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.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NRA- consider the source




In this post and one coming soon, I plan to write about our firearm background check system. This one will deal with public opinion. The next one will deal with how we got to this place historically and evidence that the system is not working as set up. I will write about how the system can improve to prevent people who can't handle guns responsibly from accessing guns in some venues.

During the course of my blog writing, I have seen pretty much every excuse for why we can't do anything about the carnage due to guns in this country. One of my favorites is  that any polling data cannot be trusted if it comes from my side. Here is just the latest denial by the NRA as they are faced with yet one more survey showing strong support for gun control measures. One of these days, it may actually dawn on our politicians, who should make the rules rather than the guys with the guns, that the polls are right. They have been wrong to listen to the guys with the guns. The winds are shifting in our country. Just as with other issues, the extreme right is over reaching and calling attention to their extreme views on many issues. The NRA is guilty of this over reach by trying, and in some cases succeeding, to pass extreme laws to make sure that more people carry more guns in more places. Reason has taken a vacation in this country. Common sense has taken a hike.

I have posted about such proposed laws recently, including what I call "shoot first" laws, laws to allow guns on college campuses, open carry laws, laws to repeal local background checks, laws to name "state guns" , laws to allow more places for permit holders to carry their guns, etc. The gun lobby has had their way in many states ; sometimes reason wins and the laws are not passed. 

For years now, poll after poll has shown support for reasonable gun laws. Here are a few:
1. Frank Luntz ( Republican pollster) polled only gun owners (Dec., 2009) and divided the groups into those who belong to the NRA and those who don't. Here are just some of his conclusions from the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website about the poll: " Among many results, the poll showed the following:
  • NRA members and gun owners support sensible new measures to combat illegal guns,  including closing the terror gap (82 percent NRA members support, 86 percent non- NRA gun owners support), closing the gun show loophole (69 percent / 85 percent), and  requiring gun owners to report lost and stolen guns (78 percent / 88 percent); and
  • NRA members and gun owners oppose policies they believe violate their rights, such as  a national gun registry (59 percent NRA oppose, 42 percent non-NRA oppose)."

2. Another poll commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (January 18,2011) shows bi-partisan support for sensible gun laws. This poll used 2 firms who represent both the Democratic and Republican party. The results?


86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from. 
89 percent of Americans and 85 percent of gun owners support a law to require background checks for all guns sold at gun shows. 


3. And now, for the poll linked in the article above, also commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns- but, as the writer of the article points out, data came again, from 2 Republican polling firms and 2 Democratic polling firms and still the NRA is in denial. This latest poll, which I have written about before, surveyed people in 5 states- Colorado, Arizona, Indiana, Virginia, and Ohio, and came up with results similar to the other 2 polls. Here it is: " Polls were conducted in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Virginia and Ohio. All the polls showed a similar pattern: requirements for reporting lost or stolen guns, requiring background checks for all purchases at gun shows, and preventing people on terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns all polled above 80 percent. On gun show background checks, 82 percent or more of respondents in each state supported requiring all sellers at gun shows to run background checks for all gun sales." 

4. A Tarrance Group/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner April, 2008 poll, also commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns shows very similar answers to the question about requiring background checks for gun sales: 87% of non gun owners and 83% of gun owners favored the background checks. The Tarrance group is a Republican firm.

5. There is yet another poll reported by Tom Smith of the University of Chicago released in March of 2007. The results? "....80% favor criminal background checks for all sales of guns, including private sales between individuals". Now just to get it straight about this poll,: "The GSS is a full-probability sample of adults living in households in the United States using in-person interviews. For more details, see Davis, Smith, and Marsden, 2007. GSS gets its main funding from the National Science Foundation. The added questions on the regulation of firearms in 2006 were supported by a grant from the Joyce Foundation. National Gun Policy Survey (NGPS), 2001: The NGPS is a random digit dialing sample of adults living in households with telephones. Sample size was 1,176 in 2001. For more details, see Smith, 2001. The NGPS was funded by the Joyce Foundation"

I know that the gun lobby does not trust the polling data from the Joyce Foundation or David Hemenway or Mayors Against Illegal Guns or the Brady Campaign. But when polling is this consistent and done by polling firms that are independent from their funders or by respected scholars in the field of public health, the data cannot be dismissed so summarily. I am disappointed that politicians have chosen to ignore the data because of the gun lobby which has the power and the influence in spite of public opinion. My disappointment also comes from seeing the numbers of victims add up every day, and most recently, on the side of a truck sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns on a national tour to highlight the problem of lax gun laws, most especially background check laws. On the side is a large number 34 to indicate the number of Americans killed every day in gun homicides. The other, smaller number, is a running total of the number of gun victims since the Tucson shootings. That is now 2034. Wherever the truck goes, victims are assembled to call attention to the flaws in current gun laws that can be fixed by closing the private seller loophole that allows the sale of guns without background checks to anyone who wishes to buy any type of gun. This does not make common sense to those of us working towards gun sensible gun control measures.

