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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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shopping can be dangerous?

I suppose I could get angry with people waiting in line to get those holiday bargains. I actually hate the lines and sometimes think I might be capable of doing bodily harm. But this woman in Madison, Wisconsin took matters to the extreme. This is a potential problem for people with guns. Thankfully, this woman didn't get a chance to act on her threats to the shoppers. Anger and guns just do not go together. But what if she had gone home to get her guns and come back to shoot innocent shoppers? I know that some who view this blog hate it when I write about people who do stupid things with guns or make stupid threats. But that's the problem. Sometimes people do stupid things with guns or make dangerous threats.  If you do a stupid thing with a pencil or a shoe, or a purse, or a rock, you could hurt somebody for sure. But doing something foolish with a gun or making a threat to use one is considered dangerous by all standards. Why? Because a gun is a lethal weapon designed to kill. It is different to threaten someone with a gun than with some other object. Unfortunately, common sense does not always prevail when it comes to gun incidents or threats to use guns. Be safe out there while holiday shopping.

31 comments:

  1. The fundamental problem is that people who are likely to cause problems with a gun are unlikely to be dissuaded from carrying a gun by the sort of laws you advocate.

    I know it comes as a shock, but most people do not respond to daily aggravations by assaulting innocent bystanders. Your "common sense" notion that pretty much everyone is only one frustration away from turning homicidal is not supported by the facts.

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  2. That is not what I'm saying jedge. I think you are all paranoid. I am bringing incidents to the attention of the public and writing about the potential for problems because you all insist that these things are not happening. In rare cases, people act on stuff like this and innocent people get shot. Guns are dangerous. That's my point.

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  3. Except she didn't have a gun. This isn't a case of anger and guns not going together. This is a case of anger and a big mouth not going together. I'm surprised they are letting her off only with disorderly. Wisconsin, like my home state of PA, has a statute for "Terroristic Threats" which this clearly falls under.

    I don't have any tolerance for someone threatening to shoot someone, even if they don't have a gun on them. I'd really want to know why the Madison District Attorney isn't going for a Terroristic Threats charge?

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  4. Here's some more information:
    http://www.wkow.com/Global/story.asp?S=13570364
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/11/26/wisconsin.shopper.threat/

    I agree with Sebastian: she didn't actually have a gun either on her person or in her vehicle. There's not even any evidence that she is a CCW permit holder. I rather doubt that she is. Why? Because Wisconsin doesn't allow concealed carry! Indeed, Wisconsin often treats open carry as disorderly conduct. It seems like as close to the ideal regulatory regime as you could possibly get for carrying handguns from the Brady Campaign's point of view in the post-Heller world.

    Moreover, she may even be a prohibited person under state law. She has two convictions and a pending arrest warrant. I don't know if they are felonies or misdemeanors though.

    Even if she did have a firearm in the car (which she didn't), it would have to conform to these laws: "When openly carrying (the only legal method in Wisconsin) a firearm must be unloaded, cased, and put out of reach when in a vehicle. "

    Looking at the Brady Campaign State Scorecards, Wisconsin scores 6/8 points for "Guns in Public Places," with the only ding being the state pre-emption statue (which in my opinion doesn't really do much; what more could a locality do to regulate carry than the state already does?). Given that Wisconsin has passed most of the laws that you want such as no CCW at all, restrictions on open carry including aggressive policing to discourage the practice, waiting periods for handgun purchases, strict rules about carrying firearms in vehicles, restrictions on FMJ ammunition, and so on, what additional law could we pass to make you feel safe from criminals like this woman?

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  5. As I said before, I am just the messenger about the incidents that happen and hoping that no one gets shot. Not everyone is responsible and I am pointing out that guns are dangerous and threats are dangerous. We don't know if she was a criminal at all except she just became one and she was lucky she didn't act on her impulses, as I said in my blog. The "gun guys" who respond on this blog don't tend to think that supposedly law abiding gun owners don't do anything wrong with their guns. I'm just providing the information that proves that they do.

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  6. "We don't know if she was a criminal at all except she just became one."

