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.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

The death of "gun control"

I am being told that the"gun control" movement is dead. Forget about it. Don't bother. The "gun guys" have the majority and they will win. We are weak. We don't know what we are talking about. We are wrong on our facts and figures. We are evil gun grabbers and they will fight us "tooth and nail" as one commenter told me in a recent comment to a blog post. Just saying it doesn't make it so. As Mark Twain purportedly said, " The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."


The train of support for sensibility and courage can get moving if there is the will and the courage. For the last many years, the train has been going around and around the track, like a child's train set, with no new progress. Our country has been going around in circles regarding common sense about guns and gun policy. It's time to switch the track and get moving. 


Bob Herbert wrote a great column in the New York Times on Nov. 6. From the article:" What this election tells me is that real leadership will have to come from elsewhere, from outside of Washington, perhaps from elected officials in statehouses or municipal buildings that are closer to the people, from foundations and grass-roots organizations, from the labor movement and houses of worship and community centers." It's time for us, outside of Washington, to get on board the train and get it moving to Washington D.C. to demand that our elected leaders do the right thing. There are people hurting because of no jobs, no homes, no unemployment benefits, no health care, illness, violence, lack of education, no food or clothing. Life is bad for many people in this country. We can do better. Let's get started. I'm ready. Are you? 


Since our elected leaders lack the courage to do the right thing concerning reducing and preventing gun injuries and deaths, we will have to take the lead and show them the way. It's pretty simple really. I have been writing about measures that can make us safer. Do we want our streets to be places where bullets fly indiscriminately? Do we want criminals, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people and terrorist to have guns? Do we want women to be shot to death by domestic partners? Do we want gang members on the streets with guns shooting at each other and innocent victims? Do we want criminals stealing guns from homes and gun dealers? Do we want guns to be the cause of the largest number of suicides? Do we want kids shooting each other or themselves accidentally? Do we want people openly carrying guns in public places when we have managed pretty well without for many years? Do we want to continue to be the country with the largest number of gun deaths per 100,000 among democratic countries not at war? 


Your answer is important. If you say no to the above questions, get on board and support common sense. It's time to be bold and decisive and fight for the right to be safe on our streets and in our neighborhoods. It's time to fight for the ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Lives depend on it. 

26 comments:

  1. "I am being told that the"gun control" movement is dead."

    It'll never be dead until the Joyce Foundation stops paying anti-rights organizations to exist. Even then, you'll have a 1st Amendment right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." It's just that Paul Helmke will stop getting a fat paycheck.


    *Do we want our streets to be places where bullets fly indiscriminately?

    No. Well aimed shots only.

    *Do we want criminals, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people and terrorist to have guns?

    Convicted violent felons should not have guns. Terrorists are conviced violent felons. Dangerously mentally ill people should be institutionalized.

    *Do we want women to be shot to death by domestic partners?

    Nor the men either. Did you know that 141 husbands were murdered in 2009? Disgraceful.

    *Do we want gang members on the streets with guns shooting at each other and innocent victims?

    No. They should be in jail.

    *Do we want criminals stealing guns from homes and gun dealers?

    No, they should also be in jail.

    *Do we want guns to be the cause of the largest number of suicides?

    I am not sure that this would be a good slogan for the rope manufacturers. Technically, depression is the largest cause of suicide.

    *Do we want kids shooting each other or themselves accidentally?

    Nope. Thank God for the NRA’s Eddie Eagle. Did you know that the total number of kids 0-14 years old, accidentally shooting themselves to death was 65 in 2007? (Wisquars). Accidental deaths and injuries are way down, probably because of better training. Free Eddie Eagle!!

    *Do we want people openly carrying guns in public places when we have managed pretty well without for many years?

    Yes, of course. Why would you like to abridge my right to carry?

    *Do we want to continue to be the country with the largest number of gun deaths per 100,000 among democratic countries not at war?

    Are you suggesting the Mexico is at war? Or are you saying that is is not a democracy? Try looking here and seeing what the real homicide rate is per 1000
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    The US is pretty low on that list.

