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, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day everyone

Here are some things one can do with guns on Valentine's Day. This sex toy shop wants to swap guns for sex toys. Really? This is an interesting and unique idea. Turn in your guns for sex toys and help rid the streets of guns. ""You never know, maybe there will be someone who says, 'I've got this gun that I could go rob a liquor store with, or maybe I can get me a blow-up doll for Valentine's Day, instead'.''At least the owner has the right goal in mind. Who knows? The end result may be a good one for all concerned. I don't know that there is anything else I can say about this one.

Or you could have a date night at the shooting range. This story from the Star Tribune highlights how women in Minnesota have become more interested in guns- supposedly for self defense. It sounds as if some just like shooting the guns at targets. But some gun shops and shooting ranges are taking advantage of this interest ( which came first- the interest in guns or the promotion of the need for guns for women?) and offering special events for women, including date night. From the article: " Most reservations are initiated by women "looking for something new and exciting to do on date night," said trainer Anne Yatch." So take your honey to the gun range and have a great Valentine's Day. ( Apologies for not being able to show the full article from the Star Tribune. They have a new policy, apparently, to have readers pay to read the full article. I have seen the real article but not in a form that I could link for my readers.)


  1. Few months ago, we were at the range and I noticed a large number of women shooters. I wandered over and introduced myself. Turns out that a local church put together a ladies night at the range. It was very cool, they got to try all sorts of firearms - everyone had a blast!

  2. Bills is only one range that does this. Thee are several that have similar nights. For about half the women, the instigating motivation for attending is some incident which made them understand their vulnerability.

    I did read that the other Heather tried to spout her usual load of crap but in each case women at the range debunked it.

  3. I could see someone commenting that the two items you post on could work together, as long as you did the shooting range date part first ... but that would be too crude for me to do, of course.

    My wife does enjoy shooting and goes out to the range with me on occasion, though if I were to schedule such a date night for Valentines day there would be many problems around here.

    My two little girls enjoy shooting the airguns and target trap I bought for that purpose. When they get old enough hopefully they'll enjoy the real thing too.

  4. My wife likes to shoot. Has her CCW, has attended pistol classes, competes in USPSA (action pistol competition), done a few three gun matches and keeps pestering me to buy her a .500 S&W Magnum. Oh, and she has been to four Appleseed rifle marksmanship clinics.

    I am very fortunate to have a wonderful shooter like her in my life.

  5. To Anon - Wow, if your wife can drive the .50 that is pretty amazing. What a great gift idea, those big S&W are works of art. We have ladies night at the range near me and it is usually packed. I had my first IDPA meet this weekend and holy buckets there were some women there that could finish the stage on the first mag. Joan you would love IDPA, very professional and everyone was so helpful.

  6. I am having a problem figuring what is wrong with this?
    Is it women shooting?
    Ranges marketing to women?
    Women interested in guns for self defense?
    Women just interested in shooting?
    People doing this on a date?
    people doing this on Valentines day?
    No problem at all just informing us to watch out so we can take our Significant others to date night at the range?

  7. The firearms forum/club I belong to has done several "Women On Target" programs, designed to reach out to women who may be a bit intimidated by it, but want to learn. They have been pretty successful here in NY.

    I was actually going to go to a shooting match with my girlfriend on Sunday, but it was canceled because the range had too much snow still. She has been to the range and to an Appleseed, but she just likes making a big hole out of the center of a target. She also believes a woman should know how to defend herself if necessary.

    I don't think there is really any "promotion of the need for guns for women", I think there is just finally a long overdue drive to cater towards women, in a field that has been very much male-dominated. If women can be doctors, scientists, politicians, construction workers, race car drivers, fighter jet pilots, etc, then they can sure as hell be shooting sports enthusiasts too!


  8. Ha! Sex toys for guns! Well, I guess that's one way to get guns off the street or out of homes. Whatever works.

    Date night at the shooting range? I can think of more romantic endeavors or meet-ups. It's all part of "romanticizing" our culture of guns.

  9. My true Love might be up to that next year. Since this one kinda sucked, Our restaurant and a couple of the others were full up. Makes me want to open the disused restaurant in the range parking lot and run holiday specials.

    If I get rich off this idea, Joan, come in. I'll buy your dinner!

  10. Baldr. Frankly who cares what you think about romance. Women who have not predjudiced by people like you, and Joan, and a lot of others actually find out that first and foremost shooting is fun. Women love it. It empowers their minds. If you don't care for it, BFD, they like itand every single woman I can get to the range to shoot becomes a convert. They learn what they have been told about shooting and guns is mostly hogwash. They learn that "magnums" do not blow you backwards or flip the shooter on their back. They learn that Evil Black Rifles are in fact, low recoiling, easy to shoot, semi autos that are far less powerful than Gramp's ought-six.

