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.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oops. The silly season is upon us

I wrote a few weeks ago about gun issues and elections. They coincide often since the gun lobby has so much money to give to candidates and is apparently feared by many candidates. So what was Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck thinking when he violated ethical and professional dicates to let an illegal gun owner get a lesser sentence? Letting a corrupt gun dealer off the hook for a crime is simply not excusable. Can't we just enforce the laws already on the books? Not in this case. We need not wonder why and how criminals can get their hands on guns if this is going on in other states. One would think that after the incident occurred, and Buck resigned from the Colorado U.S. Attorney's office, he would stay away from this shady gun dealer. But he has not learned his lesson which should tell us something about his integrity. Taking campaign money from the very same corrupt gun dealer is a bad idea. It does not make common sense.

And you may have heard about Alaska Republican Senate candidate, Joe Miller, traveling with "security guards" to his political events, having a reporter handcuffed last week. Here is an interesting story about the private security folks who are in his employ. I highly recommend that you click on the link in the article for "Acts of War" on the website of the Alaska Citizens' Militia. What are we talking about here? Is this what a candidate for U.S. Senate believes? If so, I find him to be a pretty scary guy. Who needs a representative in the U.S. Senate with friends in the militia? Does this make common sense?


  1. Looking over this list, I would agree with all of it. If any of these actions are taken by the government, I would take it as an act of war.

    The following are considered Acts of War:
    1. Firearms restrictions or other disarmament
    2. Declaration of Martial Law
    3. Mandatory medical anything
    4. Involuntary involvement in anything
    5. Circumvention of juries
    6. Confiscation of any property
    7. Elimination of gold, cash or barter
    8. Checkpoints, roadblocks, search, seizure without just cause
    9. Federal patrols
    10. Blockades or restriction of essential goods
    11. Political arrests
    12. Suspension of Constitutionally convened Courts
    13. Chips or marks to track, control, or monitor
    14. Taking control of children under duress or threat
    15. Federalization of law enforcement
    16. Restriction of freedom of religion or freedom of speech
    17. Surrender powers to a corporation or foreign government

    Which ones would you accept? (Aside from #1, we know that you would be happy with that)

  2. I will not name any from the list on this blog. It will just start you guys attacking me again. Who needs it?

  3. "So what was Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck thinking when he violated ethical and professional dicates to let an illegal gun owner get a lesser sentence?"

    Clearly you haven't seen many criminal docket sheets. MOST gun charges are usually dropped, since they're often used as bargaining chips to get a plea to avoid the hassle of a trial. This isn't uncommon at all. In fact, it's far MORE common in large cities where there are more gun crimes. This is why gun owners keep saying that we should enforce the laws on the books, because they usually drop the charges.

    Virtually all straw purchasers go unpunished for the same reason - the buyer has no record, and is usually a female (sister, girlfriend, wife of criminal). The place to start is to stop dropping all these charges, and put people in prison. It's the lowest hanging fruit, with the most immediate rewards. That is, if your goal is actually to reduce crime and not to ban scary looking inanimate objects.

  4. I'm all in favor of making sure that people should be charged with crimes if committed and sent to jail or prison if guilty. I'm also in favor of stopping the practice of selling to straw purchasers in the first place and requiring background checks on all sales at gun shows to prevent sales to people who shouldn't have guns. It is not either/or. It would be great if the ATF was funded properly so more charges would be made and more corrupt gun dealers who knowingly sell to these people can be caught.

  5. One problem with punishing the straw purchasers is getting past proving that they actually transferred the gun. That is the reason for the stolen gun reporting laws. A gun shows up at a crime scene and is traced to an owner. The owner in question states the gun was lost or stolen, yet hadn't reported the loss.

    ATF won't be properly funded or have the tools it needs to do its job properly because the gun crowd doesn't want it to be effective. There was talk of transferring jurisdiction over the gun laws to the FBI which failed since the gun crowd knew the FBI would have the money, tools, and other things necessary to be effective.

    If you don't want laws to work, you write them so they are weak and keep the force charged with enforcement ineffective.

  6. That is the reason for the stolen gun reporting laws.

    Requiring, under penalty of law, that I report my gun stolen does absolutely nothing to stop straw purchasers.

  7. You're talking about funding ATF to enforce these gun charges which are usually dropped, but it's not the feds dropping them. The feds only take cases they think they have a very strong chance of winning, and when there are federal gun charges, they usually get a conviction. However, they leave the vast majority of gun cases to the locals, and it's the locals who usually drop the gun charges.