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  2. from foundations and grass roots

    From foundations anyway. Does even 1/3 of overall gun control funding come from a source other than Soros, Joyce and Bloomberg?

    Do we want our streets to be places where bullets fly indiscriminately?

    Do we really think that making gun ownership harder for me, with a criminal record limited to traffic tickets is going to help stop criminals willing to assault and kill?

    Do we want criminals, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people and terrorist to have guns?

    Do we want a government that strips people of enumerated, constitutional rights at a whim, without a trial? Or ex post facto, for a misdemeanor? Is there anyone who has been perfectly mentally healthy their entire life?

    Do we want women to be shot to death by domestic partners?

    Do we want women restricted to fighting back with bare hands and restraining orders?

    Do we want gang members on the streets with guns shooting at each other and innocent victims?

    Do we want gang members to be able to gang up on anyone they can get alone, secure in the knowledge that nobody can even hurt them outnumbered 8 to 1?

    Do we want criminals stealing guns from homes and gun dealers?

    Do we want criminals with ties to smuggling to be the only source of guns?

    Do we want guns to be the cause of the largest number of suicides?

    Much better that we adopt Japan's suicide rate and methods.

    Do we want kids shooting each other or themselves accidentally?

    No--so we should continue the current trends where more guns are owned, and fewer accidents happen. We should expand safety training, prioritizing on the most significant dangers first.

    Do we want people openly carrying guns in public places when we have managed pretty well without for many years?

    Do we want Gay Pride events where we have managed pretty well without for many years? (to be clear, yes and yes) Where concealed carry laws are fair, open carry is extremely rare.

    Do we want to continue to be the country with the largest number of gun deaths per 100,000 among democratic countries not at war?

    Nope--but the solution to that is to increase freedom, not decrease it. Specifically, ending the stupid drug war would reduce the gun death rate by more than any gun law could, would reduce the death rate in Mexico and the rest of Central America, would reduce the power and influence of drug lords and Taliban, among other benefits.


    Where is the common sense in banning guns based on what you can attach to them, adding ownership restrictions to guns never used in crimes, and restricting where people more law abiding than police can carry guns legally?

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  3. As has been pointed out, I think the biggest challenge your side has in employing that strategy is that gun control's grass roots are relatively weak. Sure, gun control polls well, if the questions are asked properly at least. But your side seems to have a difficult time converting media presence and public opinion into volunteers, dollars, and activism.

    Right now, your side appears to generally have the advantage of media access and a greater willingness to exploit pathos. The pro-gun side has more grass roots support and significantly more money (most of that coming from the grass roots support). I don't necessarily think that trying to compete against the adversary's strong suits makes a whole lot of sense, although maybe due to the theory of diminishing returns it will be easier for your groups to close the gap than for pro-gun groups to find more supporters.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  4. Just so you know, Better Business Bureau says this about your group (2008)

    Governance

    Chief Executive : Paul Helmke, President
    Compensation*: $249,555

    Chair of the Board: Michael Wolkowitz
    Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Businessman

    Board Size: 19

    Paid Staff Size: 15

    *2008 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.

    $250K is a lot of money.

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  5. So it is. " Wayne LaPierre, Executive VP/Ex-Officio National Rifle Association & Foundation, respectively
    $1,281,635" for 2010.

    " According to the 2008 IRS Form 990 for the NRA1, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre raked in $1,263,101 per year; NRA Institute for Legislative Action EVP Chris Cox made $661,059; Treasurer Wilson Phillips made $649,463; General Operations Executive Director Kayne Robinson benefitted to the tune of $602,608; and last, Secretary Edward Land, Jr. trails the pack with a measly $509,186."

    Now THAT's a LOT of money!! This is from this site: http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2010/10/robert-farago/is-the-nra-secretly-supporting-gun-control/

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  6. That's specific to the Brady Center. The Brady Campaign doesn't get included because it's a 501(c)(4) rather than a (c)(3) public charity. The Center's Administrative costs aren't that far out of line with what you'd generally want to see, since most of the money they raise is going into programs. ACLU has an 11% administrative cost to Brady's 5%, though they spend a lot less on fundraising. The real issue with their BBB report, if you ask me, is how many BBB standards the Center fails to meet, especially when compared to other political groups.

