeded. (...) Watkins sat there, told the committee, "go against my God-given rights, I will continue to walk around with an AK-47," and they voted for the bills anyway (notice Stickland plop down and start grinning in the background during Watkins' testimony).
The idea that carrying an AK-47 around in public is insane and dangerous. We are not at war. There are terror attacks all over the world now threatening the security of everyone. What we don't need or want is people like Watkins, who may not even be able to pass a background check, carrying his assault rifle into public places where families hang-out. This is not normal behavior nor should we try to make it normal. But never mind, Texas legislators are about to make this dangerous behavior normal for Texans. Carrying water for the gun lobby is a really bad idea. Acting in the best interest of public safety is the job of our legislators. Instead, they have it backwards and are giving the extremists what they want ( under intimidation and threats, by the way). It's time for the "lapdog" legislators to be held accountable for their actions. They are making it more likely that "good guys" with guns can do more harm to innocent people.

Let's look at a few examples of "good guys" with guns not being so good:

The gun lobby loves guns on college campuses ( or K-12 schools for that matter). Here is why that is a bad idea. A student at a Georgia campus fired off his gun during a dispute between 2 fraternities. Was the gun used in self defense against a gunman(woman) on campus? No, of course not. From the article:
According to witness accounts, police said, approximately five to six members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity were standing between their frat house and Tau Kappa Epsilon’s, where a similar number of the other fraternity’s members  were standing on the second floor landing.  A male wearing a black or dark colored coat stepped out onto the landing and pointed what appeared to be semiautomatic handgun towards members of Pi Kappa Alpha.  That person reportedly raised the gun and fired a single shot in the air and then pointed the gun back at members of Pi Kappa Alpha.  At that time members of both fraternities retreated into their respective houses.  
No one was hurt- luckily for all concerned. Did the shooter have a permit for that gun? And why would we want to weaken gun laws to allow for more incidents like this on our college campuses? College presidents and security are uniformly opposed to these measures for obvious reasons but never mind- the politicians who carry water for the gun lobby are pushing these dangerous laws onto the public.

People do get angry at other people daily over all kinds of things. And we all know that teens get angry at their parents. But carrying out their anger by shooting their own family over restrictions on computer use highlights how easy access to guns by teens is a really bad idea. In Kentucky a teen shot and killed his parents and his sister because he was angry about being disciplined. Yes, you read that right. Let's look at this from the article:
Kevin Hendrix was still wearing his coat and tie from work, and police believe the teen ambushed his mother as she arrived home from teaching social work at Union College.Investigators believe they were shot to death Wednesday, and authorities said Jason Hendrix then went to a church youth group meeting that evening and told friends he had found his father’s guns. Police said the teen, a high school junior and ROTC cadet, was angry with his parents for taking away his computer privileges.

The teen was killed by police in a shoot-out. He got his guns from home. Guns in the home are a risk for all who live there. You can read the Brady Campaign's report- The Truth About Kids & Guns if you don't believe me. Further, these incidents are happening daily. They don't fit with the mantra of the gun lobby that stupidly has convinced unwitting or "lapdog" elected leaders that more guns make us safer.

In Alabama, a "good guy with a gun" "accidentally" discharged his gun, killing his son and injuring both himself and his wife. You just can't make this stuff up. Further, this lends the lie to the idea that "guns don't kill people; people kill people." This man did not pull the trigger of the gun. He was cleaning his gun. If you are paying attention as I am, you will know how often this happens in homes all over America. Cleaning guns can be dangerous. More from the article:
The child’s father apparently was cleaning the handgun when it discharged. The bullet went through the father’s hand and struck the 11-year-old, who was sitting on the couch, then struck the mother in the elbow, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
So what does the gun lobby have to say about incidents like this? Mostly they say that these are isolated incidents and that the gun owner was not being careful or cautious enough. The thing is, these are happening on a regular basis so that argument is false from the get go. But yet, they continue to push the idea that guns in the home for self defense will make people safer. It's a lie.

And just a few more for your reading "pleasure":

Do I have to continue- because there are many more where these come from. All of these lend the lie to the "more guns make us safer" nonsense coming from the corporate gun lobby and their minions. 

Where is common sense?

So when legislators are convinced that weakening our gun laws to let more people carry guns with no permits required or to carry in places where guns are not needed, they are carrying the water of the corporate gun lobby. They are lapdogs for the gun lobby and should be called out for their actions. We will be less safe. Elected leaders should be working to strengthen our laws on who gets to buy and carry guns and the places where they get to carry. More on this in a future post. For now, I believe there is enough evidence that "good guys" with guns are not making themselves, their families or others safer. 

I am including this video from the Brady Campaign about the lapdogs in Congress and our state legislatures:

Find out if your elected leaders carry water for the gun lobby and hold them accountable for failing to keep us safe when they have it in their power to pass legislation to do so and to change the conversation about our dangerous gun culture. Expanding background checks to all gun sales, for example, would make a dent in the illegal gun market. Talking about safe storage of guns and the risks about guns in homes is vitally important to keeping our kids and families safe from intentional and unintentional gun deaths in homes and in public. Making sure that those who carry guns in public can pass a background check and get proper training for handling guns is also key to keeping people who shouldn't have guns in the first place from carrying them around in places where families and the public gather. More can be done to assure that "bad apple" gun dealers are not selling guns to those who shouldn't have them.

Challenging the gun lobby's dangerous ideas that more guns make us safer can come from elected leaders if they choose to be involved in the public health and safety discussion we all deserve in the face of the epidemic of gun violence. We can all be involved in making sure guns are stored safely and ASK if there are guns where our children hang out. Most gun owners practice common sense and want common sense gun safety measures. Why legislate to the lowest common denominator- the gun rights extremists? Ask the question and demand answers. We should expect our legislators to do what's right for the majority of us. Simple things can save lives. Let's get to work.