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, November 18, 2010

Totally predictable

Well, this is no surprise. The NRA just plain does not want a Director of the ATF. Period. They like it like this with no permanent director since 2006. Why? Because without a permanent director, the ATF is less effective. That is exactly what the NRA wants. Sick as it is, there is no other way to explain the totally off base rhetoric about ANYONE that is named to head the agency. Here is just the latest excuse the NRA has to offer about President Obama's appointee, Andrew Traver, for the position. " The statement also says Traver helped draft a report that called common firearms "assault weapons."  Nonsense! I guess you can't even use the word assault rifle or assault weapon. The NRA and my gun guy friends love assault weapons/rifles. They think they are absolutely necessary for their self defense and hunting. Never mind that hundreds of other types of guns are available for such. These guns are not called assault weapons for nothing. The name itself implies the purpose of the gun. Here is just one of many definitions of assault rifle:" Is the usual weapon for modern armies." Other sources mention the word military as well. Also note that the change in 2006 making the ATF Director a Senate confirmed position has left the agency without a permanent director ever since. I wonder how that happened? More undue influence by the NRA. So, game on everyone. It's the NRA vs. common sense, once again.


  1. Except do you remember all those times that I have constantly said that words mean something? I do NOT own a weapon of the modern army. I have a semi-automatic that LOOKS like the M16 but does not go to auto-fire (machine gun). The military calls the M16 an assault rifle and that is the correct term. The AR15 for civilian use is not an assault rifle. It does not have select fire (auto). And an "assault weapon" is just a spooky word made up by the media. Everything in my hand can be an assault weapon.

  2. Assault Rifle is a perfectly valid technical term for a fully automatic rifle firing an intermediate cartridge. I have no objection to anyone using it to describe a rifle that actually meets the definition.

    "Assault Weapon" is a term made up by the anti-gun-rights movement for political purposes. It was specifically intended to demonize certain rifles by confusing the public into thinking that they are fully automatic when, in fact, they are not.

    To those of us who know the difference between these terms someone uses the term "assault weapon" without bothering to explain the difference is both identifying themselves with the anti-gun-rights movement and actively trying to deceive the public. The NRA is quite right to oppose the appointment of an anti-gun-rights activist to a law enforcement position like the head of the BATFE.

  3. It isn't that we want no director, we don't want this anti-gun loon. Though I wouldn't be upset if they just got rid of the whole agency.

  4. anti gun loon? Where do you get that? You guys seem to have forgotten about the 2 recent Supreme Court decisions.

  5. He is an anti-gun zealot. Here's a post from another blogger that details it better than I could.
    Connections to Joyce Foundation

    Traver has significant connections to projects of the notoriously anti-gun Joyce Foundation. The Joyce Foundation provided $675,000 in funding for the International Association of Chiefs of Police - IACP - to put on the 2007 Great Lakes Summit on Gun Violence. Traver was a participant in this meeting along with such gun control notables as Gary Wintemute, Director of UC-Davis' Violence Prevention Research Program, Nina Vinik and Robyn Thomas of the Legal Community Against Violence, and David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health. There were also a number of representatives from some of the local gun control organizations and a selection of anti-gun politicians and police chiefs including Mayor Richard Daley.

    It is important to note that Traver was not a mere attendee at this meeting, he is listed as an advisor to it along with others like Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center and Nina Vinik of LCAV. The acknowledgments thanks the advisers who "worked tirelessly to help us design and accomplish a powerful policy summit by attending many meetings and events and by voicing their invaluable counsel as we moved forward with this important initiative."

    Out of this conference came a report entitled Taking a Stand: Reducing Gun Violence in Our Communities. Contributors to the report included Tom Diaz mentioned above and Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center. The report made a number of recommendations which, to put it mildly, are anathema to those who believe in gun rights. Included in the recommendations were:

    •Requiring that all gun sales take place through Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders with mandatory background checks
    •Enacting an effective ban on military-style assault weapons, armor-piercing handgun ammunition, .50 caliber sniper rifles and other weapons that enable criminals to outgun law enforcement
    •Repealing the Tiahrt Amendment, which hinders investigation of illegal gun trafficking
    •Destroying guns that come into police possession once their law enforcement use has ended
    •Mandating safe storage of firearms by private citizens and providing safe facilities where gun owners can store their weapons
    •Mandating reporting of lost and stolen firearms
    •Develop a best practices protocol for voluntary gun surrender programs
    •Congress should restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program for state, local and tribal agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of gun trafficking and gun violence
    •The federal government should increase funding to ATF for personnel and technical assistance to combat gun violence
    •Congress should enact legislation to allow federal health and safety oversight of the firearms industry


