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.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ignition locks and Immigration laws

What do ignition locks and immigration laws have to do with gun issues? Sometimes as I read the headlines and then the articles about various topics, I get cynical. For example, when reading this article from the Star Tribune about a vote taken in the Minnesota House of Representatives, I couldn't help thinking about their inaction on another issue near and dear to my heart. Having mandatory ignition locks installed in the cars of those who have been charged with DWIs and high blood alcohol levels seems like a great way to prevent more senseless traffic accidents that take lives and leave innocent people with life long injuries. Kudos to the House for passing this measure.

Now for my cynisim about the inaction in the same body of elected representatives- There was an opportunity in March for the Crime Victims subcommittee of the House Public Safety Committee to take up a measure that requires background checks on all gun sales at gun shows. Though those of us who testified in favor of this ( 7 of us) presented all the necessary information and reasons why this would make sense, the one person who testified on the other side persuaded the commitee to vote us down 5-3. So requiring DWI offenders to pay for a device that would be installed in their car to prevent them from driving while drunk makes perfect sense to elected leaders, requiring background checks on gun sales so felons, domestic abusers and dangerously mentally ill folks does not! Go figure. Such is the nonsensical debate about guns in our country. When the powerful gun lobby has the ear of our leaders, common sense does not prevail. Drunk drivers do not have a powerful lobby on their side, nor an amendment to the Constitution.

The recent Immigration law just passed into law in Arizona is full of hypocrisy. Suddenly it's O.K. for law enforcement to stop people to ask for their papers? These measures are reminiscent of Nazi-like measures against the Jews during World War II. As you may recall from my blog on Sunday, a "gun guy" delegate to the Minnesota Democratic Convention was afraid the "Nazis" would take away his guns if we pass a law requiring background checks on all gun sales at gun shows. But it must be O.K. for these same "Nazis" to demand papers of " illegal immigrants" to those who resemble Mexican people. You may also recall that this delegate fears law enforcement will take away his guns but I guess having law enforcement demand the papers of possible innocent people is not an infringement. It may be that the delegate with whom I spoke would not be in favor of this immigration law. If that is the case, I wonder if he would see that his own flawed reasoning about gun confiscation just does not make common sense?

My frustration must be obvious here. Lawmakers do not seem to consider their actions when blinded by their fear of being re-elected. In their efforts to "do the right thing", they often ignore the obvious out of expediency or undue influence by lobbyists or vocal opponents. When will these same leaders see that passing common sense legislation to close a dangerous loophole that allows the wrong people to buy guns will make the streets safer and prevent those who cross our borders bringing in illegal drugs from being able to buy their arsenals of weapons without background checks?

Read what one Minnesota lawmaker said about the DWI ignition lock law: " "People understand we need to take bold action to make sure our streets are safe," said Rep. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove." This same Representative has refused to sign on to our gun show background check bill which would also make our streets safer. And from Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson in today's editorial comments about the Arizona Immigration law, " Isn't the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom? "

Hypocrisy as far as the eye can see.

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