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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Where's the NRA?

So where is the NRA in our national discussion about the Tucson shootings? Nowhere as far as I can see. Have they been on Fox News? Have they been on ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC? No. Have they made any commentaries in our national newspapers about the shootings? No. I watched this morning as Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke was interviewed by MSNBC hosts Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie. It was stated several times that the NRA was asked to appear but had refused. The invitation was issued by Todd that they could come on any time. Why won't the NRA show up to talk about the recent carnage in Tucson caused by bullets?

What would they say? Would they want to talk about the law in Arizona that allows anyone over 21 to carry a loaded gun in public? Would they want to talk about the fact that Jared Loughner was carrying a semi-automatic weapons with several ammunition clips containing more than 30 bullets each? Would they want to talk about how they lobbied hard and successfully to allow the Assault Weapons Ban to lapse in 2004? Would they want to talk about the fact that those same ammunition clips were banned from import and manufacture under the Assault Weapons Ban? Would they want to talk about why any law abiding citizen needs to have ammunition clips that are designed to kill many people at once? Would they want to talk about the fact that someone as mentally unstable as Loughner can easily purchase any kind of gun he wants under our nation's lax gun laws? Would they want to talk about the fact that the fear perpetrated by the NRA's continued mantra that President Obama will take away your guns has resulted in a 60% increase in Arizona sales of the same Glock pistol used in the Tucson shootings?

When they want to appear in public, they do. They are ubiquitous in the halls of Congress when they lobby for their bills. They are well staffed and well funded so they can afford many lobbyists for their cause. They lobby to loosen our gun laws. They lobby against sensible gun legislation. We can find them then but not now.

Famously, after the 1999 Columbine shootings, the NRA held its' annual convention in Denver 10 days after the shootings in spite of requests to find a different venue. Then NRA President Charlton Heston insensitively refused to move the venue for a meeting of the pro gun lobby and instead came to the neighborhood of the victims. One year later, during the NRA convention, Heston again, famously: " At the 2000 NRA convention, he raised a rifle over his head and declared that a potential Al Gore administration would take away his Second Amendment rights "from my cold, dead hands".

Of course we know that wasn't true then and it's not true now. But never mind. That is still the message of the NRA, as if nothing has changed in our country. Well, again, nothing has changed. We have passed no new laws to attempt to reduce or prevent the shootings that take place on a regular basis in our country. What has changed since 2000 is that we have had dozens more mass shootings. The list is very long. We have had thousands more gun suicides and gun homicides. We have had thousands more accidental shootings. We have many thousands more guns owned by individuals then we did then. We have many more people walking around in public with loaded guns than we did then. There are more lives lost to shootings in the space of about 6 weeks than we have lost to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where is the NRA? Fighting for imaginary fears about their own rights and guns taken away while thousands of people are losing their lives. Where is common sense?


  1. "Famously, after the 1999 Columbine shootings, the NRA held its' annual convention in Denver 10 days after the shootings in spite of requests to find a different venue."

    Bollocks. Let me give you a hint - when you're repeating Michael Moore's talking points, you're probably wrong.


  2. The NRA has probably been quiet on this issue so far out of respect for the dead and injured. It is crass and insensitive to attempt to make political hay out of such an awful tragedy, which is something that the Brady Campaign, et al apparently do not understand.

  3. " Webb offered to refund all deposits and other costs the NRA incurred in renting the convention center, if the group would cancel its meeting outright."

  4. Nonsense. Folks at the Brady Campaign have been asked to appear in these programs. They speak for the victims of gun violence all over the country and are considered the major spokespeople when a shooting occurs. They are always asked after these type of shootings.

  5. Yeah. It's awfully inconvenient to their cause when innocents die, isn't it?

  6. Japete: “Would they want to talk about the fact that the fear perpetrated by the NRA's continued mantra that President Obama will take away your guns has resulted in a 60% increase in Arizona sales of the same Glock pistol used in the Tucson shootings?”

