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, November 5, 2010

Guns- post election

I admit it. I'm licking my wounds. My side lost the majority in the House of Representatives and in Minnesota, except for the Governor's race which is sure to go to Mark Dayton. But I am not down and out. When there are still so many examples of shootings in our news every day, the issue of gun violence prevention is the problem all of us should own. It is not Democratic or Republican. People of all political persuasions get shot every day. People of all persuasions can support common sense legislation in the interest of public safety and public health and just plain to do the right thing. Here is a good analysis of the post election and the gun issue by Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke. Helmke is right even though some will not think so. He talks common sense. Who will join him in the effort to prevent senseless shootings? Who will be brave enough on both sides of the aisle to stand up and do the right thing?  Who will buck the NRA? Anyone? Anyone?

Too many examples abound on a daily basis of preventable shootings. Since I am on a daily e-mail list about gun violence issues, I have a sense for things going on around the country, including shootings in the news, press conferences, state legislative initiatives, Supreme Court cases, homicides, etc. Here is just one that caught my eye. Someone has a grievance with their employer and decides to take matters into his own hands. That's usually a very bad idea and often ends in tragedy. In this recent local case, an Iraq war veteran with PTSD killed his estranged wife, young child, the unborn fetus soon to be born and himself. I wrote about this one earlier in regards to domestic abuse and shootings of women by domestic abusers. And then, of course, another law abiding permit holder decided to shoot at a vehicle in a road rage incident, and had his permit to carry revoked. He was just plain lucky he didn't actually kill someone. 

This article, in particular, about a New York City police officer's shooting, speaks to how guns don't always protect the gun holder from being shot. Shootings of police officers are on the increase. There are a lot of angry and dangerous people out there who should not have guns. But they get them anyway. Here are the words of the officer: ""We have to rid the streets of guns and gun violence," he said. "If I can help out in any capacity I'm more than willing to."" 

To add to the nonsense regarding illegal guns, here is an article that some will be much interested to read. I don't know if anyone remembers the go around on my blog comments about machine gun sales in our country, but here is a quote from the article: " The defendants were arrested following a five-month investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), and Metro Police. An undercover ATF task force officer purchased 18 machine guns and 14 other firearms from the defendants in Las Vegas, and Durango and Bayfield, Colo." I argued that there were machine guns for sale illegally by private sellers and many of my readers were more than skeptical. Read the article for yourself to find out how this can happen in our country.

This one shows the importance of locking guns up so they won't be stolen by criminals and also to make sure gun dealers report stolen guns. Homeowners should do the same. And this article is another scary one about a man found with guns and ammunition in his suspicious looking trailer while parked along the Washington D.C. Mall. What was he up to anyway? He made sure the officers knew he was an NRA member and had visited the NRA offices. He is an Arizona resident who has a record for prior cases but has not appeared in court. And how, then, did he get those guns? Presumably his name is on the prohibited purchasers list. This tragic story about the soccer mom who brought her holstered gun to her daughter's soccer game and whose permit to carry was revoked by her Sheriff, is ending, maybe: " ...a federal judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a Lebanon soccer mom who sought $1 million in damages after her license to carry a concealed firearm was revoked by the county sheriff two years ago."  About a year after Melanie Hain made the news pictured with her gun in her holster, her husband shot her to death and then shot himself. It can't get much worse than that.

The above articles are why I do what I do. Jacob Cedarbaum, a Harvard student, sums it up very well in this article in the Harvard Crimson. His writing about the many senseless gun deaths in Chicago should be a wake-up call. There are way too many shootings, near misses, arrests of people who shouldn't have guns, people with aresenals in their homes, accidental shootings, permit holders who do the wrong thing with their guns, etc. We can take measures to get some of those illegal guns off the streets. We can start talking differently about guns so that we aren't afraid to say that some people should not have them. We can work harder at getting women to report incidents of domestic abuse and get help before they are killed. We can make sure that those prohibited purchasers don't get their guns without background checks at gun shows from private sellers. The fact that we haven't speaks volumes to the effectiveness of the gun lobby in convincing people that these measures will surely result in taking away their second amendment rights. 

The gun lobby uses such nonsensical phrases such as "guns don't kill people, people do." I am never sure what they mean by that. Yes, people with guns kill people. Actually the bullets that come from the guns held by the people holding them kill people. Yes, guns don't jump up off of a table to shoot someone. It requires a volitional act to do so. What if that gun wasn't on the table? What if that gun wasn't in that car? What if that gun wasn't available or much more difficult to acquire to a domestic abuser? And more importantly, what difference does it make if we say the gun or the person killed someone? That person is dead now and we could have done something to prevent a needless death. These issues should be addressed by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Shame on them if they refuse to deal with this national public health and safety issue. Perhaps they should take lessons from the Illinois Governor elect Quinn and the many Brady Campaign supported candidates who won in Illinois. Supporting sensible gun legislation is not a losing stand. It is the moral and right thing to do. It is common sense.


