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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This just in: people and kids with guns are dangerous

I was planning on writing this post about hate groups and militia groups and guns. But then I got distracted by some of the stories about guns and shootings in the news so that is for another day's discussion. Some days I wonder how there aren't more gun deaths and injury given the behavior of some "law abiding citizens". There is this guy, for example- a real law abiding gun owning permit holder- gone wrong. "He told police that he had a concealed-carry permit and that his gun was in his white Chevrolet Malibu, which was parked on school property.
In the car, police found a loaded .45-caliber Sig Sauer P220 semiautomatic pistol.
Spotts had an empty holster on his waistband. Police found three loaded .45-caliber pistol magazines in his pocket, along with "a makeshift first-aid kit, a folding combat knife, a pocket knife, an LED flashlight, a silver multitool, and two containers of Quik Clot, a combat first-aid agent commonly used for field treatment of gunshot wounds," the affidavit says. "

So the Tulsa man told police he had these items in his car "just in case." Just in case of what? I just don't get why law abiding gun owners think they need their guns everywhere "just in case." Somehow I have managed to live my life without needing a gun for whatever might or might not happen on a given day in a public place or even in my home. But that's just me. Oh, and it's just me and about 80% of Americans who have chosen not to own guns "just in case". Apparently this guy was a law abiding permit holder- until he wasn't. Did this story make a case for the need for carrying a gun into a school or the reason why those of us who practice common sense think it's a bad idea for people to have loaded guns in schools and school zones? I'm just asking. I know what many of the people who choose to comment on this blog will say because they have already told me about their perceived need to carry guns into schools. We have had back and forth arguments about it. I say guns should not be allowed anywhere near small children or teens in or near schools.

And speaking of children with guns, here a couple of scary stories that appeared in the news recently. First of all, this one:  A 12 year old boy is allegedly ready to go to Washington and shoot up the government?  Where does a 12 year old get 2 guns and have the idea to threaten a school bus full of kids and the driver? Further, where does a 12 year old get the idea, as this boy allegedly had, that he wanted to go to Washington D.C to shoot government officials? More will come out about this allegation as the case is examined. This incident in North Carolina is enough to make us wonder what is going on not only in the mind of the student, but perhaps his own parents.

And the case of a 10 year old shooting his own father, involved in a Neo Nazi hate group is another scary example of what the ideas a child learns at home can lead to the child acting on them. Children are vulnerable and very sensitive to what they hear at home.  (Sorry for the way this displays- in copying, I couldn't change the spacing) " What he could never have expected was that his death might come at the hand of his son, whom he was steeping in his beliefs of white supremacy and its obsessions with weapons, racist speech and Nazi regalia. " 

Reading more of this story is the stuff of a reality show gone wrong. What should be more frightening to the public and elected leaders is that these people have run for elections and are using rhetoric that may fool the public into voting for them. And they are inculcating their own children with dangerous ideas. In many  cases there is evidence of strife during the formative years or other family life problems. From the article linked above, "The boy is expected to appear in court later this month; he has been charged as a juvenile with murder, and his public defender said he might plead insanity. The boy and a younger sister had been the subject of a bitter custody battle with Mr. Hall’s first wife, with a series of allegations of abuse on each side. But Mr. Hall had eventually been granted legal custody."

And last, but not least, for today, anyway, is a new report about guns, cities and youth. We have a lot of gun deaths in the U.S. Metropolitan areas have more than rural areas and youth homicides are higher in large metropolitan areas. Suicides in large metropolitan areas are not higher than other areas of the country and not higher among youth than other age groups. We should not be surprised by this finding of the Centers for Disease Control. There is a highlighted box in the report with a summary: 

