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.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday, January 7, 2011

First 2011 school shooting

It just isn't a school year without a few shootings. So far 2011 has not disappointed in that regard. As we now have learned, this young student from Omaha got his gun from his home. His father is a detective for the Omaha Police Department and apparently stored his gun in a place accessible to his teen-aged son. Kids know where to find guns. If they have murder on their minds, or if they just want to "play" with a gun, they can find a way. In this case, of course, what was on this kid's mind turned into action. He shot and killed the assistant principal at his high school and seriously wounded the principal. This was a premeditated murder. Not long before the shooting, Robert Butler, Jr. was expelled from school. Here was a troubled young man who had been having some fairly serious run ins with school administrators. Months before this incident, he changed schools to his current one because of disciplinary problems at another school. Tragically, the boy turned his gun on himself in his car after leaving behind mayhem, fear and one lost life. So one homicide, one suicide and one gun injury all in a matter of minutes. Where is our outrage, as a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page? Where is common sense?  When loaded guns are around there is more of a chance of them being used in a murder, suicide or accident than in self defense.

This is not the first time that a school shooter got guns from home. In fact in almost all of the school shootings, the guns came from a relative or a friend and often from at home. In the 2005 Red Lake school shooting in Minnesota, the shooter got his guns from his grandfather, who he shot to death before taking the lives of 9 others, including himself. The Red Lake shooter also took his grandfather's police issued vest and gun belt. In 2003 in Cold Springs, Minnesota a student who shot and killed one and injured another, used his father's gun. His father was a Sheriff's deputy. Is there a pattern here? All 3 of these school shooters had either discipline, anger, or mental health issues known to their families. Common sense should tell parents that having loaded guns around the house when kids are having problems is just not a good idea. Or if guns are needed or desired, they sure had better be in a place where teens can't get at them, period.

24 comments:

  1. The best place for a home defense gun is in a holster on your hip.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @ Japete:

    Common sense should tell parents that having loaded guns around the house when kids are having problems is just not a good idea. Or if guns are needed or desired, they sure had better be in a place where teens can't get at them, period.

    I agree 100%

    ReplyDelete
  3. I knew the first comment would be a stupid one. Thanks Chris for not disappointing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So basically the police should have their firearms stored at the station since they can't be trusted to properly store them?

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ Thirdpower:

    So basically the police should have their firearms stored at the station since they can't be trusted to properly store them?

    I certainly don't beleive that. But I agree that precautions need to be taken. My guns are locked in a gun case when I am not home or not in control of them. My home defense .45 is in a mattress holster when I am in the house.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @ commonsense:

    I knew the first comment would be a stupid one. Thanks Chris for not disappointing.

    Perhaps what Chris meant (not speaking for him) was that if the gun had been on the father's hip, it would not have been left unattended where his troubled teen could have taken it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Commonsense:

    The first comment isn't really that stupid. Please be a little more open-minded and civil. If you need a gun for defense and if the gun is on your hip, then it is both secure on your person, away from prying curious little fingers, and in a position where it can instantly be used for self defense. If the gun isn't needed for defense, or it isn't on your person and in your control, then it should be in a safe or locked box.

    Please keep in mind that children are very intelligent and they can pick a lock or crack open a safe if they have enough time and the will to do so. I could when I was a child. I think the best solution for this tragedy would have been to address the child's troubles before they became severe enough to lose the value of life. Life today is more complex than it was 50 years ago and some people just need more help.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with the statement quoted by Mark as well. That is common sense. I also agree with Chris's statement, which far from being stupid, is where a self-defense gun should be if it's not secured or otherwise rendered inaccessible by unauthorized persons. I do not have children, so I keep a gun on the bed stand when I'm not carrying it. If I did have kids, I would choose another option, like a quick access safe that can be bolted securely to something.

    ReplyDelete
  9. regarding "storing" your loaded gun in a holster on your hip- that assumes that people like to walk around their homes in their shorts or sweats or whatever they may wear around the house- or their pjs for that matter- with their guns attached to them at all times? That does not sound like a plan that people with which people will conform. Guns are heavy and hot and people often take them off at home- right?

    ReplyDelete
  10. My carry weapon isn't heavy, it's only hot after being fired, and it goes everywhere in the house that I go. Same with my wife & her carry weapon.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would absolutely carry in my house if I were allowed to.

    Cornered Cat has very good information about storage around children and why she opted to carry at home: http://corneredcat.com/Kids/kidstorage.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, Heather. Some of what is in the linked blog is good information. Other ideas I simply can't fathom. But I did especially like the picture of the little girl holding a long gun with pink plastic parts made especially for her and holding her pink teddy bear. Cute.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Guns are heavy and hot and people often take them off at home- right? "

    While the gun I openly carry at home is heavier than the one I carry concealed when out and about, they both stay at room temperature.