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  7. Good for them. They effectively lead an organization with over 7million dues paying members. Paulie heads a staff of 10-11? And has a total email list of 40,000? He has to go hat in hand begging the Joyce not to cut funding too much this year. Open secrets says that Brady gave out $30,000 in campaign cash last year. With all his spare cash, you would think he could run a better blog. To be very honest, you have a better blog.

    This is why you should know that Gun Control is basically doomed. There is no grass roots support. No one gives money to Brady, or VPC, or MAIG, or pretty much any gun control organization. Can all the gun control groups combined match the numbers at the last NRA convention?

    Does the NRA support Gun Control(title of book used as reference)? I don't believe that they are gun rights leaders, they are too timid. The Second Amendment Foundation led the charge on Heller and McDonald. The thing is, the NRA eventually has to do what its members want.

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  8. japete, Thanks for that last response to Sean. It made me laugh.

    As far as your list of questions, I answer "no" right down the line. Sean was true to form in quibbling on every one of them. Sevesteen, instead of just answering "no" and questioning how we should best accomplish it, rephrased the questions to make his biased points.

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  9. Not sure what your point is here.

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  10. I agree with Herbert that there is a lack of leadership in regard to the economy, and even more so in regard to gun control. As Justice William O. Douglas said "A powerful lobby dins into the ears of our citizenry that these gun purchases are constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendment" (Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972)). The problem is that this is a lie about the purpose of the Second Amendment.

    The issue is the prevention of standing armies, not personal ownership of firearms. Reading the primary sources show that the interest was in the preservation of the militia system: not the private ownership of firearms. Justice Douglas's comment in Adams is most salient to this issue.

    The problem is that the spin has been on the side of the gun lobby and the lie given official sanction. Firearm ownership outside the militia context is given the status of a right.

    And don't come at me with the unorganised militia rubbish--that's like sayng your draft card makes you a member of the US army. You need to be ENROLLED to be a militia member, which is something that comes with RESPONSIBILITIES (that is you need to go to drills and train on a regular basis).

    Eventually, truth will out.

    Or people will just get sick of seeing their friends and family victims of gunplay.

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  11. "And don't come at me with the unorganised militia rubbish"

    US Code is now rubbish?

    Fascinating.

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  12. US CODE
    TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 311 § 311. Militia: composition and classes
    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The official classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

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  13. "As Justice William O. Douglas said "A powerful lobby dins into the ears of our citizenry that these gun purchases are constitutional rights protected by the Second Amendment" (Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972)). The problem is that this is a lie about the purpose of the Second Amendment."

    Repeatedly claiming that facts that you disagree with are lies doesn't gain you anything. There are hundreds of years of commentary, dating back to the ratifiers and their contemporaries, to indicate that the 2d was always intended to protect an individual right.

    When the Constitution itself was ratified, and the States responded with proposals that it be amended with a Bill of Rights, the proposals concerning arms were explicit in calling for a protection of an individual right:

    "the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals;"

    The first appearance of the "collective rights" view was in a Kansas Supreme Court case from 1905.

    Of course, if you believe that we have a "living" Constitution, the original meaning of the language isn't terribly important, so you'd have to look to current understanding. Which is, I'm afraid, overwhelmingly in favor of the individual rights view, and has been for as long as we've done polling.

    Speaking of Kansas, they just passed an RKBA amendment to their constitution:

    "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose."

    So the original "collective rights" decision has been rejected by the people of the state that originated it. And not by a close vote, 89% of voters approved.

    We've had, over the last 100 years, a concerted effort by the intellectual elites to convince us that we don't have an individual right to keep and bear arms. That effort has failed, and it's time to come to grips with it, and to move on.

