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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

See you at the movies

I love the movies that come out during the holidays. It is the season before the Oscar nominations so the good ones are now in theaters. I think I would like to see "True Grit". Here is a description from this link:" The unlikely trio find danger and surprises on the journey, and each has his or her "grit" tested."  Now I am guessing that this man was mighty surprised when he adjusted the holster of his gun only to shoot himself in the leg before he went to see a movie. He never did get to see that movie since he ended up in the hospital for his bullet wound. That's danger at the movies- or in the parking lot, at least. I wonder what people who carry loaded guns are afraid of in the movie theaters? 

And while we are at it, I do have another movie recommendation. I just watched "As It Is In Heaven"- a Swedish subtitled movie. There are several nervous scenes involving shotguns as the theme of domestic abuse and bullying, redemption and love run through this poignant movie. The acting is outstanding as well as the music. I'm glad I watched it at home though. It could be dangerous going to a movie these days with those law abiding permit holders and their loaded guns in holsters also frequenting the theaters. Be careful out there.


  1. From the article:

    "Sgt. Dean Snapp said Joshua Allen, 21, of Lynn, had set a gun down to make an adjustment to the holster."

    And there's his mistake. A pistol in a proper holster that completely covers the trigger guard is exceedingly safe. Once you take it out of the holster, that's when things have a potential for going wrong. Adjust the holster with the gun secured in it.

  2. But Chris, I keep posting articles about similar incidents. You are responsible with your guns but many are not and they are a danger to themselves and others when they carry loaded guns in public places.

  3. The solution is to educate the ignorant, not to infringe on fundamental rights.

  4. Who are the ignorant, Chris? And who is infringing on anyone's "fundamental rights"?

  5. "And who is infringing on anyone's "fundamental rights"?"

    Everyone who attempts to make it more difficult or expensive for an average, law-abiding citizen to carry a handgun for self-defense.

  6. The Supreme Court's recent decisions did not mention cost of guns and specifically mentioned that where guns are carried can be regulated.

  7. "Who are the ignorant...?" -- these would be the unwashed masses from the previous discussion. These would be hunters and other sportspersons who think you're only after handguns and "assault" weapons.

    I think we've had the other discussion before as well -- even if you don't (won't) succeed in an outright ban on firearms. They can be made so prohibitively expensive to own and practice with that it becomes a "de-facto" ban. This "de-facto" ban therefore infringes on that right.

    Watch for pending legislation to assist with that "infringement".

  8. What if it turns out that you are the ignorant unwashed masses, Pat? rather than: " These would be hunters and other sportspersons who think you're only after handguns and "assault" weapons." These people would be right in that we are not after their handguns and assault weapons. We just want to make sure that the wrong people don't get them. Any regulation is not "infringement" as you call it. I am interested in your pending legislation, by the way,

  9. "We just want to make sure that the wrong people don't get them"

    There is simply no way that will ever happen.

    "At first glance, it may seem odd or even perverse to suggest that statutory controls on the private ownership of firearms are irrelevant to the problem of armed crime: yet that is precisely what the evidence shows. Armed crime and violent crime generally are products of ethnic and social factors unrelated to the availability of a particular type of weapon. The number of firearms required to satisfy the crime market is minute, and these are supplied no matter what controls are instituted. Controls have had serious effect on legitimate users of firearms, but there is no case, either in the history of this country (Britain) or in the experience of other countries in which controls can be shown to have restricted the flow of weapons to criminals, or in any way reduce crime.
    - Chief Inspector Colins Greenwood, West Yorkshire Constabulary, Police Review, Britain

    That last bit is worth emphasizing:

    "there is no case, either in the history of this country (Britain) or in the experience of other countries in which controls can be shown to have restricted the flow of weapons to criminals, or in any way reduce crime."

  10. jedge- this is not a study or scientific research. It is the opinion of one person in Britain. You can't even begin to compare the number of overall gun deaths or gun homicides per 100,000 to our country.

  11. Actually, yes, it was a scientific study - of gun control and crime rates in the US and the commonwealth countries.


    And the rate of violent crime in the UK is far higher than in the US.

