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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Permit to carry gun holders gone wrong

Permit holders shooting people? Permit holders threatening people? Permit holders committing crimes? According to the proponents of carry and conceal ( or not concealed) gun permits, America would be safer because those with the permits would stop crime from happening in our public places and on our streets. We would not see problems with the people who get permits because they have to receive training and background checks and they would be "law abiding" citizens anyway. So permit to carry laws passed all over the country- in 35 states - that are "shall issue" rather than "may issue" (11 states). Law enforcement must issue permits to those who apply unless there is a very good reason not to and even then, challenges to the reasons often result in a questionable person getting a permit. They are good for 5 years, in Minnesota, at least. That means these folks only have to have their training once in 5 years and go through a background check once in 5 years. Law enforcement officers are trained about once a month in the operation of their handguns.

So now we have citizens all over our country who may have once been law abiding citizens but something goes wrong and suddenly they aren't. Sheriffs are often reluctant to deny permits to some people they may be think are questionable. Or do some Sheriffs themselves think these permits are a good idea? I'm just saying....Threats and shootings are happening one at a time and in different states. They are not happening in great numbers and all at once. We do not have "shoot 'em up" scenarios on the streets as some on my side of the issue predicted. But, over time, we have had a disturbing number of recent shootings and threats by permit to carry holders. Many of these people have shot multiple victims and have received national attention for their shootings of innocent people. The Fort Hood shooter, for example, was a permit holder. The angry man in Pittsburgh, for example, who shot and killed 3 police officers while lying in wait, was a permit holder. The list goes on and on and some are keeping track. See this report from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence report on permit holders for more information.

The latest incident was the Ohio man who was arrested at the Ashville, North Carolina airport where President Obama's plane had just taken off, with a gun at this side. Ironically, the state of Ohio has revoked his permit to carry. This man had had problems before but apparently did not raise enough of a red flag for law enforcement to revoke his permit long before he was arrested for wanting to "talk" to the President with his gun on his person.

So what will we do about this increasing threat from permit holders? So far, states have actually wanted to, and in some cases, have loosened the laws. We now have states where it is legal to openly carry weapons. Some states have passed "Shoot First" gun laws allowing someone to shoot first and ask questions later when a perceived threat occurs to oneself in the home and in public places. If the gun lobby has its' way, such laws would pass in all states. So we would have people with guns in their homes or carrying in public places who think someone is a threat, even when the person is unarmed, allowed to shoot in "self defense" and not be held legally liable.

Is this common sense? To me, it is just the opposite. But, as I know well, common sense does not prevail where the gun issue is concerned. Rather, fear and misinformation takes precedent over common sense.

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