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.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Domestic abusers, stalkers, lapdogs and guns

From bradycampaign.org
Yesterday I met with Gabby Giffords on her 9 state tour to encourage women leaders to get involved in pushing laws to make sure domestic abusers and stalkers do not have guns. It was a great meeting of 16 women leaders from various organizations sharing ideas about the problem and then the solutions to this national public safety problem. Below are some of the articles about the event:

Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"At the meeting, Heather Martens, founder of Protect Minnesota, an anti-gun-violence group, insisted that steps must be taken to “make sure a gun doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in the first place.”
This would include eliminating so-called trade show loopholes that allow people to purchase firearms without a background check.
Giffords insists that women, particularly those who have survived abuse, can make the most compelling case for changing the laws.
“We stand for common sense,” she said. “We stand for responsibility. Together, we can change our laws. Together, we can win elections.”"
CBS Minnesota 

Minnesota News Service:
Among those in attendance was Heather Martens, the executive director of Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence. "Gabby Giffords spoke about how we need to work together to push for better policy at the state and federal level in order to keep guns away from people who are dangerous or have a criminal background," said Martens. Last year in Minnesota, 25 women were killed by a current or former husband, boyfriend, or intimate male partner. According to research published in the American Journal of Health, abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm. Martens notes that while more needs to be done, the state did take some action on the issue during the past legislative session. A new law went into effect on August 1st which covers those who have committed domestic abuse or are under a restraining order for domestic abuse. "It provides a mechanism for them to surrender their guns so they don't pose a danger to their immediate families or others," says Martens. "That also includes people who have committed stalking. It's a big step forward for preventing gun violence, particularly in domestic-violence situations." 

And I am quoted and interviewed in this local KSTP station report about the Giffords visit:
"Most gun owners really believe in reasonable gun laws. Polling after polling shows us that. So, I think that we are on our way to actually being able to pass some laws that will protect women," Peterson said.
But then read what a Minnesota gun rights activist  ( from the above article) thought was most important about the visit of Gabby Giffords to Minneapolis:
Giffords' stop in Minneapolis wasn't open to the public or publicized ahead of time, something gun-rights advocates criticize. We spoke with Andrew Rothman, President of Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance. Rothman wasn't invited to the meeting.
"They do this because Minnesotans overwhelmingly oppose gun control. When they announce in advance, the gun rights supporters outnumber the gun controllers twenty to one," Rothman said.
Really? Women are being killed by abusers and stalkers and this is all he could think of by way of a complaint? That he and his group weren't invited? Are all of the gun lobby meetings publicized ahead of time or open to the public?  Where are their arguments against stalkers and abusers being able to get guns? We just have to ask if they are against common sense measures to keep guns away from domestic abusers and stalkers?

Meanwhile, today is the anniversary of the shooting of Zina Daniels in Wisconsin. This horrendous domestic shooting involved the abuser who was a prohibited purchaser but was able to get a gun anyway from Armslist.com with no background check. He killed 3 people and injured 4 and then shot himself. This is exactly why we need to expand background checks to all gun sales. We can actually prevent senseless and tragic shootings. But we don't. Why? Because many of our elected leaders are "lapdogs" for the corporate gun lobby.

The Brady Campaign has launched a new video explaining more about the lapdogs for the gun lobby. You can see it below:



