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.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Follow the money

I am back to the 4 articles written by James Walsh, writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I can't stop thinking about the fact that the priest who was interviewed ( Padre Antonio) has buried more Mexican young men than he can count because of the thousands of guns that flow into Mexico from the U.S. These are powerful guns meant for killing people, as he explains, not for hunting or target practice. Many of the guns are 32 FN Herstal Five Sevens, the bullets of which can shoot through body armor- cop killers as they are sometimes called. There is so much wrong with this phenomenon that it's hard to come up with the right words for it. One of the gun dealers who sold guns to Minnesota resident Paul Giovanni de la Rosa at Hart Bros. in Albert Lea, Minnesota, said that he has customers who own 1,000 or more guns. What?? and Why??

Am I crazy or does this just seem wrong? Who needs over 1000 guns unless one is a collector, which is possible? What worries me is that there are folks who have twisted the Second Amendment so that it means the right to rise up against the government instead of being a "well regulated militia" to come to the aid of the government when needed. So buying over 1000 expensive guns keeps the gun dealers in business and keeps the manufacturers turning out their wares. It also makes sure that those who want to do harm to politicians or form militias against the government have lots of weapons when they think they will need them. Let's hope they never act on that scenario.

The possibility of home grown terrorists also exists. So in addition to providing guns to the Mexican gun cartel, we have plenty of guns for sale to foreign or home grown terrorists. Guns come into the hands of these folks in many ways. But surely American gun shows provide a great venue for people with bad intentions to get guns without background checks. We are doing nothing about this either. Until our Congress and President have the spine to stand up to the NRA, nothing will be done. Meanwhile, people who shouldn't have guns can get them. And those who are law abiding can get as many as they want and argue that this is their right without thinking through the responsibilities. Many crime guns get into the illegal market as stolen guns. Others come as straw purchases. Some are purchased legally and then sold to someone who is not legal. And others come from gun shows without a background check and either used by the buyer or sold to others who should not have them.

So when reading the four articles about gun running from Minnesota to Mexico, one can't come away from the articles without questioning our gun laws. And yet, here is the editorial from today's Star Tribune. The editorial writers see the main problem from the perspective of the illegal drug trafficking and Americans insatiable demand for drugs. I see it from the perspective of the easy availability of guns that make it possible for the drug runners to threaten and kill people who get in their way. Of course the problem is drugs but it is surely also guns. Here is a quote from the editorial: " Some might suggest that the pipeline could be closed by adopting tougher gun laws. But in this case the current system worked because federal law requires gun sellers to record who buys weapons and how many. One improvement would be to share that cross-jurisdictional information faster. One of the weapons de la Rosa bought in 2007 was recovered two months later at a Mexican crime scene, but he was not arrested until more than a year later."

I would be one who would suggest adopting tougher gun laws. Yes, the system worked but it took too long. In addition, because of our love affair with guns, it is too easy to get involved in this type of activity. We can stop this if we have the will and the backbone. But if we follow the money, we can see why it is so difficult. Gun dealers and manufacturers are protected by the NRA who has scared our Congress and President into doing its' bidding. Congress gets campaign financing from the NRA who gets an exemption from laws that apply to everyone else. NRA members keep giving money to the organization to preserve their Second Amendment rights which have been skewed by the NRA's leaders so that people are fearful and have to keep giving money and buying guns to protect themselves from the government who is doing their bidding when laws come before them. And the NRA continues to be the most powerful lobbying organization in the country with about 4 million people giving money to the cause. I don't know about you, but I think we have a serious problem in our country that is being ignored. Time for a change.

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