    That's why these scare the anti gunners, It's like turning on the lights inside the fright house, they see all the fear is just imagination.

  11. "It's all part of "romanticizing" our culture of guns."

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    "Be not afraid of any man
    no matter what his size;
    when danger threatens, call on me,
    and I will equalize."

  12. Really jdege? Where did that come from? I don't like what it means- guns as equalizers?? Who should you call on when you need your gun? Is this a gundamentalism thing? Worship of guns is what it sounds like.

  13. GMC70 says:

    japete wrote: Where did that come from? I don't like what it means- guns as equalizers??

    Once again, japete, your level of naivety is astounding. It's an old, old idea:

    "God made men. Samuel Colt made men equal."

    A firearm is indeed an equalizer. It permits a small, frail woman to have a reasonable chance of defending herself against a much larger, stronger attacker - and you would deprive her of that right.

    Put it this way: "Gun control" is the idea that a woman lying raped and dead, strangled by her own hose, is morally superior to that same woman explaining to police how her attacker got those fatal bullet wounds.

    And I'll second jdedge's statement: every time I take a new shooter to the range, they learn that much of what they've been told is false. They also learn, often, that they enjoy it and that they can and often do assume some responsibiliity for their own safety. After all - police, as dedicated and helpful as they may be, cannot be everywhere. In the seconds when my life is on the line, I can rely on no one but myself.


  14. Arrogance- GMC- comments belittling me by calling me naive will not be published on this blog.

  15. GMC70 says:

    Fair enough - your house, your rules. I gotta call 'em as I see 'em. It's just that the idea of a firearm as an "equalizer" is hardly new, or unusual. The phrase is as old as the gun it refers to - the Colt Peacemaker.

    That said, you don't hesitate to refer to persons as, and I'll quote, "Tea Party Thugs" or condemn what you label as LaPierre's "insanity." It seems that you hand out those pejoratives at will, but object to comments in return. If you wanna play rough, you have to expect rough in return.

    BTW - if you ever get out my way - Kansas - I'll be glad to take you to the range, eeeeeeevil black rifle in hand. My treat.

    - GMC70

  16. "Where did that come from?"

    It's an advertising slogan from the 1870's. It's been part of the popular culture since, and it is odd you'd not encountered it before.

  17. GMC- Yes I do sometimes call out others by using terms such as insanity. I try not to call my commenters that unless they deserve it. But honestly- you are dealing with a different culture when talking to me. Those who agree with me are often not familiar with your terminology. I am also getting a kick out of the invitations to go to the shooting range or even out to eat with you guys. We might actually have a good time or we could be quite uncomfortable. It's unlikely to happen but I appreciate the offer.

  18. Yes, jdege. I found this as well: " God may have created all men, but it was Sam Colt who made them equal. So it was said of the Old West, where Colt’s six-shooter gave the small man a certain equality. In the 21st century, the atom bomb is the great equalizer. No matter how evil the outlaw regime, acquisition of an atom bomb can earn it respect. When one has the bomb, attention must be paid." or this: "
    Are Schools the Great Equalizer? " or this:"Social Media, the Great Equalizer" or even: " Thankfully, organizations such as the GAVI Alliance have made the call for vaccine access and availability their central focus, and more decision-makers are beginning to realize that vaccines are great equalizers" or this: ( about golf)-" Finally, in order to equalize the distribution of strokes over 18 holes, odd-numbered handicap strokes are assigned to the front nine and even-numbered ones to the back nine. Throughout the process, the committee should review its mathematical results and make sure they reflect actual playing conditions. " The article was titled, "The Great Equalizer" So if you aren't paying that much attention to Sam Colt and the guns made by his company, you might not actually know about that quote.

  19. So much of this comes down to philosophy. If you believe most people are good, than empowering individuals should net more good than evil.

    The internet is a fine example. While the vast majority of users simply read sports scores or Hollywood gossip, a single person can leak national security secrets with massive geo-political consequences.

    Some regimes restrict free speech and internet usage, have separate laws for women and do other things most Americans find disagreeable.

    I don't think the polarized views on American gun culture are fundamentally different.

    (And yes - I understand irresponsible internet use probably never directly has resulted in a death of someone, while irresponsible gun use can.)

  20. Idk Sean, there are those arguments of 'cyber bullying' having driven kids to suicide. Of course not nearly on the same level as deaths with guns, but I'm sure there are other examples of people being hurt due to someone else's use of the internet, probably mostly indirectly. Hate crimes are one thing I could think of as being very likely, but the Internet is just another media with which to spread ideas that have been around forever. Otherwise though, I agree with you.

