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, July 24, 2010

Correcting gun stats and gun guys

When the "gun guys" get it wrong, it is important to correct them. Lives may depend on it. Here is a letter quoted from today's Star Tribune, written by a friend who is involved with the Minnesota campaign to prevent gun injuries and deaths:

Actually, they're easy to obtain in Minnesota

I hope no one is relying on the misleading letter writer who on July 21 said, "I can assure you that obtaining a firearm legally is not easy in any sense of the word," then went on to say that it "requires eight hours in a classroom learning the law ... and proof of both safe handling skills and proficiency on the firing range.''
Neither federal nor Minnesota law requires any training to "obtain" a firearm -- training is only required to obtain a conceal-and-carry permit. Only background checks for criminal and mental-health records are required, and then only for purchases from federally licensed firearms dealers. No background check at all is required to purchase a firearm from a private party who is not so licensed.

You see, the original letter writer would have the readers believe that there are a lot of restrictions to buying guns so we should not worry about those who buy them. They will all be law abiding and they are well trained, etc. etc. The problem was that the man was wrong. Jerry has corrected him. In Minnesota a permit to acquire is required to purchase a hand gun or assault type weapon. It must be renewed every year by law enforcement which is a good thing. The renewal requires a local background check. That is a good thing. Once someone gets this permit, they can purchase any number of guns from licensed dealers in that one year. But they do not have to do any training for that permit. The man wanted us all to stop worrying about people who apply for and get one of these permits. 

Jerry is right. He is a gun owner, collector, hunter and former law enforcement officer. He knows what he is talking about. He strongly believes that stronger background checks for all gun sales are needed and that reasonable gun laws are absolutely necessary. Unlike other such folks, he is not afraid of anyone taking away his guns or restricting his rights. He is not threatened by reasonable gun laws and neither should anyone else be.

And speaking of corrections, I need to correct myself. When I wrote that a friend said that it takes 8 years for the affect of new gun laws to appear, or between the time of a gun purchase and a potential gun incident, it should have been 11 years. She was referencing Dr. David Hemenway, Harvard Professor of Public Health and Public Policy. Hemenway's book, "Private Guns, Public Health" is yet another of many books exposing the myths about guns and gun policy. But never mind. Knowledge and expertise, such as that of Jerry Dhennin and David Hemenway seem to be negatives in today's hyperbolic atmosphere of public discussion. Many politicians and citizens would rather act based on myth than fact and commonsense. Thus we don't act on the most important issues of our times. We are at gridlock concerning the gun issue as well as public health in general. There is a long list of issues that is urgently waiting for action. It's time to act. Let's listen to those who know.

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