    And yes, during long stints of reading the most hilarious stuff the interweb tubes have to offer. I sometimes do unholster my sidearm and place it next to the keyboard.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Common sense should tell parents that having loaded guns around the house when kids are having problems is just not a good idea."

    The gun community has no argument with that.

    http://www.recguns.com/Sources/XIIIA0b.html

    "8. At home, do not store a firearm in a higher level of readiness than the least-trained, least-responsible member of the household can be trusted with."

    What we disagree with is the gun-control organization's belief that they can define one-size-fits-all rules that are appropriate for all situations. Particularly their campaign to mandate trigger locks. (Trigger locks are an astoundingly stupid idea,)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Joan, you wrote; When loaded guns are around there is more of a chance of them being used in a murder, suicide or accident than in self defense.

    But you cannot prove that statement. Because if you tried to use numbers, then even the lowball estimate for Defensive Gun Uses would blow your statement out of the water.

    But, you said it, you wrote it, so you must really believe it. Now show me the numbers.

    Also, as you have observed, the Police are linked to lots of death by gun in this country. 600 criminals engaged in crime and 360 innocent civilians on average every year, you could reduce the gun death by about a THOUSAND simply by disarming the police directly, think of how many school shootings you would also prevent by disarming the police.

    You could save another 120 innocent civilians by not allowing the police to engage in high speed pursuit by ground vehicle.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes, and don't you suppose that's exactly when you might need that gun. You never know what's going to happen when you are sitting at your computer reading hilarious stuff on the interweb tubes? I've not heard that term but I'm sure you know what it means.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I actually did provide a study with some numbers. There are others that I will look up when I have time after these comments.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Why didn't the vice pricipal simply call 911 and have the police protect him from getting shot?

    Is their school budget so bad that he didn't have a telephone available in his office?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I can't take anyone seriously who writes such ridiculous nonsense. And the Assistant Prinicpal was a woman.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @ Chris,

    Agreed if there are children in the home. No safer place for it, really. Invest in a decent retention holster.

    @ Thirdpower

    So basically the police should have their firearms stored at the station since they can't be trusted to properly store them?
    Joan apparently does not trust off-duty police officers to carry their sidearms within 1000' of a school, so, yeah, probably.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

    ReplyDelete
  21. Joan,

    Did you review the entire study you linked to?

    Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.

    If we take this study at face value, what is the purpose of those safe storage laws again, then?

    There were no significant differences between those with only handguns in the home and those with only long guns or both handguns and long guns, those with two or more guns, and those having one gun in the household; and between those who stored one or more guns unlocked and those who stored all guns locked (table 6).

    If we take this study at face value, what is the public safety purpose of one gun a month, Handgun Control, and mandatory gun locks, then?

    There are also some items which, on their face, at least appear questionable:
    To produce more reliable estimates, Blacks, persons less than 35 years of age or older than age 100 years, and persons who died from external causes of homicide, suicide, and unintentional injury were oversampled in this survey.
    So ok, yes, if you oversample populations that die a violent death you find that more of them die in firearms incidents... What is that supposed to prove?

    One important question that this study does not ask is, "Where the firearms legally owned?" We already know that most murders are committed by what are considered "prohibited persons;" that is, most murders are committed by people with mental illnesses, criminal (felonious) records, and drug problems. Many of those firearms murders are committed by prohibited persons illegally in possession of a firearm. They're already breaking laws on the books.

    ...it is possible that the association between a gun in the home and risk of a violent death may be related to other factors that we were unable to control for in our analysis... Persons living in high-crime neighborhoods or involved in illegal behaviors may acquire a gun for protection. The risk comes not necessarily from the presence of the gun in the house but from these types of environmental factors and exposures.

    At least the researchers acknowledged this issue even if they didn't attempt to measure its effects!

    And finally, read the conclusion. The result is essentially inconclusive: They suggest a need for more research to better distinguish the risk and protective factors associated with guns in the home, including an examination of the risk posed by forces both internal and external to the home. I am more likely to support sound public policy based on something more solid that inconclusive research. My default assumption is to favor personal liberty unless there is a decent or even strong case in favor of restriction. I guess that's why I favor an intermediate or strict scrutiny legal standard for the 2A and why your organization favors what is essentially a weak standard (a "rational basis" stand in). Even this study agrees that the case for "more firearms = more homicides" is weak and that defensive gun uses may outweigh firearms mortality.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

    ReplyDelete
  22. please don't speak for me, Chris.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  23. Chris- we've been around about the "most murders are committed by people who are criminals with mental illness, etc" before. The numbers for that one are just not conclusive enough to make that statement.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Heather, what did you mean by "if I were allowed to?"

    In this case and many like it I think the parents have to be held responsible. The discussion of keeping a gun on your hip or in the gun safe is good, it means that the policeman daddy in this case was wrong.

    Allowing kids or teens to get ahold of your guns should be a felony. One time and you lose your gun rights for life.

    Tell me that wouldn't cut down on these situations.

    ReplyDelete