"What is already known on this topic?( bold is mine and not from the report)
Firearm-related suicides and homicides were the fourth and fifth leading causes of injury death in the United States during 2006–2007, together accounting for approximately 30,000 fatalities each year. Nationally, the firearm homicide rate among youths aged 10–19 years slightly exceeded the rate for persons of all ages.
What is added by this report?
Compared with the national rate of 4.2 per 100,000 persons per year, firearm homicide rates generally were higher for large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), with a rate of 5.2 overall; the highest rates were in central cities. Youth firearm homicide rates exceeded all-ages rates in many MSAs and cities. In contrast, firearm suicide rates were not higher in MSAs and cities than for the nation as a whole, and rates among youth were lower than for all ages combined.
What are the implications for public health practice?
National and state prevention programs directed at reducing firearm violence should focus on youths, particularly in central cities, to reduce the burden of firearm-related mortality in the United States. Initiatives designed to reduce violent deaths in urban areas can draw upon a growing evidence base for effectively addressing behaviors that underlie violence involving youths."

There has been a spirited exchange on the comment section of this blog about the Florida law to prevent Physicians from asking if there is a gun in the home. Perhaps we need to take some of the information from the report, above, and decide whether it's a good idea to address this problem. That, too, will be the subject of another post so I don't intend to have that discussion on the comment section of this post. The conclusion I reach from looking at the CDC study, linked above, and the stories I have provided here is that gun deaths and injuries are preventable. There is no reason for the incidents in the stories above to even happen in the first place. Ten and 12 year old boys ( or girls but it seems too often to be boys) just should not have a gun in the first place. In the second place they shouldn't even be thinking of taking a bus full of kids to Washington D.C. to allegedly do some shootings.

Thirdly, for a child to kill his own parent with a gun, no matter what the circumstances, is wrong on so many levels. But this one is scarier because of the circumstances. One wonders what this boy's father had in mind with his Neo Nazi activities and guns around the house. Next is the idea that a man who is not the custodial parent of his child shows up at the child's school and appears to have some very sinister things in mind with a car full of guns, and things that look like a kidnapping or worse. And last, there is enough evidence from the latest CDC report about firearm murders and suicides in large cities and amongst our youth that we ought to be acting on this report by having a national discussion about it and agree that there are measures we can take by way of prevention of and reduction of gun injuries  deaths. Also to be included is the role parents play about guns in the lives of their children. This is a community problem and it's just plain common gunsense.


  1. What exactly is your point, japete? That at times people do crazy, bad things?

    Well, yea - that's why I carry.

    I'd note that your precious "no guns" sign did NOT keep the guns of the Oklahoma nut out of the school. And, moreover, that the folks there summoned men with, yes, GUNS to deal with him. What does that tell you?

    The CDC report has an incredible grasp of the obvious. Why - cities tend to be more violent?! Gosh - who'd a thunk it? Hmmm - Where are gangs concentrated? Where are drugs concentrated? Shocking, truly shocking.

    What it tells me, of course, it that carrying a weapon and preparing for its potential use has has more practical value in a city than in rural areas. Again, hardly earthshattering news.

    One hopes of course, to never have to use it at all. One never knows, however.

  2. To be clear, The guy sounds like a jerk, and I don't feel sorry for him at all, but what happened to him is pretty easy to understand. Ohio has exactly the same laws. In almost every other place that prohibits firearms, when you want to go there, it is permissible to disarm and lock your gun in the car. Including the court house. I have a lockable gun box, steel cabled to the frame of the car for just such times. BUT. Schools are "special" and there is no excuse for not knowing the law. Having said that, there was no threat from him in terms of gun violence. The holster was empty. The gun was locked in the car. I doubt he knew he was breaking the law at the time.

    As for what he was wearing, that could easily be me. Except it would take them another page to list the contents of my vest. A "shooting" vest is just a vest with a bunch of pockets and "Tactical" pants are just pants with lots of pockets. As for the makeshift first-aid kits. It's part of what we call an EDC kit. (Every Day Carry) Google it to see how popular they are. In my crowd it is VERY common (as in, it's assumed you have one) YouTube is loaded with people showing what they have in their EDC kits.

