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.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just the guy next door

You may never know enough about your neighbors until they do something stupid or dangerous like this man did in Florida.  In this case, I am guessing that any neighbors might already have known that the man in question was a little crazy and also is a "Sovereign Citizen". No ordinary group, that. But then again, from the article, " Kelly was described as an “upstanding citizen, family man and an incredible single father” by one of several commenters onNorthEscambia.com who claimed to know him personally." The Sovereign Citizens don't believe in the government and don't want to pay taxes. What happens when you don't believe in your own government? You become mistrustful, angry, suspicious and always on the look-out for a misstep by someone or a governmental entity so you can have an excuse to act. Who shoots up a store with an AK47 because the store ran out of crawfish? This man was plain lucky as were possible victims, that he didn't actually shoot someone.These are folks living amongst us with their crazy ideas and their guns. But people must have their guns.

What's up with angry guys and guns? Rage and guns just don't go together. A York, PA man driving a Rolls Royce got angry enough at someone on the road that he caused them to pull over in a school parking lot where the Rolls' driver put a handgun to his head. Really? In a school parking lot? This is why carrying guns around everywhere you go is a bad idea. One little problem is that someone could be shot and several more families would suddenly be devastated by gun violence. That is why, in my view, expanding laws to allow people to carry guns in more public places is not a good idea. Not because there aren't responsible people who can handle guns carefully, but because the more people who are carrying (and there are more permit holders now than in the past) and the more places they can carry, the more we are going to have questionable people with guns on our roads and in public places. It is a recipe for tragedy. And I'm guessing that a man who drives a Rolls Royce is unlikely to be considered a threat to his friends and neighbors, until, of course, he is. But people must have their guns.

This man could also be living in your neighborhood. He was obviously a danger to his wife and children and potentially to others when, in an argument over a cigarette, he threatened to blow the heads of police officers off with his gun. And that was after he tried to strangle his wife. He occupied and endangered police for a time in a stand-off before they got the kids safely out of the house and he surrendered his gun. This is not exactly Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I can't help thinking about the song, "It's a Beautiful Day in Your Neighborhood" from that T.V. show which encouraged kind and gentle behavior and interactions. But people must have their guns.

And in another incident in my home town, a man was arrested for aiming a gun at someone in a road rage incident. The gun was a BB gun which can do harm to a person. But this, from the road rage incident above, also happens with real guns. If I saw someone aiming a gun at me from a car next to mine, I would assume it to be a real gun. Now consider if the person in the other car had a real gun, as some people do now that they are allowed to carry in their cars, and shot back. It is just a possible scenario, but not out of the question given the fact that our gun laws allow for people to shoot back and even shoot first if you have a reason to believe that someone is a threat to you, even in your car. According to this Iowa Sheriff, more people with criminal records now get permits to carry guns with the new Iowa law where people could have been denied in the past by local law enforcement. Never mind what law enforcement says. People must have their guns.

Be careful if you live in Kansas where the state legislature is considering some changes to their permit to carry law. According to one legislator, people should decide for themselves if they should have a permit. Why not? From the article: " Rep. Richard Carlson, a St. Marys Republican, said law-abiding citizens should be able to decide for themselves whether they are capable of carrying a concealed weapon. He conceded that his approach could lead to people being licensed to carry guns without being able to pass a basic firearms test, but said it didn't concern him. "We tend to look for all the reasons why someone should not be qualified to carry concealed, but actually I think we should look for the reasons why they should be qualified," he said." Whatever. So if you read the article, it looks like even blind people and those with physical conditions that would make carrying a loaded gun around a hazard, should be able to carry one around in public anyway. People must have their guns. 

And I haven't even gotten to the idea of terrorists who can buy guns legally in the U.S. from federally licensed dealers but cannot be prohibited because their names are not on the FBI's prohibited purchasers list. And our own gun shows provide a wealth of guns for people who don't have to have background checks and, in some cases, don't even have to show I.Ds. What has the NRA to say about this one? So far, nothing. But this tired old excuse was dragged out in the linked article above: " Van Cleave acknowledged "nothing can stop a determined terrorist from getting a gun" through illegal or lawful means. "One can never ignore such threats," he said, "but we should not be running to dump our civil liberties overboard, either. The more armed the populace is, the quicker a lone wolf, if one pops up, could be put down." I don't feel safer knowing that terrorists can buy guns because some people believe their civil rights are being abused. While it is important to protect civil rights, it is also important to protect our country from terrorist attacks. I believe we can find a way to do both but not even trying to do so is not an option. These attacks may not even come from Al Qaeda operatives. There are home grown terrorists possibly living in your neighborhood. Anyone remember Timothy McVeigh, James von Brunn or Major Nidal Hasan? But people must have their guns.

