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.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gun laws at work- or not

Yes, gun laws actually do work to stop trafficking of guns and potential gun deaths and injuries. This new study from California reveals how that state's gun laws have kept guns from Mexico where they are largely used by the drug cartel there to commit heinous crimes. When it's harder for criminals and others who should not have guns to buy them in the first place, they have to go someplace else to get their guns. So they go to gun shows, they purchase in states that have looser gun laws such as Arizona, they use straw purchases, they get them on the streets or they steal them. The harder we make it to get those guns, the safer we will be and the safer Mexican citizens will be.

While the NRA is busy opposing gun laws that actually work, criminals, terrorists, domestic abusers and kids can get guns anyway. A new billboard posted by Stop Handgun Violence, a Boston organization, shows the actual numbers of kids and teens killed by guns every day along with the dollar figure for the NRA's buy-out of elected leaders in 2010. Now hundreds of thousands of drivers in the Boston area will see the truth about gun violence and the cost to society. They will also see the millions of dollars spent by the NRA to make sure that elected leaders do their bidding while failing to enact national gun laws that could work to save lives.

If we had better gun laws, it would be easy to track crime guns to their original owner and discover who is trafficking guns or straw purchasing. The gun lobby has made sure that can't happen by blocking any bills that would help law enforcement stop the trafficking and enable them to trace crime guns. This article about how a gun that started out as a legal sale ended up traced to a crime in Mexico. And while we are on the topic of guns in Mexico, here is some information from the ATF which reveals just how many of the guns traced in Mexico come from or come through the U.S. The NRA, of course, is still in denial that these guns could be coming from the U.S. They would be wrong. "The U.S. was the source of at least 70% of 29,284 firearms recovered by authorities in Mexico in 2009 and 2010, according to new U.S. government figures." Here is what the NRA thinks about the report: " Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said he doubted the ATF figures. He said given the ample resources of drug cartels, traffickers easily import weapons from Russia, China, and Central America, rather than risk trying to smuggle firearms from the U.S. "I think all these numbers are phonied up for politics," Mr. LaPierre said in an interview. "The law enforcement people I talk to tell me this doesn't make sense."" When facts are inconvenient, the NRA doesn't agree with them or says they are wrong or "phonied up". The gun lobby never does anything for political reasons or "phonies up" numbers or facts, of course! The law enforcement officers I talk to tell me that those laws do make sense. We could stop some of this illegal gun trafficking if only Congress would stop listening to the special interests of the gun lobby. How can we continue to allow guns coming from our country to kill Mexican citizens? Some of the dead are members of the drug cartel but many of those senseless gun deaths are people who are not involved in the drug business. If another country was allowing guns to flow into this country in such great numbers and contributing to the deaths of U.S. citizens, you can bet that we would be demanding action. 

Back in the U.S., there are studies showing that in states where there is higher gun ownership, gun deaths and injuries are also higher. But never mind. Ruger wants to give an incentive to the NRA to make sure more guns are sold in this country. Just what the NRA needs- more money and more influence. And we don't need more and more guns. We are already awash in guns at 88.8 per 100,000 compared to other civilized countries. The gun lobby wants us to have more guns by pushing for more crazy gun laws or loosening laws already on the books. Could that be because fewer homes report having guns in them now? If we make laws that allow for more people to carry guns in more places, then more people will have to buy guns. If so, then if more people buy guns, the gun manufacturers and dealers prosper and contribute more money to the NRA to keep itself and its' highly paid executives in existence. More guns have not made our country safer so it just doesn't make common sense to continue down the road of ignoring this national problem.


  1. If you want to find some common ground with the gun folks, gun trafficking into Mexico is a good place to start.

    We know for sure that a gun that the ATF *allowed* to be smuggled into Mexico was used to kill one of our own border patrol agents.


    I would think that the gun folks and the anti gun violence folks could come together to demand a full accounting by the ATF on this matter.

    I am being serious here. Neither group want guns being sent to Mexico from the US. If our own government was complicit in doing that, I'd think that everyone on both sides would want to get to the bottom of it and the guilty charged and sent to jail.

    Think for a second about those ATF numbers.

    In the article you cited is also says this. " Lawmakers say the agency lost track of firearms and allowed 2,500 weapons into the hands of suspected traffickers"

    SO.. of the 10,945 that were manufactured in the US.. 2,500 of them were ALLOWED to go to Mexico by the ATF. The same government that is complaining about guns going to Mexico sent 1/4 of them there illegally and we have dead border agents shot with THOSE guns.

    You would think THAT would merit headline by the anti-violence folks. On the pro gun side I can tell you we are ticked off at the lack of media coverage.

    Just so you know. The full auto guns are coming into Mexico from the south, not from the US. They are far too valuable to collectors to be sold illegally from the US to gangs.

    Except for the ones the Mexican Police can't seem to keep safe.

    Guns Stolen From Mexican Police Arsenal

    "Six thieves wearing police uniforms entered the compound, drove directly to the radio room, tied up the staff, then proceeded to the armory. They took 43 H&K G36 rifles, 26 9mm pistols plus bulletproof vests and grenades. "

    I wonder how those will be accounted for by the ATF when they show up for a trace request if they passed through the US on the way to Mexico, as part of the anti-drug agreements and support.

    Just wondering how many of these traced guns were sold by our own government, not smuggled.

