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, April 4, 2011

Guns and politicians

Today marks an important anniversary- yet another assassination anniversary of a political figure. That would be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who on this day in 1968 was gunned down by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. His assassination came not quite 5 years from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and was almost an eerie pre-cursor to the assassination of Robert Kennedy. I have vivid memories of all three of these politically motivated assassinations. The shooter in all 3 was a lone man who had issues with the political views of their victim. That, of course, is what political assassinations are about.

On the other side, though, we have politicians who engage in rhetoric that can get them into political hot water. Sarah Palin learned that the hard way after the Tucson shootings when it was revealed that her website had gun cross hairs over Gabrielle Giffords Arizona Congressional district. Now Mike Huckabee may be learning the same lesson. He made a statement that is quite revealing about what some on the extreme right are willing to say and, hopefully not, do to get elected. What does it mean when you say this? " “I almost wish that there would be, like, a simultaneous telecast, and all Americans would be forced–forced at gunpoint no less–to listen to every David Barton message, and I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.”" Now David Barton is, according to this article, " ... the leading promoter of a brand of falsified American history altered to support the claim that America was founded as a Christian, rather than a secular, nation." 

We need to remember here that our Constitution was written so that the federal government could not force people to belong to a certain religion. Was Huckabee  thinking ( or perhaps more aptly, not thinking) when those words came out of his mouth? Forcing people at gun point to listen to a message from an extremist religious pseudo historian is pretty outrageous. And why does he want this to happen? If he thinks we should all believe in what David Barton is spewing, something is radically wrong. Barton's dubious credentials and writings are enough to tell us that he is not to be taken seriously. Nonetheless, many do, much to the detriment of common sense.

We'll see if Huckabee gets away with this one. He may try to claim this was a joke but these words are meant to appeal to a certain group of people. This kind of talk is potentially dangerous and at the least, scary talk. The fact that the statement was made at a Christian supremacist conference is even worse. We need to make sure that guns and religion are separate issues. It's code to some on the side of gun rights and on the side of a certain brand of Christianity. If gun rights are God given, as some have claimed, then, of course, how can anyone mettle in their rights? Standing behind religion is a devious and insincere ploy to stop reasonable discussion from happening. And using gun talk along with extreme religious views brings us to times when guns were used in the name of religion, and still are in some places, to impose one group's will on another. 

I am just completing the book, Tenth Parallel by Eliza Griswold for one of my book clubs. It is a depressing but fascinating read about the confluence of the Christian and Muslim religions along the 10th parallel which runs through the countries of Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, for some. According to the article linked above: " “The Tenth Parallel” is a beautifully written book, full of arresting stories woven around a provocative issue — whether fundamentalism leads to violence — which Griswold investigates through individual lives rather than caricatures or abstractions". The author takes great risks to interview the people most affected by the religious conflicts that have taken so many lives along the parallel between fundamentalist Christian and Muslim groups. About her journey:.." she has discovered no neat theory to explain why people fight over religion or why someone like the self-proclaimed Reverend Abdu, a former Muslim Fulani nomad, lives his life as an unpaid proselytizer or why a missionary couple in the Sudan persist although they have not converted a single soul."

We all know that guns and other weapons, of course, are used to coerce people, to force them into submission, as a show of power and control, all over the world in the name of religion. To mention the use of guns as a way to force people to hear the message of an extremist religious man is a pretty outlandish and unsupportable statement by a potential Presidential candidate. Fervent people with guns have too often taken down political leaders or attempted ( and succeeded in some cases) to use force against minority groups or others whose views have come into question. I am suggesting here that gun talk has no place in our political rhetoric and should not be condoned.


  1. Lee Harvey Oswald was a life-long Marxist who actually emigrated to the USSR for a bit. James Earl Ray was a supporter of Democrat George Wallace. Hmmm, two assassins from the far left.

  2. What's your point? Did I say they only came from the right?

  3. The notion that David Barton espouses is factually true. Atheism was an unheard of thing, and all of the founders were northern European emigres or from families of emigres and the idea that a man could grow up sans a belief in God was very very rare.

    As the Colonies went thru the war, the development of a separation between church and State was just beginning. It was not a denial of the Roots of the Revolution, but a fear that like a tyranny in office, a tyranny in Robes might evolve.