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  14. I believe that Laci was providing comments that explain how some Justices have noted about the powerful gun lobby that has led to some of the misperceptions about the amendment. We can relitigate the latest Heller and McDonald decisions to no avail for the purposes here. It has been decided by the majority on the Supreme Court in two 5-4 decisions that the second amendment is now interpreted to support the idea of an individual rights interpretation. That is what you guys wanted so what are you all "up in arms" about concerning this? Didn't you win?

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  15. "I believe that Laci was providing comments that explain how some Justices have noted about the powerful gun lobby that has led to some of the misperceptions about the amendment"

    Oh, I thought that he was complaining that the States were not providing proper training to us members of the Militia. Hard for us to be "well regulated" if they refuse to give us proper training. Here I was thinking that it was awful nice of him to ask the State to start living up to it's part of the deal.

    "In Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that '[t]he adjective 'well-regulated' implies nothing more than the imposition of proper discipline and training.'"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Meaning_of_.22well_regulated_militia.22

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  16. Up in arms because you haven't stopped trying to infringe on that individual right.

    Oh, you don't want to ban guns, you just want to make it illegal for people to own handguns because they are too easy to hide.

    You don't want to ban guns, you just want to make it illegal for people to own semi-automatic rifles capable of taking more than 10 round magazines or having bayonet lugs (any stories of recent bayonettings?)(

    You don't want to ban guns, you just want to make it illegal for people to own firearms capable of penetrating standard police issue body armor -- which means most hunting rifles.

    You don't want to ban guns, you just want to drive up the costs of owning firearms with licensing and training and permits and insurance and microstamping -- none of which have been shown effective in reducing crime.

    You don't want to ban guns, you just want the local law enforcement agencies to have the authority to deny someone's rights because something they might do or they don't like them or they didn't donate to their campaign or they live on the wrong side of town.

    No reason for us to be "up in arms" considering that you are a sitting member on the board of Hangun Control Inc., oh excuse me Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

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  17. Nonsense.

    Are you willing to be a bit more specific on what part you consider nonsense? That seems to be your stock answer when we rephrase previous Brady Campaign positions.

    You think the law abiding should be able to have even very small handguns?

    You think that bayonet lugs are not a good reason to ban a gun?

    You think it should be OK for the law abiding to have hunting guns, even if they can penetrate police armor?

    You aren't in favor of licensing, microstamping and mandatory insurance?

    You aren't in favor of law enforcement being able to take someone's guns on suspicion of domestic violence or terrorism, without a trial?

    The Brady Campaign wasn't originally Handgun Control, Inc?

    Do you disagree with even half of these statements?

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  18. " It has been decided by the majority on the Supreme Court in two 5-4 decisions that the second amendment is now interpreted to support the idea of an individual rights interpretation."

    Incorrect.

    All 9 Justices in Heller said the 2A is an individual Right. The 5-4 split was about whether DC's ban violated that individual Right.

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  19. We've been over this ground before and that is not true.

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  20. Repeatedly saying it isn't true doesn't change the fact that it is. 4 of 9 said that the ban didn't violate the right, but 9 of 9 said it was an individual right. The collective rights model is dead.

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  21. That's why I was wondering what you all were getting all out of joint about, whether we agree on your interpretation about 9 of 9 agreeing about the individual right.

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  22. The reason we get bent out of shape about it is that some people who should know better seem to like to repeat the collective rights myth even though all 9 justices agreed that it was an individual right. They differed on how it could be enforced and to what degree, but they all agreed that it was an individual right.

    The collective rights myth held a lot of sway in legal circles for many years, despite a total lack of legal scholarship to support such a strange interpretation. We feel that it is necessary to put another stake into it every time someone tries to reanimate the corpse post-Heller.

    We can argue about the limits of the individual right, but anyone trying to argue that it is some sort of state right is wrong.

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  23. Sean, Stop reading Linoge and getting your infor from him. It makes you look silly.

    The argument over collective or individual rights is far from dead.

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  24. The argument over collective or individual rights is far from dead

    Have you read the Heller opinion?

    Can you give a coherent explanation of the difference between a collective rights interpretation of the second, and no second amendment at all?

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