Brady is also keeping a "lapdog scorecard" so you can check to see if your member of Congress is doing the bidding of the corporate gun lobby. It's about time gun violence prevention organizations are doing things to influence elected leaders. And the corporate gun lobby minions have noticed. They are calling out any politician who is in favor of common sense and verbally attacking them in campaign ads all over the country.  From this article about the NRA campaign ads:
As always, the NRA suggests it is some kind of grassroots organization that arose out of a common concern. That masquerade has long facilitated its efforts on behalf of the gun companies to manipulate the fears of decent working people, seeking to convince them that gun regulation is a government scheme to strip away their precious freedoms. Never mind that the government in fact is attempting to find some way to end the carnage that calls into question whether we are a civilized nation.
But do not confuse despicable with dumb. The NRA knows what it is doing. It is aware that the fear on which it ultimately thrives is that of politicians who quake at its supposed influence and money.
The problem at the moment for the NRA is that horrors such as the Sandy Hook school massacre of 20 youngsters and six adults have threatened to make the organization’s stamp of approval a liability and its disapproval a badge of honor. Billionaire former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has long bankrolled an effort to take on the NRA and now Bill Gates has joined him.
Their denial and specious claims that any gun safety law will lead to gun confiscation and/or registration is being challenged and debunked because it's simply not true. Their claims, as they often make, that we already have universal background checks so why pass a new law is absolutely false. Do they think we're stupid? 80 Americans a day are dying every day from gunshot injuries. What does the gun lobby propose to do about that? Clearly more guns has not been the answer. Their lies are being exposed. Fewer people believe them. A friend told me yesterday that a volunteer for the NRA endorsed candidate for Congress in my district came to her house to try to persuade her to vote for his candidate. The thing is, she wasn't buying his nonsense. She told him that her husband, a hunter, gave up his NRA membership after the NRA's response to the Sandy Hook shooting. She argued with the young man about the NRA's positions and their support for this candidate until the young man apologized and left. Needless to say, she did not buy his specious claims.

There are new kids on the block now. And we are more organized and better funded than ever before. If that makes them nervous, so be it. It's about time the voice of the people is heard and heard loudly. 92% of Americans, including gun owners, are in favor of background checks on all gun sales. But our leaders are afraid to listen to us. That is changing.  We know we are better than what we have now. Let's get to work. Lives depend on it.

UPDATE:

As always, it never takes long before an actual incident representing the problem I am addressing in my blog comes to my attention. This awful domestic shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. illustrates why guns in the hands of domestic abusers is a terrible idea. From the article:
Police were called to the same address late last night on a report of domestic violence, Derenda confirmed.
“The suspect was gone at the time,” Derenda said. “He apparently returned this morning after being told the female was going back to Florida. We believe he killed her and then himself. It appears they moved up here a short time ago.”
“It appears the officers did everything they needed to do,” Derenda said. “This was a long-standing relationship with a long history of domestic violence. It appears she stayed with him for whatever reason. I believe there's an order of protection on him out of Tennessee.”
If a law like the one that passed in Minnesota had been in place, officers could have the abuser surrender his guns. There was an order for protection. There had been many domestic calls. The woman was about to leave which is the most dangerous time for a woman. These incidents are preventable if we change the culture, change the conversation about guns and change our laws.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

This is the America we have- is this what we want?

More and more, there is evidence that we are living in a country where crazy ideas trump the truth and reality. Such is the case with our country's gun laws. In no other country not at war do we see the incidents that I, and others, write about on a regular basis. It is coming down to public safety versus a huge and profitable gun industry. On what side will our leaders come down?

Do we really want a country where the first amendment right to free speech is canceled because the supposed second amendment right to carry a gun wherever one goes no matter what trumps it? In Utah, the answer is, apparently Yes. A woman critic of video games who is a feminist and blogger, had to cancel a recent speech at a Utah college because of threats of a mass shooting. In Utah, people with gun carry permits can carry in colleges and apparently no one can stop them from bringing guns into a public venue. What a crazy world we have created. From the article:
“Anita Sarkeesian has canceled her scheduled speech for tomorrow following a discussion with Utah State University police regarding an email threat that was sent to Utah State University," the announcement on the university website said. "During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue.”
Shortly after the announcement, Sarkeesian took to Twitter to criticize the gun policy.
"Forced to cancel my talk at USU after receiving death threats because police wouldn't take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event," she tweeted. "Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah's open carry laws police wouldn’t do firearm searches."
Gun rights have trumped the right of people to be safe from gun violence. This is disturbing. It is also stupid and dangerous. Why do we put up with this? Why do we put up with people openly carrying assault rifles into places where we shop and do business like at Kroger's stores? What could possibly go wrong? Check this out to find out. And it's not even Halloween yet. Here's the question. How do we know the difference between a supposed "law abiding" gun carrier with an assault rifle and someone who means harm? The answer. We don't. This insistence by the gun rights extremists, who represent a subset of gun owners, can only be a bad thing for those who just want to have their guns for hunting, recreation and maybe for self defense at home. They do not represent the majority of gun owners who agree with common sense when it comes to gun safety reform. 