  12. You can't be serious jedge. There isn't much about this book anywhere and the author is hardly to be found on Google except for a review from another gun guy. Find another source. I don't think this is your guy. If this was a scientific study, it would surely be more accessible to the internet and the literature about guns and gun issues.

  13. Further- the book was published in 1972!! I think more than 30 years on, we can find more recent information about what is going on in Great Britain.

  14. Since 1972, gun ownership in the UK has become much more strictly controlled, and violent crime has increased dramatically.

    And the fundamentals of human nature haven't changed in the last 40 years, or the last 400 years, for that matter.

    "A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, and dares say to reason, `Be thou a slave'; who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.

    The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons."

    - Cesare Beccaria, "Of Crimes and Punishments", 1764

  15. Thanks, jedge. I was not familiar with this philosopher and writer from the 18th century. It appears now though, that you all on the gun rights side have taken up Beccaria for your cause in the 21st century: " The recent trend of more gun control goes against Beccaria’s idea about citizens’ right to bare arms. In writing about the utility of gun control, he writes, " false is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousands real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience’ that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes" (Beccaria, pg. 87-88). Today many opponents of the gun control laws use Beccaria’s warning as a battle cry. Many use his words, along with the words of other theorists of the time, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, and James Madison, to support their right to bare arms."

    So, this is a philosophy of one man, or should I say, one group of men since Beccaria's friends are known to have helped write his ideas down. It is a philosophy and not a law or a study. If you want to espouse that philosophy, that's fine. I just don't necessarily agree with it. He did write some wise things and ideas are always good to have on your side when making an argument. The problem with the 18th century philosophy is that we are living in the 21st century when "arms" are rampid and sophisticated and more lethal and deadly than 300 years ago. I wonder if Beccaria could have envisioned AK 47 type weapons on our streets and small semi-automatic pistols carried around in holsters in public places? I know there has always been violence in the world since man started roaming the earth. It is in the nature, as Becarria said. I just don't happen to agree with his solution in this case.

  16. "So, this is a philosophy of one man, or should I say, one group of men since Beccaria's friends are known to have helped write his ideas down."

    And, given the influence of Beccaria on the founders, it is the philosophy of the founders of this nation. It is, in fact, the philosophy that this nation was founded on.

  17. These ideas of personal freedom are timeless, and independent of the technology of the time. Is the 1st Amendment any less valid because the Founding Fathers didn't foresee the advent of the internet, TV and radio? Does the 4th Amendment only protect one from actual physical searches and not phone tapping or other forms of electronic searching because men like Jefferson and Madison didn't know about the telephone? You can probably make some decent arguments FOR gun control, but the old "the Founding Fathers didn't know about X technology at the time, therefore it isn't protected by the Constitution" rings false through and through.

  18. Sorry jedge. You can't say that. The founders of this country did not buy Beccaria's philosophy "lock stock and barrel" They may have liked some of what he said but they got their ideas from many sources.

  19. I have the freedom of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness which includes being safe in my own community as well as your freedom to have a gun for self defense. They are not mutually exclusive.

  20. I have those freedoms as well, which is why I choose to carry a gun for self defense. You are not free to limit my ability to defend myself and my family, as my gun ownership poses no threat to your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If you want to feel safer in your community, you can do whatever you like (and that you can garner public support for) to GET RID OF CRIMINALS. Don't try to make me into a criminal for trying to utilize an effective tool for self-defense (see NJ, CA, NY, MD, IL, HA and WI for examples of what I mean).

  21. Explain to me how any law has affected your ability to use your "tool" for self defense.

  22. Well, for starters I've been vetted by PA as a law-abiding citizen who can be trusted to carry a firearm for self defense. However, for some reason I'm magically not fit to carry a firearm as soon as I enter MD, NJ or NY among others. Your organization blocked the passage of national concealed carry reciprocity so that I am defenseless outside of my home state.

    Also, due to the existence of "gun free zones," I can't carry for self defense when I am going to and from one of those areas, such as when I go do my civic duty and vote at my local polling station (a school). It's not like I can just teleport there and back. Explain how that makes common sense, since there aren't even children there when I'm voting, please.

  23. "Explain to me how any law has affected your ability to use your "tool" for self defense."