  1. #1. Radical change in the gun laws of North Carolina now that the Republican Party has taken control of both houses of the NC General Assembly

    #2. Wisconsin finally passing a Shall Issue concealed carry law. Better still would be for them to adopt Constitutional Carry like Vermont.

    #3. Pennsylvania passing its Castle Bill that includes No Duty to Retreat and Civil Immunity.

  2. You really should not be surprised that in a country of over 300 million people, you can find some tragedies. As long as their exists any tool to kill another human, there will be tragedies.

    But we owe it to those who have died through genocide in other countries, we owe it to those who fought against tyranny, we owe it to those who founded this country, and we owe it to the weak and defenseless, to always allow easy access to guns. If the common man can become a criminal by easily breaking a silly gun law, then guns are effectively banned to a large risk-adverse portion of society, but they and we are still vulnerable.

    The only solution to such tragedies is to be closer with friends and family, and to have more caring for each other. I think that people care about each other more, when they are more free.

  3. This may be piling on, but here's a rundown of what MAIG and CeasefirePA bought in Pennsylvania.



  4. Yes, ouch is right. Thanks for sharing, I guess. I am still celebrating some of the victories anyway. I know we lost a lot but we also won some.

  5. "His writing about the many senseless gun deaths in Chicago should be a wake-up call"

    "Perhaps they should take lessons from the Illinois Governor elect Quinn and the many Brady Campaign supported candidates who won in Illinois"

    Seems just a tad contradictory, does it not?

    Chicago has had the most strict gun laws in the entire country, yet they have had huge amounts of gun deaths. What are your thoughts on that?

  6. This is why we need a national law to require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows so that a state with looser laws doesn't end up providing the guns to people in a state with stronger laws. Indiana, for example, or Missouri, do not have nearly the strict laws as Illinois.

  7. Joan,

    You say that Paul Helmke is right, but you cannot show that ANY of the nostrums proposed by The Brady Campaign, MAIG, VPC, or other group actually has any effect on reality. Even with over 100 years of historical data the CDC could not find a causal link between gun laws and crime. A smaller 30 year look in Australia came with the same result, no discernible correlation between gun laws and "gun deaths".

    If you say that Paul Helmke is "morally right" we can argue that, but the facts do not back up any other sort of "right".

    Oh, and the bust of a SEAL smuggling back a few AK's that he then sold? Please, this isn't some huge international conspiracy to put machine guns onto the "black market". In a nation of 300 million you will have the odd smuggler, bringing in guns from overseas or north from Mexico (where despite their draconian gun laws it is much easier to acquire a machine gun).

  8. Here is another article about guns and the election for you all to pick apart: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/05/michael-bloomberg-nra-wins_n_779468.html?ref=fb&src=sp " AUSS went up against five NRA-backed candidates, with some pundits doubting whether it would have any impact. It was successful in three races and lost in one. Another is still too close to call, but it looks like it will be another AUSS victory."

  9. Hmmm. Great- you admit that Paul Helmke is morally right. That's a good thing because sometimes when you have the morals on your side, you get good things done. As to the rest of your post, smuggling machine guns into the U.S. by the Navy SEAL is significant. Are others doing the same? That is why we need to deal with illegal gun trafficking. Why not?Did I say it was an international conspiracy? I believe those are your words?

  10. "Great- you admit that Paul Helmke is morally right."

    no, what he said was

    "If you say that Paul Helmke is 'morally right' we can argue that,"

    He is saying that there can be reasonable disagreement about the morality, and he is willing to have that debate with you. What he is not willing to debate is the notion that there is some sort of objective evidence that the laws you push are effective. There is NO evidence that these laws have ever been or will ever be effective. Whether or not there is a moral case for gun bans is worth arguing, but since there is no evidence of these laws being effective, there's no argument to be had.

  11. I'm weary of having the same arguments. Move on. These are your opinions vs. mine.

  12. I'm weary of having the same arguments

    This is the bloggers lament, really. My advise is to learn new and creative ways to rehash the same ground, over and over again. The positive thing is you'll probably have a lot of new audience every time you do it.