And then there's this in Rochester, Minnesota. A man who insists on carrying his loaded gun, only partially concealed, to the edge of a school zone, has set off a controversy with neighbors and parents. This is about what kind of communities we want for our children. Most people do not want people with loaded guns around school zones. There is no reason for this to happen. But some who represent a subset of gun owners, insist on forcing their loaded guns in places where others gather claiming it's all for protection. Having a gun in the home for self defense is one thing. But purposely carrying near a school zone and pushing the limits is another. This story is about rights vs. rights. We need to decide, as do our elected leaders, what is the right thing for the overall public safety of the majority. There is enough evidence that carrying a loaded gun around can be potentially and actually harmful for us to understand that something unexpected can happen with a loaded gun. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill another human being.

This "Gun Fail" blog by David Waldman at Daily Kos is keeping track of how often "law abiding" gun owners have problems with their guns. It's not funny. This is serious business. He is not making these things up-he actually provides links to the actual articles about the actual incidents. Let's check it out:
Anyway, here's a quick and dirty run-down on the numbers in our most-frequently reported categories. From around mid-August to early September, we saw 11 "home invasion" shootings, that is, where someone has accidentally fired into their neighbors' home or property, not counting two additional instances of firing into a neighboring hotel room. There were also 11 target shooting accidents of various kinds, five hunting accidents, five accidents while cleaning still-loaded guns, six various FAILs involving law enforcement or security officers, three shootings of people mistaken for intruders, two accidental shootings arising from attempted interventions in ongoing attacks or robberies, three accidental discharges while out shopping or dining in public, and the first accidental discharge in the classroom of the still-young school year.
The really alarming numbers, though, were among those who accidentally shot themselves (33), those who accidentally shot a family member or significant other (11), and kids who were accidentally shot (29). Among all the carnage, 17 of the 100 incidents on the list resulted in fatalities.
The thing is, this is what's actually happening in our country. Loaded guns are a risk to us all. These should be enough to make our hair stand up. So to those who want to "open carry", your claims of being perfectly safe with your guns in public are not necessarily true. The public is not buying it and your antics are not helping any of us feel safer.

We live in a country where private sellers sell guns to people who shouldn't have them. This couple had a bad feeling about a person to whom they sold a gun. Never mind. They wanted to make some money so they sold the gun anyway. It was perfectly legal because we allow this in our country. Crazy, right? From the article:
It turned out their instincts were right — John Christian Parks had an eight-felony-long rap sheet, for meth dealing and escaping from jail, and was developing paranoid, white-supremacist views. Still, the couple, who did not know who Parks was, sold him the gun for cash and later also sold him a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle — the same type of gun used in the Sandy Hook massacre.
“We had a bad feeling about it,” the wife told me this week. “But my husband and I are not criminals. We just sold him the gun. We didn’t do anything wrong.”
I am not naming this couple because she is right — it’s currently perfectly legal in our society to sell your assault rifle to another adult, no matter how sketchy, out behind a gas station. The law says you can’t knowingly sell to someone barred from owning a gun. But in our state, when it comes to guns, ignorance is often bliss.
“You aren’t required to require anything, depending on what you know. I require cash,” was how one private gun salesman summed up this state’s Wild West gun-selling rules at the Northwest Firearms online forum. (...) The assault rifles the couple sold to Parks later turned up in the woods in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. There, Parks and some friends, including one with a warrant out for his arrest, had gathered with two truckloads of semi-automatics to shoot at exploding targets. Parks was convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun and sentenced to eight years in prison.
He had also bought a third semi-automatic rifle from an online gun market, Gunbroker.com. The FBI found emails that Parks sent to the online seller, such as this one:
“May Yahweh protect you ... from foreign and DOMESTIC enemies that are trying every day to dismantle the constitution and the republic to bring a communist socialist dictatorship where the American is the enemy and the sheep to be lead to the Gulag FEMA camps to have a fate as much of our Russian kinfolk did in the 20th century under the Bolshevik Revolution I.E. Jewish Zionist revolution = TORTURE and DEATH! Hail VICTORY!”
Sure, you can have a gun.
At the end of Parks’ case, the judge, Thomas Zilly, said that above all else it showed “how easy it is for anyone to buy firearms online or on the street.”
The article was written in favor of Initiative 594 in Washington State that would require background checks on all gun sales. The citizens of Washington have decided to take common sense to the public rather than to rely on their state legislators because like in Washington, we know that our lawmakers are not representing the views of the majority of their citizens. They are in the pockets of the corporate gun lobby.

