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

What's going on out there?

I guess shootings didn't take a holiday after all, as I suspected they wouldn't. Here is just one incident that happened in Atlanta, Georgia on Christmas night. One person is dead and two injured at a sports bar. Guns and alcohol are not a good mix. Another in Baltimore with few details- just that a shooting took place. This one, in Bloomington, Minnesota- a Christmas suicide. In Buffalo, New York, two teens were shot on Christmas morning. The message from a local pastor about the shootings says something similar to what I posted before Christmas: " After both these incidents, Pastor Cobb has this message for young teens who believe violence is okay: "If you don't turn around then the atrocities that you create will come back and destroy you. Get out and stop while you can."" There are too many subtle and not so subtle messages that lead to the thinking that violence is the only way to settle differences. And that sometimes leads to law abiding citizens as well as criminals shooting someone. This one, for example, in a North Carolina home is yet another case of a loaded gun carried by a law abiding gun owner firing "accidentally". The result? His fiance is dead of a gunshot wound to her back. There may be more about this one yet but as it looks so far, it can be added to the column of loaded guns carried by law abiding citizens not always being safe.

Today I spent several hours with a family of women ( mother and daughters) who walked into the Family Justice Center where I volunteer. They were very frightened as they told their story of a father and husband who made verbal threats to the whole family on Christmas Day and pretty much came unglued. This is a dangerous man and these women are not safe. They walked their orders for protection across the street to the Court House and I am hoping the abuser will be arrested before I read about one or more of them on the front page of the local paper. He has access to guns. They have guns in the home. We advised them to remove the guns until the situation has resolved. The man has anger issues and has been arrested several times for domestic abuse and disorderly conduct. During the several hours I spent with them, they kept talking about his volatile temper and his increasing anger and threats. Thank goodness women have a place to go for help. This man should not have access to guns and I hope he doesn't find a way to get one. It reinforces a reality- that we need to make sure that guns are not available to domestic abusers. What will the new year bring for this family?

What will the new year bring for the gun issue? Will the accomplishments of the recent Lame Duck session of Congress spill over to other important issues in the new year? Or will any compromising be off the table? Will we be stuck in our entrenched opinions or will we move a little towards each other? Here is an opinion piece that is asking the same thing. Sometimes I wonder if others who write are reading my mind or are there just enough people with common sense thinking about similar problems and wondering about similar solutions? This paragraph is interesting: " Between those two extremes lies a whole world of common ground.  With gun control activists exploring anti-gun legislation and open-carry advocates testing the edge of the law, no one is exploring the middle ground.  NRA’s unwillingness to explore it and the gun control lobby’s inability to see it makes us all less safe. " 
Yes, there may be some on "my side" who are extreme and actually want to ban guns. More of these folks were involved in earlier years and before my involvement. I just don't hear that coming from any of the people with whom I work. I believe that most folks on "my side" of the gun issue have come towards the middle. As to the "other side" I am not so sure. What will it be- continued arguing or some agreement? My posts about shootings and gun incidents will continue because they illustrate the problem and the need for solutions through common sense and by finding common ground.


  1. "by finding common ground"

    I find your interest in compromise quite commendable. It is quite clear that, unlike the 1990s, the anti-gun rights movement no longer has the political horsepower to move major gun legislation without the assent of gun rights groups. Compromise requires concessions on both sides, so what are you willing to give up?

    For instance, you talk often of requiring background checks on private party sales. In exchange would you be willing to agree to nationwide shall-issue concealed carry with a very short list of off limits areas?

  2. Listen up everyone. I am not going to answer any questions about what "I" or "we" will give up. That is not how this is going to work. I have said before that I, personally, speak for myself. I am not in a position to make policy. I can offer my opinions and forward ideas to people who have more power than I. I am not asking what you all are going to "give up" either. I am talking about ideas here and I am expressing mine. I am allowing comments and respond which is more than most people on "my side" do. I enjoy some of the give and take of ideas. I am not using my blog to negotiate with my readers. So I hope you will all forgive my rudeness but you keep asking me that and I keep answering. Perhaps if you couch your question a different way and raise some ideas worth considering without wanting me to say very specifically what I will "give up". If you and I end up at a negotiating table in Washington D.C., then we can talk about what each side will give up. Do you speak for the NRA? Can you say what you will "give up" and then assume it will represent the entire NRA leadership and Board and all of its' members and all gun owners? And, by the way, I am not in favor of a national shall issue concealed carry law at this point. It has nothing to do with an exchange for background checks however. More on this later.

  3. I don't seem to see that anyone is saying that you are speaking for any group. I think the question is posed to gauge where you actually stand on some of the issues. I know you don't like being put on the spot for having to defend a position and might even be afraid that it will be used in other discussions against you. It is hard to have a discussion with someone that never uses any specifics yet talks about compromise and just wants one sided opinions from the gun guys.

  4. 'Listen up everyone. I am not going to answer any questions about what "I" or "we" will give up. That is not how this is going to work.'