While the gun lobby is trying so hard to make sure that absolutely anyone can get a gun, they are also trying hard to make sure that people who are trying to stop gun violence from even mentioning it. I am speaking, of course, about the ridiculous law passed in Florida to keep doctors from asking patients about guns in the home and then advising them of the obvious risks associated with loaded guns in homes. I am proud to be associated with the Brady Campaign/Center as they fight against the Florida law that keeps doctors from talking to patients about being safe when guns are in the home. " "This gun lobby-backed gag law is a clear violation of the First Amendment rights of doctors and patients to discuss the severe risks posed by guns in the home, particularly to children," Brady Center President Paul Helmke said in a statement." This is not about gun rights. This is about muzzling medical personnel who dare to counsel patients that guns could actually be a danger in the home like they counsel patients about wearing bike helmets or smoking or alcohol as health risks. Dennis Henigan, VP of the Brady Center wrote this about the Florida law:" This lawsuit is not an effort to restrict anyone's Second Amendment right to have a gun. It seeks to vindicate the right of doctors to communicate the dangers inherent in the exercise of the Second Amendment right. Patients don't have to take the advice being offered; indeed, they have the right to vehemently disagree. But the State of Florida has no business invading the doctor-patient relationship to dictate to doctors what they can, and cannot, tell parents about the dangers of guns in the home. "I know more than a few doctors since two of my close family members are practicing medicine. To a person, all those I have talked to about this law agree that the law is absolute nonsense and an egregious interference with their ability to practice medicine. But people must have their guns.

Since June is ASK month ( June 21st), now that I am on the topic of guns in the home, please remember to ask if there are guns in the homes of your neighbors where your children may play or hang out. Check out this website to find out about asking about guns. And think about your neighbors with guns. Sometimes ordinary people with guns make mistakes. All it takes is one pull of the trigger for someone to be seriously injured or shot to death. All it takes is common sense to prevent that from happening. We can't prevent all gun deaths and injuries, but failing to try is an abrogation of our responsibilities to our communities.


  1. "To a person, all those I have talked to about this law agree that the law is absolute nonsense and an egregious interference with their ability to practice medicine. "

    The law is crap - for once, we agree on something.

    I just wish Doctors were properly trained to actually give out this sort of advice.


  2. I agree with you on the Florida law, but perhaps for different reasons than you have.

    As to the rest - once again, what's the point?

    If the point is that some people do crazy things - well, yea. That's why I carry. Daily.

    Then you proceed to end each paragraph with "But people must have their guns." Why? What that tells me is that your goal is exactly what you have always denied - to ban firearms. Why else end with such a rhetorical question?

    18echo on the last topic is exactly right; we have entirely different world views. What you see as reasons carry should not be permitted, I see as more reason TO carry.

    The difference, of course, is that I am not trying to impose my world view on you. You and your allies, however, would not hesitate to impose yours on me, given the opportunity.

  3. Oh but you are trying to impose your world view on me and others. Shoot First laws are imposting your world view on those who don't want them. The law in Florida is imposing the NRA/gun guy world view on others. Failing to deal with terrorists and guns and making such a fuss about background checks to keep people who shouldn't have guns from getting them is imposing your world view on those of us ( the majority by the way) who want some of those things to happen.

  4. I fail to see how the shoot first bill will affect you. Do you or your family members make it a point to break into peoples houses using force or stealth?
    I agree we should deal with terrorists just not deny rights to people on the watch list.

  5. Anthony- we've gone over what I think the repercussions of the "Shoot First" bill would be. It could affect innocent people who would be shot for walking through someone's yard or coming to their door. That's the point. You can shoot first and ask questions later once the person is dead.

  6. Well it did not pass so it really does not matter. As you know what you think and I think does not really matter it is what the law says that matters and you could not shoot someone for either of those activities. Do door to door salesmen get shot in the states that have this so called "shoot first" laws?

  7. Are there door to door salesmen anymore? A Texas Cheerleader got shot while outside the home of an old grumpy man with a gun. He shot it out his window towards some kids who were in his yard thinking it was a haunted house. There are other examples of people getting shot when a gun didn't need to be used in Shoot First states as well.

  8. The topic of this post was not shoot first though I did mention it. See this one, though, which I know many of you who made comments here read in March: http://www.commongunsense.com/2011/03/castle-doctrine-or-shoot-first-ask.html

  9. That's the point. You can shoot first and ask questions later once the person is dead.

    Isn't any shooting pretty much shoot first and ask questions later? It's not like you draw a gun on someone threatening you, and police and prosecutors show up, along with a jury and counsel, put you and the other person on the stand for deposition, and then render a verdict on whether you may or may not shoot. This seems to be one of the sillier characterizations of these laws.

  10. Of course, Sebastian, but as you know, the difference after these laws pass is that a person who claims the provisions of the Shoot First type laws to get them off without a trial can get away with murder. That is why the laws should not pass. A trial by jury should determine the guilt or innocence of someone who shoots another. And further, as you also know, in most states, justfiable homicide provisions are in place and, in my state anyway, no one has gone to jail for a true case of justifiable homicide. We don't need the expansion of the law.

  11. Thanks for all the comments about "Shoot First" laws. I know that gun rights activists have a different idea about the need for the law. That is a given. We won't agree on the necessity of the laws. Suffice it to say that in states where the law is in place, people have been shot, sometimes innocent of anything but being in the yard of the shooter, and the shooter has not been charged with murder. The expanded definition of a dwelling and where someone can say they must use a gun in self defense is our objection to the laws. As you know, the language in the Minnesota bill was vague and poorly written as to leave confusion even for those who supported the bill. The current law is working. There is no need to change it. This post was not intended for a discussion about Shoot First laws. The law did not pass in Minnesota and I'm not going to re-debate it on this post. We've been around the block about this before so it makes no sense to go around in circles about it again.

  12. The "Shoot First" laws are poorly nicknamed just like the "gun show loophole" is. But what we're talking about is legislation that makes it easier for homeowners to unnecessarily kill intruders. That's bad.