So the big question here is- Is this the America we want or deserve? We can decide this together and make us all safer from gun injuries and deaths. The fact that we haven't done so already speaks volumes about the American gun culture of fear and paranoia foisted on us by the corporate gun lobby. It's time for that to change. There are better ideas for public safety that need to be embraced by our elected leaders. But they are still living in the dark when it comes to public safety. It's time to shed light on the lack of courage of our leaders and the outsized influence of a gun lobby that represents a small minority of voters. Let's get to work. Surely we are better than this.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Time to "Protect All Women" from domestic abuse

From Center for American Progress
October is Domestic Abuse Awareness month. In spite of the many efforts to prevent domestic abuse, it is endemic in our world and in our country. Yesterday, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) , located in Duluth, received a very prestigious award. From the article:
"The World Future Council, an international policy-driven organization, announced the Duluth Model as the “gold star” winner of the Future Policy Award for 2014. The model was selected from among 25 initiatives, laws and policies from around the world that were previously named as finalists.
“We just love that it’s a policy that’s being awarded — not just people,” said Melissa Scaia, executive director of the nonprofit Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs. “There are people who created it and now people who are moving it forward.” (...) 
The policy was selected for its “coordinated community response,” World Future Council officials said.
Karin Heisecke, the organization’s senior project manager for ending violence against women and girls, said many national and local jurisdictions around the world have implemented domestic abuse laws and policies, but rarely do they translate well from paper to practice.
“The Duluth Model is exemplary in that it really addresses what other laws and governments have not achieved,” Heisecke told the News Tribune in a telephone interview from Geneva. “It’s important to have a policy on paper, but you need to get all of those stakeholders — all the people involved in the implementation — to work together for it to be successful.”"
Domestic abuse needs a community and a community response in order to protect women ( it is mostly women affected) from the abuse inflicted upon them by the men and/or partners in their lives. The comment that really struck me from the press conference I attended yesterday was from Minnesota Representative Mary Murphy:
“It’s kind of bittersweet that we’re winning an international award for the work that’s been going on for so long, and yet we have no less need for the help that we have to give to the people that come for our service,” she said.
Indeed. We have "no less need for the help" for this international problem. As we know, women and children all over the world are abused in many ways. It is a reflection of the power and control used by the abusers to keep the abused alone and afraid. That is why we need a community response and a coordinated community response as the Duluth model represents.

I sit on the Board of DAIP and I'm proud of the work of the organization. Last week I attended a lunch for the Safe Haven Shelter for battered women in Duluth. A woman who had used the shelter services spoke passionately and tearfully about the abuse she had suffered and the help she received from the shelter. This woman is a professional in the community as is her now ex-husband. Domestic abuse knows no boundaries. It can, and does, happen to any family.

Way too often the abuse leads to a tragic end. The Violence Policy Center has released its' annual report about the affects of domestic abuse. From the report:
The Violence Policy Center has published When Men Murder Women annually for 17 years. During that period, nationwide the rate of women murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents has dropped 26 percent — from 1.57 per 100,000 in 1996 to 1.16 per 100,000 in 2012.
However, the rate of women killed by men in the United States remains unacceptably high. A 2002 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the United States accounted for 84 percent of all female firearm homicides among 25 high-income countries, while representing only 32 percent of the female population.
This information from the report concerns the use of firearms in domestic deaths:
Firearms — especially handguns — were the weapons most commonly used by males to murder females in 2012. Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 52 percent of female victims were shot and killed with a gun. Of the homicides committed with guns, 69 percent were killed with handguns.
The overwhelming majority of these homicides were not related to any other felony crime, such as rape or robbery. Nationwide, for homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 85 percent of the homicides were not related to the commission of another felony. Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument between the victim and the offender.
We know this information and have known this for years. And yet, we still allow domestic abusers to purchase firearms with no background checks because they can buy from private sellers at gun shows and on the Internet. This is unacceptable. If we truly care about saving lives, we need to pass measures to keep domestic abusers from buying guns and also to make sure they have guns removed if they are abusers. There are some people who should not guns.

