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 3, 2011

What do you need vs. what do you want?

This quote from the article here  says it all: " "The Second Amendment is not about what I need," Aposhian says. "It’s about what I want — as long as I obey the law with it. If we start restricting everything to what we need, we are going to be a very boring society."" And here I thought the Second Amendment was about rights and what people needed to protect themselves and their families. In the Heller Supreme Court decision, Justice Scalia, writing for the majority put it this way,".. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.[43][44]"

Further, in the MacDonald decision, The plurality decision also re-affirmed that certain firearms restrictions mentioned in District of Columbia v. Heller are assumed permissible and not directly dealt with in this case.[28] Such restrictions include those "prohibit[ing]...the possession of firearms by felons or mentally ill," and "laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms" [29]"

But I digress. The linked article above refers to the Utah website (KSL.com classifieds) that sells lots of guns. In fact, they are selling more of the semi-automatic assault type rifles and even .50 rifles. There were 62 internet pages selling rifles and 68 selling handguns when I checked the site. There are 5376 ads for guns and accessories total on this site. " The military-style semiautomatic rifles and carbines are absolutely legal, says gun-rights lobbyist Clark Aposhian, who refers to the rifles as "sport-utility weapons." "They are accurate, utterly dependable and you can use them for target shooting, home defense and hunting," says Aposhian, who owns many of the firearms that Gunn abhors." Ah, now I get it. You can use them for home defense and hunting. Really? But do you absolutely need them for those uses or is it that you just want them? And what's more, " He underscores their appeal: "They’re popular, they’re sexy, and they’re affordable," Larsen says. He’s also aware of the dread these firearms strike in the uninitiated: "It’s the black gun, the evil gun."" Ah, now I get it.

Gun rights activists are all about what they want and not just what they need. And they have convinced many in Congress and our legislatures that what they want is what they need, thereby getting laws passed to make sure they have everything they want. Oh, yes, and the gun lobby is also good at stopping any kind of reasonable legislation that would keep them from having every gun and every type of ammunition that they want. 

And speaking of what people want vs. what they need, should people buy guns on-line without background checks? This on-line Utah dealer puts hundreds of guns on his website every day and presumably sells them. Gun buyers are happy because they don't have to undergo background checks to buy these guns. Say what? Is that what we want or what we need? Who knows if a buyer is a prohibited purchaser? And further, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints is associated with this web site. That does not seem, on the face of it, to be a good idea. ""But gun-control activists find it troubling that one of the state’s largest media groups, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, operates a gun market that through legal, yet unregulated sales, helps traffic a vast number of handguns and large-capacity, rapid-fire rifles."" Hmmm. Now questions are being raised about the site, as well they should be. " "We just want to get input from the community and the gun-rights people and just do what is best for the community," Banz says." I would hope so.

When are enough guns enough? Does one need to have 53 guns around the house for self protection? Here is yet another story about a child finding a loaded gun and accidentally pulling the trigger ending in the tragic death of his sister. What the heck is a two year old doing walking around the house with a loaded gun? And where were the parents? Did they lock any of those 53 guns up to protect their children? Why did they "need" 53 guns? Can someone please explain this to me? All it took was one gun, of course, to kill a 6 year old child. That's all it ever takes. It certainly could not be called common sense to have that many guns around a house with small children and obviously, some of them loaded and unlocked. 

Sometimes people can't have everything they want.


  1. Post script- http://newsok.com/tulsa-police-find-van-guns-arrest-two-in-deadly-spree/article/3573476

    100 guns stolen from one house used in a crime spree leaving 2 shot to death in Tulsa, OK

  2. japete, are you sure that you want to agree with the Court's protection of guns "in common use"?

    That definition may well apply to some guns that some may consider "assault weapons."

  3. "You can use them for home defense and hunting. Really? But do you absolutely need them for those uses or is it that you just want them? "

    Why does it matter? It's a constitutionally protected right, he can own all that he wants.

  4. "This on-line Utah dealer puts hundreds of guns on his website every day and presumably sells them. Gun buyers are happy because they don't have to undergo background checks to buy these guns. Say what? Is that what we want or what we need? Who knows if a buyer is a prohibited purchaser? "

    Let's be clear here - if this "dealer", as you put it, is operating a firearms business and actually selling these firearms themselves, then under federal law, they need to be a FFL. And as a FFL, they would need to sell after a background check through NICS, along with whatever Utah requires. I am not familiar with Utah laws.

    My understanding is that this is an internet classified system that provides advertising of private firearm sales.

    Big difference.


  5. "When are enough guns enough? Does one need to have 53 guns around the house for self protection?"

