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.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Moving on after Aurora

Today is the 2nd anniversary of one of our country's worst mass shooting. All shootings are bad, of course, leaving behind many survivors and victims. The Aurora, Colorado theater shooting took the lives of 12 and left 70 injured. It is a high profile example of all of the things that can go wrong when too many people have access to guns they shouldn't be able to have. I have been writing about things that can go wrong when the wrong people are able to get their hands on loaded guns. But it's not just the wrong ( prohibited buyers) who do bad things with guns and bullets. It's sometimes those who can legally buy guns who have no intent to kill anyone but do anyway in a moment of anger, depression, jealousy, during a relationship separation, after too much alcohol, or while believing, sometimes falsely, that another is out to harm them. Occasionally a shooting is justified to save one's life. But most of the shootings in America are not for that reason. The majority of gun deaths are among people who know each other( pg. 10)

A small group of American gun owners have been influenced by the ramped up fear and paranoia about gun confiscation or some sort of government take over of their rights to buy or own guns. They stockpile their guns and then wait for a chance to use them against their own government. Or they walk around the streets with their loaded guns openly carried to bully and intimidate other Americans. Some have so much hatred and vitriol towards those who just want to stop senseless shootings that they are willing to say anything to make their point. Some of these people aim their offensive comments at victims when they speak out. This unacceptable behavior speaks volumes about an American gun culture that has taken a turn away from hunting and recreational gun use. Victims represent the opposite of what the gun rights extremists believe- that more guns make us safer. And so attacks on victims is an attempt to turn the conversation on its' head and bring it back to the tired old false talking points we have been hearing for far too many years.

But victims and those in the gun violence prevention community are not standing down in the face of all of this. Instead, with all of the recent high profile mass shootings and attempts by the corporate gun lobby to loosen gun laws that are already too loose, we are speaking out. If that makes some nervous, so be it. America has more gun deaths per 100,000 than any civilized democratized country not at war. We are at war with ourselves. And for too many years we have let the gun lobby's voice be the loudest voice.  Even most gun owners side with those of us who just want a world where our loved ones don't get shot to death in elementary schools, shopping malls, movie theaters, military bases, bars, on the streets of our large cities, in gun suicides or in accidental gun discharges. We understand that there are people who believe that owning and carrying a gun makes them safer. So be it. But these folks also fight against measures to lessen the risks of loaded guns in homes and in public. That just doesn't make sense.

Our country is home to regularly occurring mass shootings. Sometimes the shooter in a mass shooting knows the victims, often not. According to the linked article:
Of the 143 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns with high-capacity magazines. (See charts below.) Just as Jeffrey Weise used a .40-caliber Glock to slaughter students in Red Lake, Minnesota, in 2005, so too did James Holmes, along with an AR-15 assault rifle, when blasting away at his victims in a darkened movie theater. In Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza wielded a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle as he massacred 20 school children and six adults.
Two years ago today, Jessica Ghawi and 11 others were shot to death in a heinous shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. I hate writing about these anniversaries because it always involves those left behind- those still grieving the loss of a loved one. Sandy Phillips is still grieving her daughter's death. But she is moving on and doing good things for others in memory of her daughter. This interview with Sandy finds her thinking about the anniversary and reflecting about the two years since she got the awful news.

I have met Sandy and know that she is making a difference. In a short time after the death of her daughter, she has traveled the country to support others in their grief after high profile shootings like Sandy Hook and the Santa Barbara shooting while working for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She has supported the efforts of those working to strengthen gun laws in states all over the country. Sandy is mild mannered, gracious and unselfish in her support of others even while still in the midst of her own grief. She talked in this Texas news station interview about her resolve to work for common sense gun laws. What happened in Aurora revealed some disturbing evidence that our nation's loose gun laws allow for massacres like the one that happened at the Aurora theater two years ago. The shooter had mental illness. He was able to buy guns anyway. He got his ammunition- 100 round drum magazines- from a private seller on the Internet. Who needs 100 round drum magazines for anything reasonable regarding guns? For what purpose does someone buy this type of ammunition for personal use? To kill as many people as possible of course.