Below, is a visual to indicate support for expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales. MAIG is Mayors Against Illegal Guns in the visual. The numbers are so consistent as to stand out as such. Watch for another post to continue this discussion.


50 comments:

  1. Joan. Any polling data supplied or paid for by any advocacy group is suspect. There is one poll I do trust and that is the legislature. There are 104 members of congress who are in support of increased gun control or at least open to the idea.

    That means that there are 431 who are not in favor of increased gun control or are open to reductions in gun control.

    That's real numbers I can trust. Based on voting population that means 3 to 1, are against gun control when it comes to voting.

    The NRA has millions of members who believe in this enough to write checks. Take away the Soros and the Joyce money and the Brady campaign is broke. No body writes them checks despite millions in dollars of free publicity they get from Hollywood and the MSM. Where oh where is the groundswell. Where are the voices screaming for new gun laws. Oh yeah. It's the new carry laws that have been passed. The new carry laws making their way through the state houses in Wisc and Ill.

    Your side has lost and will continue to lose because it doesn't understand reality. The cops aren't here to help. They take thirty minutes or more to respond. People see crime dropping in numbers but there are threats that are very real and scary. Home invasions. Meth labs. Grow plots in national parks. The People have spoken and it's very clear. We have the right to defend ourselves. We have that right not just in our homes but wherever we go.

    Your numbers don't add up. Believing in fantasy data is only hiding the truth. Repeating it only shows a weakness.

    Again. Relying on MAIG for polling data is like relying on Phillip Morris and American Tobacco for honest data on smoking.

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  2. Yes, indeed, Japete! And this isn't a full listing of polls, either. Poll after poll show comparable support for all sorts of stricter regulation, especially when it comes to strengthening background checks. It's long past time for our leaders to represent the will of their people.

    I've been meaning to blog on these, too. Hopefully soon.

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  3. Seems as if some of the questions you quoted are in conflict with this one from Luntz (Republican Pollster)Paid to get the answers you want.

    Now let’s talk about issues and policies involving guns…
    7. In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of guns should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?

    NRA NONNRA
    48% 53% KEPT AS THEY ARE NOW
    35% 18% LESS STRICT

    That is 83% no change or make it less strict for NRA members and 71% for non NRA members. It is interesting just like in the Luntz video I posted before he can make poll say whatever he wants.

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  4. There are problems with polling regarding gun control, aside from the obvious logical fallacy that "everyone says it so it must be true".

    The biggest problem is that the majority of Americans aren't knowledgeable enough to offer an informed opinion. Most people think it's a great idea to bring democracy and civil rights to Afghanistan (except, inexplicably some "Code Pink" types, I guess Afghan women aren't important). Start to factor in the costs and implications and suddenly the decision becomes more difficult. Everyone wants better schools for their kids until tax season rolls around. Press parents for ways to conjure up something out of nothing and the room suddenly gets very quiet.

    The same thing happens in polling about gun control. You're basically asking "should we have better schools". That doesn't mean that everyone saying "yes" is willing to pay up at tax time.

    Gun owners look around see all of our guns and our friends' guns and family's guns and know they haven't caused any crimes. We read history, American and otherwise, and see how human psychology and behavior hasn't changed, and that this issue has come up many times before. We know that criminals look for opportunities to commit crimes, and a free society means that they will get the opportunity.

    So we pay our taxes.

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  5. You are right, we don't trust your polls, you don't trust ours. Part of that is because neither of us want to believe what we don't want to believe. However if you look at the following you might possibly see that we have a modicum of reason behind our disbelief.

    "According to Salon.com, "In 1997, Luntz was formally reprimanded by the American Association for Public Opinion Research ""

    "In a March 18, 1999 deposition in the case of Ball v. Philip Morris, et al, Lydia Saad, Managing Editor for the Gallup Organization, stated her organization had reprimanded Luntz f"

    In a “Penn and Teller” interview posted on YouTube, Luntz says, “The key in survey research is to ask questions that people care about the answers , and to ask the question in a way that you get the right answer.” He added, “With just a single change of wording, you’ll get a very different reaction in terms of how they think and how they feel.”