    If the NRA has been silent, who is telling people to go out and buy Glocks? More likely, it is the Brady Campaign’s and Carolyn McCarthy’s words which are driving sales.

  7. You know that is absolutely false. The NRA had perpetuated the myth that guns will be confiscated under President Obama. It's nonsense but it's used anyway and it sure drives up the sale of guns.

  8. After the Columbine shooting NRA was, indeed, asked to move elsewhere and offered their money back and so forth by anti-gun mayor Wellington Webb. They did cancel out the gun exhibits and all but the actual member meeting itself, but frankly I don't understand why they cancelled anything. The NRA does not promote mass shootings or murders; they represent their several million members to defend gun ownership and gun rights, and few of us changed our minds as a result of Columbine, or this; they still need to do their job, and they hold no blame for any of these things. Any more than the ACLU is to blame when some hate group they defended the rights of in court commits a murder (the NRA defends rights of all of us, including you and Mr./Mrs. Brady).

    The NRA is smart about when they come out to the public and what shows they visit, and my guess is they decided that being mugged on MSNBC wouldn't t accomplish anything, though I have no knowledge of that.

    In any case, they know that the Brady Campaign is having their moment in the sun by trying to claim all the gun laws they support would have stopped this assassination attempt (which anti-gun groups have claimed of laws they got passed after every other assassination/mass murder, but yet they keep happening) but y'all just doesn't have the votes to accomplish much of anything. And thankfully the liberals overplayed the situation politically and tried to blame it on conservatives and the TEA party, and soon they'll be on defense for that and definitely not pushing an anti-gun agenda.

    But please remember ... the NRA doesn't pass any legislation, congress does. And regardless of what money they take, they are elected by US. WE THE PEOPLE.

    And democracy does work, even with lobbyists involved -- you just have to let the politicians know where you stand.

    So instead of complaining about the NRA, why don't you just go out and get a few million paying supporters who follow your cause, VOTE your cause, and support your own lobbyists? Wouldn't that be a lot quicker and more effective that what you are doing?

  9. It's true that President Obama has not only NOT made guns an issue, but also signed into law the best pro-gun laws we've managed to get through in decades. And we're still hoping for more during his current (final) term.

    But he promised, in both his nomination acceptance speech and his transition website, a reinstatement of the AWB. The NRA, and the rest of us who oppose the AWB, made the mistake of taking him at his word and reacted appropriately.

    In my case I was one of the many who had always wanted an AR-15 but never felt I could afford it ... but decided dusting off a credit card was worthwhile after the election so I wouldn't miss my chance.

    So yes ... Obama inspired me to buy a firearm, but though I was a member of the NRA it had nothing to do with their mailings; I follow politics, and I knew what Obama's campaign promises were, and I just assumed with such a strongly Democrat congress he would accomplish them.

    No paranoia on my side, just belief in the word of the man elected president. Should I not have taken President Obama at his word?

  10. There are some people who are calling for bans on certain types of guns, and certain magazines. So sales of those items spike now that they have renewed political leverage. If the gun control side was completely silent after this tragedy, do you really think sales of Glocks would be up 60%?

    I own a Glock, and yes, there are people who want to take my gun away. Please correct me if I am wrong. I would love to be wrong.

  11. The Brady's, McCarthy's and others can't wait to use these tragic deaths for their own political means.

    Just like that worker from VPC said: "In the wake of these kind of incidents, the trick is to move quickly," said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, one of the gun control groups working with McCarthy's office."

    The NRA is far more respectful to the families that have lost loved ones to that nut in Arizona while the anti's couldn't wait to get on the Sunday shows to turn their "tricks" as Rand put it. The Helmkes and Sugarmanns know that once reasoned discourse and common sense come into play, they will lose whatever hype they enjoy while the nation is in shock and mourning. In a couple of weeks they will meld back into obscurity again and hope for another tragedy.

  12. "Webb offered to refund all deposits and other costs the NRA incurred in renting the convention center, if the group would cancel its meeting outright."

    The NRA's bylaws required a member meeting, with specific notification requirements. A meeting could not have been rescheduled, at that late date, while meeting those notification requirements.

