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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Friday, May 20, 2011

Those pesky permit holders

I would say that at least once a week I view an article with something like this in the headline- "Man shot when gun accidentally goes off." I'm just curious as to why this happens so many times? The gun guys tell me it shouldn't, of course. Of course not. Preferably those guns you have sitting on the car seat next to you in case you need to shoot someone while you are driving around town will just sit there. But then, they don't always. I have provided and will continue to provide incidents of permit holders who either misuse their guns accidentally or use them intentionally to shoot another person- and not in self defense. That is the reason I blog. These things fly under the radar of the average person. Because I am so involved, I know about the shootings that go on around the country. My job, as I see it, is to let others know about these things. It might make a difference in the public debate about the role guns play in our society. When these things happen, you see, it belies the very logic of the NRA and their supporters. Some permit holders are just not the safe and responsible folks that they lead elected leaders to believe they are. The Violence Policy Center provides these examples of permit holders who have killed others- i.e.- intentional uses of a gun to kill another human being. The blog called "Ohh Shoot" provides many examples of accidental shootings, or unintentional shootings, some of them by permit holders.

My view differs drastically from many of the gun rights activists. So be it. I will agree to disagree with them. Guns are dangerous and designed to kill animals or people. Aside from people using them at gun ranges for sport, they are mostly used for hunting where animals are killed or by felons, domestic abusers, drug abusers, terrorists and others who should not have them to kill a person (s). Gun ranges are popular for practicing and keeping up shooting skills, just in case. But why are the targets at those ranges often human shapes?

And then, of course, there are gun suicides which account for the largest number of gun deaths in our country. From this new article from the Harvard School of Public Health, about suicide- ".... School’s Injury Control Research Center (ICRC), found that in states where guns were prevalent—as in Wyoming, where 63 percent of households reported owning guns—rates of suicide were higher. The inverse was also true: where gun ownership was less common, suicide rates were also lower." There are links to several other useful articles about guns and suicide in the linked article above. From this one, "Means Matter" associated with the Harvard School of Public Health, Firearm access can be a politically-charged topic. This website, however, is designed to introduce a non-controversial, "lethal means counseling" approach to reducing a suicidal person's access to firearms and other lethal means."

And accidental shootings by and of kids? That happens far too often as well. And then  those gun murders that happen in the heat of anger, passion, or maybe depression against a loved one or a friend? They shouldn't happen but they do. These are guns used by people who are often law abiding, until they're not. As long as the goal to "normalize" the carrying of loaded guns by just about anyone just about everywhere is the Modus Operandi of the gun lobby, shootings will happen. More's the pity when we consider this just another day in America. That just does not make common sense.

38 comments:

  1. The shootings amoung criminals happen regardless of the "normalization" of the carrying of firearms.

    Open another window to shout your message out of!

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  2. Joan,

    Let me ask you a variation on a previous question.

    We claim that permit holders on the whole are very law abiding.
    You obviously disagree.

    Let's say there were 65,561 convictions in the State of Texas in 2009. (last year statistics are available).

    What percentage of those convictions were from Concealed Handgun License holders?

    And what percentage would it have to be for you to agree that, on the whole, license holders are law abiding?

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  3. When the permit to carry law passed in many states, the NRA and those who agreed, said that these folks would be law abiding and that there would be no problems. Not to worry. The fact is that there have been problems. I am not saying that most of you are not responsible with your guns. I am sure you are. But when these incidents are happening on a pretty regular basis, it is cause for concern and enough to raise some questions about the training requirements and who is allowed to get the permits.

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  4. Here is a better and more accurate way to put it:

    When the permit to carry law passed in many states, those who disagreed said that there would be a huge increase in problems. The fact is that there has been no significant increase in problems.

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  5. I like your post very much. You're absolutely right that the NRA claim that gun owners are responsible and safe is only partly true. Many of them are not.

    The link between guns in the home and suicides is indisputable. But don't expect the gun-rights crowd to admit it.

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  6. I reject the premise that any persons freedoms should be limited because of your fears of what someone else might do.

    Unless and until you have evidence that indicates that a specific individual poses a threat to herself or to others, you have no business telling her what she can or cannot do.

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  7. I must have missed something here, jdege. Did I tell someone what to do?