    The following are not from sources particularly friendly to gun rights and they show the opposite of the polls you are touting.

    Most Americans have not changed their views on gun control following the shooting in Tucson, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll.
    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/01/17/rel1b.pdf

    November 22, 2010
    In U.S., Continuing Record-Low Support for Stricter Gun Control
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/144887/Continuing-Record-Low-Support-Stricter-Gun-Control.aspx

    Mayors Against Your Rights 55 times more likely to commit crime than Texas Conceal Handgun License holders.
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x386269

    Now on to what you said.

    "I have posted about such proposed laws recently, including what I call "shoot first" laws, laws to allow guns on college campuses, open carry laws, laws to repeal local background checks, laws to name "state guns" , laws to allow more places for permit holders to carry their guns, etc. The gun lobby has had their way in many states ; sometimes reason wins and the laws are not passed. "

    "One of these days, it may actually dawn on our politicians, who should make the rules rather than the guys with the guns, that the polls are right. They have been wrong to listen to the guys with the guns. "

    I hope we can agree that the politicians should do what the people want although it seems they seldom do. According to Wikipedia the Brady Campaign has 50500 members. (Actually this seems like it might be misleading because this is the number of people on their mailing list and not necessarily actual members) and the Violence Policy Center has none. (as a side note, this is part of the problem that you encounter - on our side it is hard to separate the Violence Policy Center from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence). The NRA has 4.3 million members and the Second Amendment Foundation has 650,000. Gun Owners of America has over 300,000. There about 100 times more of us than there are of you.

    "why we can't do anything about the carnage due to guns in this country" This is kind of inflammatory but let's reverse it? Why do you want to increase the carnage? There are somewhere between 800,000 to 2,500,000 defensive uses of a gun each year compared to the 30,000 gun deaths that you continually spout. (of which half are suicides and about 400 are shooting by police). Yeah, I know, you said you don't believe it but surely even you have to admit that there are some defensive uses.

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  6. That's a wonderful post, japete. I enjoyed watching that ridiculous video of Wayne's again. His million plus yearly income could have something to do with his continually spouting that stuff, but what could possible motivate his followers to believe it is beyond me.

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  7. P- you have just made my case for me. Thanks. " Where are the voices screaming for new gun laws." That is my question. The NRA has made themselves the feared and uber powerful lobby group using their well funded organization- funded by whom? Their memberships alone don't add up to the amount of money taken in and spent. So who are the wealthy donors to the NRA? Their leaders make each over a million dollars in salaries, not to mention benefits. Where does all that money come from? We have seen plenty of evidence that the money speaks in this country regardless of how the people actually think. That is my point, of course. Keep watching. Things will change. Don't underestimate my side. We have plenty of folks with us as is shown by polling data.

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  8. Yes, Anthony- it is interesting when a broader question is asked, folks will say that they don't think the laws should be more or less strict or kept as they are. By the way, kept as they are could also mean that people don't want more laws like "shoot first" or guns on campus. In Florida, guns on campus just went down. But when the issues are broken down into their parts, there is majority support for fixing the background check system, for example. Many do not even realize that background checks are not required for all gun sales. When they find out that is the case, they support a system that requires background checks for all gun sales. It is my job and that of the folks on my side, to educate the public and our legislators and Congress members about these sections of the law so that they will move forward towards fixing the laws.

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  9. See my answer, above, anon. I pay taxes too.I am not sure what you mean by people being willlng to pay up at tax time when they say "yes" to our questions.

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  10. Robin- answer to your last statement- yes I have and do admit that there are legitimate uses of guns in self defense. I have never said I didn't admit to that. As to Luntz, he was just on a national public radio program 2 days ago and talked about how to message the issue- on either side. He is still considered a guru when it comes to crafting the message. He is quite brilliant in working with mostly Republicans to that end and people look to him for that. If you look at the extensive questions asked in the poll I cited, you will see that the questions were not leading. When people are informed of the facts, they support us. The CNN poll you cited was not as you say. It asked people's opinion about gun laws had changed after the Tucson shooting. I would have fallen into the majority there: " has your opinion about gun control not changed as a result of the shootings in Arizona?" 69% said their opinions had not changed. Many people fall within that 69%, including myself. My opinions of our country's gun laws have not changed after the shooting. I still think we need to do more just like I did before the shootings in Arizona so I would still support closing the private sale loophole and limiting high capacity magazines just like I did before the shootings. This is a misleading poll.

