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.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

p.s.- teen-agers should not own and carry guns

I have posted several recent articles about young people and guns and those who had become victims of gun violence speaking out. I made mention of what a bad idea it would be for 18-20 year olds to be able to legally purchase guns and carry them around in public as is proposed in Texas and most likely other states in the future.  The New York Times has reported on this 18 year old illegally trafficking guns on the streets. The headline of the article says it all: "Uptick in Murders Tied to Easy Gun Access for Young Adults". Reading this article should be enough evidence that young people 18-20 carrying loaded guns around in public is just plain crazy. They already are engaged in illegal gun activity. Why now make it legal? How will we know the trafficers from the legal gun carriers? Think arguments, drugs, fights, athletic events, dances, parties and then think of them all with loaded guns at the ready.

Josh Horwitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence posted this article on the Huffington Post. The posed photo and the violent comments made by James A. D'Cruz on his Facebook page is enough evidence that he is not the young person the NRA should be using as an example for why people of that age should be allowed to own and carry guns. What were they thinking? D'Cruz is suing the ATF and the state of Texas to be allowed to legally purchase guns. This young man is so afraid to go shopping without his gun that he is willing to go to court to make sure he is armed at the mall or wherever else he shops. Great idea. Malls and some shopping areas in urban areas are places where young people hang out. To imagine them now hanging out with loaded holstered guns is enough to give me pause and should be enough for the Texas court system as well.

Dennis Henigan from the Brady Center concurs with Horwitz in his blog about D'Cruz and the denial by the NRA to deal with the issue of 18-20 year olds carrying guns in public as a public safety problem. There are reasons why young people of this age have high auto insurance rates and why they are not allowed to legally rent cars until the age of 26. It's pretty well known that risky behavior by teens and young adults leads to accidents that injure and kill themselves and others. To add guns to the mix is nonsense. The gun lobby is so concerned that another group is added to those who can purchase guns that they are willing to overlook such precautions taken by others concerning this age group. Follow the money. And if this age group now carries loaded guns around, they will grow up to love their guns as much as their elders. One of my commenters mentioned on my blog that most gun permit holders are males over the age of 40. Hmm. What's that all about?

But I digress. What's it all about when we are even having this conversation? Common sense goes out the window when the gun lobby tries to make logical arguments that just don't hold up. If I were you, I would keep a watchful eye on your legislatures this coming session. The gun lobby wants those young folks to legally buy guns and they want guns on college campuses. In the name of common sense and public safety, this should not happen.


  1. Japete, your "follow the money" comment rings false. Individuals 18-20 years old can already legally purchase and own long guns (rifles and shotguns), so there's no money making opportunity here. It's a simple expansion of rights to their natural limits. After all, 18 years is the age of legal adulthood, right? If you don't think they're responsible enough to handle a firearm at 18, then they shouldn't be allowed to drive, vote or get drafted/enlist either. If you feel this strongly about the issue, campaign for making the age of legal adulthood 21, but don't contribute to the smear campaign of some kid who quotes movies and books and just wants all the rights and responsibilities of adulthood to which he's entitled.

  2. He contributed to his own "smear campaign" by posting what he posted and posing for the photo.

  3. "He contributed to his own "smear campaign" by posting what he posted and posing for the photo."

    So he should anticipate that your side would demonize him over his love of history and his Halloween constume? What's next? Are you guys going to brand me a child abuser if I dress up as Captain Hook next year?

    "Uptick in Murders Tied to Easy Gun Access for Young Adults"

    Uptick in Murders Tied to Gang-Banging Thugs. Whoops, can't have too much truth in the NY Times. If you told the truth, the people might demand that police solve the problems. Better if you blame an inanimate object and people in another State so that the police and the District Attorneys don't catch heat from the residents.

  4. Joan, context is everything. VPC/Brady/and kin have been mining this guy's facebook page looking for quotes and pictures to take out of context and use to make their case.

    The "evil" picture.. a Halloween costume. Shall we presume people who dress up as zombies have a fascination with eating brains?

    The issue is this, are people adults at 18 or merely semi-adults? Are people of this age group to be trusted with all the rights of a true adult or should they be treated as second class citizens? If so, why should we allow them to vote, join the military, drive, smoke, sign contracts, and a dozen other things.

    At 18 years old, I could own the most powerful rifle known to man. As far as I know, I could have owned machine guns, suppressors, Destructive Devices (including explosives and the like) so long as all the forms and taxes were paid. So, I would have been mature enough to own a 20mm cannon, but not a .22LR simply because it was classified as a handgun?

    Whether an individual 18 year old is mature enough or not isn't at issue because that isn't how the law works. We must look at this question as a class of individuals. Thus, if we consider a person an adult at 18 why shall we uniquely deny this right while allowing so many others?