    From the local TV station article I linked: "Court records show Lattimore was convicted in two separate retail-theft incidents, and a third arrest is pending in Sauk County." I think it is fair enough to say that someone with two criminal convictions and an outstanding arrest warrant is probably a criminal. Maybe not a felon, but definitely a criminal.

    What we do not have is any evidence that she was actually a gun owner. If she does own one, it wasn't on her person or in her vehicle.

    Let's play the "let's pretend," game though. If she did have a gun in the glovebox of her car ready to rock and roll, and then tucked it into her waistband, she'd be committing two crimes before she even drew it to brandish it. If she stored it in the vehicle properly, then uncased it, loaded it, and instead open carried into the store, given her prior verbal conduct she'd be committing a crime as well (terroristic threats, assault, even up to attempted murder potentially). There was no way that she could bring a gun into that store without committing a crime under Wisconsin law. By definition, you are not a "law abiding gun owner" if you break laws.

    As you've stated before, you're not just the messenger. You are also an advocate for specific gun control measures. Wisconsin has enacted almost all of the measures that you'd like on the issue of carrying weapons in public and yet you still feel unsafe. What additional laws could be enacted that would allow you to feel safe knowing that there are criminals and whackjobs like Ms. Lattimore out there? Are you suggesting that if she did have criminal intent, she would have just ignored the laws that do exist?

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  7. I don't think I said I feel unsafe. I am saying that people with guns can cause problems. You are right, we don't know if shd had a gun and yes, it does look as if she had some prior problems with the law so she is a criminal who is on the streets and potentially causing trouble. In my post, I am writing about people who make threats to shoot others or actually threaten people with guns. This woman made the threat. That doesn't mean she would have done it. People were alarmed and felt unsafe while shopping. I think you would have felt the same. Or would you have pulled out your own gun at that point? I have written before that I am not about stopping all crimes or believing that what I advocate will change everything immediately. I want to reduce and prevent gun injuries and deaths and that is what I am writing about, commenting about and delivering the message about. In answer to your last question, what are you getting at there? If she had criminal intent, she would have ignored the laws- criminals often do. That's what makes them criminals.

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  8. Joan,

    Your head line was "Shopping can be Dangerous" so I concluded you probably felt threatened in some way. I think it is rational to feel some fear about activities that you think are dangerous. It spurs us to take some sort of effective countermeasure to reduce the danger; for example, I fear car wrecks in Alaska in the winter because our roads are icy and we have a ton of accidents. So, I put snow tires on the car and drive more slowly. Totally rational, in my opinion; I think my response reduces the danger posed by icy roads somewhat.

    To answer your question, I would not have drawn a sidearm in this situation in part because it would be locked in my car (or at home) in an enclosed case separate from its ammunition; Wisconsin wouldn't honor an Alaska concealed carry permit, and I follow the law. Given Wisconsin's history of harassing open carriers with disorderly conduct charges I probably wouldn't OC there either.

    I'll admit, that was a bit snarky (but true); if you'd like a more serious discussion on use-of-force situations then we can certainly discuss that, but I'll have to work from an Alaska perspective. I'm most familiar with AK's laws.

    \\\

    I think we actually just hit a point of agreement:
    "If she had criminal intent, she would have ignored the laws- criminals often do. That's what makes them criminals."

    I strongly agree with you on that point. It kind of makes me wonder what exactly we expect Wisconsin's laws to stop, since we both agree that criminals will probably ignore them.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  9. Thanks, Chris. I usually appreciate your well thought out comments.

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  10. This is not a situation where one would draw a gun. It would be a situation for keeping an eye on the situation and contacting police. Now if she draws or otherwise fetches a gun... all bets are off.

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  11. Agreed, Sebastian. I didn't even want to go down that road or open that can of worms in a sidebar conversation, and given that we're talking about Wisconsin it is kind of moot anyways. That's why I said "in part" above... There are other reasons not to draw in this sort of situation even if you were in a place where carrying was legal.

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  12. The very first comment by jdege made me laugh. When will the pro-gun guys get tired of trotting out that old nag of an argument that criminals don't obey laws.