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  11. Personally, I'm not so much interested in whether people think background checks are a good idea than I am in evidence that shows that they actually work to reduce violent crime.

    And, in fact, the incontrovertible evidence is that they don't.

    I don't think public support for gun control is anywhere near as strong as you think it is, but gun control is bad public policy regardless of what the public thinks.

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  12. Joan. Certainly there are other sources of income for the NRA. There are American jobs speaking out. Formthe most part the American sporting arms market is fed almost wholy by American companies using American workers selling products to American customers.

    By Sporting Arms I am not limiting the market by the fraudulent BATFE sporting uses classification but referring only to all sales not related to law enforcement or military.

    The Sporting or private sector arms market is around 18 to 20 billion dollars a year. Add to that the ancillary markets of ranges, guide services, DNR or F&G depts, travel and hospitality, 4wheeler/ATVs clothing etc and you are looking at HUGE money.

    Most people who hunt or shoot rank that economically as very important and it takes a lot to dissuade them from spending hard earned dollars on that. It's a lifestyle decision. If you ask any marketing person what are key factors in decision making in purchasing they will tell you lifestyle and choice ranking are tops.

    So you have highly motivated people who have a very strong desire to spend money and those providers of the goods and services wanted by those motivated buyers are going to make a concerted effort to ensure those markets are kept open.

    So you have a fifty billion dollar or so industry when all is considered, deciding to support an effective political lobbying organization. Why is that so hard to understand?

    Besides all of that money, we have history, logic and factual data on our side. Our platform is objective based. Yours is based on subjective topics of fear, "feelings" and comments like reasonable and commonsense. No matter how unreasonable and nonsensical they may be.

    You don't have the popular support you think you have. Your polling data if untrustworthy.

    The only polling data I can trust is the votes for Congress.

    Your own party platforms are noticeably lacking in planks about gun control.

    When Obama started talking about gun control in Feb 2009, many members of his and your party specifically asked him to drop it as it had become a "toxic" campaign issue.

    Your side had the star power and the money and the Media on it's side and it lost when the core arguments were exposed to facts and reality of American Politics.

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  13. It's always nice to get your opinions, P. They are opinions for the most part. Your facts are wrong about party platforms. The Minnesota Democratic party has background checks in their party platform. And to say you hae logic and factual data on your side is a stretch. You have money and fear on your side. That is the fact.

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  14. The background check in the DFL platform is simply keeping an existing law. It's as far as they will go. Do you see anything from Paymar in the platform? No, because the leadership feels his crap helped lead to the loss of both houses

    As far as opinions, It's a blog with responses. EVERYTHING HERE is an opinion. Unless God the Almighty decides to bless us with a messianic response, by definition everything here is an opinion.

    Yes they are my Opinions. Well reasoned backed by subjective thought and process, they are opinions. Just as yours are opinions which do not reach that level. You may detest my point of view, but I have more voices agreeing with me thn you do with yours. Maybe you feel the need to be the Voice in the Willderness, but sometimes the lone voice in the distance is the crazy cat lady your mom warned you about.

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  15. japete said...

    See my answer, above, anon. I pay taxes too.I am not sure what you mean by people being willlng to pay up at tax time when they say "yes" to our questions.
    March 10, 2011 7:03 AM

    It's figurative, Joan. There are more people willing to give money to pro-gun groups than there are to gun control groups, which Laci was kind enough to point out a few posts back.

    National Rifle Assn $1,200,910
    Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence $6,600

    Also, P makes an excellent point. There are many businesses that donate money to the NRA, and even give the option to donate every time you purchase something. If I have $20 for another box of non-registered non-serialized hollow points, I certainly have another dollar for the NRA.

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  16. Nope- the background check provision is to close the gun show loophole. Of course, my opinions cannot possibly be as reasonable or fact based as yours. That goes without saying. I'm just a stupid advocate and emotional, etc. I know nothing compared to you guys. You are wrong. I have more voices in agreement. The facts are there. I am much more than a voice in the wilderness by the way. And to suggest that I am a crazy cat lady is beneath your dignity to even mention. I'm surprised at you. YOu don't know me at all. Stop that nonsense, P.

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  17. All argument aside, I would like to say that I for one have been impressed that absolutely everything I've written recently has been posted.