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  8. "I must have missed something here, jdege. Did I tell someone what to do?"

    Frequently, actually - or at least you attempt to do so through legislation.

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  9. "I'm just curious as to why this happens so many times? The gun guys tell me it shouldn't, of course. Of course not. "

    With rare exception, guns never go off by themselves. Show me an unintentional discharge situation, and I'll show you some sort of negligence or safety violation by the part of the individual in control of that firearm.

    Bryan

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  10. I would say that at least once a week I view an article with something like this in the headline- "Man shot when gun accidentally goes off." I'm just curious as to why this happens so many times?

    So let's be generous and say you see two per week; that equals 104 per year. How is 104 accidents in a nation of 300 million worth losing sleep over? We probably lose more people in this country to autoerotic asphyxiation each year...

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  11. Then your comment makes no sense, jdege.

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  12. So anon let's sat there were 32 gun murders a day in addition to your fictional number which is way too low but don't have the numbers right now. Then add on the suicides making it 80 a day or 30,000 a year. Is that OK with you? Or is that just collateral damage that go with your rights? Howany are top many for you?

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  13. Bryan. You seemed to have missed my point. I write pretty often about accidental gun discharged. That means there are too many irresponsible gun owners put there who are shooting themselves or others sometimes leading to death- and sometimes they are just plain lucky as this guy was. You guys always shrug these off as just a rare event. The problem is, it's happening often enough to be of concern and should be. You instructors should be doing a better job so these thongs don't happen. But then some folks don't need ant training to buy or carry a gun.

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  14. Sorry. Not ant training but any training. IPhones can be difficult

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  15. "You instructors should be doing a better job so these thongs don't happen."

    That's sort of entertaining coming from an individual who advocates that doctors, untrained in home firearms safety, should be providing direction and advice to individuals about firearms safety.

    Bryan

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  16. "But why are the targets at those ranges often human shapes?"

    Because I don't expect to be attacked by a bullseye.

    Bryan

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  17. "Some permit holders are just not the safe and responsible folks that they lead elected leaders to believe they are. The Violence Policy Center provides these examples of permit holders who have killed others- i.e.- intentional uses of a gun to kill another human being. The blog called "Ohh Shoot" provides many examples of accidental shootings, or unintentional shootings, some of them by permit holders."

    A few points:

    1) As we've discussed before, the rate by which permit holders commit crimes are significantly lower (by a huge multiplier) than the average citizen. See recent study in Florida or the annual BCA report here in Minnesota for an example.

    2) Gun Control advocates in general have argued repeatedly in state legislature after state legislature that issuing permits to carry would result in a wild west atmosphere. This has not yet been borne true in *any* state where permits to carry are issued in a shall issue manner. Recent study in Florida is a good example of this - as is our own experience here in Minnesota since 2003.

    Bryan

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  18. "When the permit to carry law passed in many states, the NRA and those who agreed, said that these folks would be law abiding and that there would be no problems. Not to worry."

    I doubt that's what was said - at least not in the manner in which you're saying it. Source?

    Bryan

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  19. Oh but you guys don't want doctors doing anything of the sort. I guess that leaves it up to you guys. But then,, your job is totally different than that of a doctor as is the reason for talking about gun safety. As you well know doctors are not training people to be better shots and talking about the rules regarding conceal and carry as you are.

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  20. Do you have a source for your allegations, Bryan? That is what was said and that is what is being said now. During the committee hearings and the House vote on Shoot First, proponents made statements of assurance about permit holders not causing any problems so this new law should not be any different.

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  21. "Did I tell someone what to do?"

    You're telling her that she may not carry a gun, when and where she chooses. That she must subject herself to background checks and various bureaucratic expenses and delays. That she can't buy a gun at the local hardware store, or through the mail, at her convenience, but can only buy one through a limited number of federally-licensed dealers.

    And all of this not because of any evidence you have to indicate that she, in particular, represents a threat to anyone, but only because you have concerns about "the gun problem".

    You think that you can make society "better", if you could just impose the proper rules. This is the utilitarian premise. It's been the underlying philosophy of every tyranny in history, and I reject it utterly, in all its various flavors.

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  22. Who the heck is the "she" to whom you keep referring jdege? I am just not getting what you are trying to say here.

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  23. Guys- comments attacking other commenters don't get published. I thought you knew that by now. Also, comments calling me a liar also don't get published.