    Remember that the lessons of Cromwell in England and the Churchs role in the French revolution were shockingly fresh In all memories and the concept of the new nation waging war on religious grounds was something all detested.

    Barton is correct when he says that this was a nation built on Christian framework. Just as he is correct in saying that our founder sought feverently to prevent a national church such as England had. A church which acted as an arm of the Govt.

  4. japete, I actually agree with you on this one. Religious training, much less belief, should NEVER be coerced. Nor should, frankly, a particular view of a historical record.

    I think Huckabee was speaking metaphorically, of course, so I have little if any concern about the "forced at gunpoint" part. Just as the metaphorical crosshairs on Palin's website were meaningless (please don't tell me you're still buying into the thoroughly discredited 'Palin's "hate" led to the shooting' hype).

    Adults can, and do, speak metaphorically. Adults (well, those who don't have activist agendas to push) understand those metaphors and treat them accordingly, and frankly resent being treated like children by activists who claim to know better.

    That's giving you the whole none yards (do you know where that phrase came from?)!


  5. "
    We all know that guns and other weapons, of course, are used to coerce people, to force them into submission, as a show of power and control, all over the world in the name of religion."

    It's also done in the name of common sense.

    "To mention the use of guns as a way to force people to hear the message of an extremist religious man is a pretty outlandish and unsupportable statement by a potential Presidential candidate. "

    Hey, we agree!

  6. I assume you mean the military version of this explanation of "whole nine yards"? "World War II (1939-1945) gunners would supposedly "give them the full nine yards" by firing an aircraft's entire ammunition belt at the enemy, the belt supposedly being nine yards long.[nb 1][4] But ammunition is normally measured in rounds,[nb 2] rarely in terms of physical belt length.[2] Moreover, this explanation does not appear in print until 40 years after the war.[5] No figurative examples of the phrase from the World War II era have been found, despite extensive searches.[nb 3][2] There are many versions of this explanation with variations regarding type of plane, nationality of gunner, and geographic area. Another common explanation is that "nine yards" is a cubic measure and refers to the volume of a cement mixer"

    Thanks for agreeing on just this one. I am usually attacked so viciously that it is actually refreshing when one of you has the nerve to agree with something I write.

  7. Interesting. My father always said that the phrase originated as the volume of a cement mixer. I have only heard the phrase referenced to refer to ammunition in the last few years though indeed the belts of 50 cal ammo used to load the defensive guns on a bomber were indeed 9 yards long. Who knows.

  8. "Today marks an important anniversary- yet another assassination anniversary of a political figure. "

    I'm not saying we shouldn't ever remember political figures killed by guns, or that we shouldn't talk about those living politicians who say offensive and ludicrious things using guns as a rhetorical device...but don't you think at least sometimes we should discuss the truth about guns and politicians? Our politicians arm our troops with guns and send them all over the world, and our politicians and their arms dealers sell these arms all over the world - often to dictators and despots and horrible evil governments. I've only been reading this blog for a few months, and I've many references to the poor politicians killed or shot at with a gun, but you don't ever seem to talk about the millions upon millions of people killed by guns because of politicians. Why is that you ignore most of the victims of gun violence and give politicians a free pass to create epic gun violence on a global scale? If we should be facing prison time for a magazine that could hold 11 rounds - why should they get off with a fat pension and all sorts of perks for arming Saddam, Bin Laden, the Israelis, the Palestinians, the death squads in South America, etc etc etc?

  9. If you read this post more carefully you will see that I did address that very thing. As to all of you going to jail, that is pure poppycock.

  10. Joan, it seems to me that if we pass a ban on assault clips, it ought to be enforced.

    After all, what sort of person would own such a thing in the first place?

    What's the point of passing a law banning them if those who possess them aren't punished?


  11. Indeed- people who don't abide by the law will be punished. The gun guys think that the very passsage of the law will send them immediately to jail which is not true. It will only be if they don't abide by the law by not transferring the magazines they already own and will be allowed to own.

  12. Police Chief Joseph Zikuski seems to be of a little different thinking on this topic than you Japete.

    "There would be an aftermarket, there's no doubt about that," Zikuski said. "But at least this would make it more difficult to get your hands on them. Perhaps tragedy could be averted if someone were to be arrested by police for having one of these on them."