    Thanks, Joan.

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  18. I fyou think "background checks" keep guns away from the "wrong" people, think back to when you were a teenager. The do "background checks" when you buy alcohol, to see if you are 21.

    Did that ever stop any of us from drinking alcohol? Of course not. but it made the "adults" feel better.

    So much effort is direted at "guns". Can't we ever spend that money to understand what pathos results in violence?

    After they've committed their first felony it seems a little late to see if they are impressed by a "gun control" law.

    Many folks die because society chases the wrong remedy....

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  19. "I'm just a stupid advocate and emotional, etc. I know nothing compared to you guys. You are wrong. I have more voices in agreement. The facts are there."

    What facts do you have, that demonstrate that requiring background checks on private sales will have a significant impact on crime?

    There are states that do require background checks on private sales. How do their crime rates compare to the states that don't? How did their crime rates change, after they imposed the background check requirement?

    Is there a strong correlation that suggests a significant improvement in violent crime?

    No, of course not.

    So no, you don't have the facts on your side. All you have are your voices...

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  20. Joan,

    Money talks. Bullcrap walks. The NRA has four MILLION paying members like me willing to part with some of our hard-earned money to sustain them.

    It's one thing to agree to a cunningly worded question on a poll conducted on behalf of an anti-rights group. It's another thing entirely to put your money where your mouth is and pony up some cash to get something done.

    Until you get four million and one paying members to help you support gun control legislation, you are in the minority.

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  21. If there is such overwhelming public support for gun control, why does the Brady Campaign disable comments and ratings on all their youtube videos, and blog posts?

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  22. "I have more voices in agreement. The facts are there."

    If so many people are part of your cause, where's the action, the support? The numbers just don't support that conclusion.

    The legal lobby, which is the bar associations and trial lawyers groups that recommend things like background checks and serialization of ammunition based on Joyce "research", have about 1.2 million members, whereas the NRA has approximately four million members.

    In Federal elections over the last two decades, your side (including the law as well as six people on the steps of the state capitol one day), spent more than one $1.2 billion dollars on political initiatives. Says so here. [http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2010&ind=K01]

    In those same election cycles, the NRA spent exactly $128,262,524 on campaigns and lobbying.

    Doing arithmetic, we see that means that the NRA spent $32.04 per each on its four million members, while the gun control bunch spent $1,249.35 for each of its ~1.2 million members. So, if you're only counting dollars, then you're right, the gun control gang spends more political money representing less people, while the NRA spend drastically less money representing more people.

    As far as influence and popular consensus, the numbers show the civil rights movement winning.

    I'm extremely interested to see if you can somehow rebuke these facts.

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  23. "Many do not even realize that background checks are not required for all gun sales. When they find out that is the case, they support a system that requires background checks for all gun sales"

    Then ask them if they should be able to sell/give a gun to their family members without a background check and they say "of course". If the Gun Show "Loophole" is fixed it will affect WAY more people handing down firearms and gifting firearms than sold at shows.

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  24. One could say that the debate as to who has more voices on which side is irrelevant. We're talking about toying with a civil right. The Majority rules exactly nothing when it comes to civil rights. That is, unless someone wants to come out and say they're okay with the majority voting away the rights of the minority.

    Before anyone steps on that landmine, you might want to think long and hard exactly where that dark and dank road leads.

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  25. The last time I checked, anon, liquor stores do not do background checks. They check Driver Licenses- a very different thing.

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  26. Since we haven't closed the private sale loophole at a national level, we have no facts to show whether or not it would work. Let's try it to see.

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  27. Most people on my side disable comments because you guys are so rude and obnoxious on comments. That's the truth. I don't publish all comments here as you know for that very reason.

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  28. Nice try. Your numbers are interesting but not based on any facts that I know of, col royal. But I know it makes you all feel better to offer up these numbers.

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  29. Anthony- family exchanges are excluded in the background check bills.

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  30. "Since we haven't closed the private sale loophole at a national level, we have no facts to show whether or not it would work. Let's try it to see."

    Remember what I said, earlier, about your inability to learn from past failures?

    If something doesn't work, the solution is not to try the same thing again, only harder. But that's all you've got, because you refuse to re-examine your faulty premises.

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  31. Yup- we keep trying because we haven't been there yet. That's what this is all about.

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  32. Thanks for the response Joan.
    "Your numbers are interesting but not based on any facts that I know of, col royal."