So what can we do to lessen the risk that innocent people like Jessica Ghawi and the many other victims of mass shootings and every day shootings don't get shot? Memorials are nice but they are not going to solve the problem of too much gun violence. Sometimes survivors feel a sense of peace and healing at memorials. But mostly they still grieve their losses and try to move on. Many become advocates for common sense gun measures. They never thought they would be where they are today speaking out against weak gun laws and cajoling reluctant politicians to do something about it. Becoming a survivor of a gun violence victim is life changing. I know that one for sure. So what can and do we do?

We can strengthen our background check system to make sure that everyone who purchases a gun should be able to own one. Congress just needs to Finish The Job which they could do if they weren't so afraid of the corporate gun lobby. We can educate the public about the risks of guns in the home and make sure guns are stored, locked up and unloaded to stop small children from getting their hands on them- teens and others from using them in gun suicides- and to keep thieves from stealing them. We can educate parents to ASK if there are loaded unsecured guns where their children play. We can require the reporting of lost and stolen guns. We can pass laws to limit that capacity of gun magazines so at least some lives can be spared in mass shootings. We can require background checks for all sales of high capacity gun magazines no matter where they are sold. We can look more closely at where gun ranges are located to prevent stray bullets from flying in neighborhoods. We can work with those in our urban neighborhoods about the consequences of so many guns and find out where the guns come from that are used in so many urban shootings. We can do more about gun trafficking to prevent so many guns from getting into the hands of those who shouldn't have them. We can deal better with the "bad apple" gun dealers who provide guns to those who shouldn't have them.

But what we must do most of all is to change the conversation and activate the majority of Americans who believe, like we do, that tolerating over 30,000 gun deaths a year is senseless. Putting our heads together to make a difference, to save lives and prevent the devastation to families and communities is what we are about. And, like Sandy Phillips, we will remember our loved ones, we will cry a little ( or a lot), and we will keep moving on with our work. 12 young Americans were killed on July 20, 2012 and 70 were injured. Their lives were taken suddenly and violently. America lost the potential of what all of the victims were and could have become. The families and survivors of all of the victims still grieve and still live on with physical and emotional injuries suffered that day. In memory of those who died:

Jonathan Blunk, age 26
Alexander J. Boik, age 18
Jesse Childress, age 29
Gordon Cowden, age 51
Jessica Ghawi, age 24
John Larimer, age 27
Matt McQuinn, age 27
Micayla Medek, age 23
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, age 6
Alex Sullivan, age 27
Alexander C. Teves, age 24
Rebecca Wingo, age 31

Friday, July 18, 2014

Guns and voting

The November elections are just a few months away. There is a lot of acrimony and disagreement between parties and candidates. As a country, we have decided that our elections will be peaceful transitions of power. So then, what do you think of when you think of armed people at voting booths? I think of Iraq, Afghanistan or another undemocratic country, maybe even during war time with armed military there either to intimidate or to protect the voters. In America, we can now think of armed and apparently paranoid citizens who believe that something inside of a polling place may be so dangerous that they will need to pull out their loaded guns and shoot. In Alabama, it looks like people can open carry their guns into polling places. As I said in several recent posts, what could possibly go wrong? What if someone has a difference of opinion about their candidate? What if a gun discharged inside? As you know, if you have been reading my blog for a while, this happens fairly frequently- enough to be of concern. These folks don't want to carry their guns just to carry their guns. They want to make a point and they want to intimidate the rest of us. The Texas Open Carry movement has made that very clear.