    Here is another article about guns and the election for you all to pick apart

    I'm not that impressed by Mike DeWine, a former US Senator, essentially beating someone who had little name recognition, especially in a Republican year. DeWine was running for Ohio Attorney General. I can't comment much on Michigan politics. Tom Ganley, a Republican, sought a seat that's been Democratic since I was 3 year old. Not impressed. Not to mention he had sexual harassment allegations haunting him during the election.

    Now Lentz was a real risk. Bloomberg dumped a cool half million down CeaseFire PA so they could run ads, along with AUSS, both of whom ran ad after ad in the Philadelphia media market trying to made gun control an issue. And we beat Lentz handily, along with many other Bloomberg back politicians. Was gun control a factor? Who knows. But they went down regardless.

    I don't blame AUSS for trying to polish the turd, nor do I blame the Brady folk. We all do this. Politics is really a contest for how well one can polish turds. But sometimes you do get a real gem to polish, and as you recognized, this is largely a win for RKBA.

  13. Note to self- rehash old arguments so they look new and different. Good advise Sebastian. As for the other stuff you wrote, I will leave it alone.

  14. Joan, you claim that your side is morally right, and I respect that. However, morals and ethics are always situation dependent.

    Here is what we agree on. Criminals who have been legally denied their Constitutional right by due process should not have guns. The mentally deficient who have been declared so by due process should not have guns. See, common ground.

    However, what you fail to understand is that we have already agreed with you and there are laws in place to do everything that we already agree on.

    You want to ban the private sale of firearms (making every transfer go through an FFL NICS check). We are going to fight you on this forever. We have numbers on our side, conducted by the DOJ, that say that "gunshows" provide only 0.7% of "crime guns". That is why we will fight you tooth and nail, it is a HUGE inconvenience (and a minimum of $35 transaction fee) for those of us who are among the 99.75% of lawful gun owners here in the US.

    You want to law enforcement officers to have "may issue" discretion when issuing concealed carry permits. We will fight you tooth and nail on this because invariably law enforcement officers discriminate on things like race and income. Even in WA, a "shall issue" state, a fellow soldier was given the run around by the clerk because he was black. Her prejudicial attitude nearly denied my friend his constitutional right simply because of genetics.

    So you say you want "common sense". But the NRA outnumbers the Brady Campaign, MAIG, VPC, and all the rest put together. In a democracy that means you are on the losing team.

    A good way to earn some trust is to analyze the laws on the books to see if they are effective or not, and then fight for the repeal of the non-effective laws. The expired AWB did not cause blood to run in the streets, it had no discernible effect on crime. There are over 20,000 federal, state, and local laws regulating firearms. Reducing that number in order to make the process of owning firearms simpler for law abiding citizens is only common sense.

  15. The way to common ground is not to say" "we will fight you tooth and nail on that one." There are better ways which I have been suggesting but I am met with absolute resistance from some on this blog. Fortunately for me, the majority of Americans consistently agrees with my positions but the NRA and it's extreme leaders appear to have a majority because they have the money, the power, the influence and the fear factor. That will change eventually. I'm not going away. If you want to fight me, go ahead. I will continue to gather those who agree and move forward.

  16. It looks like you need to have a chat with the Minneapolis PD about assaulting people.


    An MPD Spokesman decided to assault a local civil rights activist because he was carrying a gun.

  17. AM, You're so busy fighting tooth and nail that you've lost the ability to be open minded. Your "numbers" that you have on your side are suspect to say the least. There are equally strong and opposite "numbers" on our side about Australia and about the percentage of guns that come from gun shows.

    I say nothing short of licensing and registration combined with background checks on every transfer will do the trick. Those are the big things. Local police need to be involved in the issuance of carry permits and serious training and psychological screening needs to be implemented.

    It's funny that you have such good advice for japete while, as she pointed out, you have entrenched yourself in a non-negotiating position. Here's some advice for you. Stop mindlessly repeating the pro-gun rhetoric you've heard others say, stuff you obviously think has some impact, like this silly remark:

    "There are over 20,000 federal, state, and local laws"

  18. No. There is no common ground with these leftist, statist sorts who want to grind away at our constitutional rights one more law, one more changed sentence, one more punishing tax at a time. We fight against their methodologies of incrementally grinding away at our hard-won and basic rights. We must, and will, stand our ground against any new approaches or rephrasings and rehashings of their tired, old arguments.

    It was the intent of the founding fathers that we the people be given the right to protect our lives and property without having to call on the State. To deny that liberty is to deny the U.S. Constitution.

    We've made tremendous progress these last several years, overcoming the overreaching laws in the various states; we must and will continue to grind away at the illegal laws you statists have wrought on our nation.