    No problem. Even though I cited the numbers from the FEC (that Federal doohickey that publishes PAC and political finance data, you know) in my original post, timestamped [2:28pm]...let me just google that for you, and...google delivers!

    Oh happy day. Here's a report that addresses the figures from my point, as well as other civil rights-VS-Joyce stuff, AND with all the source material. And because it's all consolidated I don't have to post twenty links. Isn't the web just dreamy?

    I'm still extremely interested to read what you make of these facts.

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  33. Well, pardon me. Here is that data I spoke on and clumsily forgot include in the post.

    [http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/did-the-national-rifle-association-buy-congress/?singlepage=true]

    My interest in your take on the facts is ever boiling over, of course.

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  34. "Yup- we keep trying because we haven't been there yet."

    And you never will. Your goals cannot be accomplished by your means, no matter how hard you try, or how extreme the gun control measures you manage to put in place.

    You will never get there because you're going in the wrong direction.

    If you want social harmony, you should work to ensure that every potential victim is as dangerous as possible. It's the only way to get there.

    I understand that you have internal prejudices that are making it very difficult for you to accept this truth, but it is the truth - and will always be the truth - regardless of how much you would rather it weren't.

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  35. col. royal- I have not heard of the website you provided. I did find this article to be hyperbolic, however with a scenario of protesters in Wisconsin surrounding the home of a Republican Senator kicking in windows, etc. Pretty interesting and of course, it hasn't happened. That's one way to whip up your supporters. The website has a decidedly conservative feel to it so I would expect that they would provide the information that you sent. There is no secret that the NRA is totally outspending everyone involved in the gun issue. That is my point. They have the money and the power but not the majority opinion. Elected leaders are afraid of the NRA plain and simply. They understand that if they dare to venture into the gun issue, the gun rights folks, ever ready and vocal and threatening, will get on their case and tell them they can't be re-elected. Sad, that. This is interesting from the Rasmussen poll- " Seventy-three percent (73%) of those who say someone in their household owns a gun oppose stricter gun control laws. Fifty-three percent (53%) of those without a gun in the house favor stricter laws."
    As to this- " All the wealthy and powerful special interests arrayed against the Second Amendment, when taken together, represent far fewer people — and far more money — than the NRA." it is laughable. Everyone knows about the power and money of the NRA compared to gun control groups. I know nothing about the contributions of the law lobby. I'm sure they contribute much but if this article thinks the law lobby is contributing money just for gun control, he is sadly mistaken. If it were only true- I would welcome it. But it is simply not. If what this article suggests were true, we would now have a background check bill. the article is an attempt to dismiss the uber power and influence of the NRA.

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  36. Cool. However, putting what "everyone knows about the power and money of the NRA" aside, what about the numbers and facts?

    With the NRA spending nearly 250% what Joyce does on "research", isn't that indicative of public sentiment?

    If not, then I'll tell you what. The USPS Inspector General needs to launch a serious investigation in order to save our democracy. There is obviously a conspiracy of unscrupulous postal carriers opening mail and stealing all the checks of the anti-gun crowd before they make it to Joyce. How else could the NRA receive overwhelmingly greater support from the American people?

    On the other hand, maybe the numbers, the facts, plainly show that the majority doesn't have a taste for restrictive legislation concerning firearms, at least not enough to do anything about it. And isn't that the best measure?

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  37. Atrius said in a moment of wild exaggeration, "We're talking about toying with a civil right."

    This is the continually repeated nonsense from the pro-gun side which goes like this. Everyone has a right to life, therefore they have a right to defend that life, therefore they have a right to own a gun. A natural human right. What could be simpler.

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  38. "Everyone has a right to life, therefore they have a right to defend that life, therefore they have a right to own a gun. A natural human right. What could be simpler. "

    Exactly.

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  39. "The NRA has made themselves the feared and uber powerful lobby group using their well funded organization"

    So well feared that even voters using the secret ballot are intimidated? If gun control is as important as you say, wouldn't these voters kick pro gun politicians out of office? Yet even with the virtual veto proof majority in both houses prior to the last election, pro gunners still had a solid block of NRA A rated politicians they could count on to block anti gun legislation. After the election, our numbers have climbed even higher in both state and federal legislatures.

    "funded by whom? Their memberships alone don't add up to the amount of money taken in and spent. So who are the wealthy donors to the NRA? Their leaders make each over a million dollars in salaries, not to mention benefits. Where does all that money come from?"