    I drive rural roads with no cell service a lot so I carry pretty much everything he had plus everything you would need to spend the night in a truck, including a "makeshift" first aid kit with quik-clot. I also have three ways to make fire on me, a seat belt cutter and a window breaking tool, since I have electric windows.

    If someone asks my why I have all of this stuff. Id say "just in case".

    My children have EDC kits and BOB (Bug Out Bags) in their cars.

    Crazy? To each his own. I'm sure there were a bunch of people on 9/11 that wished they had something as simple as a dust mask, a bottle of water, and a map of how to get out of NY on foot.

    My family does. Just in case.

  3. Let's see, CDC and other public health organisations come up with peer reviewed studies saying that a gun in the home is far more likely to cause injury to someone in the household than be used in defence. Or even this statement:

    "A gun's presence in the home is a possible danger"

    Will receive replies about all sorts of other things which can be dangerous. The fact that crossing the street is one of the most dangerous activities hasn't appeared as of yet, but it will.

    And we can expect the usual discredited studies from Lott and Kleck to be tossed around.

    The fact remains that six people can die from eating tainted spinach and it will be pulled from the marketplace.

    What's wrong with this picture?

  4. I'm surprised that not one of you gun guys thought that the stuff in the car of the Tulsa man was just plain weird. He was planning something. You don't carry around stuff like that, do you? It will be hard for any of you to defend that guy but I know some of you just might.

  5. Japete: “I'm surprised that not one of you gun guys thought that the stuff in the car of the Tulsa man was just plain weird.”

    I think you only believe this because of the gun, which you find weird. Other than that we are talking about a knives, tools, flashlights and first-aid kits- all of which you probably should carry in your car. I have all of the above (the first-aid kit actually came with the car) except for this “quick-clot” stuff which I never heard of, but sounds like it could save a life in case of a car accident. Why don’t you carry these things, Japete?

  6. "You don't carry around stuff like that, do you?"

    Nearly everyone I know carries around stuff like that. Knives, multitools, first aid gear, etc.

    Sleeping bag, food and water in the trunk, etc.

    I'm amazed you've lived as long as you have, and never been in a situation where this sort of stuff was needed.

    Have you never been stranded on the road? Or driven by someone else who was? Cut yourself on broken bottle at the beach? Or seen some kid cut herself?

    How do you manage life's ordinary emergencies, without preparation? Or have you always depended that there be someone else around, who would be able to take care of the problem?

  7. No I don't carry a sleeping bag in my car. No I have never been stranded on a road at night. I try not to be driving out in places away from traffic late at night. That is how I suppose I have survived as long as I have. I really don't know anyone who carries a sleeping bag in their car. Band aids and first aid kit, yes. It's a wonder I'm still alive isn't it???

  8. In my car, I have a backpack that has a first aid kit (which I hope would be dignified as something more than "makeshift", it's quite extensive), two LED flashlights, a waterproof jacket, a towel, two pairs of wool socks, a Leatherman Kick multitool, a gerber folding pocketknife, a container of wet wipes, two bottles of water, and a couple meal-replacement powerbars. Also in my car is a duffel bag with jumper cables, road flares, safety cones, allen wrenches, socket wrenches, a tire iron, a portable jack, several screwdrivers, a pair of vise grips, PB blaster (it's like WD-40, but better), and spare lugnuts that fit my wheels. I don't store any guns in my car; instead of locking them up before entering a prohibited zone, I leave my carry gun at home when I'm going to school, etc.

    I'll spare you the long recount of all the times my stuff has come in handy, but it has. Time after time. I travel great distances by car for my job, and in ohio winters situations can arise.

    I won't defend that guy, if only because his kit was severely lacking if it's just a gun and some quickclot.

  9. Well the Government does not share your view on not carrying anything in the car. Here is the FEMA list of car supplies. I would imagine seasonal supplies should include the blankets and or sleeping bag and maybe even gloves and warm socks.

    In case you are strand­ed, keep a kit of emer­gency supplies in your car.

    This kit should contain food, water, first aid supplies, flares, jumper cables, and seasonal supplies.


