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, January 24, 2011

State of the Union

We can always hope. The majority in our country want stronger gun laws. A tragic mass shooting involving a sitting member of Congress has now focused more attention on our nation's weak gun laws. The media is talking about guns, gun laws and gun control more than I've heard for many years. The State of the Union address is upon us. The President supports reasonable gun laws. In several recent polls, so does the nation and yes, even those who own guns. This article by Charles Blow of the New York Times implores President Obama to talk about guns in his upcoming speech. Another columnist, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post is also asking for the President to be brave enough to at the least, support the ban on large capacity magazines. Will he? Or will be so afraid of the out sized and mythological influence of the gun lobby that he will once again avoid the topic?

The President can do the right thing or he can run away from the gun issue once again and keep us all beholden to the NRA and it's extreme positions regarding large capacity magazines. Anyone with any common sense knows that this measure would not stop those with evil intentions from shooting people in public places. But it would certainly limit the carnage. What a sad state of affairs. To think that all this would do is limit collateral damage to innocent citizens and yet, the gun lobby is against it. We should be doing much more but we're too timid. We've let the NRA control the message for far too long and it's time to change that or expect to see many more senseless mass shootings in our country.

It's insane that it has now become politically dangerous to even mention a measure as sensible as banning large capacity ammunition magazines. In what other country would this be the case? I am wondering, as does Charles Blow (above), why political leaders don't realize that they could gain supporters if they take the chance and speak the truth about gun policy? Common "wisdom" has been telling us that elected leaders shouldn't anger the gun lobby or they would be sure to lose their next election. Of course, in reality, that has not always been the case. To be fair, the 2010 elections were not good for Democrats or supporters of common sense gun legislation. In the end, some of the candidates who lost avoided talking about guns and lost anyway. On the other hand, many who held positions supporting reasonable gun laws won in 2010. One has to wonder what would have happened had more taken a brave stand and talked about the problem in our country of too many senseless shootings? Instead- silence. The silence was deafening, in fact, on the issue of guns.

One would think that in a country that has more guns per capita and more gun deaths per capita than any country not at war, the subject would be up for debate in all elections. Those in favor of sensible laws and those opposed should at least have the debate and then see who wins fairly and squarely after the facts are discussed in a calm and reasonable fashion. To hide behind the myth that Al Gore lost in 2000 because of his stand on guns is nonsense and an excuse to avoid this controversial issue. It is only controversial if we make it so. Reasonable people run away from the issue instead of towards it where they might actually find some support and common ground with the American people. And that is the state of the Union concerning gun violence.


  1. My fear with "common sense" is that it is sometimes just a gut reaction and not really sensible. It may be common sense that fewer deaths happen when magazine capacity is lower, but is that proven out by statistics? The FBI produced some stats as the AWB wound down which I think suggested no statistical difference....

    The truth is that I have trouble supporting a low-capacity law because normal-capacity magazines are out there, in abundance. Restricting them now means that criminals continue to have access to them, while law-abiding citizens lose that access.

    The only way to "fix" that is to phase them out entirely -- all new firearms produced in or imported into the US must only work with low-capacity magazines.

    I'm not sure that's a proposition that will fly, but it's certainly more sensible than just pretending the factory-spec magazines don't exist and forcing lawful buyers to buy crippled ones.

  2. Obama wants a second term, so he should go ahead an jump all over gun control, make every citizen who now legally owns hi-cap mags into criminals with no grandfathering clause like McCarthy wants, that will end well electorally.

    Here's my compromise.......

    "....shall not be infringed."

    I will remember and I will vote.....

  3. The NRA is so powerful because it represents votes of real people, which is something that your side has yet to be able to mobilize in numbers large enough to challenge us. Just look at the number of fans of the Brady FB page vs. that of the NRA if you want to know what I'm talking about. I don't intend this comment as insult to you, I'm just trying to point out a cold, hard fact. And a fact it is; you may claim the "silent majority" supports your position, but for whatever reason that never translates into votes. Our side has no such problem, which is why we've been increasingly successful over the last couple of decades.

  4. "And a fact it is; you may claim the "silent majority" supports your position, but for whatever reason that never translates into votes."

    And that's because for most gun control supporters, gun control ranks about 11th of the things they support.

    For most gun rights supporters, gun rights ranks first - and there is no number two.

    Maintaining an armed citizenry is the single most critical factor to ensuring the survival of freedom and liberty.

  5. Wow- so it isn't just guns for your own self defense then?

  6. BLUF: The anti-gun side can win legislative victories (perhaps) but they cannot mount a movement as strong as the pro-gun side.

    No group of persons based around disliking something can be as strong because not enough people are touched by their issue. For all the violence in our society it is still exceedingly rare. Not enough people are negatively touched by guns to make that movement as strong as the pro-gun side.

    The pro-gun side however is made of MANY people who own guns, tangible objects that compel people by bringing enjoyment, protection, a feeling of family history, connection to historical events, or just plain cussedness at the thought of someone else deciding what they can and cannot have.

    It is also important to point out that many people who are negatively impacted by firearms do not become anti-gun advocates. Almost everyone who own firearms is a firearms advocate of some form.

  7. "so it isn't just guns for your own self defense then?"

    It's about our own self defense, both individual and collective. It's about maintaining a spirit of individualism and self-reliance. It's about minimizing the dependency of the individual on the state.

    In the words of Kim Du Toit: "I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing."

    I understand you disagree with this, but this is the mindset you are fighting - and you aren't going to prevail against it with a bunch of soccer moms who'll sign a petition and then do nothing else.