    As for the guns as equalizers idea, I am actually surprised you are not familiar with the saying, Joan. Besides being part of an old Colt Firearms ad, it is a line that the NRA (and other gun owners and pro-gun groups) pushes constantly; that a gun allows a person to defend themselves against an otherwise physically superior aggressor. Yes people could use pepper spray and martial arts for self defense too, but those don't have the deterrence and power of a firearm. Guns are the great equalizer in a physical confrontation, allowing the physically weaker a better chance against the physically or numerically stronger. That's not saying that everyone must have guns, but that they should have the opportunity to eliminate the disparity in strength.

    Likewise, education, medicine, etc, are great equalizers too. Everyone should have the choice to take advantage of those opportunities, though nobody should be forced to.

    What do you mean by the "Great Equalizer" quotes above, that the phrase is common elsewhere, and so the old Colt ad doesn't stand out?


  21. Japete, the quote about Sam Colt is from the civil war era. Mashing some commentary about nukes does not fit.

    If naive is harsh, I would suggest under informed on many fronts. This is not a put down. You have your circle of comfort, we have ours.

    I was pretty sure the information about the "Killing Fields" was universal knowledge. It dominated world news for well over a year. Likewise:
    North Korea

  22. Are you opposed to women shooting guns more, the same, or less than you're opposed to men shooting guns?


    Re the buyback, I'm glad that the shop holds an FFL. It certainly sounds like they're "in the business" of trading firearms for profit. I'm fine with private businesses doing that, especially when they're not destroying potential collector's items. I just don't like my tax dollars being used to melt down collectors items -- it is like lighting money on fire, just a little less efficient.

    Unfortunately, such buybacks may be aiding or abetting criminals who need to fence "hot" guns. A legitimate seller can get far more than $40 for almost any firearm. A con with a stolen gun may be happy to get what he can though.

  23. Dear readers, Not only am I naive and stupid and all of the ugly words thrown my way, but now I am under informed or ill informed. Oh dear. It's actually a badge of honor to be called names and belittled by you guys. It says a lot more about you than it does about me.

  24. GMC70 says:

    "Not only am I naive and stupid and all of the ugly words thrown my way, but now I am under informed or ill informed."

    On the contrary, japete. It says you haven't done your homework.

    It's not uncommon. We often see gunbanners making ignorant and stupid statements. Carolyn McCarty's infamous "shoulder thingy that goes up" is one example, or the NY State legislator proclaiming - on video - that a .50 rifle can shoot "heat seaking" rounds. Claims that same rifle is meant to "shoot down airplanes. Both claims are ridiculous on their face, of course. Mythology about "cop killer" or "armor piercing" bullets abounds, much of it fueled by a Hollywood that uses firearms to make so many movies yet so often gets much of its firearms facts wrong.

    I remember when Glocks first appeared, and the usual suspects were claiming that this was a "plastic" gun designed to get past metal detectors. The claim is ludicrous on its face to anyone with basic firearms knowledge, yet it was made.

    Not so long ago, you proclaimed 10 round "clips" to be normal, only to be corrected roundly. The "clip" vs. "magazine" may seem like a trivial thing, but it tells us whether the writer knows his or her subject or not. You don't.

    Missing the "equalizer" reference was just another example - it's a very common reference, even among the public in general, not just gunnies; the idea that you, advocating as you do, were unfamiliar with the reference said a lot.

    And then there's those in the gunbanner community - Helmke, Bloomberg, the Violence Policy Center - who are not just ill informed, they're downright dishonest. When Bloomberg continues to claim the Tiahrt amendment does what it plainly does not do, he does not help your cause. When guns are portrayed as fully automatic "machine guns," when they plainly are not (like your current nominee for ATF head did recently), they are not helping your cause. When the VPC puts out their hit piece "concealed carry killers" full of misinformation and outright lies, hoping to use fear and paranoia (sound familiar, japete?) to scare citizens into believing their friends and neighbors are potential murderers, they are not helping your cause.

    Call it naivety, or being ill informed, or whatever. But if you want to pass yourself off as an advocate, the first step is to be knowledgeable. So many in the gunbanner school of thought simply are not.

    So when I call you "naive" or others call you "ill-informed," we are not being snarky or insulting; we're telling you the truth as we see it.

    Many in the liberty community would not want me to tell you this; we use the obvious ignorance about basic facts among the gunbanners to our advantage. But I believe that real information works to our advantage.

    See, I was once where you are. I came to where I am not through a traumatic event (I've never pointed my weapon at a human being, and hope never have to; I've never been touched directly by a crime committed with a gun, though I did have a student murdered over the summer when I was teaching), but through reading and learning. And the more I learned, the more convinced I became that the liberty community was right. Thus, there is hope for you as well!!!