    So giving the ATF more funding wouldn't do anything to make the local (city/state) courts stop dropping all these gun charges. They drop them because prisons are overcrowded (drug crimes with mandatory sentences) and don't have enough room for all the criminals. So they drop the gun charges. Crazy, right?

    As for mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns, this lowers the burden of proof for police at the expense of law abiding citizens. Not a good thing. We also want rapists to be caught, so should we make it a crime to not report a rape or attempted rape within 24 hours? I mean, if they're not reported, the rapist could strike again. The problem is that it punishes the victim, not the criminal.

  8. The ATF could do a much better job of monitoring gun dealers and gun shows if adquately funded. I am not talking about the dropping of charges. I am talking about trying to prevent these things from happening in the first place. I don't want them dropping charges either, by the way. And it is certainly true that our jails and prisons are very overcroweded. That is another issue altogether. It is crazy, as you said. As to the mandatory reporting, some people hate the idea, but if it would stop some of the illegal trafficking of guns and making sure that guns that are stolen are reported so that people who knowingly don't report such, it could reduce guns used in crime. I am not sure how it would punish the victim if they do what they should anyway. Isn't it a good idea to report your guns stolen to the police? Then if a gun owned by you and stolen shows up as a crime gun, you have done your job and it helps law enforcement trace the crime guns. I look at all of this as ways to stop some of the illegal gun trafficking and responsibility of gun owners. You would certainly and hopefully report other things stolen from your home so as to recover them and also for insurance purposes.

  9. "but if it would stop some of the illegal trafficking of guns "

    but since it won't, why bother?

    "Lost and Stolen" is just another attempt to harass gun owners. The burden of proof in a criminal case is on the State. The State must prove that a person committed a crime. Pretending that it is the accused's duty to prove himself innocent is not Common Sense.

    Basic economics can help here. Find out from your local cops what the cost of a gun on the street is. Then compare the cost of a gun in a gun store to that "street price." Basic economics says that no one with any common sense whatsoever will not buy a $500 gun at a gun store to sell it for $100-200 on the street.

  10. But if the gun is stolen, they can make a profit on the streets, right? I don't see how it would be called harrassment. One would think you would want to report a stolen gun.

  11. "One would think you would want to report a stolen gun."

    One of the things that we keep trying to tell liberals is that just because you might want to do something doesn't mean there needs to be a law to FORCE you to do something. I might want to keep breathing, but there is no law that mandates it. I might want to eat healthy food, but there is no law that mandates it.

    This whole thing is part and parcel of people like you pretending that a gun different than any other object in the world. You want to mandate special handling because you want to make the whole process of owning a firearm as difficult as possible. "Safe" storage. Mandatory "Lost and Stolen" reporting. "Smart" guns. Trigger locks. Magazine disconnects. Microstamping. Licensing and registration. No private sales. The list goes on and on.

    Your attitude is that damn the expense, damn the violence done to the Constitution, and damn the common sense of it all. In your mind, it's a gun, therefore it's "different." And since you can't punish the criminal for his actions, you may as well punish the guy who got his gun stolen. This makes common sense to you because he bought the gun in the first place and that means he's probably a bad person. Your attitude towards ownership of pistols and politically incorrect rifles makes you advocate for laws that make no common sense.

  12. One would think you would want to report a stolen gun.

    Of course. It's one thing to say that people should report their property stolen. It's another thing entirely to pass laws that criminalize the VICTIM for failure to do so within some arbitrary timeframe.

    Would you support laws that would make it a crime for the victim of burglary to have his car stolen, or his kitchen cutlery set?

    It's ridiculous. Instead of focusing on the actual CRIMINAL you want to drag someone who has just been victimized through the mud and convict them of the "crime" of having their legally owned property taken from them.

  13. Well Sean, it's nice that you have put a bunch of words in my mouth. You don't speak for me or what we "liberals" want to do. It is your opinion against my opinion. That doesn't make you right and me wrong as you are implying here.

  14. Who needs a representative in the U.S. Senate with friends in the militia? Does this make common sense?

    We do. We desperately need elected officials with these ethics and who have the backbone to protect us from an authoritarian government.

    Up until I read this post, I didn't know this group existed. Now that I do, I think I should either move to Alaska and join up, or start a similar group in Ohio. These are the kind of people I want as my neighbors.

    The difference between japete and I is this. Were I to live in my idea of an idyllic community where everyone valued freedom, japete would be welcome to live there as well. The reverse isn't true.