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  24. "As you well know doctors are not training people to be better shots and talking about the rules regarding conceal and carry as you are. "

    What training are you referencing here?

    NRA Home Firearms Safety training is about exactly what it sounds like - how to safely store firearms in one's home. It's the sort of training individuals who are going to give out this sort of advice should be instructors for - rather than just going to medical school.

    The NRA describes this course as "Non-shooting course and teaches students the basic knowledge, skills, and to explain the attitude necessary for the safe handling and storage of firearms and ammunition in the home."

    There's nothing in this training about being a better shot - or "rules about conceal and carry"

    For that matter, NRA Training is not accepted by the State of Minnesota's BCA for the application for a permit to carry a firearm. To apply for a permit to carry, an individual must complete a course of training taught by a certified business organization, approved by the BCA. That training must include:

    (1) instruction in the fundamentals of pistol use;

    (2) successful completion of an actual shooting qualification exercise; and

    (3) instruction in the fundamental legal aspects of pistol possession, carry, and use, including self-defense and the restrictions on the use of deadly force.

    See MN Statute 624.714 for additional information.

    Re: "Conceal and Carry" - there is no such thing in Minnesota. The statute allows an individual who has received a permit to carry a firearm (or firearms) - handgun, longgun, or shotgun, and said firearm(s) may be carried openly or concealed. Concealment is not required.

    Bryan

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  25. "Do you have a source for your allegations, Bryan? "

    Absolutely.

    Here's a recent editorial by Congresswomen McCarthy entitled "Open Carry Gun Laws Turn the Country Back into the Wild West"

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2010/04/15/open-carry-gun-laws-turn-the-country-back-into-the-wild-west

    She writes: "But there are days when I read the newspaper or am watching the news and it seems as if our country is back in the Wild West. Brazenly carrying firearms into restaurants and bars and schools and churches creates a situation that is intimidating to families, and poses risks to law enforcement and to the community."

    Or Jim Backstrom's recent op-ed:

    "We’d be returning to the days of the Wild West, when two gunmen could face off in the street and the winner could walk away without fear of consequences, under a claim of self-defense. Such lawless frontier days should remain in our past."

    I'm sure I can find many many more. I seem to recall quite a few MN Senators and Representatives that used the same metaphors during the MPPA debates.

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  26. Yes, Bryan, only those who choose to go to the training to which you refer. Many people who own guns have no training whatsoever because it is not required to simply purchase a gun. Therefore, a doctor, who sees many more people than a certified firearms instructor or instructor for permit to carry applicants, reaches more people with the message about safe storage from the point of view of health and safety. And yes, I know that people don't need to conceal. It is interesting that so many people don't have any idea that that was the reality of the law passed in Minnesota. That was not made very clear during the discussion of the law. Maybe it was to you guys but the general public had little idea that people could openly carry their guns in public. Were you one of the people carrying their pistols around in a holster at the House Public Safety committee hearing?

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  27. "Therefore, a doctor, who sees many more people than a certified firearms instructor or instructor for permit to carry applicants, reaches more people with the message about safe storage from the point of view of health and safety."

    And what safe storage message is that?

    "It is interesting that so many people don't have any idea that that was the reality of the law passed in Minnesota."

    The law is not difficult to understand - it's spelled out clearly in MN 624.714. Course, the BCA's website contains incorrect information, so that's part of the problem.

    "That was not made very clear during the discussion of the law. Maybe it was to you guys but the general public had little idea that people could openly carry their guns in public."

    When the MPPA was passed, I was a Massachusetts resident. I have no idea what the discussion was around some of these items - but I have seen some of the more outrageous quotes on video about how Minnesota would be the wild west, and how "blood would run in the streets" - neither of which has come to pass.

    "Were you one of the people carrying their pistols around in a holster at the House Public Safety committee hearing? "

    I believe carrying a firearm in a holster is the safest way to do so - I wouldn't recommend not using a holster - it's highly unsafe.

    If you're asking if I open carry - I rarely do. But I don't have a problem at all with those that do.

    Bryan

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  28. "I am just not getting what you are trying to say here."

    You and the rest of the gun-grabbers insist, and may well believe, that restricting gun use will make for a better society. I believe that the evidence indicates that you are wrong.

