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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A reminder about Domestic Abuse

I have already written about the month of October being Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Here is why we need to be vigilant about abusers and why I am involved in the effort. This article from the Star Tribune about yet another shooting of a woman and her children because of an abuser is another reminder about why women need to seek help soon enough to save their lives. From the article: " Bilha K. Omare lived in fear of her husband for years. According to a police report on a 911 call she made in late 2008, he had abused her and made threats on her life, crimes that earned him three days in jail and a year on probation."

How and why this man had guns is something to look at. Abusers should not be allowed to have guns or purchase them and yet they are way too easy to get in other ways, as I have discussed before. Yesterday I attended a fund raising event for my local Safe Haven Shelter for Battered Women. The room was full of supporters who heard from 2 women brave enough to tell their stories. One of the women talked about how her now ex partner aimed a gun at her and her 6 month old baby and threatened to kill her. Leaving him and going to the shelter saved her life. There was not a whisper in the room as she told her story to people who hadn't heard of her before and who were strangers to her.

Also yesterday, we paid tribute to one of the founders of Safe Haven and the Director of the Family Justice Center where I volunteer. She died on Tuesday- an untimely death after a months long struggle with an infection after surgery. She was too young to die and we have lost a pioneer in domestic abuse intervention. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn her death. It was due to her passion that we now have places in my city for women to go and be safe. Many women tell us that these organizations have literally saved their lives. The woman, above, who talked about her story said that we would have known her name earlier because had she not left the relationship and sought safe haven, she would have been on the front pages of our local paper as a shooting victim. Common sense says that guns are dangerous in the hands of domestic abusers.


  1. Also a reminder that men can be abused by women. My advice for male victims is the same as for women. Run, don't walk, away from that sort of disgraceful behavior.

    Why would you advocate for the suspension of a person's civil rights for misdemeanor behavior? If the crime is severe enough to warrant the suspension of a person's civil rights, it's serious enough to be a felony.

  2. I am not publishing any more stupid and ugly and incorrect comments on this post. In the memory of my friend, this post will not be tarnished with any more awful and disrespectful remarks. You are disgraceful and your remarks are not appreciated nor are they in the mainstream of public thinking. Please no more remarks here. They will not be published. Take a rest from your vitriol for a few hours.

  3. I'm not sure if you meant that for everybody or just Sean.

    My feeling is guns are bad news for women for the simple reason that there are so many abusive men. To point out that there are also abusive women is one of the stupidest responses to this very serious issue that I could imagine.

    Misdemeanor domestic abuse should be a disqualifier for life.

  4. mikeb, since men are typically physically stronger than women, in a world where no one had firearms, men would still be able to abuse, injure, and murder women.

    Firearms at least give women a chance at evening the physical odds. When I took my CCW class, it was full of women getting their permits because of a boyfriend abusing them or an ex getting out of jail.

  5. MikeB3020000,

    I agree there are too many abusive men -- yet I'm confused by your suggested response which is to make it harder for anyone to own firearms.

    Doing that does not reduce the number of abusive men at all -- so your solution doesn't even come close to solving the issue just substituting the tool.

  6. Unquestionably, guns in the hands of domestic abusers are a very real danger to abused women and children (and men, lest we be discriminatory). However, so are baseball bats, claw hammers, butcher knives, screwdrivers, etc. There is a staggering selection of everyday objects that pose lethal danger to women in the hands of bigger, stronger men. Attempting to prevent domestic violence by banning its implements is futile.

    A far better solution would be improving the security of the abused by improving shelters and strengthening legal protections. Current restraining order protections are pathetic, and time limits on shelters for abused women dump them back in the same dangerous situation they correctly fled. Assigning police assets to battered women cases and increased funding for shelters would go a LOT farther to help victims.

  7. I agree with most of what you say here. That is why I am volunteering at my local Familly Justice Center where women get the help they need and where there is a coordinated community response to domestic abuse. I am on the Board of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs which is a model that is emulated around the world for such a response to domestic abuse. The legal advocates work hard to write orders for protection tightly enough to make them effective and the judges and law enforcement are doing a better job of enforcing them. As to the objects used in domestic abuse, they are many and varied. It just happens that when death occurs as a result of abuse, guns are used more often than other objects. But I have seen women threatened with many different objects or hands, feet, etc. I work to make sure these women live to tell their stories.