  10. I'm the first anonymous, and I must admit I misread the original article, thinking he'd had three guns in his pockets. My error. The guy had three magazines in his pockets; he'd left the gun in the car. That's what one with a CC permit would be generally expected to do. A technical violation, perhaps, but much ado about nothing. A smart and reasonable prosecutor will remind him about the quirk in the law and send him home.

    But we're panicing, uh, why, exactly? Are you afraid those rounds in the magazines will suddenly go postal all by themselves?

    And my point in the original post still holds true: had he been intending to "do something," the no gun regulation would have made, well, no difference at all. He'd have ignored it.

    You ask - Do "you guys" carry this kind of stuff? Well, of course - doesn't everybody?

    I routinely carry a 1911 compact (7+1, and yes, cocked and locked, with one in the pipe) and a Kershaw Leek - that's a knife (open-assist). In the Jeep a blanket, tow strap, jumper cables, tarp, entrenching tool, machete, a multi-tool, two flashlights, and a lighter. I frankly feel deficient for leaving out the first-aid kit, but one is in the camper and boat. I'll have to remedy that soon.

    Why? Just in case. Far better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Do you prepare for nothing, japete?

    Your naivete continues to be astounding.

  11. Listen up you guys. I am no fool. Of course we have a few tools, a blanket in winter and jumper cables, etc. Stop already with this foolishness. I really don't need your advice about this stuff.

  12. I think one of you should write a "Heloise" type column on emergency preparedness for your car. It would probably have a lot of readers judging by the comments here.

  13. "Police found three loaded .45-caliber pistol magazines in his pocket, along with "a makeshift first-aid kit, a folding combat knife, a pocket knife, an LED flashlight, a silver multitool, and two containers of Quik Clot, a combat first-aid agent commonly used for field treatment of gunshot wounds," the affidavit says. "

    I carry a bag in my vehicle with a well equipped first aid kit, flashlights, a multi-tool, some other tools, a larger knife, some powerbars, a blanket, and some other supplies. I add other things in winter (shovel, sand, etc) - I fail to see the issue with him having such things?

    When I carry, I tend to have an extra magazine with me, but not always. Outside of work, I nearly always have a folding pocket knife.

    I fail to see the issue with him having such things?


  14. "Apparently this guy was a law abiding permit holder- until he wasn't."

    I don't know the laws in Oklahoma - but as a permit holder it's his responsibility to know and abide by those laws in that state.


  15. "He was planning something. You don't carry around stuff like that, do you? It will be hard for any of you to defend that guy but I know some of you just might. "

    I carry a lot of the same things around that he was carrying - I'm certainly not planning anything, other than ensuring that I'm prepared for what I expect to face.

    Defend his violation of Oklahoma law otherwise? No.


  16. I agree with most here that the man should have known the law and not had a gun locked in his car. However, if that is the best you could do for a law abiding citizen "gone bad" then so be it.

    As far as the first aid supplies, I was instructed by a law enforcement officer just two weeks ago on the carry and use of these items including Quick Clot (which you can buy at the Gander Mountain in Minneapolis I bet).

    Although I cannot confirm it, I have been told by law enforcement source that eight of the victims of the Gifford's shooting were treated and probably their lives saved by police officers carrying basic trauma kits (like this man had in his car) before paramedics ever made it to the scene.

    Considering the average response time of emergency aid and the fact that you can bleed out in 4 minutes or less from an arterial wound, I see nothing wrong with having a first aid kit.

  17. Dear readers,

    A few of you have threatened to publish my home address somewhere. I consider this to be a personal threat to me and my family. I do check IP addresses and the town and state coming from the comment at a certain time so in case you think you are being clever, think again. I will report any such activity to law enforcement. What are you planning to do with that information? Will someone come around and try to shoot me or my family? Will I be under your survelance now? Will you be outside of my house monitoring my activities? Are you this paranoid? What are your intentions with such information? Mere intimidation or do you mean some sort of dangerous action?