    John Lott, and some of the posters here, argue that allowing ordinary, law-abiding citizens, greater access to guns would make for a safer society.

    They may be right, but that's irrelevant. To argue that we'd have a safer society, if we had their public policy, or if we had your public policy, aren't essentially different. Both are based on the Utilitarian Premise - Jeremy Bentham's old idea that he could construct a society that provided "the greatest good for the greatest number".

    Every tyrant has always had good intentions. You and the rest of the pink-sweatshirted Jack Booted Thugs Ladies Auxiliary have good intentions.

    The pro-gun advocates who argue that more guns equals less crime have good intentions.

    But all of you are arguing that it is good and proper to restrict the freedoms of ordinary citizens not because of what they have done, but because of what you fear others might do.

    And that's simply incompatible with a free society.

    That nurse working third shift in an inner city hospital who chooses to carry a firearm for self defense, has a _right_ to do so. If _she_ believes that she would be safer for doing so. Even if she is wrong. Because it's her life, and her choice, and absent convincing evidence that she as specific individual poses a direct threat, it's nobody else's business.

    Not yours, not mine, not the government's.

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  29. " Every tyrant has always had good intentions. You and the rest of the pink-sweatshirted Jack Booted Thugs Ladies Auxiliary have good intentions." Really, jdege, your remarks just blow me away. You have now made up a new group that, of course, only exists in your mind and the mind of those who have the extremist views you espouse. You might be better off keeping these sorts of comments to yourself.

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  30. I didn't invent the phrase. It's from L. Neil Smith.

    As for those who share my "extremist" views:

    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." -- Thomas Jefferson

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  31. Yes, you all have taken this up as your cause. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle

    Not all agree with it, however and just because Jefferson wrote it and said it does not mean it is in law. That's the bottom line.

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  32. No group is crime-free, japete. Not CC holders, not politicians, not even gun rights activists.

    But even a modicum of research will tell you that, as a group, CC holders are FAR LESS LIKELY than nearly any other group you can identify to commit crimes, especially violent crimes. Frankly, a CC holder is statistically less likely to be a felon than a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

    If legal CC were new, and there was no track record to look at, you might have a claim to your premise. It's not new, however, and there are decades of records from the vast majority of states who now permit legal CC. And the record, summed up, is this: Legal CC has, at worst, NO impact on gun violence, and at best, a marginal but statistically significant effect at deterring violent crime.

    As legal CC has spread across the country over the last 20 years or so, violent crime rates ahve been consistently dropping. Now I know that correlation is certainly not causation, but . . . . just saying'.

    At this point, you have no data to support your contention. That's a simple fact.

    Do the research, japete. Google is your friend.

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  33. Thanks so much for that helpful advise, anon. Otherwise I would never know to use Google or other sources for my research.

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  34. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/sc-dc-0524-court-prisons-web-20110523,0,2337401.story

    Its a good thing that California has stringent gun control. They have nothing to worry about at all. All those evil concealed carry holders in check and we all know how well an additional 38 to 46K recently released inmates will abide by the laws and gun restrictions. I certainly hope that when these wonderful folks hit the streets they have only 10 round magazines!

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  35. Anon- I don't really know why you commented here about the article. I'm sure you are trying to make some sort of point about guns but I fail to understand it. I thought crime rates had gone down and thanks to some of you permit holders, things are all better. If we had the money to update our prisons and people were willing to pay for it, perhaps we wouldn't have this problem. It has little if nothing to do with this blog post or guns.

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  36. Yep those Pesky permit holders

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/122396329.html

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  37. "Guns are dangerous and designed to kill animals or people. "

    No, they are designed to shoot bullets. Bullets are designed to hit targets, animals, or people.

    Did you ever see the live video feed called "Gun Watch"? I can't find it right now, but for several years there has been a live video feed of a loaded AK type weapon sitting in a corner. As of the last time I found that page no one was shot. You would think the gun would have gotten bored and gotten up and shot someone by now.

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  38. Here are two more "pesky" people with guns this time open carrying that delayed a robbery and the police then noticed the suspicious car and arrested the would be robbers. Amazing that just the mere display of the gun stopped the criminals with the OC people none the wiser.

    http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-atlanta/open-carry-deters-armed-robbery-kennesaw

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