    And the invitation's still open, japete.

    - GMC70

  25. These are probably some of the ugliest comments and lies to be published by me on this blog. I publish them to show my readers to what extent the pro guns will go to demean, belittle, intimidate and harass those of us who are working to end gun violence. Thanks for the good time, GMC but your comments are no longer welcome on this blog.

  26. Joan, First I hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day. Mine wasn't so good even if the day before was.

    Second, I read and reread the published comments and though I'm sure you've had some really nasty ones that weren't published I just don't see the ugliness or lies you're referring to. To call someone naive isn't automatically an insult or ugly. If I say someone is naive for believing in unicorns it isn't being ugly, it's fact.

    I also don't think, of the published comments, anyone was trying to say you're stupid or unintelligent. A person can be misinformed or uninformed and be neither stupid nor unintelligent. I once had a teacher explain the difference between "dumb" and "stupid". A dumb person has not been taught (or learned themselves) and it isn't an insult. A stupid person has been taught and goes about dumbly anyway. That is an insult.

    I don't really hold to the idea that a random person must know the difference between "magazine" and "clip" to be taken seriously. That being said, it is fact that many people on "your" side tend to be uninformed or at least seem that way. You and I may not agree on many things, but you would make a more effective advocate if you did more research on the subject.

  27. Well Atrius- how do you like being called stupid, ill informed, naive on a daily basis by people who don't even know you and really want to make you look stupid. You guys are people who don't trust me, I don't think you like me much, you think I am after your guns and you want to do everything you can to discredit me. Name calling seems high on the list which I consider childish and acting like play yard bullies. But whatever. I am betting that you don't have people attacking you every day in writing. I get pretty fed up with it since I am actually a pretty gentle and sincere person. But naive and misinformed does not in any way describe me. No one who knows me would say that about me. So you guys think anything goes when it comes to making your points and "defending your rights." You are wrong. The people on "my side" who I know quite well are respectable people who are well educated, well informed, have a lot more integrity than the pro gun guys who comment here and for whom I and most who know them, have great respect. Their respect is well deserved for what they do in their lives, what positions they hold, the amazing accomplishments of many of them and their general good will and wish to change the culture of gun violence in this country. That is who you are calling names. Some of these people have famous names as well that you would recognize. Your side shows no respect for anyone no matter who they are. That is why I fight back. You are insulting my integrity- something I value and have worked hard to maintain. In my community, I have a lot of it. I will not let you pro gun guys take me down by insulting me. So continue defending those on your side who insist on engaging in these sort of tactics. But in the end, it will not reflect well on you or the pro gun movement.

  28. Joan,
    First, I actually do like you or at least like the way that you do publish comments and haven't just shut them down and run away as many before you. You've shown conviction, courage and patience that most, if not all, before you haven't. That alone is worthy of respect even if we disagree politically.
    That said, you're right. I don't get called names on a daily basis in writing. I would also agree that name calling, by either said, has no place in debate. However, saying someone is misinformed or uninformed on a particular subject isn't really name calling. You could easily say I was misinformed on any of a dozen subjects and be perfectly correct. I would take no insult in this and not be the least bit upset. If the assessment was incorrect, I should be able to easily show it to be incorrect. If it is correct, then it is on me to go and get informed and return to the debate.
    I'm sure the people you refer to as being respectable and educated are exactly as you say. That alone doesn't make one qualified to recommend policy changes in an area that a person may not fully understand. The assessment of some of those people not fully understanding the subject area is based on their statements and a hope that they are not intentionally being misleading in some cases. For if they are fully informed and knowledgeable there have been statements made that are highly questionable. Would you rather me think they were merely uninformed, which isn't a fault or insult, or that they were lying, which is an insult? I prefer to think of them as simply not knowing any better until they are proven to have spoken untruthfully.
    Guns are gun laws are not even remotely simple subjects even before you get into the philosophical arguments. Saying someone doesn't fully understand them, and is therefore possibly uninformed or even naive is not an insult. It is often fact. Many people go through life thinking they know what they do not know. In this area an easy example is that most people assume all machine gun ownership is illegal. As you know of course, it isn't. Those people are, for whatever reason, uninformed. It isn't an insult to say so. I am uninformed and possibly naive about hundreds, if not thousands, of subjects.

    Last thing, I presume you're using "you" throughout your comment in the editorial sense. I hope that is entirely the case as I don't believe I've ever insulted you or called you any names, have I?