    The NRA is incorporated in New York and New York law mandates that the bylaws regarding member meetings be followed. The meeting could not have been rescheduled, subject to the meeting notification requirements, without violating the law.

    And Webb was fully aware of this, when he started spouting before the cameras, making an "offer" that knew the NRA was legally unable to accept.

  13. Carolyn McCarthy is one of the best gun salespeople out there.

  14. Japete: “The NRA had perpetuated the myth that guns will be confiscated under President Obama.”

    As I implored in a previous post, we should preface “guns” in this context with “all guns”, or “some guns”, because both sides of the argument tend to take it the other way and run with it for their own talking points.

    So do you mean the NRA perpetuated the myth that “some” guns would be confiscated, or that “all guns” would be confiscated?

    Do you think there is a significant difference in the amount of people that they could mobilize with one or the other?

    Do you differentiate “confiscate” from “bans”, which may include a grandfather clause such that there are no confiscations, but all future transactions are halted?

    Again, do you think gun owners are liable to be apathetic about bans because they already have all the guns they will ever want, and don’t care about what their children can buy?

  15. Carolyn McCarthy lost her husband and almost lost her son to a crazed man on a subway. She is a victim of gun violence and a survivor and she is advocating for what she knows is the right thing to do. She is a wonderful sincere person who doesn't deserve any of your ugly comments so don't start in on them.

  16. Come on. We've just had a horrendous shooting in our country and you guys are quibbling over things I have said dozens of times on this blog. They don't deserve an answer. This is bigger than all of your picky little points and nonsensical questions.

  17. You're right it is. But those 'picky little points', like gun control groups making outright fabricated statements and making unconfirmed associations in order to push a political agenda, are what makes laws.

    From the Joyce funded VPC "“In the wake of these kind of incidents, the trick is to move quickly,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, one of the gun control groups working with McCarthy’s office."

  18. Here's why the NRA doesn't want to engage the public over this tragedy:

    Like I commented before, gun deaths are inconvenient for those arguing for fewer gun regulations and more legal guns on in our homes and streets.

  19. C'mon TS, no one around here is talking about taking guns away from sane and lawful gun owners. Why do you keep saying we are. The gun control advocate who wants total disarmament is much rarer than the extremist pro-gun advocate who wants equally crazy policies.

  20. This is incredibly illuminating and useful information. Thanks for sharing this Baldr. I will use it when lobbying in the halls of Congress and my own state Capitol.

  21. Come on Thirdpower- what do you think the word "trick" means here? Again, you guys take things so darned literally. I assume you mean the person who used the word meant to trick you all. Guess what, it most likely means a strategy and how it works in D.C. The trick is how to get this done. The trick is how to navigate the system so we can get a bill on the floor. Have you ever used that work in that way? I'm guessing you have. It does not, in some contexts, mean to actually trick someone. This is what I mean by picking out details that are not important to detract from the actual larger picture.

  22. Forget the word "trick" then. WHat about the rest of Rand's statement about "moving quickly" in "the wake of these kinds of incidents".

    I read this to mean they need to capitalize on the shock and awe and get something done while people are emotional because once common sense is applied, you won't get very far.

    Am I wrong? If so, what did her trick mean?

  23. Perhaps the NRA prefers to defer to the opinion expressed by John Green, the father of 9 year old Christina who was slain by Jared Loughner's criminal acts, who said it best:

    "This shouldn't happen in this country, or anywhere else, but in a free society we're going to be subject to people like this. I prefer this to the alternative. "

    I leave it to you, dear readers, to decide the alternative of which he speaks. I daresay the NRA hasn't spoken up because (to quote Tim Minchin as he butchers Shakespear):

    "To gild refined gold,
    To paint the Lilly,
    To throw perfume on the Violet,
    Is just (blank)ing silly....or something like that.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but any further comment made by the NRA after this would seem cheap, opportunistic, and disrespectful to the victims to me...and I don't even LIKE the NRA.