    Since 2003, it has been illegal for permit holders in Minnesota to carry their guns, when they visit a school.

  24. Joan, you've chided me for being "deliberately insulting" and then you write this? "It could be dangerous going to a movie these days with those law abiding permit holders and their loaded guns in holsters also frequenting the theaters. Be careful out there."

    Shame on you for not practicing what you preach.

  25. @Joan: I see what you did there...another Freudian jab...

    Safe Schools Act, National Firearms Act (I&II), and the mishmash that are national carry laws ...these are three examples of legislation (or lack thereof) that have affected my ability to defend myself at all times.

    ...and before you say it -- I'm not calling for everyone in a school to be armed -- but the 1000' rule and others are ridiculous for permitted carry holders...

    The National Firearms Act made effective self-defensive weapons prohibited or prohibitively expensive.

    The lack of cohesive nationwide carry standards puts me at risk anytime I travel outside of MN.

    Any others?

  26. What could you possibly be afraid of at the polling place in a school that you would need your gun there? I would be more afraid of you deciding to take someone out if you perceived a threat or your gun accidentally discharging as has happened a lot lately in articles I have posted. You just don't need your guns in those places. That is not taking away any rights from you but rather granting the rest of us peace of mind that there are not guns in some places where they are not needed and could, indeed, cause more problems. If you guys think that is taking rights away from you, I can't even talk to you. The Supreme Court cases agree that there are some places where guns can be restricted and some people for whom they can be restricted. I have rights, too.

  27. Yes- that's good. Thank goodness you guys can't carry your guns around in schools. Why do you think you need them in a school anyway? I am very happy that you all don't have that "right". It is not a right to have your loaded guns anywhere you think you need them.

  28. Explain to me how that is insulting to you. The guy's gun discharged in a public place. He was a danger to himself and potentially others. That's insulting to the public when a permit holder is irresponsible and the result is a gun injury that could have been much worse.

  29. @Joan: "Why do you think you need them in a school anyways?"
    Schools are a target for violence. Thats been proven time and again. Being forcibly disarmed at a school violates my personal right to self-defense.

    As an aside - guns don't "go off" by themselves. A discharge, negligent or otherwise, is always the responsibility of the shooter...and subject to prosecution if it was illegal.

  30. "It could be dangerous going to a movie these days with those law abiding permit holders and their loaded guns in holsters also frequenting the theaters. Be careful out there."

    ...and this was a deliberate jab (calling names). I too feel you need to practice what you preach.

  31. Again Pat- what name calling is that? I call it as I see it. I don't make these things up. I'm just calling them to the attention of people who don't realize that some of you are carrying loaded guns around in public places possibly making it less safe for them if an irresponsible gun owner does something stupid like this guy did. What's to stop others of you from doing the same?

  32. Again, you are tarring all with the same brush -- my carrying of a firearm does not affect the safety of those around me...not in the least.

    I actually think people would be surprised by how many around them carry firearms on a regular basis -- and how nothing happens! Many of my close friends are surprised that I've been carrying for 2 years now -- and they're none the wiser (nor injured either).

  33. "It could be dangerous going to a movie these days with those law abiding permit holders and their loaded guns in holsters also frequenting the theaters. Be careful out there."

    Yep. Frederico Freire went to see "Little Fockers" with his wife on Christmas day. A group of kids was acting rowdy, which led to complaints to the management, and a number of them being ejected from the theater. As Freire and his wife left, they were accosted by a group of fifteen girls. Freire was then assaulted by seven youths-whose-needs-must-be-addressed.

    One of the civilians present pulled a gun, and pretty much kept things from escalating until the sheriff's deputies showed up.

    Most of the media, of course, are failing to report the armed civilian. The stories that do mention it refer to it him as "a gun-brandishing witness".

    The interviews with the participants tell a different story.

  34. This sounds like a terrible situation. Since you didn't provide the link, I looked it up myself.( http://www.bradenton.com/2010/12/27/2837235/manatee-sheriff-couple-attacked.html) " A witness said he had a firearm in his vehicle and offered to escort the couple to safety. Federico Freire said he told his wife to go with the witness to get her out of harm’s way.
    When Freire looked over at his wife, he saw a young male with his shirt off who punched her in the face, knocking her out. Freire went after the youth and the witness brandished his gun telling the crowd to step back.
    Deputies soon arrived. As deputies were investigating, the manager of the theater asked anyone without a ticket to leave."