    Sorry if this all sounds harsh or anything. It isn't meant that way and you know what they say about "tone" online. :)

  29. Atrius- I just wonder why you think those of us on my side are not informed or misinformed. You have no idea how much reading and researching the people on my side do. Just because it does not agree with your views does not mean we are uniformed or naive. Just because we are not into the language and culture of guns does not mean we don't know what's right and what's wrong. When we propose bills, we have some very smart people doing research and writing for us. I am impressed by the depth of the knowledge, actually. It might be a different type of knowledge or a different perspective from yours, but we do our homework. Now you guys find it objectionable that our facts differ from yours. We are not making them up. In fact, we try to carefully make our case. Sometimes we might say something in the wrong way. Excuse us for being human beings. You would probably not know much about victims' resources, for example. Or maybe not about the legal system following a shooting of a loved one. But because you don't, I wouldn't say you are misinformed or naive. I would just say it's something you had no reason to know about. Such is the case with the gun issue. To claim that those of us who want to stop shootings should be gun experts is ludicrous and a false argument. To say I am naive because I didn't know about the Sam Colt ad is ridiculous. What does it prove? That you guys know more? That you can brag and blog about how stupid I am on your blogs? That is not what I do. That is not my intention. I get drawn into these stupid arguments that I don't care to have. That is exactly what you all want. You want me to make a mistake or say something you consider naive so you can belittle me and write about how everyone on my side is lying. If you recall GMC claimed that Paul Helmke was lying and Rep. McCarthy was stupid. A woman who lost her husband in an awful shooting and whose son has a permanent disability because of someone with a high capacity magazine and gun is thoughtless. To call Paul Helmke a liar is disengenuous. He was a Mayor and is a lawyer and wise man. You can't just say things like that when they are not true. Granted, I do sometimes say those things about folks on your side if I have evidence that they have lied or are deceiving. We are not all perfect. But this is why we can't get anything done. You all don't seem to want to and I do. That's where this leaves us. I do appreciate what you said but if you actually believe everything you said, then you support that kind of rhetoric. I admit that I don't understand every part of every law. Good grief- how could I? Even legislators and law enforcement don't understand them all because they are so complex and badly written. Give us a break.

  30. Point of order: Paul Helmke can be a mayor and a lawyer and maybe even a wise man and still be a liar.

    As a matter of fact the idea that lawyers are liars is so pervasive there is an entire movie about a lying lawyer (Liar, Liar).
    Mayors, well, how many have been indicted, convicted and such over the years.

    Likewise Rep. McCarthy may or may not be "stupid". I wouldnt have chosen those words. However losing her husband in a shooting provokes sympathy but has no bearing on a discussion of her mental capacities.

    Should we "play nice"? I tend to think so. But how many times have you used the term? In private? With fellow people that support gun control? It happens and when you believe passionately in something you are going to mean it.

  31. japete said...

    I admit that I don't understand every part of every law. Good grief- how could I? Even legislators and law enforcement don't understand them all because they are so complex and badly written. Give us a break. "

    This is part of the problem and to be honest something that I think we could work towards cleaning up. You might be surprised to get our support as long as you don't try to move the goalpost while cleaning.

  32. I'm still not understanding this whole argument about the insults. I understand you get called nasty things, it's not right, but we do too, and you have called gun owners nasty things yourself. You may have been much less nasty than some of the commenters here, but other gun control advocates have the nastiest things to say about us.

    And I don't think it's a big insult to be called naive or misinformed on a particular subject. People aren't saying you are naive or misinformed in general, but on the topic. If you are not familiar with a very common phrase and concept, or do not know about different firearms and the people who buy them and uses they see, then you are naive or misinformed on that subject.

    If I tried to engage in discussion about dog breeding right now, I would be terribly misinformed because I am not familiar with it, I don't take part in it, I haven't studied it. I would sound like an idiot trying to argue about regulating dog breeders, because I have limited experience with it. Likewise, if you say things that are wrong and use incorrect terminology, and don't recognize the different uses of many different firearms, then you will sound like an idiot. That's not a personal attack or meant to be an insult, I'm just saying that if you don't know what you're talking about, people will call you out on it. If you argue with them about it, then you only make yourself look stupid instead of simply not knowledgeable about the topic.

    And gun owners have respect for many people. We have respect for people who work hard to do things for others, we have respect for our country's leaders (well, most of them anyway), we have respect for people who make a living for themselves and treat others with respect, we have respect for people who have been through hardship but rebuild their lives. We don't have respect for people who take from others, we don't have respect for people who demand pity or a hand-out, and we certainly don't have respect for people who not only fail to treat us with respect, but treat us as though we are bad, selfish, careless, or criminal. Why should I respect someone who hates me, when they don't even know me?