    Kind of hard to talk about finding common ground then. No one expects you to negotiate on behalf of the Brady campaign in your blog comments. However, if people on opposite sides of the issue can't even casually bat around compromises online I don't hold out much hope of any sort of compromise being reached in Washington D.C.

  5. Any "compromise" is going to have to come from those in D.C. who make the laws or in state houses. If the people advocating for the compromise or change or new law speak out to their elected leaders, that is where things will happen. We can give input. My positions are made known in my posts. When you guys ask me to name something I will give up, you are asking the wrong question. If you ask my position on something, I will answer if I can and choose to given what happens to my comments once they are made. As you know, my comments are ridiculed and blogged about by the gun guys. Also, my audience does not include just you guys who are commenting. I am writing for a wide audience and for more people than choose to comment on my posts.

  6. Very well...I'd like to propose a hypothetical 'compromise' for you, personally, to consider for the purposes of establishing a baseline for discussion:

    In exchange for accepting a universal NICS check requirement on ALL firearms purchases, whether from an FFL or private party, a federal law requiring all states and US territories to recognize any states CPL as well as establishing the legality of openly carrying a fully functional and loaded firearm openly. Provided that there be included a severable 'sunset' clause if, after five years, the CPL reciprocity reflects an increase in crime, or unlawful use of the sidearms, OR if the NICS check reflects no DECREASE in unlawful possession of firearms.

    Speaking only for yourself, would such a 'compromise' be acceptable to you, personally?

  7. @Joan: Has the "abuser" in your story above been charged with a crime? Making violent threats is assault...any charges?

    If not, why?

  8. I wonder why you guys keep offering up deals and what I will give up. I have already said what I'm going to say about that, Words.

  9. Yes, Pat. He was arrested last night for terroristic threats and is sitting in jail as I write. He had 4 OFPs served on him and I would say he is in trouble. This is his 3rd arrest.

  10. Forget "compromise." We're talking about what's right and wrong and what saves lives or costs them. How the hell does compromise come into something like that?

    Most pro-gun folks are just wrong. If they cannot be persuaded to do the right thing completely, then we'll have to settle for a partial acquiescence. But I don't call that compromise.

  11. Good point, Mike B. I am calling for coming together to do the right thing to save lives. That, to me, is compromise. Doing the right thing calls for sacrifices on the part of some. Lives have been lost and the "side" of gun control has compromised by losing lives while we sit back and do nothing to try to change it because the gun lobby is so loud and strong. There is actually common ground to do the right thing but it is drowned out by the loudest voices and the money. Now what we need is the common will to do the right thing.

  12. @Joan: I'm glad to hear he was convicted, as you know, so many times in domestic abuse situations its hard to make the victim press charges. If they were felony convictions, he's now a "prohibited person" and forbidden to own/handle firearms. Any failure on his part to abide by existing law now makes him subject to FEDERAL prosecution. What else needs to happen? What if he violates the protective orders?

    @MikeB: Again, you assume that everyone who disagrees with your logic must be in it to KILL PEOPLE. I disagree whole-heartedly. Some of the "gun guys" I know are the most compassionate caring people ever. They would never do anything to compromise the safety of those around them. Same for myself. You've continued to anchor yourself firmly on the "anti" side and removed the ability to meet in the middle. Congrats!

    Both of you -- you call for a middle ground, middle ground is suggested, and then you LAMBAST people for suggesting anything other than your way. Whats "right" and "wrong" in your eyes is highly debatable - just like what's "right" and "wrong" in mine. We should be figuring out solutions that Joan can suggest to her board members -- not continuing the rhetoric on "right" and "wrong".

    Way to be political!

  13. Well, Mike might be more "in your face" than I am. I think we are not the only ones to be doing anything you might call LAMBASTING. Of course, those on your side do none of it!!

    If this man violates his OFPs, he will be in trouble and spend a lot more time behind bars. His estranged wife knows this and believes he knows it, too. Now, let's hope he doesn't decide to do anything stupid or dangerous when he is released fairly soon.

  14. "I am calling for coming together to do the right thing to save lives. That, to me, is compromise. Doing the right thing calls for sacrifices on the part of some."

    Right. So we'll accept requiring permits for carrying firearms in public, if you will accept that the permits must be issued according to objective criteria.

    After all, it's only common sense.

  15. @Joan: When he is released, I'm guessing his estranged wife will be notified. If she's in danger from him (ie. he has threatened her with great bodily harm), why is he being released at all? Shouldn't he remain in custody pending trial?

    Does she have a plan for if he decides to "do anything stupid or dangerous"?

  16. Good questions, Pat. I guess that is the way it goes. Someone can't be kept for more than a few days unless perhaps they have actually harmed the other person, which, in this particular incident, was not the case. I am concerned about that as well. She does have a plan but the hard part is the not knowing and she has no money to go to a hotel. There is a shelter in town and her mother, but he would know where her mother lives. It's tough. I hope he doesn't go "ballistic".