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, April 17, 2010

Enforcing gun laws already on the books

As April 19th approaches, an article from The Columbian highlights the "debate" that some would like to have about whether it is normal for people to carry their loaded guns in public places. When someone thinks it is perfectly O.K. to walk around in a public mall with his hand resting on his openly carried loaded gun, then something is very wrong with our gun culture. This is what has finally resulted from states passing laws allowing people with our without permits ( in some states) to carry guns publicly. What did we think would happen? Not satisfied with the laws already on the books, the NRA continues to push for more places where people can carry guns and allowing more people to carry and purchase.

So now we must deal with the latest affront to public safety- guns in holsters at Starbucks and other places where people gather peacefully for pleasure and family time. The OpenCarry.org organization wants to "normalize" openly carried guns in public. That is, they want us all to get used to people carrying their guns around everywhere. We should not be frightened by this. They are, of course, all law abiding citizens- until they are not. What insult will result in a senseless loss of life or life threatening injury? God forbid if someone butts in to a line of people waiting at a check-out counter. Or maybe I get the last Wi game on the shelf and the guy with the gun wanted it, too. One wonders what it is that these folks think they are "defending" by carrying their guns around in public. The Second Amendment says nothing about defending oneself in public places with loaded guns. Smoke and mirrors.

Heidi Yewman, Washington state Million Mom March activist, says it best in the article above: " And she believes that police officers pass the open-carry muster, but no one else. “He’s not drunk, on drugs or angry,” Yewman said. “I can feel safe that he’s a good guy. I don’t know that with someone openly carrying.” " This could be a self-fulfilling prophecy for the gun guys. By "normalizing" the open carry of guns in public, the criminals and other prohibited purchasers who got their guns illegally or legally without background checks at gun shows from private sellers, may also decide it's safe for them to carry openly. Then the open carry gun guys can say that they are just protecting us from the bad guys on the streets with guns. You can see where this could lead.

As long as we let the NRA decide the parameters of the debate, this is what we will see. As long as our elected leaders are in the pockets of the powerful gun lobby, this is what we will see. As long as our leaders lack the courage to speak out against this nonsense, this is what we will see. I am still waiting for those politicians to have the courage of their convictions to speak out against this slippery slope. Mass shooting after mass shooting has taken place in our country, and still- the NRA is winning. Is it because, as Wayne LaPierre, of the National Rifle Association, said at a CPAC speech in February, 2009: " The guys with the guns make the rules"? If you don't believe me, watch the video of LaPierre saying this and listen to the applause for the line. Scary.

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