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, August 10, 2010

Guns and Day Care Centers don't mix

I have four grandchildren, one of whom attended day care at a Jewish Community Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. I always thought about the awful shooting at a JCC in California when he started attending this day care center. Today marks the 11th anniversary of the day Buford Furrow, a mentally ill man with an assault rifle purchased from a private seller at a gun show, shot up a day care center in Granada Hills, California. The confluence of events that occurred that day made for a perfect storm of the results of our lax gun laws. This is a man who would not have passed a background check if he had purchased his gun from a licensed dealer. But these folks know how to get guns. The gun lobby always tells us the criminals will get their guns anyway so why bother making "law abiding" citizens go through "unnecessary" background checks at gun shows. This NRA "logic" defies reason and the truth.

Do you have children or grandchildren? Do you ever think about the possibility that something like this would happen where they go to day care or pre-school? Of course not. It never happens in your neighborhood or to your family. Think again. Donna Dees Thomases, founder of the Million Mom March organization, thought only once about what she would do upon hearing the news of this shooting and watching little children herded across the street in a line during the day care shooting. The rest is history. Donna got a permit for a march on the Washington Mall, which I attended along with 750,000 others. In her wildest dreams, Donna did not believe that that many people would show up to make such a loud noise and send a message to our elected leaders. Do something please! Stop this nonsense! Prevent the violence! Too many senseless shootings! How can I ever forget seeing the photos of loved ones shot to death worn on tee shirts and hats that day? I can't. That's why I do what I do.

Meanwhile, back at the nation's Capitol, what has happened since then? The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to lapse. A bill passed granting immunity to gun dealers prohibiting legitimate law suits against manufacturers and dealers of firearms and ammunition. And these are just a few examples of the influence of the gun lobby in Washington D.C.  The ATF has been dessimated and we do not have an ATF chief right now. Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign/Center has just posted a blog on the Huffington Post related to the ludicrous idea that the ATF is cracking down on cigarettes while not doing much about guns! Seriously! A letter sent on August 9th by 6 former ATF leaders and agents to President Obama urged him to appoint an ATF Director for all of the obvious reasons. From the letter: " As former ATF Directors and officials, we respectfully ask that you make appointing an ATF Director an urgent priority.  Americans need an ATF Director who will aggressively enforce the law, shut down corrupt gun dealers, and fight gun trafficking.  Every day that passes with a leaderless ATF, the consequences grow deadlier." 

This is just plain ignorance, incompetence or political stupidity and timidity or all of those. President Obama and Congress are seemingly reluctant to nominate a person to head the ATF because they know the NRA will bring out the troops to oppose anyone short of Charleton Heston, reknowned former President of the NRA. So, let them. This is a fight worth having.

In eleven years, over 300,000 people have been shot to death and hundreds of thousands more injured since the day a mad man with an assault rifle shot up a day care center. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for not acting forcefully and immediately as other sane countries have done when mass shootings have occurred. What is wrong with this picture? Just look at the Tom Toles cartoon I blogged about a few days ago and listen to the Sara Thomsen song I posted. Those are the pictures and the words that should make a difference.

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