  13. Really Anthony? Does this statement disagree with me? If you don't have an illegal ammunition magazine- pre ban, you won't be illegal and therefore not arrested. The Chief was referring to those who get the banned magazines illegally. Hang on the ones you have and don't transfer and you will be a law abiding citizen.

  14. "Hang on the ones you have and don't transfer and you will be a law abiding citizen."

    Except that the burden of proving you owned them "pre-ban" is on you. *fail*

  15. If I show you 2 mags one illegally transferred and one that was not could you tell the difference? Or will this be the ever popular "you can beat the charge but not the ride" type of enforcement.

  16. "It will only be if they don't abide by the law by not transferring the magazines they already own and will be allowed to own. "

    Do you understand that "transferring" means allowing someone else to hold these magazines? Do you understand that within a week of the bill becoming law that more than a million Americans will break it? Do you understand that there aren't enough cops to catch all of the future "law breakers" and that there aren't enough prisons for all of us? How are you going to arrest us all? How are you going to try us all? And how are you going to build all of those prisons?

    These are the questions you won't answer. How are you even going to get the police in much of the country to enforce this law? You really think my local chief of police wants to help arrest half the town on federal felony charges because we like to plink at some cans on Saturday afternoons?

  17. Yes, it is. Can you handle it all right? pass.

  18. I guess we'll need a rider to the bill to build more prisons to handle all of you people who are convinced you will go to prison. Maybe that will solve the problem.

  19. "I guess we'll need a rider to the bill to build more prisons to handle all of you people who are convinced you will go to prison. Maybe that will solve the problem."

    Sarcastic responses don't solve the questions Joan. These are legitimate concerns that won't be "borne out" after the bill is passed. We'd like them resolved prior to passing any further restriction of our rights in the name of "violence prevention". *fail*

  20. I found this interesting but not relevant to this discussion. This is the court hearing in Chigago


  21. As long as you all continue with your silly and unwarrented concerns about going to jail, the only possible response is sarcasm. I have responded with quotes from the bill language. But nothing is ever good enough for you guys so what's left is to ignore you or respond with sarcasm to get the point across that you are wrong.

  22. But nothing is ever good enough for you guys so what's left is to ignore you or respond with sarcasm to get the point across that you are wrong.

    Except, japete, that you are not making that point. The language of the bill itself envisions lengthy prison terms for violations, yet you, here, tell us that our concern for same is "silly and unwarranted."

    Do you not see how incongrous that is?

  23. Ok Joan.

    The Bill as written says one thing.

    You as a blogger say that's not what it means

    Will you serve the jail time or pay the fine if some one does get sentenced under what the bill says what the law will be?

    Will Paul, Sarah, or any other Anti take that position?

    It's very easy to type "you're silly, trust me"'on a blog, it's much harder to take a real stand on the issue.

    We have been lied to by the Anti crowd before. It's not happening again.

  24. What is incongruous here is that you all envision that immediately upon passage of the bill, you all are going to prison without passing go or paying your $200.

  25. As I said before, we are all liars, cheats, dishonest and just plain nasty people who want you all in prison. What else can I say?

  26. By the way, everyone, I want specific examples of when the gun contol side has lied to you all. Please send me wording in bills or exact statements made that show that those on my side have told you all lies. I am quite sure I can find the same on your side so be careful about it but I do need to see what the heck you are all talking about.

  27. And don't send a thesis or a two page article. Send me a link or a quote with a link to it's source. I also need to see the source, date, who said it, etc.

  28. Anonymous (I think it's the multiple personality one) hasn't answered my Constitution question (of two days ago). I admit it's possible he's just ignoring me and it is, after all, a free country. I don't have any inherent right to be listened to or answered.

    Still, not being willing (or able?) to provide me with the parts of the Constitution that deal with where our rights some from, makes me suspect that, if he checked, he found that there is no such thing in the Constitution.

    The thing is, Anonymous invokes the Constitution a lot and very often advises people to read it. I don't think I will pay any attention to that kind of thing from him any more unless he will condescend to correct me.

  29. By the way, everyone, I want specific examples of when the gun contol side has lied to you all.

    "gunshow loophole" (there is no such thing; there is no separate rule that applies to gun shows)

    Tiahrt Amendment restricts local law enforcement (it specifically does not do so; on the contrary)

    Pistol grips to "spray fire from the hip" (yeesh)

    Sugarman's use of the "scary" look of AR-15's to get the public to believe they are "machine guns"

    "heat-seeking" rounds in .50 caliber rifles (OK, that one's just pure stupidity); or that these rifles are designed to "shoot down airplanes"

    Traver (the President's appointment for BATFE) using full-auto AK-47's on TV advocating restricting "assault weapons," knowing that they are already banned.

    japete -
    These have been pointed out time and time again - need I go on?