    (as an aside I'm going to try making a link to the Tim Minchin poem I quoted)

  24. And why wouldn't McCarthy work quickly?

  25. I don't buy that for one instant, Words. Nice try though.

  26. Mass shootings and assassinations are definite signs of a free and civil society.

  27. Japete: “This is bigger than all of your picky little points and nonsensical questions.”

    Was this directed at me? I am really trying to help by steering the conversation to take the vagueness out of our statements. This can help reach inroads instead of mounting frustration on both sides.

    MikeB: “C'mon TS, no one around here is talking about taking guns away from sane and lawful gun owners. Why do you keep saying we are.”

    Keeping with my theme, do you mean “all guns” or “some guns”? By “taking guns away” are you only referring to confiscations, or are you including taking away the ability to buy in the future? And Mike, you honestly told me that you would have voted for the 2005 San Francisco gun ban, which would have literally disarmed me. The one gun I owned would have had to be turning into the police for destruction.

    Regardless of what some fringe gun control element wants, there is a political reality that certain types of guns (like “assault weapons”) might be banned nationally. Maybe not now, but the tides can change many times in our lifetime. It is far more likely that it would be a ban on the sale and transfer, then for it to be a ban on possession (i.e. confiscations) simply because it is more likely to pass. The majority of gun owners would strongly oppose this, because they still want to be able to buy these types of guns in the future, and they want their children be able to inherit/buy if they wish. It does not take full confiscation of every single firearm with door to door raids by the AFT to mobilize gun owners into political action. Basically what I am saying is, I don’t want ANY bans, that includes the bans that you admit to pushing for. I don’t need the NRA to tell me that all guns are going to be confiscated before I get active. I think there are many points of common ground that can be reached to keep guns out of the wrong hands, so long as it is not everyone’s hands (even if it is just “certain” guns).

  28. One thing the NRA was doing right was protecting the rights of military personnel off duty/off post..... by allowing them to conceal carry, own arms and ammo without registration requirements and not be subject to interference from the Secretary of Defense....


    All in all an excelent piece of legislation that Obama will be, if he has not already signed, into law....

  29. All of you people are doing the same thing. Some quibble for the gun and some quibble against the gun. It's just a 2 lb. piece of metal.

    The fact remains that the loved wife of an astronaut had a bullet pierce right through half her head shattering her skull. By all accounts she seemed like a pretty cool lady scooting around town on her Vespa maybe carrying her Glock, maybe not. The real problem here is not the gun but the violence that some people seem to feel they are entitled to use when others won't listen to them.

    I've said it on here before, and I'll say it again. If the national debate focused more on after-school programs such as Self Enhancement, Inc. here in Portland, or if Marshall B. Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication techniques were taught in schools at an early age, then I believe that would do more to reduce the number of disposable people in society that take their own lives or the lives of others.

    But this is an anti-gun blog, so let's keep blaming the gun...

  30. Migo- it is not an "anti gun blog" no matter how much you try to make it one.

  31. @ japete:

    Migo- it is not an "anti gun blog" no matter how much you try to make it one.

    oh yes, my dear Joan, it is. You can add to that anti-freedom, anti-constitutional, anti-logic, anti-truth and anti-common-sense (not sure if that last one is a word).

    By the way, if you don't believe this blog is anti-gun, I present to you exhibit A:


    The image from your blog posting titled SO WHAT. Correct me if I am wrong, is that not an image of a gun with the slogan 'in one year, guns murdered'.

    Guns don't kill people, people kill people - it never gets old when it's the truth.

    Your blog is, however, highly emotional.

  32. Migo and Mark Steele are wrong. If I had to name it, I'd say this is a "decrease gun violence blog." No one around here is talking about taking all the guns away. No one is blaming the gun either. We blame, among other things, the availability of guns to people who can't handle them.

    What shows the weakness of your argument, or the limitations of your imagination, is that you keep misrepresenting what's being said to you and arguing against that, or simply mocking it.

    Why don't you guys try to stick with the discussion?