    Consider this as well. At 18 you can join the military and be in charge of far more powerful weapons. Oddly, you don't hear about such people suddenly deciding to lob some shells for no reason, do you?

    As an aside, I believe the age limit to rent cars is a policy of the rental companies and not a matter of law. You are right though that such policies are based in part on the statistics involving younger drivers. Also, the fact that younger people probably don't have the financial capacity to pay for damages come into play as well. If the rental companies thought there was enough demand from that age group to over come the statistics they would change policies in a second. It isn't really a good example as that is really a financial choice.

    I'm sure others will point this out, but in many states you can carry a loaded rifle (openly) at 18 and in some cases even younger.

    Joan, are most people good, honest, and trustworthy or is your world filled with evil people on the edge of going psycho? I carry a gun but I still believe that the vast majority of people are good and honest. They mean me no harm and would likely never even think of harming me and mine without extreme provocation. I am not afraid, I am merely prepared for an unlikely but rapidly unfolding event. You wear a seat belt in a car, but your odds of a wreck on any given day is low. You own fire extinguishers in your house (I hope), but your odds of a home fire on any given day are extremely low. Examples abound. People who carry all the time rarely do it because they are "so afraid". They do it because they want to be prepared. Nothing more, nothing less. It isn't for everyone as I doubt very much you'd ever consider doing so, as is your right. However, just because you are uncomfortable with "those people" in turn exercising their rights is no reason to deny them their rights, is it?

    Sorry... rambled again :)

  5. no demonizing. That's nonsense, Sean.. Defending this guy is not a good idea for you guys but go ahead anyway. As to your last remarks- what are you talking about? More nonsense.

  6. Yes, atrius- you did ramble. " Joan, are most people good, honest, and trustworthy or is your world filled with evil people on the edge of going psycho?" Your words, not mine. It does not reflect my world view.

  7. Joan,
    Which part doesn't reflect your world view? I presume the evil part and if so that's a good thing. Going through life viewing everyone around with suspicion and fear would be most unfortunate and I imagine rather tiring. I was just illustrating the point, of course.

    Though, you didn't answer my other points as yet.

    As to what Sean said above, it is a bit unfair to take things out of context and use them to make a point like that, wouldn't you think? Should not the debate be more centered on the nature of adulthood and such? Is that not the real issue here vice the particulars of one individual?

  8. I fail to see anything wrong with quoting movies like Ghostbusters and dressing up in a Halloween costume. I went as a viking this year (a nod to my Nordic heritage); does that mean I'm likely to pillage and burn my way through the nearest village?

  9. You are minimizing what this teen quoted and said and his "costume" as you put it. Maybe you don't find these things a problem but I am guessing you would be in the minority.

  10. japete --

    The sole piece of evidence that you have for the proposition that this guy is unsuited to owning handguns is that he put some pictures and some quotes you find objectionable on his Facebook page.

    Pretty thin gruel.

  11. That, in combination with my own opinion. If I see something like that posted, it generates certain feelings. I am not alone in that opinion.

  12. All of you are fantasizing when believing by packing heat you are "prepared" for unexpected occasions of the need for self defense. You are "prepared" only when the gun is in your hand - and how many of you walk around like that?

    How about the four uniformed cops who were murdered, while having coffee, by a single shooter? Not one had time to react.

    How many of you have been "trained" mentally and emotionally to react effectively in a bad situation? I know, you at least want the chance to defend your self - so give me another answer.

    As far as 18 year olds packing legally, again - you're all kidding yourselves if you believe that's a good idea.

    18 - 20 yr. olds do fine in the military (I was one), partly because they're immortal (they think) and mainly because they get one heck of a lot more training and supervision than any civilian with an 8-hour course in how to load and shoot.

    As far as D'Cruz, if he had directed some of his words torward any particular individual, he'd be in the lock-up. He's a perfect candidate to be denied a permit to carry - even in a shall-issue state.

    .45 Colt

  13. D'cruz can exercise his Second Amendment right and bloody well should.

    He gets his butt to his recruiter and signs up for duty in the National Guard, which is the Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16 Militia. He gets his basic training and gets to live out his fanatasies.

    But, if he wants a gun outside of anything related to an Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16 militia, he's out of luck as far as I'm concerned.

    I wish the Courts would stop the BS and say exactly that. Or as Gen. Wesley Clark said:

    I have got 20 some odd guns in the house. I like to hunt. I have grown up with guns all my life, but people who like assault weapons should join the United States Army, we have them.

    I fully support his Second Amendment right to be a part of the National Guard, otherwise...

    Well, Japete wouldn't publish his comment if I said what he could do otherwise.

  14. BTW, whose stopping him from joinging the National Guard? His Second Amendment rights aren't being violated--he's just an idiot.