  33. Anon- nope- you just can't say this- " her mental capacities." That is total nonsense.

  34. We most certainly discuss her mental capabilities, we can discuss the mental capabilities of Einstein and Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Rep McCarty was elected as a sympathy vote. And she knows it otherwise her son wouldn't be at all the campaignn rallies.

    She has good handlers. Nothing wrong with that. The interviews I have seen of her show some one who has good recall of talking points but is terrified of going off topic. That does show some wisdom, in that she knows what she doesn't know.

    Calling her the preeminent political mind of our time would be a huge stretch.

  35. First, we have quoted you a few times on our blog. However, we always link to the original post in an effort to provide context. I don't think we've misrepresented anything you said. If anything, our link increases your blog's rank in search engines which means more visitors and more eyeballs seeing your particular viewpoint. Most bloggers are happy to get more traffic!

    The unique thing about this particular forum is that it allows back and forth. Likewise, you quote people from our side -- fairly or unfairly, it is hard to tell due to the occasional censorship that occurs. Social networking is a key part of "new media." Interactivity is what makes your blog different from Mr. Goddard's or Mr. Helmke's press releases. I know I have gained some appreciation for your viewpoint, empathy for ways to communicate more effectively, and occasionally incredulity at the differences in how we view the world. None of that would be possible without back-and-forth.

    I don't really think it is insulting to be told that I am ill-informed on a subject if it is true. I am ill-informed on many things. That's why I generally try to only comment on things that I have done some research on, and even then I don't always get it right. It happens. Being called out is a way for me to learn what I don't actually know. I don't take it as a personal insult.

    Likewise, people who are victims of tragedies are entitled to privacy in their grief. However, the moment that they choose to enter the marketplace of ideas and advocate political change, then consideration -- including criticism -- of their ideas becomes valid. And if they choose to use their personal experience as evidence to support their ideas, then it also becomes valid to examine and question the nature and relevance of that personal experience.

    For example, say Sarah Palin proposes a new special ed initiative. It is fair to question her proposal: How much will it cost? Will it work? How will we measure its effectiveness? It is not really fair to bring her special needs child into the discussion... yet. Then say she trots out Trig at press conferences and uses his individual case as a call to action for her plan. It is then fair to ask, Is this particular case relevant? What does it prove? Asking those questions is fair and even required in a democracy.

    I genuinely don't intend to cross the line, and do desire to be civil, which is why I generally don't bring up such issues unless they are brought up first.

  36. Dang it all, those stories about victims are inconvenient.

  37. No, those stories are not "inconvenient" (your word). They are tragic losses, especially if preventable, and hopefully we can honor the memories by learning from those stories. But that doesn't give victims or survivors a free pass to push for any policy they want without critical examination of their claims.

    For example, while I empathize with the loss felt by a family that lost a loved one on 9/11, I don't unquestioningly support allowing them to determine foreign policy for the rest of us, or how to treat Muslims, or how to handle the balance between liberty and counterterrorism.

    Someone who lost a loved one on 9/11 or narrowly escaped death themselves, who chooses to register a political opinion (say, regarding building a mosque on Ground Zero), opens themselves up to criticism of that idea. And if they use their personal loss as justification for that idea ("Muslims shouldn't be allowed to worship at Ground Zero because my spouse was jumped out of the window of the WTC after those damn Hajis flew a plane into his office!") opens their personal, private tragedy up for public examination. I may understand and empathize with their frustration and pain, but that still doesn't mean I'm going to go along with their policy ideas or condone their bigotry.

    Likewise, someone who lost a loved one or was injured in the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota doesn't immediately become a structural engineer capable of dictating safe bridge design standards to the rest of us. Someone who lost a loved one to a disease doesn't have the same expertise as an MD or epidemiologist who I want designing our public health protocols.

    It isn't belittling victims or survivors to question their public and political assertions or to carefully examine the evidence that they use for their claims.

  38. Those badly written laws were written by those highly educated individuals who spent so much time on research?

    And just because Helmke may be working for the good cause of stopping gun violence, does not make him a saint who never lies. When I read things from Brady Campaign, I see lies or misrepresentations, and a lot of fear mongering, unfounded claims that this or that will result in horrid bloodshed, and that I am the enemy. But he doesn't say anything about getting kids off the streets and into school, or doing a better job of busting up gun running rings (or if he does, I've missed it every time). No, he says "ban this, because only criminals use it to kill", or "disallow that, because gun owners will cause bloodshed in parks". All this fear mongering propaganda nonsense, to my eye. If you believe in it then fine, but it doesn't make it true, just like not believing in something doesn't make it false.