    A witness did brandish his weapon and it was a dangerous and scary situation for those who were attacked and the 300 watching this take place. I am not sure that he needed the gun since the Sheriff arrived soon enough to calm the situation though even they had trouble with this gang of teens who sounded like thugs to me.The gun was in a car so he wouldn't have used it in the theater as the incident I wrote about was reported. That guy needed his gun inside the theater. What if the witness had had his gun inside the theater? Would he have been so provoked that we would have started shooting? Would you? A decision to shoot your gun is an awesome responsibility which any police officer will tell you. I would not have had a gun in this situation and would have had to rely on the nearby crowd or L.E. to solve the situation. In this case, that is what happened whether the man brandished his gun or not.But one could also say, from your point of view, that the witness saved the day. We see these situations from 2 different perspectives.

  35. Absolute nightmare for Mr. Freire and his wife. What lesson is learned from this? When roudy kids are spoiling your night...what should you do? Shut up and leave? Speak up and get beat up?

    7:1, 15:1 odds aren't a "fair" fight even if Mr. Freire was a Marine and had excellent hand-to-hand combat skills -- his wife certainly did not.

    It would also appear that the youth in this case were certainly looking for a fight -- punching and hitting a law enforcement officer isn't exactly standard behavior.

    Did the firearm stop the situation from escalating? Yes! Would it stop similar situations, who knows...

    Are any of us salivating over this scenario? ABSOLUTELY not. None of this holds any appeal for me. Should I be out for the evening with my wife, shooting someone is the furthest thing from my mind.

  36. "Thank goodness you guys can't carry your guns around in schools. Why do you think you need them in a school anyway? I am very happy that you all don't have that "right". It is not a right to have your loaded guns anywhere you think you need them."

    This seems like a deliberately misleading statement on your part, Japete. Even if I grant you that the four walls of a school are some magically gun free place where I am totally safe from any harm whatsoever, I still have to travel from my home to the school. What if I'm mugged while getting gas, carjacked at a red light or some mass murderer attacks my wife and me while we're eating lunch at a restaurant? I can't carry my gun during any of these times, since I know that I have business that will take me into the aforementioned "Gun Free Zone." This is what we mean when we talk about limits to our means of effective self-defense.

    Also, the "tool" comment, with its penis joke implications, is not particularly suited to maintaining a high level discussion here on your blog.

  37. Excuse me, sir. I did not bring up the use of the word "tool" to refer to guns. That has come totally from your side of the argument. I have taken issue with the use of that terminology. If you don't like it, talk to the guys on your side. I am not sympathetic to your whining about why you can't take your guns into certain places. You won't have much support for it either from a lot of people. Just try to bring it up and you will see what the public thinks about your proposal to carry guns in schools and school zones. It's so interesting to me that you feel so threatened while stopped at a red light or at a gas station. It never occurs to me to be afraid if I am in an O.K. neighborhood and not out at 2 a.m by myself which I rarely am. I look at safety in an entirely different way from you.

  38. I pointed out the "tool" comment as a Freudian job...but...

    Alright, maybe you didn't mean the "tool" comment as it seemed. Many folks during an argument over firearms will say that men who own firearms are compensating for their lack of "size".

    If you didn't intend that - then so be it.

    After all -- firearms are only tools to be used appropriately...they're not anthropomorphic items that take on a life of their own.

  39. Japete, crime doesn't just happen at 2 a.m. in bad neighborhoods, just like car accidents and house fires don't happen at set times, either. I always wear my seatbelt while driving, my house has working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, and I always carry my gun (with some fairly restrictive exceptions because of nonsensical laws) just to be safe.

    Also, I apologize for the confusion over the "tool" remark. I use "self defense tool" all the time, but without the quotes. When I saw you put tool in quotes, I just assumed it was another of the typical anti-gunner insults about gunowners' supposed sexual inadequacies.