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, September 13, 2010

Gun extremism

This article is right on. As a politician, you can never do enough to satisfy the extremist leaders of the NRA. You do one thing, and they demand more. The stakes get higher and higher, or should we say, lower and lower. Senator Harry Reid, the ultimate NRA supported Democrat and Senate Majority Leader, has been supported by the NRA since he began his political career. For those of us on the side of reasonable legislation, that has not been good news. But now that someone even more extreme than Reid is running against him- Sharron Angle- the NRA has dropped Harry Reid. After all, Sharron Angle has espoused "second amendment remedies", whatever that means. It can't be good, though.

I am just wondering when the politicians and the public, who run scared of the NRA, will wake up and discover just who they have been supporting by refusing to vote against the powerful gun lobby. It is definitely time to shed more light on this phenomenon. Just this week, the NRA succeeded in getting Senator Leahy, a reasonable Independent Senator from Vermont to schedule a hearing on a bill that would have rendered the ATF laughably but dangerously ineffective. This linked editorial from the New Jersey Star-Ledger words it well: " Known as the “ATF Reform and Firearms Modernization Act,” the measure should be called the ATF Neutering Act, because it would limit significantly the agency’s ability to keep illegal guns off the streets." 

Leahy's state of Vermont is known for it's lack of and lax gun laws compared to other states. To wit (Wikipedia about state gun laws): " Vermont has very few gun control laws. Gun dealers are required to keep a record of all handgun sales. It is illegal to carry a gun on school property or in a courthouse. State law preempts local governments from regulating the possession, ownership, transfer, carrying, registration or licensing of firearms.[271]The term "Vermont Carry" is used by gun rights advocates to refer to allowing citizens to carry a firearm concealed or openly without any sort of permit requirement. Vermont law does not distinguish between residents and non-residents of the state; both have the same right to carry while in Vermont. The Vermont constitution of 1793, based partly on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, guarantees certain freedoms and rights to the citizens: "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State — and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power."[272" ]

So when you are running in Vermont, as this Independent Governor Candidate Dennis Steele is, proving that you can shoot a gun and keep the laws "lax" is apparently a reason to support him. Perhaps Senator Leahy is pandering to those Vermont folks who like their gun laws lax? I'm just saying. Anyway, score one small victory for the group of us who alerted their activists about how ridiculous this proposed bill is. Phone calls and e-mails to the offices of Senators on the committee were effective. Senator Leahy postponed the hearing for now. Stay tuned. Let's hope that common sense will prevail and he will decide that this bill is just plain not a good idea. As I wrote in a previous post, the Senate has all kinds of important issues before them. This one doesn't need to happen.


  1. Funny, Vermont is also known for its very low violent crime rate compared to other states.

    Only one city in the entire state (St. Albans) had a violent crime rate higher than the national average for 2008.


    In 2008 Vermont, with it's lax guns laws, had an overall violent crime rate of 135.9

    #1 Brady Ranked California, with its strict gun control had a rate of 503.9 or nearly 4 times the violent crime of Vermont.


  2. From this link: http://www.lcav.org/Gun_Laws_Matter/Gun_Laws_Matter_Chart.pdf
    Information in this report came from the CDC- WISQARS data.

    Vermont's 2007 gun deaths per 100,000 was 8.38. That ranks just below California ( where many of the crime guns come from Nevada and other nearby states with laxer laws), above Minnesota with 6.64 which has stricter laws than Vermont, above Hawaii, Mass., Connecticut, Illinois, New York and New Jersey which have stricter gun laws. There are outliers and some states with less strict laws that have lower rates of death by firearm. For the most part, however, as with the U.S. compared to other countries not at war ( or industrialized countries) America is towards the top per 100,000.

  3. US Constitution Article III, Section 3 - Treason

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

    Likewise the militia’s purpose is to suppress insurrections, not foment them in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15:

    “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”

    Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a “right” to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.
    –Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951)

  4. How could I forget my fav:

    Rebellion against a king may be pardoned, or lightly punished, but the man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death

    This was said by Samuel Adams Arguing for a Riot Act which prohibited 12 or more persons from congregating in public and which empowered county sheriffs to kill rioters, during debates prompted by Shays' Rebellion (1786 - 1787) and the death sentences given to many of the rebels; as quoted in Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (1980) Chapter 5 : A kind of Revolution; also quoted in "Completing the American Revolution" by Norman D. Livergood

  5. Also, for what it's worth, I don't subscribe to the idea that less restrictive gun laws always lead to lower crime, either, unless flat bans are involved. Looking at the FBI stats, it's pretty clear that there's no consistent correlation between gun laws and murders. Vermont is a handy example of a state that doesn't panic over guns and has a low crime rate, but there are also plenty of examples of gun-friendly states with high crime rates. Alaska, for example, shares Vermont's permitless carry and relative lack of gun laws, but has a much higher 4.1/100,000 murder rate. Florida, which is much stricter than VT and AK but far less than California, has an even higher murder rate than CA, at 6.4/100,000.

    Both the pro-and anti-gun states have examples well above and well below the national average.

  6. http://www.vpc.org/press/1009dv.htm

    " Ranked behind Nevada were: Vermont at 2 with a rate of 2.54 per 100,000; Alabama at 3 with a rate of 2.07 per 100,000; North Carolina at 4 with a rate of 2.05 per 100,000; Tennessee at 5 with a rate of 1.97 per 100,000; Texas at 6 with a rate of 1.72 per 100,000; Arkansas at 7 (tie) with a rate of 1.71 per 100,000; Missouri at 7 (tie) with a rate of 1.71 per 100,000; South Carolina at 9 with a rate of 1.69 per 100,000; and, Georgia at 10 with a rate of 1.66 per 100,000. Nationally, the rate of women killed by men in single victim/single offender instances was 1.26 per 100,000."

    Stunning data. Vermont ranks #2 in domestic murders of women. Note- states with laxer gun laws rose to the top- not an honor.