    And while I do feel sorry for McCarthy and what happened to her family, that doesn't give her the right to attack law abiding people and take things away from them. Plus she knows absolutely nothing about guns whatsoever, so what kind of authority is she to determine what guns or features are necessary or not? There is the well known interview with her about the original AWB, in which she was asked what a barrel shroud was and why it was necessary to ban it, and she couldn't even make a reasonable guess. It's like if I asked somebody who was pushing laws about car safety, what an exhaust header was, and they said it was something on the trunk of the car that flipped up.

    And fwiw, Ferguson did not use extended magazines, he used the regular magazines designed for the model handguns he had. You can call them 'high capacity' if you want, if you insist that ten is 'normal capacity', but to us, it's just made up terms and not reality. Also Ferguson did reload before being stopped. And while you may imagine it differently, which is fine, I could imagine that another person being armed on that train could have shot Ferguson and saved many lives. If you see it differently, that doesn't make you right or me wrong, just as me seeing it the way I do makes me right either. I do believe though, that if someone like Ferguson can exist, and find any way of hurting people, then we should have a fair opportunity to possess a means of defense against them.

    Personal tragedy is of course a catalyst for many people to take a stand on something that they believe in. That's fine. That's very good even. But it doesn't mean that everything they believe is right, and it certainly doesn't mean that they can utilize a tragedy to push their point of view. Something strikes me as morally wrong to utilize a tragedy for attention. Now I'm not saying that we should avoid highlighting tragedies and addressing them, we should know about problems in society and take steps to fix them. But if someone keeps trying to further a goal, and takes advantage of every tragedy to get attention for their goal, that bothers me.


  39. Chris- I find your comments interesting. You are saying that those of us who have lost loved ones are only using that status as a basis for supporting legislation and nothing else You are wrong. What we are doing is supporting legislation that has been researched and put forth for good reasons- public safety, legal, etc. On the side, to support that legislation, often victims come forward to say that they support it because it could prevent others from becoming victims. It is not just "being a victim or survivor" that gives victims expertise or standing on an issue. They have studied the issue because of personal interest. This is used all the time to get laws passed- by both sides. Lawmakers bring people forward to support or oppose bills based on their personal experiences. They are not brought forward as experts on the law. The lawyers and policy makers do that part of it. So, for example, when a very close friend of mine( who grew up with me and was in my wedding) goes to the legislature to testify for funding for bridges and roads because her son was killed in the 35W bridge collapse - yes this is true- that does not make her an expert. She should not be attacked for supporting the funding because she and her husband and family are victims and may not have expertise in the issue. Lawmakers ask these people to come forward to support their causes. You guys provide me with names of people who have been victimized or used their guns to defend themselves as proof that you oppose the laws that I want to see passed. So saying, for example, that Carolyn McCarthy can't be trusted and that she is naive or misinformed because she doesn't know anything is disingenuous.She is just an emotional victim, your side says. That completely ignores the fact that she may actually know what she is talking about concerning the law because she has done some actual research and has been briefed by staff who have done research. She speaks out as a legislator to pass laws that make sense to her and a lot of other people. The fact that she also does this as a victim does not mean she doesn't know what she's talking about. It's too easy for your side to attack a piece of legislation that happens to be supported by victims by saying it is only emotional and supported by victims so you shouldn't take it seriously. I don't buy your arguments. When I speak in public or lobby at the state legislature or in D.C. I come with my facts first and at the end I mention that my sister was shot to death. Many people who are not victims support the very same bills. My testimony, though, often makes legislators uncomfortable because I have lost a loved one. So be it. When you have walked the path that victims and survivors have walked, you have a unique perspective.

  40. The argument isn't that victims have no standing, it's that being a victim doesn't make someone fully qualified to make the right decisions. The example of McCarthy is that she was shown to have absolutely no knowledge of firearms whatsoever. Like Chris's example above, how could somebody with no knowledge of bridges, be able to give any meaningful input on bridge construction, let alone write laws regarding bridge construction? They could work to bring attention to deficiencies in bridge design and maintenance, but they are not one to make decisions on what needs to be done.

    McCarthy knew so little about the subject, she couldn't even take a guess that a barrel shroud might be a part that shrouds the barrel? In fact, if you know what a barrel is, and what 'enshroud' means, you could pretty easily deduce that it's something that covers the barrel. The AWB actually had the correct definition of what a barrel shroud is, but one of the main supporters of the bill couldn't even take a guess at it.

    She is certainly qualified to say "We have a serious problem with gun violence in this country, I lost part of my family to it, we have to do something." I can agree with that, but I can not agree with her making policy for something which she knows absolutely nothing about. It's fine if McCarthy wants to bring public attention to the problem and try and find solutions, but it's not fine for her to go making up laws on a topic she doesn't know.