  15. japete --

    You're welcome to your opinion. I'm simply pointing out that the basis of that opinion is pretty shaky.

    Again: this kid put some pictures and quotes you don't approve of on his Facebook page. That's all. His offense, if any, is against good taste.

    Putting something tasteless on the Internet, without more, is not a sound basis for restricting someone from exercising a constitutional right.

  16. Great.

    Another wanna be hero for the gun lobby. Last thing we need is more children being exposed to the evils of 2A extremism.

    These extremists won't be happy till ever nutjob is armed to the teeth. But in the end, we all know it's all about gun manufacturer's profits. Their machines are oiled with the blood of victims.

  17. Brett- I just don't see why anyone would think that posting stuff like D'Cruz posted doesn't lead one to think he has some violent tendencies. At least the people I hang out with would never consider posting such stuff. And if they did, I would have to reconsider hanging out with them. This is not normal behavior. Some young people are like this for sure. And they are not the ones we want to be carrying guns around in public places. As I said before, this may not be the guy to be defending.

  18. Laci,
    "D'cruz can exercise his Second Amendment right and bloody well should.

    He gets his butt to his recruiter and signs up for duty in the National Guard, which is the Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16 Militia. He gets his basic training and gets to live out his fanatasies.

    But, if he wants a gun outside of anything related to an Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16 militia, he's out of luck as far as I'm concerned."

    Do you really believe that? Seriously? You really, honestly and truly believe that it was necessary to amend the federal Constitution to allow for the creation of the Federal Militia which was already, as you pointed out, allowed? Setting aside the Heller and McDonald cases for a minute, how does that even make logical sense? I would really love an answer.

    Furthermore, we're talking about owning and carrying handguns here. He can already own so-called "assault weapons". So what is your point anyway?

  19. Atrius, if what you say is true, why does Patrick Henry make his speech at the Patrick Henry, Virginia Ratifying Convention of 5 June 1788 (Elliot 3:51--52)?

    So, it's not ME who believes it necessary to Amend the Constitution to "guarantee the right to keep and bear arms", but Patrick Henry!

    Sorry, Atrius, but if you read the primary source material for the drafting of the Constitution and debates regarding the ratification, you will find that the Second Amendment was intended to protect militia related activities.

    Any "right" D'Cruz has to own any form of weapon does not come from the US Constitution.

    You WILL find that State constitutions have provisions for an "individual right" to own arms for non-militia uses.

    Expressio unius est exclusio alterius (The express mention of one thing excludes all others).

  20. Laci, I see your reading comprehension still hasn't improved any:


    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.

    * The organized militia created by the Militia Act of 1903, which split from the 1792 Uniform Militia forces, and consist of State militia forces, notably the National Guard and the Naval Militia[2]. The National Guard however, is not to be confused with the National Guard of the United States, which is a federally recognized reserve military force, although the two are linked.
    * The reserve militia[3] or unorganized militia, also created by the Militia Act of 1903 which presently consist of every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age who are not members of the National Guard or Naval Militia. (that is, anyone who would be eligible for a draft)

    I've included the layman's explanation from Wikipedia, because it's apparent that you need to see this in as easy-to-understand English as possible. Please pay attention to the final paragraph, where it is made abundantly clear that anyone eligible for the draft is part of the unorganized militia, and so would fall under your definition of the militia clause of the 2nd Amendment.

    Furthermore, as the rest of the Bill of Rights protects the rights of individuals against the government, why would the 2nd be any different? It even says that it protects "the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms," and everywhere else in the Bill of Rights, "the people" means individual citizens, not some collective organization.

  21. This is a stale argument, Anon. Laci has provided much information about this before. Think of something new. You won't win this one with most in the public. You are grasping...

  22. "This is a stale argument"

    Stale or not, it was the winning argument in Heller and McDonald. Laci might be a lawyer, but he's wrong on this.

    The right to keep and bear arms is (unanimously in Heller) individual, (5-4 in Heller) violated by a handgun ban, and (5-4 in McDonald) enforceable on the States.

  23. The interpretation of the militia is stale and not being used by other than you guys.

  24. I hadn't realized that Federal Law includes a sell by date. That should come as quite a surprise to many. Besides, it was Laci that brought up the lie that the National Guard is somehow the militia.

  25. Laci,
    I will concede that your posted link indicates displeasure among the anti-federalists with that prevision of the Constitution. I will further concede that might have led to a desire for changes. However, based on that one posting I would not concede that the sole purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect the ability of the several States to raise and arm militias. Were that the case, why does it not say so? It references militias, but that's it. The operative clause is crystal clear as to it's meaning and it would seem to be pretty difficult to get "the states may possess arms for their militias, but the people may not" out of "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Were they thinking of the traditional militia when they drafted it and ratified it? I'm sure it was on their mind as it is hard to raise a traditional militia, that being an army raised from the people at large on an as needed basis, if the people at large are denied arms. The men who drafted this document were very intelligent and I'm sure if they had meant "the states may keep armories for the purpose of providing arms and munitions to the militia" they surely would have said so, wouldn't you think?