Let's look at the article for more:
Mr. Allen is one of several gun-toting Alabamians who were confronted last month after the Alabama Sheriffs Association, fearing that an open display of weapons might frighten some voters, urged the state’s 67 counties to ban unconcealed firearms from polling places. (Concealed weapons are O.K., as long as the gun owner holds a permit.) But it was Mr. Allen’s protest, posted on his Facebook page that morning, that set in motion the chain of events that may have proved to be the ban’s undoing.
The complaint prompted officials of Chambers County, the rural east Alabama jurisdiction where Mr. Allen lives, to ask the state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, whether they did in fact have the power to ban unconcealed weapons from polling stations. Mr. Strange’s reply, released last week, was an emphatic, if qualified, no: The State Legislature has already said where guns cannot be openly displayed, he wrote, and polling stations are not on the list.
That said, he added, there are a few no-gun locations that sometimes serve as polling places, such as high-security government buildings. And owners of private buildings like churches that often host voting stations always have the right to prohibit firearms.
Some see even those exceptions as an assault on their freedom. A founder of the gun-rights organization BamaCarry Inc., Robert Kennedy, left his polling place, a church annex, rather than surrender his firearm, the group’s president, Eddie Fulmer, said in an interview. The news website al.com quoted Mr. Kennedy as calling Mr. Strange’s opinion “horrible.” He added that the exemption allowing private buildings to bar the open carrying of guns “places somebody’s private property rights over somebody’s right to vote.”
You've just got to "love" that last statement. So now private property owners can't stop people from coming inside with loaded guns because someone has a right to carry a gun? What has gone wrong with the American gun culture? I say this is nuts. Armed citizens don't belong at polling places. You can see on a video in this article that Mr. Allen was quite happy with all the attention he got when he walked into his polling place. As I said in my last post, these folks are bulldogs. They are zealots and they assume they are right because they are the ones with the guns. Others are afraid to confront them. That is exactly what they want.

America's elections happen peacefully, at least so far. New leaders are chosen without guns. This is a minority of Americans who have managed to convince elected leaders that their rights are more important that the right of the rest of us not to be shot or to have people with loaded guns everywhere we go. At the least, we should be able to expect to vote without guns around us. If this is what it's coming to, we don't have a democracy any more. The subtle and not so subtle message here is one that should not be acceptable in a Democracy. This is not the America we want or deserve. We all need to put our heads together and decide what kind of country we want, including whether loaded guns in polling places is acceptable to us.

Something has to change. Let's get to work and get some common sense laws in place to stop this stupid and dangerous behavior.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What can possibly go wrong??? Part 2

I wrote a recent post about all of the things that can go wrong with guns and gun extremists. Of course, what I wrote were only a few examples. Here are some more, but just for this post. Others will surely come. Let's start small. Someone left a loaded gun on top of the toilet paper dispenser at a South Carolina Walmart. What could possibly go wrong? We now have conceal carry gun permit holders leaving loaded guns around in the places they frequent. The first question is why must people carry guns around wherever they go? They are obviously inconvenient when trying on clothes, going to the bathroom, sitting down to eat, packing for trips, while sitting in cars, and all of the other stupid and dangerous incidents I write about. These are not isolated incidents. Thanks to the corporate gun lobby for helping to write public policy law that allows for almost anyone to have guns in public. And no thanks to our elected leaders who chose to pass these stupid and dangerous laws. That is why we are seeing so many things going wrong with loaded guns in public. We can change that if we have the will.

And along the lines of what could possibly go wrong, let's talk about the injection of religion into the gun rights discussion. I write sometimes on this blog about something that strikes me during a church service. My church as been very supportive of me ever since my sister was murdered. Most people, if not all, who attend my church support common sense gun laws and safe communities. Isn't that what religion is all about? Non-violence and peaceful solutions to problems? At my church we have made it a priority to support reasonable gun laws that will keep people from being shot. Makes sense, right? At least that is what I have always been taught in church. Most main stream faith organizations support preventing gun violence. We shouldn't be surprised that there is a religious factor in the gun rights movement and one big example is Larry Pratt, Director of Gun Owners of American. What could possibly go wrong when using religious fervor to promote the use of guns? Here is just one short clip from the Rolling Stone article:
Because what he really thinks resonates deeply with the theocratic tenets of Christian Reconstructionism, which holds that American government should be ordered according to events and dictates found in the Old and New Testaments. Nor is Pratt so stupid as to use his regular access to mainstream media to promote the "active measures" he believes American gun owners will one day be forced to unleash on a secular federal government. As he explained in his 1999 essay, "What does the Bible Say About Gun Control?" Pratt writes, "If Christ is not our King, we shall have a dictator to rule over us, just as Samuel warned."
This is a long, comprehensive article about a man whose world view and radical right wing political beliefs have colored public gun policy in America. It's worth the read to find our more about who this man is and what he is really all about. It's clearly not just about guns and gun rights. If you look carefully at the above warning from Pratt, it appears that he is encouraging Christians to a violent confrontation with the "secular federal government." Is this what some of the gun extremists want for America? It's a question that deserves an answer. What could possibly go wrong?