    Isn't there something wrong with making laws for other people without their input? Especially when you do not even understand how those people will be affected?


  41. You are assuming DHS that there will be absolutely no input from anyone if McCarthy's bill actually gets a hearing. Why? The Republicans are attempting that right now with their vote on the budget so maybe that is why assume there will no input if a bill is proposed by a Democrat.- Sorry, I couldn't resist the comparison.

  42. Further, DHS, you are assuming the McCarthy is making this bill by herself with no input from anyone. That is not the way bill making works as you know. Staffers and legal experts are involved in writing bills. It is the sausage making that seems so unappetizing to watch. McCarthy did not write the bill herself. She has a lot of help with that as do all Congress people when writing bills. You will have your chance at input if the bill comes to a hearing and I'm sure you guys will give it freely and vociferously.

  43. Japete

    The people writing this bill, whomever they are, are completely uneducated about firearms and firearms design. The terminology used, the descriptions given show absolutely no depth of knowledge.

    Have you ever read those Japanese to english instructions that get posted on the Internet? This law reads like that.

    While being involved in something may lead one to a depth of study and exploration that they become experts in a field, but that has not been the norm in the gun control field.

    I know you hate it when I continually bring it up, but gun control will never be crime control. To stop crime you have to focus onthe Criminal, the perpetrator, the individual.

    Never in history has banning an object resulted in crime control.

  44. I know McCarthy herself isn't authoring the bill (otherwise the AWB would have made even less sense than it did), but are the people writing this stuff, consulting gun owners to see what they think is a good approach? Of course not, otherwise we wouldn't be fighting bill after a bill. Apparently we're the enemy, and they know better than we do. The only input we get, is to fight the bill's provisions when it is proposed.

    That said, I would like to see a greater push from gun owners for the solutions that we think would help stem gun violence, maybe it will happen after we're done fighting all the anti-gun legislation?


  45. In the last line you commented that the laws are poorly written and confusing. In some cases I would agree and I would support the simplification as may other gun owners. Where I would have a problem is if you used the simplification to actually institute stricter laws.

    I dont know what part confused you but this is from Wiki under "moving the goalpost"

    "The term is often used in business to imply bad faith on the part of those setting goals for others to meet, by arbitrarily making additional demands just as the initial ones are about to be met.

    Accusations of this form of abuse tend to occur when there are unstated assumptions that are obvious to one party but not to another. For example, killing all the fleas on a cat is very easy without the usually unstated condition that the cat remain alive and in good health."

  46. DHS- I was not consulted about the bill running through the Minnesota House. We have never been consulted about any bill in Minnesota. It seems to me this is par for the course for bills. That could change, of course, but please do not ascribe that to only my side. All sides are doing it.

  47. Joan,
    Which thing that P said are you saying is wrong?

    I had typed a nice response to your response to me, and then the browser ate it. :( The major points have been covered by others so I won't repeat it.

    P is absolutely correct in that banning an object has not once, not ever, not anywhere, lead to a reduction in crime. Easy example, how is that War on Drugs working out?

  48. Atrius- " The people writing this bill, whomever they are, are completely uneducated about firearms and firearms design. The terminology used, the descriptions given show absolutely no depth of knowledge. " That is what I meant as him being wrong about. How does he know that? Congress members always have people writing bills who know how to write them. Just because P doesn't like the language does not mean the people are completely uneducated about firearms and firearms design.

  49. Joan, This is a guess but he may be referring to the fact that the AWB didn't really ban anything but cosmetic features. I'll be frank and say that if, aside from the magazine ban portion, another AWB were suddenly passed I'd be little more than annoyed. Bayonet lugs aren't exactly high on my list of must have features. Though, adjustable stocks are pretty nice.

    Which also provides a very good example of some pro-AWB people either lying, or at least failing to understand things. Adjustable or Telescoping stocks have never been designed or intended to make it easy to conceal a rifle, as some have claimed. They were designed to allow adjustment to people with different arm lengths and for those cases where the user is wearing body armor or other bulky clothes. I'd like to meet the person who could conceal an AR-15 under regular clothes. ;)

  50. Aren't we talking about the magazines here?

  51. Ok, McCarthy and those who wrote her magazine bill, have no experience with the shooting sports, do they? Have they gone to the range to shoot targets for fun? Have they ever taken part in shooting competitions? Have they ever had to fight off attackers trying to rape them or otherwise threaten their well being? What is the rate of shootings occurring with "high capacity" magazines, versus shootings occurring with 10 round or smaller magazines?

    If you asked the NRA to help write gun violence legislation, and worked together without trying to force compromise, but make something that both sides can fully agree on, we might be getting somewhere rather than fighting.