  30. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRQqieimwLQ&feature=related

    No such thing as a heat-seeking bullet -- thats a lie.

  31. Paul helmke "we are not a gun ban organization"
    Video link

    Brady website quote
    POSITION: The Brady Campaign supports banning military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines. These dangerous weapons have no sporting or civilian use. Their combat features are appropriate to military, not civilian, contexts.

  32. also in that last video Paul claims that real gun manufactures sell guns with orange painted tips. I can not post some thing that does not happen so I leave it up to you to show that he is correct with a picture from a gun manufacturer that sells a real firearm with a painted tip.

  33. http://www.bradycampaign.org/media/press/view/1359

  34. I am on a iPod so cutting and pasting is hard. Some examples

    Assualt weapons; Prior the AWB, the nation was lied to that these were the weapons of choice of gangs and drug lords. Sarah Brady and others made this statement.

    Truth.was the DOJ said that was not the case and they were used in way less than one percent of the gun crimes.

    MN. Paymar brings back from the dead his gunshow loophole bill. "experts"'say this is where criminals get their guns. Truth was spoken by a Ramsey County deputywho said they had never. Repeat NEVER traced a gun recovered and tied to a crime, back to a gun show sale.

    Carry laws. "experts"' testified that the blood would run like a river in the streets if the carry law was passed. Truth is it's never happened.

    Machine gun registry. "Experts" testified that this was a primary source of drug runners weaponry and the list needed to be closed to prevent "hundreds"'of law enforcement deaths. Total lie. Since 1934, legally owned and registered machine guns have accounted for 1 (one) murder (by a police man against his wifes lover). Not one legal machine gun or registered machine gun has ever been used by druggies or gangs in ANY crime.

    Home shop FFLs. Brady group campaigned heavily against part time and hobbyist FFLs and got the Clinton administration to direct the BATFE to rewrite the regulations to make it very difficult for the home shop FFL, effectively banning them. Again the rational was this was a gangland pipeline of guns. The truth, The ATFE gets the log books of all FFLS when they drop their license. Their own studies have shown home shop FFLs had a far smaller percentage and total number of questionable or illegal gun sales.

    Banning Chinese made guns. Clinton era move pushed by the Brady camp because they were scary looking and inexpensive. Again touted as the "weapon of choice" of drug lords and gang bangers. Truth was they were hardly ever used in crime and when they stopped importation of Chinese made guns, they opened the door to Yugoslavian, Romainian., Bulgarian, Russian and other former Comecon block exports. The gun control aspect was purely a political move.

    We've been lied to many many times over gun control. We will not let it happen again.

    There's lots more.

  35. Japete, you ask for examples of dishonesty.

    How about the "assault features" you yourself quoted from the Brady website a few articles ago?

    One of the other people pointed out that of the numerous descriptions of how certain features work, maybe two were factually accurate.

    If it was corrected and apologised for, I could understand, but I've checked, those claims have been made since the original ban - that goes from honest mistake to deliberate attempt to hoodwink the public.

  36. I will respond to the comments sent in with links to what you all have found to be "lies" coming from the Brady Campaign and gun control groups- in a new post. Thanks for sending them.

  37. Andrew Travers indicating that fully-automatic AK47's were easily available to the general public.


  38. About Huckabee saying that everyone should be forced at gunpoint to listen that that crackpot preacher, I understood it to be a stupid joke to indicate how strongly he feels about the guy. Some liberal bloggers ran with it pretending they thought he was serious. I tried to point out liberals don't need to do that, that's what our opponents do. Besides, there's plenty wrong with ole Mike Huckabee for us to complain about without making stuff up.

    japete, I don't know how you attract such commenters as this one, who naturally calls himself "Anonymous."

    No such thing as a heat-seeking bullet -- thats a lie."

    Guys like this are so contentious and nasty they refuse to recognize the difference between "a mistake" or "being wrong" and "a lie."

  39. Mikeb wrote: Guys like this are so contentious and nasty they refuse to recognize the difference between "a mistake" or "being wrong" and "a lie."