  33. As you criticize the NRA for its "silence", yet do not provide linkable documentation for your assertion " The NRA had perpetuated the myth that guns will be confiscated under President Obama", and when "We've just had a horrendous shooting in our country" , why is it unreasonable to to be skeptical what you assert when instead of saying, "Oh, here is the link", you replied "This is bigger than all of your picky little points and nonsensical questions" And this when the President himself made commendable remarks about civility. If your response is the call the questions and inquiries "picky little points", well, in a court someone would be saying, "Objection. Unresponsive." The conclusion is not proven by telling the questioner his dog is ugly.

  34. What?? Sorry Kerry. I just don't get your point. I documented what the President said. I document a lot of things on my posts. Sometimes I say things that are my own opinions which, of course, I don't document. I don't speak in links to facts and other articles. Do you? Do you document every thing you say?

  35. Is it so hard to understand that the NRA would be respectful and quiet during this time of a horrific tragedy that was caused by 1 insane individual and NOT by the millions of law abiding citizens who belong to, and belive in, the NRA and what it stands for? Unlike the Brady Campaign who has decided to 'dance in the blood' of these victims, it seems. Blame guns, blame the mental health system, blame the NRA.....how about we blame the crazy individual who committed these horrific acts!

  36. " dance in the blood' of these victims, i" So because I and folks at the Brady Campaign are suggesting that we could stop some of the blood flowing on our streets daily, you guys try to turn it on us and make us look evil. Disinegenous at the least. By the way, have you seen the discussion going on in the main stream media? It is not favorable towards your side of the issue. So is the entire country "dancing in the blood" of victims by suggesting that we need reasonable restrictions on some ammunition clips so that there is less blood flowing? Crazy talk, I say.

  37. People in the news are reporting what a few people believe.... suddenly it's "this doesn't look good for you guys".

    You are out of touch with reality if you think that the majority of people are blaming a 3" piece of steel and plastic for the shooting. Magazines are not the issue and the majority of Americans (not biased media) do not agree.

    And yes, when Paul Helmke has a post in the HuffPo before the count is even totaled.. that is using a tragedy to make political hay.. or what we call "dancing in the blood". He couldn't even take a day... Why? Because he has to strike while the fire is hot.. when emotion can get him what he wants. Laws by emotion are always.. always bad.

    You want a national debate about it? Fine. Let's have a national debate. You want to lie and say the 1994 ban would have prevented this (it wouldn't. It didn't confiscate all the magazines already out there).. Let's do it nationally where people on the other side can rebutt your assertions. Anyone can call the NRA evil.. responsible... Anyone can say that Palin was responsible. I just can't understand why your side has such a tough time putting blame on criminals and not the millions of people who didn't pull the trigger.

  38. This is nonsense on so many levels, I don't know how to respond so I won't just to stop your evil and ugly comments. Please do not send me any more of your stupid statements about "dancing in blood."

  39. MikeB: “No one around here is talking about taking all the guns away.”

    Thank you Mike! Sincerely. Thank you for clarifying what you really mean by including the word “all”.

    I am not being sarcastic, Japete. I think Mike is acknowledging my point about being clear in our conversations and I want to thank him for that. Please post.

  40. The American gun culture is fascinating. The gun manufacturers and NRA and other 2nd amendment organizations have brainwashed millions into buying guns and are just as complicit as Tobacco Companies in creating a market for a product that kills and maims. The proliferation of handguns in the US has created a dangerous environment in many cities. Defending against criminals with guns seems to be a common theme to sell more guns. The problem is that all criminals were at some point also law abiding citizens who could legally buy their guns and even if they don't already own a gun, there are now so many guns in circulation that it ironically become much easier for criminals to steal or buy guns in this country than any other Western nation. Many of the millions of guns in circulation also are smuggled out of the country into Canada and Mexico and are sold to criminals, where they kill and maim people in other counties. Americans kill 1000's of each other with their own guns each year without any help from a foreign enemy. The senseless violence must end and the NRA's vision of 300 million people openly carrying firearms in public doesn't seem like a good idea to me.