    The criminals are getting their guns from law-abiding gun owners one way or another. The gun control laws are mainly aimed at those law-abiding guys in order to help them to hold on to their weapons.

    Others, like the background checks for example, are to screen out the undesirables from the start, but the others seem to need help from the government to stop feeding the flow of guns to the criminal world.

    Sebastian's "all bets are off" is good for a laugh too. That's one of those macho expressions, the kind bullies use to cover up their insecurities. The fact is, in most situations where a gun comes out, it's already too late. In many cases the proud gun owner would be disarmed and then lose his life. The chances of using a gun to save the day, whether in the home or on line at the department store is extremely remote.

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  13. mikeb:

    "The very first comment by jdege made me laugh. When will the pro-gun guys get tired of trotting out that old nag of an argument that criminals don't obey laws."

    You do realize that the last person in this thread who said that was japete, right?

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  14. I'm sure Mike realizes that I was agreeing with Chris and others.

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  15. Heather- to clarify so you don't feel compelled to come back and make another snarky comment, I do and always have agreed that criminals don't always follow the law. But that is not my excuse for doing nothing about gun laws as it is for many of you who comment on my blog. It is almost always the first response to my posts. It does get tiresome and it is trotted out often even if it does not apply to the situation. This propensity of those on your side to play "gotcha" with everything those on my side say and write is also tiresome.

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  16. "It does get tiresome and it is trotted out often even if it does not apply to the situation."

    It is equally tiresome listening to Colin Goddard using Virginia Tech as an example of why we should close the "gun show loophole."

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  17. Pretty different, actually. Colin at least has a story to tell that should make people listen and want to change things. Your arguments are just arguments that have been used for years and don't make sense.

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  18. japete, I'm not being snarky. Mikeb was saying that it's only your opposition that believes that. I was pointing out that you posted the same statement, making his statement false.

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  19. "The chances of using a gun to save the day, whether in the home or on line at the department store is extremely remote."

    MIKEB at least for this woman it worked differently than you describe.

    http://www.kfor.com/news/local/kfor-news-mother-shoots-home-invaders-story,0,4223636.story

    I guess she can now be like Colin and go on all the news shows.

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  20. Heather, Everyone agrees criminals don't obey laws. That's the point, you guys keep saying it as if you really believe we're all so naive as to think they do. You know better, but you keep saying it in some lame attempt to denigrate.

    The laws are not prinarily directed at the criminals, but at the law-abiding. As I see it, we write off the criminals and try the best we can to keep guns away from them. That we do by laws aimed at legitimate gun owners.

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  21. As I see it, we ignore the criminals, because they are, after all, just victims of society who can't be held responsible for their actions, and attack the law-abiding gun owners, because there are reactionary neanderthals who have no place in a modern society.

    Here's a hypothetical - if we did live in a peaceful society, in which there was no criminal violence, would you still oppose the law allowing private individuals to carry handguns in public?

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  22. seems like a stupid question to me..

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  23. Mike B wrote "Heather, Everyone agrees criminals don't obey laws. That's the point, you guys keep saying it as if you really believe we're all so naive as to think they do. You know better, but you keep saying it in some lame attempt to denigrate.

    The laws are not prinarily directed at the criminals, but at the law-abiding. As I see it, we write off the criminals and try the best we can to keep guns away from them. That we do by laws aimed at legitimate gun owners."

    And you cannot explain how laws aimed at legitimate gun owners will somehow translate into fewer criminal acts.

    It is like the "underpants gnome" plan of action.
    1. steal underpants
    2. ?
    3. PROFIT!!!

    There is no logical way to get from your starting point (restricting law abiding citizens rights) to your end goal (reduced criminal violence).

    Your lack of HOW the laws you propose WILL bring about the consequence you desire is why I think you may be delusional and unable to separate fantasy from reality.

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  24. "?????"

    ok, in small words.

    If you want to pass a law, you probably have some specific effect in mind, right? in this case, you want to reduce violent crime. This is a reasonable, specific, measurable goal.