    I would suspect that some of this money comes from firearms manufacturers. And I hate to burst your "Aha! You admit it!" bubble, but who do you think the firearms makers get their money from? Is it all the guns the Brady campaign buys for it's annual clay shoot? Or is it from the 80 million gun owners in the country?

    So I have a question, and I seriously want an answer, I'm not trying to be sarcastic. Let's say for the sake of argument that all these MAIG polls are right on the money. Unbiased, fairly worded, the whole nine yards. With the apparent popularity of gun control - why do so many politicians, from both sides of the aisle, keep getting elected and reelected who support strong gun rights?

    Am I missing something here, or can't these politicians be voted out? Why aren't they?

    Where is the support that the polls seem to suggest?

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  40. mikeb said "This is the continually repeated nonsense from the pro-gun side which goes like this. Everyone has a right to life, therefore they have a right to defend that life, therefore they have a right to own a gun. A natural human right. What could be simpler."

    I do believe that it is a right to be armed, if a person wants to be. The logic you gave is sound. If I have a right to my life, then it follows that I have the right to defend it, and that therefore I have the right to own the best tools available to do so. It does not follow that anyone must provide those tools, but that they should not prohibit my ability to do so by edict. A follows B follows C. If you want to contend that is not so, what is your argument? By what logic is that not true?

    Do you wish to say we don't have a right to life?

    Do you wish to say we don't have a right to defend it?

    Do you wish to say that we have no right to the best tools available to accomplish that defense?

    If A is true, and B is true, then C must be true unless you can present an alternative method to accomplish A and B.

    Now, if you want to posit that we have no right to life and that we have no right to defend that life fine. You'd be consistent then. Somehow, I don't think you really want to say that.

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  41. mikeb:
    "Atrius said in a moment of wild exaggeration, "We're talking about toying with a civil right."

    This is the continually repeated nonsense from the pro-gun side which goes like this. Everyone has a right to life, therefore they have a right to defend that life, therefore they have a right to own a gun. A natural human right. What could be simpler."

    Well, defense of self is an ancient tradition. This ancient tradition happens to be recognized in the constitution of our country. And even Joan has admitted that she believes that there are legitimate self defensive uses of firearms.

    So you are somehow saying that if someone is intent on killing you, your spouse, your children, etc... that they have no right to self defense because it would violate the right to life of the potential murderer?

    Sir, I hope you preach your theory far and wide; you are nothing but a blessing to the gun rights community.

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  42. Careful, Mikeb302000; your true goals are showing.

    The 2nd Am. does not "grant" a right, it protects a pre-existing one. And, indeed, a civil right.

    In fact, what you have just admitted is that you are exactly what you pretend to deny repeatedly: you have no respect for the Constitution, the civil rights of others, and would gladly deny civil rights you personally fine objectionable or inconvenient.

    Your kind are dangerous, and should be kept as far away from power as possible.

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  43. I guess only us right-wingers have a monopoly on violent rhetoric:

    http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/117732923.html

    I'm pretty sure that most, if not all, law-abiding gun owners on our side of the discussion have never sent any emails like that.

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  44. Well first of all, I don't condone any letters or e-mails like this. Second of all, your last statement is simply not true. There have been plenty of threats coming from the right and many of them happened in the recent health care debate. What are you wanting to prove?

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  45. "What are you wanting to prove?

    I believe the point being made is that no one group holds a monopoly on threatening, rude, or even stupid comments.

    Look at all the union thuggery going on right now in WI and IN. Look at the violence and destruction at WTO meetings. I'd go on, but you get the point.

    It seems to me as if you wish to hold up all these comments as evidence that we evil right wingers are just naturally violent and threatening, but the left are a bunch of angels with a rare bad apple thrown in.

    Since you are on the extreme left end of the spectrum, I don't doubt that you receive the brunt of insults from the crazies.

    As an evil right winger, and thus someone who pays close attention to what the left is up to, I see quite a bit of evidence that suggests otherwise.

    Go pretend you're a tea partier and counter protest at, say, some of the union "demonstrations" currently being orchestrated.

    Say nothing to them.

    See how nice they can be.