    Why does it matter?

    I have a safe full of firearms - I'm likely to acquire more during my lifetime. Some were purchased for protection, others for other specific reasons, some for collection purposes.

    Again, why does it matter?


  6. "In fact, they are selling more of the semi-automatic assault type rifles and even .50 rifles."

    Is there something wrong with selling semi-automatic 'assault type rifles'? What is an assault type rifle anyways?

    Is there something wrong with selling .50 rifles?


  7. 1) This is not an "online dealer!" This is a classified advertising site with hundreds of advertisers not unlike craigslist. They are exploiting the "gunshow loophole" which allows private sales.

    2) What has need got to do with anything? Why do you or people like you get to decide what anyone else needs? I don't get to decide what kind of car or truck you need. I don't get to decide what kind of house you need. Where does this arrogance come from?

  8. "The Second Amendment is not about what I need," Aposhian says. "It’s about what I want — as long as I obey the law with it"

    Actually, that's not quite right. It's not what the 2nd is about, it's about what living in a free society is about.

    The government has no more business telling me what kind of guns I can own than it does telling me what kind of light bulb I can own.

  9. It matters because we're back to the argument of legislating wants vs. needs again.
    This is a dangerous precedent and is failing.

  10. I think the fundamental problem is that Joan thinks people are buying guns online and having them shipped to their homes without any kind of background check. She doesn't seem to understand that the online sales where the gun is shipped need to go through a licensed firearms dealer (where the buyer goes through a background check).

    Not sure why I'm bothering to comment, since she also doesn't post most comments that don't agree with her viewpoint. People with the truth on their side don't need to moderate their comments.

  11. First of all, anon, there was every indication from this article that background checks were not required. Second of all, if I just let you guys comment on my blog without moderation, it would be your blog and not mine which is exactly what you want. You would love to take over the comment section and sicken other readers with your rude, obnoxious, sexually explicit and harassing comments. Those are the ones that don't get published. It's more work for me but it keeps my blog the way I want it. It is my blog, after all, and many more people than you gun guys are reading the blog. I'm keeping it as sane and respectful as possible which is more than I can say for many of you who comment here.

  12. "First of all, anon, there was every indication from this article that background checks were not required."

    Again, I would argue that if you are going to advocate in the area of gun control, it would be beneficial to know and understand the existing laws.

    Journalists don't always do a good job of representing an issue - or explaining all of the facts.


  13. Bryan- please take a rest from my blog for a while. It's a beautiful day. I'm going to do the same.

  14. I wonder how the reporter could have missed this from the classified firearm page

    "LEGAL NOTICE: Please be advised that purchases and sales of firearms may be subject to various restrictions under federal and state laws. KSL.com is not responsible for ensuring that your particular transaction complies with applicable law, and KSL.com recommends that you seek appropriate counsel regarding legal restrictions or prohibitions on firearms sales before buying or selling firearms. "

  15. " Gun users are delighted to be able to browse, haggle over and buy firearms from their neighbors — without the red tape of federal background checks. And Utahns facing financial difficulties know they can quickly convert their firearms into cash"

  16. Joan, from the tone of your blog post, it's clear you don't think certain guns should be commonly available to the public, including guns that look like military ones or .50 rifles.

    Based on previous press releases from the likes of the Brady Campaign and your compatriots at the Violence Policy Center, your organization doesn't think that pistols that are small and concealable should be available, nor should handguns that take magazines that hold more than ten rounds.

    Would you care to tell us, if you aren't anti-gun, and if the Brady Campaign is not anti-gun (which you have claimed) what sort of firearms should be available to the average citizen of this country?

  17. I believe I have answered that question many times and you guys have asked it many times. Nothing I say will change what the gun rights activitsts think I am saying or what the Brady Campaign or other gun control organizations are saying so there is no use going around the block again about this.

  18. Joan, I'm just trying to understand your point of view in order to engage in a reasonable dialogue.

    If I missed the blog entries where you've posted about what sort of firearms should be allowed to the general population, I must have missed it.

    I'd really appreciate it if you could provide a link or two to the blog entries where you detail the sorts of firearms that gun control activists think should not be available.

    Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

  19. Anon- I would love to believe in your sincerity but I'm afraid I have become cynical because of all of the remarks made here that are intended as traps to get me to say something that can be used in the blogoshpere. I have posted so many times that I am not sure I can find the exact blog where I have made this known. Often it is in comments in the posts when people have asked me if my intent was to ban or confiscate their guns. But much of this is moot now anyways, right? The Supreme Court has made it clear that the 2nd amendment protects the individual right to own guns for self protection in the home. They did, however, make it known that certain laws restricting certain types of guns, who can have them and where they can be carried are not unconstitutional. The discussion we should be having is how, exactly, we can keep people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. If you are law abiding I don't want your guns as long as you are responsible. I don't believe individuals should own .50 caliber rifles as there is no use for them for self defense. I made that clear, I believe. I know that people have lots of assault weapons because they are telling me that on this blog. In fact, many brag about how many they have. I don't understand that philosophy. This is largely a difference in world view and philosophy. I don't make the laws. I comment on them and I comment about guns and ask why people need so many of them? I don't think they do and that is my opinion. My opinion does not jive with many of you who choose to comment here but is supported by the majority of Americans in polling data taken year after year. I can tell that you don't agree with me. I expect there to be a lot who don't because many of my readers are gun rights activists. But a good number of my readers are not and hopefully will join with me for common sense. That is a very long answer to your question. Good luck finding all of may comments. They are in many comments on many of my posts.

  20. To anon from Lebanon, Oregon- your offensive comments will never be published and they don't faze me. If you think you are intimidating me, guess again. You are just rude and offensive. You are not welcome on my blog so don't bother commenting any more.

  21. Joan, I am indeed sincere. I'm sorry that your cynicism keeps you from responding as you'd like.

    Regardless, if you can't source the requested information, perhaps it would make for a useful topic for a future blog post.

  22. I think there's a culture gap we need to address before constructive dialogue can resume. You (seem to) acknowledge hunting and at least some degree of self defense as valid uses for firearms. I suppose that's something to start with.

    However, if someone enjoys collecting historical, or military type guns, I sense that's unsettling to you.

    I know wealthy people who collect cars. I actually met someone who had warehouses filled with hundreds of classic and vintage cars he owned. Most all would be terribly impractical to drive daily, but he had the means and that was his passion. There have been attempts at legislation to prohibit such activity in CA. The pragmatic reason was "needed" inefficient, heavy old cars.

    I realize you have disdain for my analogies, but for many of my friends guns and shooting are a hobby.

    We don't "need" hobbies, but if it makes a person happy and harms no one, others should get out of the way.

    Regarding .50BMG rifles. Not that I've shopped, but I'm pretty sure the rifles cost in excess of $10,000 and the ammo costs $50 for a pack of 10. Not to mention the extensive training required to fire it accurately. If legislation is passed to ban them, both people who own them will be furious :)

  23. Sean, I do not object to people owning guns for hunting, self defense if they so choose and for collecting. I know people who do all or some of the those things with their guns. They also enjoy shooting at the range. As to "both" of the people who own .50 calibers, I was amused at that comment and appreciate the humor. What worries those of us on the gun control side of things about those type of guns is that they are available to just anyone at gun shows or other private venues to anyone without a background check. Would you think it a good idea for a felon or a dangerously mentally ill person or more worrying, a terrorist, to be able to buy one? That is the problem with having those kinds of guns so readily available. My other concern is that actually, most gun deaths are suicides and the homicides are mostly people killing people they know or love(d) by accident or intentionally. When a gun is available, it gets used when someone may be able to solve a difference without the violent death that comes from a bullet. Guns are dangerous and intended as weapons, therefore making them different than cars. Sometimes gun collections are stolen. If guns are not properly stored and locked, unloaded, from children's hands, bad things can happen. I am hoping that more people will understand that if someone in my family could be murdered, it could happen to anyone and that awareness is important as well as laws to make it more difficult to obtain guns for certain people.

  24. japete,

    Thanks for the pleasant response. A common discussion among gunnies is a debate on caliber selection for self defense. Usually the only thing people agree on is even the smallest .22 can kill a person and a giant sized bullet doesn't cause "more death" when it kills.

    Back to the .50BMG. Politically I think it's just a hand waving gesture. You may as well prohibit private citizens from building their own personal space craft. Like I jokingly said before, only a few folks would have their plans disrupted.

    If you say it's more deadly because it has an effective range of nearly 1 mile, I can agree.

    Trouble is, to be able to hit a target at that range requires a huge level of training and skill. According the manufacture's data, a bullet drops nearly 900 inches on that flight path. That means aiming ~75 feet high!!! Even once you get that feat mastered, the recoil is so brutal, only a large tough shooter can tolerate more than a couple shots.

    I apologize for rambling on with details, but the threat of bad guys getting such rifles, and using them for evil does not seem feasible.

    On the other hand, any clown can pull the pin on a grenade or spray a full auto into a crowd - and that's why those items are regulated by the NFA.