  2. First the gun laws of MA are among the most draconian with everything one could want short of outright ban. We have no sales without FID, required registration, may issue with police chiefs that can do what the want. We have an assault weapons ban and also handguns must be on the AGs approves list (band many). We have no gun shows and if we did the buyer and seller must have FID and register the sale. All sales that cross the state line must have a federal and state licensed FFL in the transaction.

    Guess what.. criminals are still criminals and they behave badly. When a 9 time DWI drive kills someone and the gang bangers working on their 4th or more trip to the pokey still commit crimes. WE seriously need criminal control.


  3. Actually, what we need is a federal background check law so that the criminals can't go to a different state and purchase their guns where laws are looser and bring them into a state like MA where the laws are stricter.

  4. "Back in the U.S., there are studies showing that in states where there is higher gun ownership, gun deaths and injuries are also higher. But never mind."

    Yes. Never mind.

    There are a number of problems with the VPC's "study".

    First is the usual conflation of suicide, violence, and accident. These have very different causes, pose very different risks, and any measure made by combining them provides no meaningful guidance to behavior.

    Second is the usual dismissal of non-gun suicide and non-gun violence.

    Third is the use of some intentionally fraudulent measures of gun ownership. The states listed as having high levels of gun ownership are precisely those with high levels of violence. States with low levels of violence are listed as having low levels of gun ownership. The studies, surveys, etc., that were chosen to provide the estimates of gun ownership were specifically chosen, and were intentionally manipulated, to create this correlation. States that have consistently shown up in surveys as having very high rates of gun ownership - like North Dakota - are listed in this study has having only modest rates of gun ownership, precisely because they have low rates of violence.

    But the fourth problem is the most significant - and that's the whole idea that an individual's own choices about his or her own life should be directed by statistical studies of this sort.

    The simple truth is that all of the risks that are conflated in these studies are very low, and the purported differences between states are very low.

    There are 100,000,000 people in this country living in households with guns. And only 30,000 who are killed with guns. That's 99,970,000 people who live with guns who are not killed, every year.

    These are very modest risks, and studies like this are of no use whatsoever in determining how to mitigate them.

    I'm very much of the opinion that any individual who is considering keeping firearms in their home should carefully consider the risks, and take appropriate measures to reduce them. But that means an honest consideration of how great is the risk of suicide, of domestic violence, of negligence or accident, and of their likelihood of criminal victimization.

    And that means an appraisal of the specifics of that particular household. State-wide statistics are less than worthless.

  5. And that's 30,000 too many people killed by guns every year when we can prevent some of the deaths from happening. Using your analysis, these folks are collateral damage. That is not acceptable. And that, jdege, is the difference in our world view.

  6. Come on. You know interstate private sales are already illegal. Or do you?

  7. That's not what I'm talking about MA but you know that,right?

  8. Actually, what we need is a federal background check law so that the criminals can't go to a different state and purchase their guns where laws are looser and bring them into a state like MA where the laws are stricter.

    Already have it. Not an issue.

    The Mexican gun numbers have been debunked so many times that it's ridiculous that you bring them up. And as 18Echo points out, it turns out that ATF is in fact one of the major gunrunners themselves. Yeesh.

    As to the VPC "study" . . . well, it's VPC. They're proven liars, and have been for years. If VPC stated the sun rose in the east, I'd have to go check it myself. "Nuff said.

    BTW - Ruger's just introduced a 1911. Gotta get me one - and yes, it "need" it. And it is nor for you, or anyone else, to tell me whether I "need" it or not.

  9. "And that's 30,000 too many people killed by guns every year when we can prevent some of the deaths from happening."

    Yes, we can. And we're doing so, by education, example, and passage of reasonable gun control laws - like non-discretionary carry permits.

    Unfortunately, we have to spend far too much of our energy trying to keep anti-gun ideologues from pushing proposals that would make things worse.

  10. Nope. We don't have a federal background check for private sales at gunshots and other venues. But you knew that, right?

  11. Nope. We don't have a federal background check for private sales at gunshots and other venues. But you knew that, right?

    Given that there is no federal gun registration, and only very little state gun registration (and that's an ABSOLUTE non-starter), there is no way to bar same, if someone wants to act illegally.

    You understand that, of course.

    And the guy intending to do violence will not be deterred by a mere bookkeeping violation.

    You understand that too, I suppose.

    So the goal of the regime is to do what, exactly - aside from the real goal of making owning a gun as onerous as possible? Because it has little or no other effect . . .

  12. The goal? No background check, no gun, no excuses.

  13. Japete: "The goal? No background check, no gun, no excuses."

    Sounds like the best way to accomplish that is to make background checks as accessible as possible.

  14. "Actually, what we need is a federal background check law so that the criminals can't go to a different state and purchase their guns where laws are looser and bring them into a state like MA where the laws are stricter. "

    You can only purchase a handgun in the state that you are a resident in - this applies to both private and FFL sales.

    If you want to purchase from an out of state individual or dealer - it must go through a local FFL in the state in which the buyer resides.

    Long guns are handled differently - some rifles have other restrictions, it depends on the state.

    Massachusetts has draconian gun control measures that make it extremely difficult for even law abiding citizens to own a firearm. There's a reason that I don't live there any more.

  15. There is nothing we can do about your suspicions. They are inaccurate.

  16. do you have another link for the first story "This new study from California" it seems to be broken

  17. Thanks. I will try but don't know if I can find it.