  18. Joan,

    The person you are railing about was just being prepared -- as recommended by the Center for Disease Control

    "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse"

    # Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
    # Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
    # Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
    # Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
    # Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
    # First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)

    So, why do you think he was planning big when he was just doing what a good worker drone/citizen should do?

  19. japete said. "You don't carry around stuff like that, do you?" Since so many others have posted, no need for me to go beyond "Yes I do" + pepper spray.. I occurs to me that your question reveals that there is a larger learning opportunity between our two camps that is relevant to our differences about guns in society and likely many other things. That is, as you can see from the responses, there are a lot of us into being as prepared as possible for whatever events come our way. It's indicative of a particular view on life that our camps may not share. People that choose to carry firearms (talking about law abiding people that make to choice to train and be licensed) have a world view that puts the onus for their safety and preparation squarely on themselves. We believe that the cops can't be everywhere. We believe that natural disasters, accidents, terrorist attacks and muggings can happen suddenly and without much or any warning. I think that both camps agree that these things can happen, but "our" side if I can use it that way, believes that it is our job to be personally ready to deal with these events.

    Your "side" depends on the protection services of government to be there when you need them. Police, Fire, EMS whatever. We 'hope' they will be, but do not depend on them at all. I think that difference is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the differences between our camps but is a good illustration of why we end up so far apart, on issues.

    Carrying a gun tends to be a part of that, being prepared thing, with us but it's just "A" part. Example; When you decided to link to the the story you focused on the gun. We focused on the empty holster, discounted all of the stuff he was carrying as "normal" and said "He broke the law, but there was no intent to do harm.." Thus, not much of a gun story, just an everyday, the guy was a jerk and got his butt arrested story. Totally different worlds.

    You mentioned that you try to not drive where you could get stranded and you don't have a sleeping bag in your car. To us, you might as well have said you've just arrived from Mars. We blink and say "What? You don't carry around stuff like that? Really? " Again. Totally different world views.

    To be clear. No where in this did I say you are wrong. Just that I can see why it's so hard for us to agree, on much of anything.

  20. I have all of the above (the first-aid kit actually came with the car) except for this “quick-clot” stuff which I never heard of, but sounds like it could save a life in case of a car accident.

    quick-clot is basically a fancy, high-tech version of what pet care stores sell under the name "styptic powder"; a nontoxic powder you can pour onto minor wounds for the blood to clot around quicker. works wonders when you're trimming your dog's claws and happen by bad luck to hit the quick. works just as well on people, naturally. and yeah, in a bad situation it can and does save lives; trauma medics are finding this out both in the armed forces and in civilian life.

  21. Joan, I wanted to comment on the threats to expose your home address and the intemperate and vulgar comments you have referred to in previous posts.

    Whoever is doing this. Please go away. We neither need nor want your involvement. We totally reject your methods and actions. Your behavior reflects poorly on your morals and risks painting us with your childish outbursts.

    It is a rare privilege to be able to openly discuss differences of opinion, on issues that generate such passionate views, with someone that is willing and able to engage and support their point of view.

    On "this" side, we often point out that, when it comes to influencing the behavior of someone else, there are really only two ways. Reason and Force.

    Any attempt to stifle the free exchange of ideas and the debate of the issues by threat is an attempt to use Force not Reason and that goes against everything we believe in and everything we hold dear.

    It is an act of cowardice.

  22. Thank you 18Echo. It is the way in which the statement was issued that I consider a "threat". I realize that information can be found about anyone on Google or other sites. But the tone of the 2 commenters who I could almost here their voices saying- Do you want me to publish your address? Huh, do you? I feel like I am having a discussion with vindicative kids and bullies. It does not lend inself to any kind of back and forth and is meant to stop discussion or intimidate me. I do appreciate a few of you who just attack my ideas or disagree with my ideas without going after me. Thanks for that.

  23. Joan, can you make up your mind? The report said a Sig Sauer in .45 caliber. then a couple of paragraphs down you say "A bunch of guns." I am stereotypical of many people in that I don't like to see lies, exaggerations, or shadings of truth in order to advance an agenda.