  15. As you point out, the majority of law-abiding gun owners WILL report lost firearms out of their own self interest. They'll want a police report to file with their insurance agency.

    Most lost and stolen "common sense" laws I've seen are bad for a few reasons:
    - There is no criminal intent required. I could have my guns stolen, fail to report with no evil intent, and still be chargeable with a serious crime. Requiring a guilty mind is a cornerstone of English common law; unfortunately, we're moving away from it.
    - There are no exceptions for reasonable, extentuating circumstances. For example, say I go on a two week vacation to Hawaii on Monday. On Tuesday, my home is burglarized. Many laws hack the clock at that moment; if I don't report the loss within 72 hours (or whatever the arbitrary time is) then I've violated the law and can be charged, even though I had no knowledge of the loss! This is especially significant in places like Alaska. Say someone keeps a shotgun on their boat (have you ever tried to subdue a 400 lb Halibut? Sometimes a baseball bat doesn't cut it...) or a rifle at their hunting cabin. They might not check those places for weeks or months at a time.
    - The only way this law could be effective in helping police track firearms is if you had a registry. It would basically allow a gun owner to expunge a firearm from their record (and thus accountability) that had left their possession through means other than a legal sale. Of course, this would create an adversarial relationship; the police would see individuals who reported many lost/stolen firearms as probable traffickers. That undermines modern principles of community policing that require trust and communication between local law enforcement and the citizenry.

    As far as politics go, it sure is getting interesting up here! However, "all politics are local" is pretty true and I think folks from Outside are probably not getting the full picture.

    Chris from AK

  16. Yes, I understand those problems with the idea of mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns. Those would have to be worked out somehow to address those concerns in any such proposal. And, yes, Alaska politics look pretty interesting from the lower 48. Can you share more of the full picture? I am interested.

  17. Well, first, I don't endorse any specific candidate. Additionally, to caveat, I live in Southcentral AK. I don't pretend to fully understand the vastly different concerns in remote villages and whatnot. However do try to do a good job of getting outside and visiting different parts of the state.

    It isn't quite as simple as the Outside meme might be. Joe Miller isn't a simple Palinista Stooge bought and paid for by Outside money; caricatures are rarely that accurate. Lisa Murkowski has a complicated history up here, including charges of nepotism; her father was rather unpopular later in his political career and he appointed her to her initial post. All three candidates are dependent on Outside money.

    Complicating all of that is the fact that our media market is pretty inexpensive (I've heard estimates that $10 will buy you a minute of radio air time in some slots), making it easy to saturate the airwaves. Additionally, our market is too small to support more than one newspaper. The ADN dominates Anchorage and the Daily News-Miner is the only paper in Fairbanks (and it is a small paper). Both are owned by out-of-state interests. The ADN declared early for Murkowski and has been running regular hit pieces against Miller, which perhaps explains his hostility to the media. He has not really gotten a fair shake (arguably, neither has McAdams). So the media enviornment is a bit unusual.

    Our polling is also notoriously unreliable. The strange demographics of Alaska make it hard to get good data. Additionally, the small market limits the number of pollsters. And of the small number of pollsters, some have basically admitted in interviews with local indie press that they "adjust" the results to keep things interesting.

    Then, there's the huge legacy of "Uncle" Ted Stevens up here. Like him or not, Ted Stevens left a huge legacy and it is hard to figure out how to fill his shoes.

    All of this is happening against the backdrop of declining oil revenues. Unless new drilling begins, the oil pipeline may be nonoperational in a decade. In a state where the vast majority of the revenues come from oil that's huge.

    Even Alaska itself has a lot of contradictions. On one hand, per capita we take more federal money than almost anyone else. On the other hand, Alaskans have a strong independent streak; the AK Independence Party is even a semi-viable third party, having elected a governor at one point! There's a mix of Bible-Belt social conservatives, displaced Californian leftists, and everything in between, but there seems to be a strong libertarian streak through most that the MSM doesn't really capture or even understand.

    The good news for us at least is that most of the candidates are pretty good on the gun issue. There are a few folks with "C" NRA grades but most are "As." That means that you can actually cast your vote based on other significant factors rather than having to be a single issue voter.

    On the original topic -- unfortunately, the legislators on your side of the issue have shown little effort or desire to accommodate the problems that I've articulated. It almost seems as if they WANT to make gun ownership difficult and risky. It also highlights that "one size fits all" laws aren't appropriate as our concerns are wildly different from those of other places.

    Chris from AK