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  46. Alcade- first of all, I don't consider what is going on in Wisconsin "union thuggery". I was on both sides of the issue that has drawn crowds of teachers to Madison. I served on the School Board in my city and had to negotiate with the teachers union. They gave up much in salary to get benefits and we negotiated what they got in good faith. Gradually, and after I was no longer on the School Board, the teachers had to give up a lot of their benefits in health care and now pay a good share of it themselves. While doing this, they still didn't get raises- some years none and others very small raises. Other things were negotiated of course. Before and after serving on the Board, I was an employee of the School District. I was then on the other side and belonged to the Union. Though there were times when I objected to some of their tactics, I apprecated their willingness to sit down with administration to get what they thought was best for the teachers. Teachers are professionals, many of them with advanced degrees. They deserve respect and they are certainly not over paid. I know that for sure. So what is happening now is disturbing- and not what the "union thugs"- aka teachers and their supporters are doing. To call them thugs says more about you than them. For the most part, they have been peaceful but passionate. There have been some who have ruined it for others by acting irresponsibly. When people are passionate, things happen that shouldn't happen. That certainly was the case in the tea party rallies before the health care bill passed. By the way, I am not on the extreme left of the spectrum. I don't always like what those further to the left than I are doing. I call myself a Progressive which includes people who are more to the right and more to the left than myself. It's always easy to say evil things about the other side when looking on. This morning I read in my local paper that a local resident who happens to teach across the bridge in Superior, Wisconsin, will have to now immediately pay $500-$700 a month more for her benefits. She has 2 children in day care and can barely afford this. So now she wonders if she should stay in her job. What a shame that is. We will lose the younger teachers who simply cannot afford this drastic and immediate change to income. Can you afford to lose that much income starting next month without any warning? That is the affect of what is happening right now. This, of course, is off the topic of the post and I don't intend to continue this thread here. That is for another blogger of which there are plenty. But since you brought it up, I wanted to respond to your comments this one time. Readers- if you are looking for a blog where the discussion will be about general politics or what is going on in Wisconsin, please find another blog on which to leave your comments. This blog is here to talk about gun violence and gun laws and other related issues. When I provide examples of violence it is to show my readers what goes on when people make comments and leave their ugly remarks on blogs and on-line articles. Many of these are coming from the pro gun side on many blogs. They are rude and ugly. When it comes to the gun issue, it is very rare for someone on my side to leave rude, ugly or threatening remarks on blog sites or articles. Now I'm sure you are all going to rush to your google searches to find some. Don't send them to me. I am aware that there may be some but, as I said, they are rare.

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  47. One of the Anonymous commenters, said "Careful, Mikeb302000; your true goals are showing.

    The 2nd Am. does not "grant" a right, it protects a pre-existing one. And, indeed, a civil right."


    He said this as if I'd been making some secret of my TRUE feelings and I slipped up accidentally indicating what they really are. Being smarter than the rest, this anonymous individual figured me out.

    The fact is, I've made no attempt to conceal my total disregard of the 2nd Amendment as a piece of antiquated and anachronistic American history which has absolutely no relevance in today's world. I've relegated it to the same dust bin as the 3rd Amendment and figure the fact that the Supremes have recently been talking about it is more a reflection of their political alliances and lobbying pressure than it is of any true moral or legal question.

    We have a natural human right to life. Therefore we have a natural human right, even a responsibility, to defend that life. We DO NOT have a natural human right to own a particular tool to accomplish that. To say we do is totally ridiculous.

    Unfortunately the laws allow it, but I for one do not believe it's a natural human right.

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  48. "We DO NOT have a natural human right to own a particular tool to accomplish that. To say we do is totally ridiculous."

    Understood. You believe that the old, handicapped, infirm, most women, and all minorities should at all times be completely at the mercy of the strong and the many.

    That is not civilization. Civilization is about equality.

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  49. Anon- I don't know how you come to those conclusions at all. It's a stretch to say the least.

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  50. "I don't know how you come to those conclusions at all. It's a stretch to say the least."

    If mikeb believes we have a right to life and the right to defend that life, but not to own guns to defend that life, then presumably we're left with hand to hand combat. When you're dealing with unarmed combat, or even with melee weapons like clubs/swords/daggers*, it requires a lot more physical strength and agility to defend yourself effectively. This is why we call guns 'equalizers' or 'force multipliers'. It allows someone who is weaker, due to age/condition/sex, to fend off someone who is bigger, stronger, or consists of multiple attackers.

    Unless you're suggesting that criminals don't purposely choose more vulnerable targets, I don't see how that wouldn't have that effect. Even if criminals had no access to guns either, they still wouldn't target someone who they didn't think they could overpower.

    *From what I can tell, many states have restrictions on things like swords or daggers, so that's probably not a viable option

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