The Texas Open Carry folks are bulldogs. They just keep coming back and back and back no matter how many times they have been turned away and embarrassed. Apparently they have no sense of proportion and certainly no common sense. The group has decided to re-schedule it's armed "walk" through a predominantly black neighborhood in Houston. What could possibly go wrong? From the article:
Open Carry Texas also announced that they’ll have a real-life black person marching with them, Maurice Muhammad. As Liberaland pointed out, Muhammad is a radical who promotes the killing of police officers on his Facebook page. He also is apparently the leader of a group that openly wishes for a race war. Liberaland also pointed out that OCT’s blog entry is more about Grisham’s own issues with the law than his concerns about the black community. While he talks a big game about unfair laws regarding gun ownership, and he positions himself as some kind of civil rights fighter, the reality is that he himself has a conviction on his record and cannot apply for a conceal-carry license. Which is likely the reason he started this group in the first place.
Anyway, these gun nuts plan on marching through the Fifth Ward on August 16th. Once again, like they claimed last time, this is only supposed to be a peaceful demonstration as well as a charitable action. They just want to educate the residents of the area. They positively, absolutely do not want anything unseemly or ugly to occur. Nuh-uh. No way. And this time, no one can claim it is all just a bunch of white guys marching through a black neighborhood carrying a bunch of guns. Because they got a black guy with them. It is totally cool now.
Charitable? Nope. Cool? Nope. Peaceful? Nope. There is nothing peaceful about a bunch of armed gun nuts walking around with assault rifles on their backs. And in addition, they have a felon who wants a race war walking through a black neighborhood with armed zealots and gun nuts. Sounds like a good plan, right?

And what could possibly go wrong when anti-immigration folks march with guns in the streets of Detroit to protest the possibility of some of the recent child immigrants being housed close by? This is downright ugly. From the article:
Conservative groups protested the possible housing of Central American children in Vassar, Michigan, on Monday by marching through town, some with AR-15 rifles and handguns, according to The Detroit News.
About 50 protesters led by the group Michiganders for Immigration Control and Enforcement carried American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags as they marched from city hall to a social services facility that may house the children. The protest follows a similar but larger gathering that took place last week.
Really? The Gadsden flag again? Why? What message is this sending? Are these children invading our country? What in the world is so threatening anyway? These are mostly kids and women. It's embarrassing and racist, for just a few descriptive words. Pope Francis has it right in this statement about what is going on in America. From the article:
"This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected. These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin."
And he went on to call it like it is -from this article: 
"Many people obligated to migrate suffer and frequently die tragically," Pope Francis said in his missive. "Many of their rights are violated, they are forced to leave their families and unfortunately continue being the object of racist and xenophobic attitudes."
I am not Catholic but I love Pope Francis. He is man who speaks truth to power. Thank God for other Catholics in America who, unlike some hateful Americans, are offering help and support to the immigrants. I have great respect for those who step forward and do what's right in the face of ugly resistance. Faith communities, at least most of them anyway, are all about peace, love, redemption, forgiveness and providing for the poor and unfortunate amongst us. From the article ( obviously a Christian perspective):
Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, spoke before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in late June. He called the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border “a test of the moral character” of our nation. “We must not fail this test,” he said.
Right now, the welcoming community of Brownsville and surrounding communities are acing the test. In Murrieta, the mayor and the citizens who drove back the buses need to study more. President Obama looks for ways to return the children to their perilous homeland. The U.S. Congress sits on its hands. To prepare for the test of moral character, protesters in Murrieta, the president and the Congress, might hit the books, especially the New Testament. A place to start is Matthew 25, where Jesus states: “Whatever you do for these, the least of my brethren, you do also for me.” 
This is a tragic situation. Some Americans are trying to bully and intimidate these innocent folks. Their "xenophobic" and intimidating attitudes are almost frightening in their fervor. The illegal children and families who are sitting at our border deserve to be treated like human beings and get a fair hearing to hear their stories and who should or should not be allowed to stay here, at least temporarily. It is usually the U.S. that is calling out other countries during humanitarian crises. This time, the spotlight is on us and it's not a pretty picture. This is a complicated issue that calls for adults to put their heads together to work on solutions. What is not helping is the image of guys with AR-15s strapped around their backs seemingly ready to do harm to innocent children and their families. We don't need armed and fearful citizens interfering with a sensible solution to this awful crisis.