In June I attended a conference sponsored by the Center for American Progress about the topic of domestic abuse. I wrote a post about it then. I have written often on my blog about domestic abuse and shootings. One of my posts is here.  This issue is near and dear to my heart since my sister was shot by her estranged husband in a domestic shooting as she was trying to get out of her marriage. It's why I do what I do. And we know why some survivors of gun violence do what they do. Former Representative Gabby Giffords is now traveling the country to urge the passage of a bill with her organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions. You can sign a petition on her website urging Congress to take action to protect women. A bill has been introduced to get guns away from stalkers. We know that women who are stalked by their abusers too often end up being injured or even killed by their stalkers. Women are threatened every day with guns and by stalkers who have guns. Making sure these abusers don't access guns will save lives.

And the Center for American Progress has updated information about domestic violence:
Five women are murdered with a gun in the United States every day, most often by an intimate partner. From 2001 to 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in this country by an intimate partner using a gun—more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. A key factor in reducing murders of women is, therefore, preventing dangerous domestic abusers from having easy access to guns.
The Center for American Progress has also formed a new website called Protect All Women. We need to disseminate this important information about the risks for women in America- especially when their partner/spouse/abuser have a gun. This website is a great advocacy site for those who are interested in the safety of women all over our country. Check it out for how your own state is doing to protect women from abuse and the tragic deaths that sometimes come with the abuse.

This is stunning information. What are we going to do about it? If the corporate gun lobby cared more about saving lives than making profits, we could put our heads together and do the right thing that makes common sense. Women are killed at an alarming rate in our country. We have a lot of work to do to change that and prevent the violence that is devastating to far too many families. Every day I read about another domestic shooting. This is not happening in other developed countries not at war. It's way past time to do something about this American tragedy. We are better than this. Let's get to work.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

More pathetic, stupid and dangerous antics from the gun lobby

There should be no surprise at the disturbing lengths the gun lobby, this time in the form of the NRA, will go to defend non defensible ideas. Try this one. A Maryland Sheriff has stated that he will not enforce federal gun laws and is ready for a civil war against his own government. From the article:
"The National Rifle Association's media arm is defending a Maryland sheriff who warned that the enforcement of gun laws could lead to a civil war between his county and the federal government.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis made national headlines in September after telling a local news station, "As long as I'm the sheriff in this county, I will not allow the federal government to come in here and strip my citizens of their right to bear arms. I can tell you this, if they attempt to do that, it would be an all-out civil war, no question about it."
According to USA Today, Lewis made similar comments to a Delaware NBC affiliate, warning of a civil war with the federal government over the enforcement of a hypothetical ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
In response to Lewis' comments, gun safety group Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) launched a petition calling for the revocation of Lewis' Maryland Police Training Commission certification. According to CSGV, "It is difficult to see how a law enforcement officer who is threatening to wage war with the United States government meets any recognized standards of public service. In the wake of his threatening comments, Sheriff Lewis should not be given the responsibility of training law enforcement officers in Maryland."
The NRA's media arm, NRA News, responded to CSGV's petition, terming it "pathetic" and downplaying the inflammatory nature of Lewis' comments. (...)
Lewis is a vocal critic of gun regulations enacted in Maryland in 2013 in response to the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He is also a member of extremist organization Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and reportedly attended the group's 2014 meeting. The group ascribes to the discredited theory that the county sheriff is the ultimate legal authority in the United States. The group's leader, Richard Mack, made headlines for claiming he and other supporters of lawless Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy "were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front" in case violence broke out during an April standoff between Bundy supporters and federal law enforcement."
First of all, does anyone remember the Civil War? 620,000 were killed. Of course, the total number of gun deaths in America just since 1968 have eclipsed the total number of Americans killed in all wars since we became a country.  But I digress. The extremist gun rights view of America is potentially dangerous and can only lead to bad things.