    You say you're not out to disarm us, but your every action says otherwise.

    I have not entered a public school in roughly 30 years. I carry as a matter of course. I am also the father of a two-year-old boy. I can envision a situation where I might have to make all best speed to his school, and not enough time to lock my gun other than in my car.

    He was an ordinary guy, who had no nefarious plans. If he had, he'd have come in with a half dozen guns in a shopping bag. You need a spotting guide as to how spree killers vs normal people behave. Now if someone is up to no good, and they have a gun....

    I don't know how you'd operate Joan, But if it were me.... Leaving my gun in the car, when I'm intending harm... Joan, I hope all your opposition consists of guys like you imagine this one to be.

    I really hope the eeebil gubberminty types don't ever come after me to take my guns.
    I hope I never have to defend myself against a mugger.

    I'll get real confused when I unholster my pistol, aim the sights, and totally fail to see anything that looks like a paper target, or a Campbell's soup can.

  24. Way to go Joan! Don't let them get you down! Why did you comment positively on CSGV's "outing" of the gun rights bloggers on their FB page though?

  25. I love the silly "semper paratus" guys. They're so manly.

    Besides having everything in the trunk of the car and in the garage that you might need if you suddenly woke up in the movie "The Road," these guys prepare for one day being in a "kill or be killed" situation. They seriously plan on it, some of them only in the fantasy world, but others for real at the gun range and in the woods. "Kill or be killed," that's the paranoid macho fantasy these guys live with.

    From there, naturally the justify any and all gun behaviour. Nothing could be too much or over-the-top, not to these guys.

  26. "that's the paranoid macho fantasy these guys live with."


  27. jdege- it would be helpful for you to say where that quote came from. I assume you are defending the need for guns for women so they can stop rapists. That may or may not work. Surprise happens. As your stats from the link above show, a good number of those rapes are date rapes. So women are raped by someone they know and certainly don't expect it to happen. I am thinking of the ugly circumstances about rape as to how and where they happen. The chances that a woman could actually get a gun out to use are slim.

    But further- this one just floors me- " 42% of rape survivors had sex again with the rapist. (1)"

    I am wondering if that is true and if it is, it's just unbelieveable.

  28. "it would be helpful for you to say where that quote came from"

    It came from the immediately-preceding comment.

    "As your stats from the link above show, a good number of those rapes are date rapes."


    "The chances that a woman could actually get a gun out to use are slim."

    Depends upon the circumstances. In some cases, yes, in some cases no. In some circumstances, just the knowledge that the woman was carrying would prevent the attempt in the first place, and I'm sure that in some rare cases the gun-grabber's feared "he'll only take it away from her" might happen.

    There's no perfect solution, only a balanced judgement of the risks.

    The only absolute is that it's the woman's judgement that matters, not yours and not mine.

    I don't believe that women should carry guns so that they can stop rapists. I believe that women should be free to carry guns, if they choose. It's their life, and their choice.

    Not yours.

  29. Did I say anywhere they can't carry guns if they so choose? I don't think it is necessary and think people don't need to carry their guns. As you know, that is my opinion. But if people so choose, go ahead. I hope they weigh the risks against the benefits.

  30. "Did I say anywhere they can't carry guns if they so choose?"

    I don't remember you supporting the shall-issue law when it was being debated.

  31. I didn't. I lost that one. It's the law. I didn't say people can't carry guns. I just think carrying doesn't make them safer and may even make them less safe.

  32. From mndot. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/maintenance/winterdrivingtips.html

    Seems your own state Govt asks that you have many of the same things in your car.

    Simply google" car survival kit " and you will see some 3,290,000 examples.

    He's not the odd one. You are. Ask your buddies who are LEOs up there in Duluth about a bag for your car. They'll all tell you they dont leave home without it

  33. Combat gerber knives are dangerous too. But we cannot legislate knives, maybe enforce the law of no sharp objects on public gathering places.