And further, the ramped up paranoia and fervor is causing these folks to foam at the mouth over the possibility of stopping a school bus full of kids to bully them. Some Arizona anti-immigration folks made a mistake and almost went after a bus full of American children going to a YMCA camp. Really? Chill out. They looked so hateful, mean and vengeful in the video I saw on a news program. Who are these people? Unless you are Native American, your relatives were immigrants to this country at one point. Three of 4 of my grandparents came from Norway and Sweden and my great grandparents on my mother's side also immigrated from Norway. I don't think they were met at the borders by people with guns and hatred though immigrants have never had it easy in America or any other country for that matter. We have a history of intolerance towards some immigrants going back many years. Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes and at the least, be patient, tolerant and with no violence towards people who are looking for a place of refuge from the intolerance and violence in their own countries.

And it isn't just immigrant children that cause gun extremists to foam at the mouth and try to bully others. The League of Women Voters are apparently considered to be dangerous to the sovereignty of the country as well. As a long time member of the League of Women Voters which supports common sense gun legislation, I find this incident at the Seattle League of Women Voters office to be offensive and downright nuts: 
An anonymous individual (or individuals) left a target riddled with bullet holes on the doorstep of the Seattle-King County League of Women Voters' Capitol Hill office over the recent holiday weekend—a message, the LWV believes, about the state chapter's support for I-594, which would require background checks for gun sales online and at gun shows. A volunteer for the group found the target over the weekend. 
Really? Just because a group supports background checks for all gun sales, you have to try to intimidate them? This is just plain stupid but potentially dangerous. What could possibly go wrong when a group of gun zealots does something like this? Let's hope nothing but the fact that they did it says all we need to know about them. The intimidation and paranoia is ramping up with every inch closer the country gets to passing reasonable gun laws that will save lives. Is saving lives so fearful? What in the world are these people so frosted about? What makes a group like this tick anyway? In what world are they living? This is just plain crazy.

It's time for a change. Surely we are better than this. This is not the America we want or deserve.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Guns in comics and film