    We know your intent; we are ready and prepared to fight it. http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=9239

  19. Yes, it sounds like the police officer was too quick to assume and too ready to act when he should have thought first. I know there has been some confusion in Minnesota about carrying of pistols in public places but the L.E. officials need to make it clear what that law is so there is no question about it. I am not excusing this officer but there is likely an assumption that guns are not allowed in City Halls. But under Minnesota law they are. I don't think they should be actually. But I did not win that battle.

  20. The above post by Serr8d speaks for itself. It is the very reason I do what I do. I find that rhetoric to be scary and hyperbolic.

  21. Yeah, "scary and hyperbolic" to say the least. I call it out of control paranoia and a little phrase I made up: "grandiose victimism."

    Mr. Serr8d exemplifies perfectly what I had in mind with that title, the deluded patriot who fantasizes about fighting the evil government to the death. Dangerous people, indeed.

  22. "Indiana, for example, or Missouri, do not have nearly the strict laws as Illinois."


    Illinois closed the 'gun show loophole' and has full firearm licensing yet instate traces accounted for over half of recovered firearms.

  23. *****This is why we need a national law to require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows so that a state with looser laws doesn't end up providing the guns to people in a state with stronger laws. Indiana, for example, or Missouri, do not have nearly the strict laws as Illinois. *****

    You do know it's illegal to purchase, and take possession of firearms out of your home State right? Out of State purchases must be transferred into one's State of residence before one can take possession of it. And one must pass the background check, and qualifications of one's home State.

  24. You do know, don't you, that at gun shows anyone can buy a gun without even showing I.D.? We have proof of that in at least 3 videos and other written material of people who have attended gun shows with that experience. People take possession of guns outside of their home state all the time. There is trafficking of guns where the buyers go to gun shows or buy by straw purchases in other states and bring the guns to their own to sell or use in crime. One does not have to pass background checks at gun shows when buying from private sellers in most states.

  25. "About a year after Melanie (sic) Hain made the news pictured with her gun in her holster, her husband shot her to death and then shot himself. It can't get much worse than that."
    Ever heard the name Jennifer Hawke-Petit? Yes, it can get worse. I'm not saying the presence of a firearm would have saved anyone: I'm saying that it could have. It's better to have a tool & not need it than to need a tool & not have it.

  26. I think you might have missed my point- Melanie Hain had a gun but it was in her backpack and not right next to her ( which may also happen often when someone surprises you). And yes, you are right, you can't say that the presence of a firearm would have made a difference in the horrendous case of Jennifer Hawke- Petit and her husband and daughters- terrible stuff, to say the least.

  27. There are also plenty of videos showing sellers asking buyers for ID. Breaking the law is breaking the law -- if someone is going to do it anyways, passing yet ANOTHER law to prevent it won't help!

  28. Yup- some private sellers do the right thing- others not. So there is nothing definitive. My point, of course, is that as long as some private sellers are doing this, we have a problem. And even showing a photo ID does not mean you are not a criminal, domestic abuser, dangerously mentally ill or terrorist. That is why background checks are a must.

  29. Then why aren't the ATF/FBI/Police at these "lawless" venues enforcing the law. Its illegal to sell a criminal/prohibited person a firearm - its illegal for them to purchase it. They should be there at the door to check over everyone coming out -they should wander the crowds making random checks on both sellers and purchasers. What good are more laws when they aren't enforcing those already on the books? Why should we pass more legislation that won't be enforced -- or worse, drive the illegal gun trade underground. At least at gun shows - illegal transactions could be caught and illegal buyers/sellers could be subject to penalties.

  30. Background checks would catch those who are prohibited. That's a whole lot simpler than having someone parked at the door!! The ATF is stretched and don't have the staff to do what you suggest. As we are in the budget cutting mode at the state and federal level, we will be lucky to have enough police officers to do this.

  31. The United States Constitution does not protect an unregulated "right" to individual possession of firearms for anything except militia service.

  32. The United States Constitution does not protect an unregulated "right" to individual possession of firearms for anything except militia service.

    In practical terms, what does that actually mean? What is protected, if anything? The right of the government to arm the national guard?

  33. R. Scott:

    Heller v DC and McDonald v Chicago say you're incorrect. Even the Brady Campaign has abandoned the 'collective rights' myth.

  34. Did I say anything about the "collective rights myth"? By the way, how did this even get into the discussion. I'm done with this thread. There is no sense in relitigating the latest Supreme Court decisions.

  35. Japete, he was referring to R.Scott. there were two main competing theories about the 2nd Amendment. R. Scott seems to have missed the memo from the Supreme Court that the "collective rights" model is dead. You are right, continuing to argue that it is not an individual right is a waste of time.

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