  6. " Taking a Stand: Reducing Gun Violence in Our Communities. Contributors to the report included Tom Diaz mentioned above and Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center. The report made a number of recommendations which, to put it mildly, are anathema to those who believe in gun rights." OMG! These are terrible sins and the recommendations of the group? Awful stuff to try to keep those criminals from getting guns, to investigate dna prosecute cases of gun trafficking and gun violence, should increase funding to the ATF for personnel and technical assistance to combat gun violence, to allow oversight of the firearms industry. Tsk tsk- what is this country coming to anyway when we want to enforce the laws on the books and stop criminals from getting guns? Sorry, Sean- I don't buy this and no one should. I know you would be happier if Traver appeared at a panel discussion with Wayne LaPierre and company.

  7. We all know that these recommendations would suit you and your organization (and VPC, the Coalition to Ban Handguns...er.. to Stop Gun Violence, etc) right down to the ground.

    We don't like him and if there isn't a confirmation fight, Senators will not like their next elections.

  8. Joan,

    Of the link that you posted, all of the relevant definitions save one state a "select fire" weapon. That is, one that can go full auto. The AR-15, AK-47 clones, and so on do not meet this criteria as they are not automatic weapons.

    The only definition on the page you linked that does not require that select fire element is this one from Princeton:
    "any of the automatic rifles or semiautomatic rifles with large magazines designed for military use"

    So, using the Princeton definition then any semiautomatic weapon with a "large" magazine (not sure what they define large as -- high capacity? Physically large size? Contains physically large caliber cartridges?) in military usage is an assault rifle. If you used this definition I suppose the M1 Carbine or SKS could be considered assault rifles, if you consider any magazine capacity greater than five rounds to be "large."

    Off the top of my cranium I can't think of any standard issue military rifles with large magazines (let's define it as >10 rounds for the sake of argument) that are semiautomatic which are in modern usage in the western world. There may be a few but they're not common. I've worked with NATO troops and they all generally use select fire assault rifles.

    It is ok if you and others don't want to understand the technical definition of an assault rifle. You are advocates and as such are not really expected to take a facts-based approach to your advocacy. The problem that I have with Mr. Traver is that he SHOULD be a subject matter expert on this issue, both in his current role and especially as the ATF director. As a "technocrat" for a modern bureaucracy, he should know the technical definition of what an "assault weapon" is. That he apparently does not is troubling and implies that he is either uninformed or is willfully perverting the issue. Likewise, I would also expect him to have a basic technical understanding of the key terms and major issues involved in alcohol, tobacco, and explosives.

    Some of us take this seriously because we also want to see effective enforcement of existing laws. Moreover, I'm a Class 3 FFL because I enjoy collecting curios and relics. Part of that means that I have to deal with the ATF. I've also surrendered some of my 4th Amendment rights in that I have to subject myself to an annual inspection if the so desire. I would MUCH prefer that my relationship with the ATF be professional, collegial, and focused on preventing bad apples from committing crimes. However, appointing a divisive figure like Mr. Traver to lead the agency doesn't really do much to foster that sort of collegial relationship with law abiding citizens. Instead, it creates an adversarial and confrontational posture.

    Anyways, I predict that this will be a recess appointment so that Pres Obama can circumvent the senate approval process. Enjoy your upcoming victory!

    Chris from AK

  9. Traver is a blatant liar.

    See for yourself...


  10. I enjoyed reading today about Andrew Traver. One pro-gun writer called him a "gun grabber." On this thread Sean calls him a "loon" and a "zealot."

    The first thing I thought is who else could be nominated for that job, what other type of guy, a pro-gun extremist perhaps? How about a 3%er or a regular gun-rights activist.

  11. I checked the link above.Please explain how this shows that Traver is a blatant liar. I don't see anything that indicates that. It is more likely your opinion rather than any fact.

  12. This is why we need Traver. I know most of you will hate this one. So be it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-helmke/nra-sides-with-mass-kille_b_785943.html