I have run across some interesting articles about the themes for some popular new comics and films. The Archie comic series has been around for a long time. I loved Archie comics while growing up. The characters were all of us. There was a little romance, some shenanigans, typical teen life in American schools- or so we thought anyway. Back then I don't think I was aware of any agenda of the comic strip. This article reveals what is going to happen to the ever popular Archie character in the last of the series. From the article:
"None other! And unlike a lot of comics deaths, it looks like this one is going to stick, because the comic in which it's happening will be ending its run next month, publishing just one additional issue after Archie dies. (August's final issue will pick up one year after his death to examine how his friends and loved ones have moved on in the wake of his death.) Oh, sure, Archie will continue to live on in the myriad other titles in which he is a star, like the comic that bears his name or Betty and Veronica. But in at least one of those titles, Archie will die.
And he won't just die. He'll die because he took a bullet to protect his good friend, gay senator Kevin Keller, as part of a storyline that examines issues of gun control. Yes, we're a long way from the days when Al Hartley licensed the characters to spread the good news of Jesus Christ."
Who knew that that was the intent of the original comic strip? Another article announces the demise of Archie:
The 73-year-old red-headed character will die in Wednesday's installment of "Life with Archie" when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on senator Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' first openly gay character who is pushing for more gun control in Riverdale. Archie's death — but not the circumstances — was first announced in April and will mark the conclusion of the series that focuses on grown-up renditions of Archie and his pals.
"Not to be too grandiose, but this demise is a fitting and tonally perfect tribute to a character who has always put his friends first," said Chris Cummins, who writes about comic culture for DenOfGeek.us. "This is a publicity stunt for sure, but one with heart that will have permanent ramifications."
Archie's final moments will be detailed in "Life with Archie" No. 36, while issue No. 37 will jump forward a year and focus on Riverdale honoring the legacy of their freckle-faced pal, who first appeared in comics in 1941 and went on to become a colorful icon of Americana and wholesomeness. Other incarnations of Archie will continue to live on in other Archie Comics series.
Does art imitate life or the other way around? Is this plausible? We know that the socially charged issues of homosexuality, gay marriage and "gun control" are issues that have caused a lot of controversy. As gay marriage has become more acceptable and gay people in elected office are not the pariahs they once were, that issue is thankfully fading as a social issue for most Americans. The same cannot be said for the issue of guns and gun violence. The writers of Archie comics have decided to tackle some of these hot button issues head on:
“Every few years, we see a comic book tackling an issue that could be considered provocative,” said Dave Luebke, owner of Dave’s Comics in Richmond, Virginia. “It’s interesting that the ending of ‘Life with Archie’ involves multiple social issues, but it’s not surprising.” (Luebke sold his rare 1942 “Archie” No. 1 comic book in 2009 for $38,837 at a Dallas auction.)
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and several Archie fans praised Archie Comics’ decision to have the character sacrifice himself to save Kevin, who is depicted in “Life with Archie” as a married military veteran turned senator.
“In recent years, ‘Life with Archie’ has become one of the most unique books on the shelves by using its characters to address real world issues — from marriage equality to gun control — in a smart but accessible way,” said Matt Kane, GLAAD’s director of entertainment media. “Though the story is coming to a close, we look forward to seeing Kevin and Archie’s stories continue in their remaining titles.”
After the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school that took the lives of 20 first graders, nothing has been the same. The corporate gun lobby has fought against any reasonable measures to save the lives of the next 20 children. Since Sandy Hook, about 17,000 Americans have died from gun homicides. ( this number is only since Jan. 1st 2014. There are a little more than 11,000 gun homicides per year in America.) The majority of gun owners and most NRA members support background checks on all gun sales but the corporate gun lobby has managed to stop legislation in Congress and state houses all over America. Saving lives from senseless gun violence should not be controversial. This is about supporting measures to prevent the violence that is so devastating to families all over the country. I think we can all agree that no one wants to be shot nor do we want a family member to be shot. That is what this is about. But the corporate gun lobby has a way of fanning the flames of fear, paranoia and insurrection and making false accusations about what proposed laws actually mean. This really isn't about taking away guns and gun rights but some on the far right continue to believe that.

Just take a look at what NRA Facebook supporters are saying on the NRA's Facebook page. The ugly and offensive comments made by folks on this page are not those of the majority of gun owners. But they do represent a subset of the gun culture that actually believes that those in favor of sensible gun laws should be attacked or even killed. Or that is what they write. Is it possible that someone will actually be shot over this issue that is supported by 90% of Americans? It would be a terrible tragedy to say the least but it's something to think about for sure. So the fictional comic world is not so far from reality. A gay politician who supports "gun control" is a target and his friend takes a bullet for him. This is a possibility if you believe the comments by some of the gun extremists. Let's hope they are just "blowing smoke" and do not actually mean the words they write. But words have power and can incite violence. Truth can be stranger than fiction. And the question really needs to be, why do they feel so strongly and hateful about people who just want to stop the shootings?