    No matter how much money the Joyce Foundation contributes to help you maintain the illusion of a grassroots movement.

  8. jdege- Surely you can do better than quoting a nut case who was on the radio and now is off and his sites are no longer available on the internet. Anyone who writes a book with this name should be suspect right off the bat: " "The Pussification of the American Male"" I am worried about who you read and what you listen to. Kim du Toit cannot be considered a credible source by anyone but you and maybe a few others. Please- let's get real here. http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2008_11_02_archive.html
    And then- whoa there I found this one. Are you really serious here? If so, I don't think I want you on my blog any more. Here then is from Kim du Toit from this site: http://mattio829.blogspot.com/2009/03/kim-du-toit.html

    In an open letter to John Hinckley- du Toit says: "My wife Connie and I want you to know that no grudge is borne against you for shooting President Reagan. We, above all, are aware of how the mental stress and pain could have driven you to such an act of desperation.

    We are confident that you will soon make a complete recovery and return to your family to join the world again as a healthy and productive young man.

    Best Wishes,

    Kim and Connie du Toit

    PS: While you have been incarcerated, a guy from Chicago named Barack Obama has been banging Jodie Foster like a screen door in a tornado. Just thought you should know."

    Wow- isn't this just too much even for you? It should be. I am quite concerned about the ideas you present here. They are way out of the mainstream. There is something called anarchy and tyranny.

  9. "Surely you can do better than quoting a nut case who was on the radio and now is off and his sites are no longer available on the internet."

    The statement is an accurate portrayal of the beliefs of your opponents on this issue, no matter who it is who said it.

  10. Well then, you guys are not who I thought you were. You are even scarier.

  11. It always amazes me that pro-gun extremists confuse liberty and patriotism with arming themselves and anti-government paranoia, even to the point that "arming everyone everywhere with any gun" extends even to political assassins, and even armed insurrection. This isn't patriotism and liberty, fellas, this is home-grown terrorism in the making. Grow up and join the rest of society.

  12. "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

    -- Samuel Adams

  13. jdege says three things, the firt two of which I agree totally, but the third is so funny I can't stop laughing:

    "And that's because for most gun control supporters, gun control ranks about 11th of the things they support.

    For most gun rights supporters, gun rights ranks first - and there is no number two.

    Maintaining an armed citizenry is the single most critical factor to ensuring the survival of freedom and liberty."

  14. And so- what's your point in sending this one? Samual Adams was but one person whose mind contributed to our country's beginnings. We are now living in the year 2011 where things are vastly changed from those days. People are bringing their guns that they have a right to bear and own to public places and spraying bullets at innocent people. I wonder if Samuel Adams envisioned that in his writings and thoughts? You know the answer to that one.

  15. "but the third is so funny I can't stop laughing"

    That you laugh at it does not mean that your opponents on this issue don't believe it.

  16. Jedge gets it right.

    The Kim Du Toit Quote about John Hinkley and Jody Foster was sarcastic humor. Just like when Robin Williams joked about giving Ted Kascynski Saddam Hussien and Bin Ladens home address's. Frankly as a political joke it's funny as hell, and remember Hinkley was the Guy who tried to kill Reagan.

    I get tired of this argument Japete keeps bring up that the Founders had no idea of modern guns, so the ideas they had must be outdated.

    The founders had no idea of electronic media either, no idea of highspeed printing press or bulk mail, yet we manage to apply the idea that the concept of free speech and free press are important

    No matter what the technological gains the idea of The People to be able to resist the will of a Government no longer responsive to the will of The People is the premise of the Second.

    Remember the Minutemen were the Original HomeGrown terrorists. By the time thoughts of revolution and independence started, the American Colonies had had 140 years of doggedly armed struggle against Native Tribes, French troops and increasing British pressures. The idea of each man being able to fight as a member of the community was not only common but imperative.

    So here we have some very smart people, most of whom were very well educated in the use of the written word, after all, there was no phone system no radio, no tv, just letters and hand operated presses. If you wanted to get you idea across you had to speak it or write it. They were very good at nuance and understood how to turn a phrase.

    So knowing how to write and having a hundred years of wars, Indian conflicts, civil defense was a concept near and dear to them. They wrote "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Now that's pretty darn clear. Reasonable never is mentioned. Self defense is never mentioned. Hunting is never mentioned.

    Everywhere else in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the phrase 'the people" is absolutely understood to be the individual Citizen.

    So when people say, "oh gosh, you are talking "armed insurrection" here"!! We say "Exactly". I pray to God above that it never gets there, but at the same time I Pray that I might have the courage of Adams, Jefferson and the rest to stand up and do what is needed if the time does come.

    No one I know hopes that day will come, most of my friends who are of common thought are strident patriots, with military service, or with children who have served, who would gladly lay down their life for America. Even those who disagree with you understand that what makes America great is the defense of the nation might mean the overthrow of the Government.

    Calling that mindset ridiculous or revolutionary does not change the the position. So far we have had a peaceful "overthrow" of our government some 27 times or so going from one point of view or Party, to another. Prior to our Washington, no sitting head of State had ever voluntarily and without threat of harm, chosen to step down. Two terms and George Washington walked away. There were those who wished him to be king, and he might have had the support of a large part of the Nation but he saw his role different and he set the precedent followed by 44 other presidents.

    This history reminder has a point in that we have a form of Government which has respected the will of the people, but often with some reluctance and the need for options still exists.