Second, pathetic is the word that should be ascribed to the NRA's defense of people like Lewis who is an elected official. We don't need elected officials who refuse to enforce our own laws. Is he saying then that background checks on gun sales at federally licensed dealers will not longer be enforced? If he is, then he is saying it is fine for domestic abusers, felons and dangerously mentally ill people to buy guns anywhere with no checks. That sounds like a great idea, right? You just can't make this stuff up. The thing is, these are extremists and sometimes insurrectionists, whose fear and paranoia are ramped up by a profitable corporate gun lobby whose interest lies in the money and not in saving lives. If this man truly believes that there will be a civil war that he will actually instigate, we are in for a rough time. Either that, or he is in for a rough time. This flies in the face of all common sense and of public health and safety.  I, for one, am very happy that the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and other groups are exposing this extreme behavior. It often flies under the radar until a shooting occurs like the one in Nevada and we find out that the shooters were of the ilk that hates their own government and taking innocent lives be damned. 

And then there's NRA Board member, Ted Nugent- again. Seriously- why is this guy anywhere where people can hear his offensive and incendiary remarks? This time he's telling his audience of minions that because President Obama is not a Christian, in his "professional" and "wise" opinion, people should vote for Republicans. Because, well because, um er because- (from the article):
National Rifle Association board member and conservative commentator Ted Nugent
suggested that President Obama is not a Christian and touted Republicans as "the only chance we have" to kill "the wolf at the door" during the 2014 midterm elections.
Ah yes. It's to "kill the wolf at the door". What the he$% does that mean? A dog whistle to those God fearing Christians out there who listen to his show? The wolves are coming everyone. Get your guns. The liberals are coming for them soon enough. You know, like they've been doing now for the last few decades. They've been advancing to your door to confiscate your weapons. Amass your AR-15s and ammunition because they must be killed or else.......... Well, you get the picture. This guy is spewing total nonsense and worse. Fear and paranoia reign in his world and that of his listeners. What an exciting world it must be for them. And, please remember that Nugent is a director on the Board of the NRA. Fine fellow. Check out the rest of the board members if you want to be amused or worried.

I mentioned in my last post that the NRA lobbyists and leaders have done all they can to stop the nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to become our nation's Surgeon General because he happened to mention that gun violence is a public health threat. Well now Ebola is a public health threat and we have no Surgeon General to deal with it. And the NRA successfully managed to "gag" doctors in Florida who want to keep their patients safe from the epidemic of gun violence. Ebola is a public health threat and so is gun violence as Mike Weisser points out in this article:
But let's not forget that the CDC isn't allowed to figure out what to do about gun violence and if it were up to the NRA, every state would follow Florida's lead in gagging doctors who want to talk to their patients about guns. If 30,000 Ebola deaths in Africa constitutes an epidemic, what do you call 30,000 gun deaths which have occurred every year in America for the past twenty years?
The NRA and the corporate gun lobby are not in favor of public health and safety measures that affect the American public. We do have a "wolf at the door". It's not what the corporate gun lobby would have you believe though. We should be "waging war" against anything that takes the lives of 30,000 people a year. The "civil war" that the gun extremists are talking about is already here. We are killing each other every day with the guns that are promoted for recreation and self defense but get used way too often to kill family members and friends.

Just remember. These are the actions of extremists and they are supported by the corporate gun lobby. A Facebook friend of mine just posted that her husband was ready to do some hunting. Just because he is a hunter he gets stuff from the NRA and this time he has received mailers from both the NRA and the candidate running with their endorsement- a tea partier and gun dealer. The flyers are clear that if the Democrat is elected, her husband's right to hunt and own a gun will be in danger. She is upset enough about the propaganda spewed by the mailers that she is going to give another donation to the candidate who believes that gun owning and gun safety reform are not mutually exclusive. And he represents the majority of gun owners and even NRA members. 

It's past time to change the gun culture and gun laws in America. People are dying every day and we do nothing to reduce or prevent these deaths. We can't stop all gun deaths just as we can't stop all diseases and causes of death. But we sure as heck should be trying hard. Let's get to work.