But I digressed there for a minute. Sometimes going to the movies can get people to do some thinking about important issues. One example is "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", showing in theaters this summer. There seems to be a theme to the movie about guns and gun violence prevention. From the article:
“You’ll hear instances where actors have said, ‘I won’t appear in a movie poster with guns,’ or directors will say, ‘I will never put a gun in my movie,’ but there certainly aren’t many examples where [blockbusters] tackle this head on,” Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told MTV News over the phone. “In this case, it very compellingly shows that before the gun was introduced, a fight was a fight. And now, when a gun is introduced, it has a much greater chance at turning lethal.”
Pretty crazy for a franchise that launched starring former N.R.A. spokesman Charlton Heston, no? (...) 
Now, the message here seems to be pretty loud and clear — so clear, in fact, that Variety said you’d have to be “pretty obtuse” to miss it. But “Dawn” screenwriter Mark Bomback has already tried to dispute the notion that the film is an allegory for the dangers of gun violence, telling The Daily News that Trojan-horseing a gun control message into the film would be a “narrow approach.”
“First, the issue of gun control involves lots of complicated reasons why that is or isn’t a good idea,” Bomback said. “This film takes place in a post-apocalypse in which there’s a different meaning behind guns… When an ape uses one in ‘Dawn,’ it’s the moment we see how ape society will ultimately evolve (in the ‘Planet of the Apes’ world) into a militaristic version of human society. The gun symbolizes human technology dedicated to violence. In that sense here, guns are like the serpent in Eden.”
However, Gross feels that the “Dawn” approach to violence is much healthier when it comes to actually tackling the murky, hot button issue that is gun control.
“I don’t think condemning [all guns] is a healthy place to go with the conversation,” Gross said. “I think realistic is a much more healthy place. They’re not saying all guns are bad, they’re saying that guns make situations more dangerous.”
And Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence also comments on the film in this article:
One particularly powerful scene that is eerily reminiscent of real life gun culture occurs early on in the film, when a human fires a gun at a teenage ape. The ape poses little to no threat to this character, but the man’s fear is very real — so instead of asking questions, he lets his paranoia take over and stands his ground. According to Everitt, this “shoot first, ask later” mentality, and the laws that okay it, is exactly the kind of thing that movies should be questioning.
“There’s a lot of kids in other democracies watching the same movies, and they don’t have the same levels of gun violence,” he said, adding that studies have revealed that holding a gun can heighten levels of paranoia and aggression. “That begins to play into the message being used in this film, which is, when you introduce firearms into a situation, you’re more likely to have lethal outcomes.”
The entertainment industry often provokes messages about social issues that can be told in a way that real life can't. Even though we know that thousands of Americans are killed every year by bullets, depicting it as the end of the world as we know it makes the message more powerful. More from the article:
“Dawn” definitely doesn’t take as black-and-white a stance on gun violence as the original “Apes” did on nuclear weapons, but it seems like the point here is that the film is opening up a discussion. Because like it or not, history has already shown that Hollywood films can have just as much if not more of an affect on public conversation than the real life events that inspire them.
“Just like the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ might have been an important part of the conversation around the threat of nuclear war, our hope would be that this one can be an important part of the conversation around the dangers of unsafe access to guns,” Gross concluded.
In real life, families grieve loved ones who have been killed by bullets every day. The failure to deal with this national public health and safety epidemic is a blot on our nation's credibility. In America we have made it easy for just about anyone to access a gun. Most other democratized nations not at war have long ago decided that the killing of their citizens by other of their citizens is not acceptable and they will do whatever it takes to prevent senseless loss of life. It's part of the values held by an organized group of citizens that cares for the well being of their fellow citizens. We definitely need to have a national rational conversation about how we can best deal with our daily gun carnage. What we are doing now is clearly not working. I found this piece highlighting the volatile nature of our conversations about guns in America. From the article:
Boebert's gun is a symbol of that Western spirit. Rattlesnakes are a real thing out here, as are mountain lions, bears and coyotes. Man may be the most dangerous animal of all, however, and reading online comments about Boebert by people who've never met her makes you wonder about just how "civilized" our society is.
The ugly comments obscure the reality that while guns are a polarizing topic, there's a vast middle ground often drowned out by the extremes. The polarization obscures the fact that responsible gun owners don't want guns in the hands of crazy people or criminals.
There's a long, long distance between Boebert's Shooters and mass killings, and most certainly there's room for reasonable discussions about community safety. The attention given to the perfectly legal open carrying of firearms by responsible gun owners threatens to overshadow that discussion. Boebert doesn't want to see innocent people hurt by firearms. That's why she insists her staff gets training and undergoes background checks.
"I think the risk is that the extreme controversy that exists around open carry becomes portrayed as indicative of the kind of conversation most Americans want to have," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It's not indicative of the kind of conversation most Americans want to have."
Most Americans are reasonable as are most gun owners. We need to find the place where we can come together to do what's best while respecting both sides of the issue. I believe that is possible but I am concerned about the distractions and the extremism out there. Dealing with the issue of guns and gun violence is volatile and in real life, can be dangerous. People kill other people by gun over small and large disagreements every day. Guns kill more people intentionally than any other method of homicide. We can do something about this if we are willing to challenge the current state of affairs. If you are interested in working on preventing senseless gun deaths, please join a group working on the issue and help get the message out that we will not tolerate the every day carnage caused by bullets.