    If you pass a law, you have a responsibility to ensure that the law you pass has the effect you want it to have.

    If it does not have that effect, the law is valueless, no matter how good you feel about trying.

    Gun laws have had no measurable effect on overall violent crime rates, so we conclude that one of two things is happening.

    1. You are confused
    or
    2. You are lying.

    there aren't any other possible answers. You are proposing laws that will not have the effect you think they will, so either you are confused, or in the case that you know that the law won't do what you think, then you are lying. This is why we keep trying to correct your mistakes. We keep telling you what is really happening via statistics and logic. This is actually a mark of respect. By treating you as simply wrong, we are giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    The Underpants Gnomes are characters on the animated series "South Park." They had a business plan that was
    1. Steal underpants
    2. ?????
    3. Profit!!!

    The animators were making the point that your methods have to be reasonably related to achieving your goals. In this case, there isn't any possible step "2" that will lead to step "3", making a profit.

    Gun control is much the same

    1. Harass, irritate, and infringe the rights of law abiding citizens
    2. ????
    3. Lower Crime Rates!!!

    You can watch the whole episode here
    http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s02e17-gnomes

    Strong warning about foul language!

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  25. Nice, Sean. " 1. Harass, irritate, and infringe the rights of law abiding citizens
    2. ????
    3. Lower Crime Rates!!!"

    Who's harassing? Nonsense. Not me or the people I work with. I use those words to describe what you guys are doing. Who's irritating? You. Who's infringing? Not me

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  26. Let's say background checks were required on every transfer and every gun owner was licensed and every gun was registered to a licenced owner. Those would be laws affecting legitimate gun owners.

    You don't think that wouldn't cut down on guns flowing into the criminal world and therefore gun violence?

    The problem is you guys with your grass roots movement which dictates policy to the NRA, as Sebastian explained to us, and their powerful lobby, won't allow such a situation for two reasons. One is the paranoid fantasy that it would lead to gun confiscation, and two, that you'd be unduly inconvienced.

    In reality, a situation like that would still allow you gun owners to enjoy your guns for whatever misguided reasons you want (for the most part misguided, I know some really really need guns), but it would prevent many guns from getting into the wrong hands.

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  27. MikeB -- the problem isn't in the inherent "right" or "wrong" of any new laws. Its that the Brady Group violently resists any perceived "loosening" of the firearms laws on legal owners...all the while constantly pushing their agenda of eventually either outright banning certain classes of firearms, or making their usage so prohibitively expensive and time-consuming that its essentially a ban.
    I don't personally feel there will ever be outright confiscation - just that it'll cost me $100 every time I want to goto the range, which isn't sustainable. Thats why I resist.

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  28. Pat- you say: " Its that the Brady Group violently resists any perceived "loosening" of the firearms laws on legal owners...all the while constantly pushing their agenda of eventually either outright banning certain classes of firearms, or making their usage so prohibitively expensive and time-consuming that its essentially a ban."

    How does the "Brady group" VIOLENTLY resist? Please give me an example of violence used by the Brady Campaign. The new Supreme Court rulings guarantee your right to own a gun. What are you so afraid of?

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  29. Joan, you missed the last part of my comment....
    "...or making their usage so prohibitively expensive and time-consuming that its essentially a ban."

    I don't believe Brady is pushing for outright bans so much as trying to make it prohibitively expensive (eg. new fees or licenses for transfers, new taxes on ammunition, prohibition on certain types of ammunition). You are therefore indirectly "infringing" on my rights.

    "Violent" opposition doesn't have to involve physical violence. It'd be attacking a firearm owner over the Internet, attacking his character, making baseless accusations against said person. As in: http://www.examiner.com/la-in-los-angeles/brady-campaign-stalks-teenager-and-then-brags-about-it

    It doesn't make sense to wage personal attacks against this particular individual. Attack the proposed law change on its merits. Dirt slinging is the refuge of those who have run out of legitimate arguments.

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  30. I've dealt with that link already, It is not a character assassination. Of course, your side NEVER engages in such.

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