    "Mistake?" Perhaps so, even probably so, though I don't think that's much of an excuse. Or, it's classic fearmongering, betting that the general public doesn't know any better. That's what the gunbanners live on; note the "blood will run in the streets" meme that is constantly trotted out to oppose legal concealed carry (and which has been consistently been proven wrong).

    If the gunbanners would get their basic facts straight, these kinds of "mistakes" wouldn't happen. It's not rocket science, and it's important when matters of law (and potential prison terms) are at stake; it seems to me that a person seeking to make LAW on firearms would first become intimately familiar with firearms and firearms law.

    The fact that japete suffered a tragedy, in and of itself, gives her no authority on this subject whatsoever. Nor, frankly, does same give Colin Goddard any authority as how best to respond to active shooters, any more than being struck by lightening makes one an expert on lightening, or having a traffic accident makes one an expert on auto safety.

    Want to be treated credibly?
    Be credible. It's that simple.

    Reasonable people can disagree on many issues (though japete challenges that too, charging anyone who disagrees with her as being "unreasonable," "extremist," or lacking "common sense." As a start, however, the basic facts have to be correct.


    The Tiahrt amendment does not stop local police from doing traces.

    There are no special rules for gun shows.

    A pistol grip has nothing whatsoever to do with "spraying from the hip."

    Full-auto AKs are already quite illegal, absent a special license and a LOT of money.

    And Caroline McCarthy's bill contains provisions which put millions of gun owners, who've never shot anything other than targets or legal wild game, at risk of long-term prison sentences for merely possessing a (now legal) magazine.

    Those are facts. Get it right. Because getting it wrong puts lives, property, and liberty at risk.

    - GMC70

  40. Well if the heat-seeking bullet meme is a mistake and not a lie, it's one that the gun-grabbers keep making over and over. I've seen that referenced in several different locations, so either they're dumber than I thought, or deliberately lying. You be the judge.

  41. Mike,

    Were I to be in the industry of banning a certain item, I would make darn sure that I was informed and a credible expert on the subject. That's just common sense. The onslaught of incorrect statements from Brady personnel is staggering. It strains credulity to believe that such a small staff can be so repeatedly wrong innocently. Heat-seeking bullets: To be "heat seeking", a bullet would have to have an infrared sensor on the nose to detect sources of heat. This bullet would have to have an on board control system to process that data, and pursue a human heat signature instead of passing cars or steam vents. This bullet would have to have fins or wings in order to steer itself towards the heat. Consider also that the bullet is spinning at several thousand RPM. Making a heat seeking projectile of this size would be a tremendous feat of engineering that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars per bullet. The notion is ridiculous. Anybody with even a casual grasp of firearms knowledge would immediately see the gaping holes in the very concept. Additionally, the speaker warning about the risks of heat-seeking bullets used the word "incendiary" to mean heat seeking. A casual glance at a standard dictionary shows that to be ridiculously wrong.

    Is being able to read a dictionary entry too high a standard to hold you to? I am forced to conclude that anti-gun groups are either staffed with morons, or they are deliberately using scary language and hyping up "deadly" features of guns in order to scare up support, with no regard to the truth. That is what is commonly known as "a lie".

  42. Hmmm- GMC70/A. Lawyer/Roxy- I thought you were done with my blog. Now that I know of your 3 personalities, it makes your comments even more interesting. I will be countering them later.

  43. japete - I used the three because you decided to censor my comments under my 1st no de plume.

    That's your privilege, of course; you're not the gov't, and the 1st Am. does not apply here. But neither am I barred from calling myself anything I like (Roxy, BTW, is a lovely little black Strat . . . ).

    I could have just continued to play the name game, but chose not to do so. And I don't think I ever wrote that I was "done" with the blog. I enjoy the interaction with others of different points of view.

    I only wish you were really interested in reasoned discourse.

  44. Well Roxy, I guess our definitions of reasoned discourse are different.

  45. "It strains credulity to believe that such a small staff can be so repeatedly wrong innocently."

    Yep. And, of course, there are little things like this:

    "Assault weapons - just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms - are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons - anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun - can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons."

    And for those who think this an invented quote:


  46. I read gun blogs every day and I can tell you this is the first time I've read that silly expression, "heat-seeking bullets."