    Even if we conceded that the US Constitution somehow doesn't mean what the conventional rules of the English language would say it means, you are correct that most of the States has such a provision in their own constitutions. Including Texas and the heavily anti-gun (thanks to Chicago and the surrounding area) Illinois. Thus, the right exists because the US Constitution says so, the State constitution says so, or as a natural right extending from the basic right of self-defense. Would you care to say that all three of these are not true?

  26. It doesn't matter how many times Laci tells that collective/militia service lie, it doesn't make it any more true. Wiser heads than ours (all nine SCOTUS justices as Sean pointed out) have already said that it's individual right unrelated to militia service. And before you come back here with your "definition of unanimous" quip again Laci, I would like to point out that all nine did in fact agree on it being an individual right, while the 5-4 break came over the scope and boundaries of that right. Lie all you want to, but we will come back and repudiate you with the facts every time.

  27. japete --

    "Expressio unius est exclusio alterius," mentioned by Laci upthread, is a canon of construction providing that when a particular law contains a list of specific terms, courts should regard the list as exhaustive. So, for instance, if a law refers only to "cars, trucks, and motorcycles," courts should refrain from construing the law to include helicoptors and jet skis.

    The canon has NO applicability when, as is the case with the Second Amendment, the law doesn't contain a list of terms.

    Nor does the canon stand for the proposition that, because a state constitution unambiguously protects right X, the federal constitution must not. State and federal constitutions and statutes are frequently coextensive, even when the particular statutory or constitutional language isn't identical, because a state might want to provide a state remedy in addition to an existing federal remedy.

  28. There sure is a lot of legal terminology being thrown around here. I cannot comment on any of this.

  29. I say 30. The minimum age for gun ownership should be 30, not just the CCW permit, but gun ownership. I'm willing to negotiate that down to 25. That would still make the world a lot safer.

  30. And that might work, Mike. Someone here commented that most gun permit holders are males in their 40s.

  31. Because limiting it to 40yr olds (or 25 yr olds) will stop the criminal element of any age from acquiring and using illegal weapons.

    Thats not going to fly - welcome to the new age of enlightenment where people cease being intimidated by inanimate objects and flawed logic - and crawl back out from under the Brady Bunch to regain lost ground!

  32. Pat, we're not talking about the out-and-out criminals. We're talking about the "hidden crominals" among you so-called legitimate gun owners.

  33. Mike I will forgive your ignorance. You need to understand the 2nd Amendment as with the 1st are not a the whims of the Brady Bunch, Joyce foundation, or any other group there are GOD given rights, of the American Citizen

  34. "So-called" legitimate?

    You meant, "lawfully" legitimate. Federal and State laws allow me to both own and, when I see fit, carry firearms.

    There will always be hidden criminal elements in any aspect of humanity.

  35. MikeB, if you used such language about almost any other group you'd be lucky to get off with being called a hateful bigot. Substitute "inner city residents," "[ethnic group]," "[gender]," "[national origin]," "[political party]," or any other such group for "gun owners" in your above post and read it to yourself. Sounds kind of offensive, doesn't it? So, how do you think we feel when we read what you wrote?

    You have no interest in compromising whatsoever. You undermine Joan's stated purpose here to reach common ground. You call those of us who actually are law abiding gun owners criminals. Based on your words, to you there is no difference between someone like me or my wife and a thrice-convicted gang banger selling drugs on the street corner with a .45 tucked into his waistband.

    So, stop undermining Joan's blog by insulting those of us who are actually willing to engage in any sort of dialogue. Your words belittle your own personal dignity and do a disservice to her stated goals to reach out to moderates and find compromise.

    There may be a place in the gun control movement for your rhetoric but it doesn't seem to fit with the tenor of Joan's stated objectives.

  36. Chris- I do appreciate these comments. Unfortunately for your side, too many people are trying to undermine my message. It needs to stop on both sides but I would have to say that most of the poisonous rhetoric is coming from the gun guys. It is not only poisonous, it verges on harassment and libel. You are not guilty of this. You don't see the many comments that I don't publish for very good reasons. They are hateful and hurtful. So let's get on with this without accusations. When your side gets its head on straight and stops with the anger and invectives, perhaps my side will do the same. For now though, do check out comments on ANY article written by someone representing the Brady Campaign, the VPC, CTSGV, or any other group and you will see what I mean. The comments mostly come from the gun guys and they are ugly. No one else dares to comment lest they, too, get "shot down" and drawn into the ugliness of it all.