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, July 20, 2011

Hitting the mark?

As long as people with guns keep doing stupid and dangerous things with guns, I will keep blogging about them. It makes common sense that too many guns in public places are resulting in shootings in public places. It makes common sense that guns and alcohol don't go together and shouldn't be allowed to be together, at least in public where we can actually make laws to prevent guns in bars and restaurants. It makes common sense that when people have loaded guns around their houses, they should not get one out in the heat of the moment and shoot someone and ask questions later. It makes common sense that you had better know at whom or what you are aiming your gun before shooting a loaded one (gun, that is) in public. It makes common sense that some permit holders will not think before they shoot, refuting the myth that permit holders will most likely act safely with their guns in public and at home. So, in keeping with my writing about stupid and dangerous gun incidents, please read on.

Here is a very sad story about a Minnesota man who shot his brother with a shotgun he thought was unloaded. I actually feel sorry for this man. He was drinking and got mad at his brother. But why was his first response to get his shotgun out of a bedroom? Why is that often the response? When a gun is available, it just may get used. It wasn't locked up obviously as guns, especially of the loaded variety, should be. And when you are drinking, you may not remember that that gun was, in actuality, loaded. But why leave a loaded shotgun around in the first place? Now this man has served time and will serve more and is suffering for what he did. Senseless.

What about attempting to shoot your dog and killing your husband instead? This story shows that shooters don't always hit their mark. First of all, in my opinion, Pit Bulls are dogs that should not be pets.They are aggressive dogs and the subject of stories about  attacks against people. When it gets to the point of having to shoot your own Pit Bull to keep neighborhood children safe, it seems like you have a big problem. More problematic in this case was that this woman shot her husband to death instead of her dog. Who else might she have shot when her aim was wrong? Even police can't always shoot their own intended targets. Here is an article about the New York Police Department's gun discharges over 11 years from 1996-2006 as an attempt to examine when and how the police use their guns on the job. I found this part pretty interesting: " Officers hit their targets roughly 34 percent of the time." And this, " So far this year the hit ratio in Los Angeles is 31 percent, with 74 of 237 bullets fired by officers hitting the target."

Given that, which I am guessing is probably true for most police departments, I wonder how the gun rights activists think they can absolutely defend themselves with their guns? I get the impression that these folks are confident that if they need to get out their gun to protect themselves in public or at home, they will be 100% accurate. This certainty is why they believe that we will all be safer with more loaded guns in public. It is their modus operandi to get more people to think they need to carry loaded guns around. It is their modus operandi with elected leaders when they say we will all be safer if more people have guns. There is no evidence for this but we are dealing with an issue steeped in emotion and false rhetoric and a whole lot of talk about the 2nd amendment and unfettered rights. If you say something often enough, even if not true, it is sometimes  believed. But I digress. Back to the topic of senseless shootings and/or gun incidents...

Oops. What goes on in some one's mind who is "play wrestling" with a friend and then decides to just shoot him in the stomach instead? This was an intentional shooting by a Florida gun permit holder. Why? Senseless. I wonder if anyone at this gathering had a good time? And further, his sentence?- house arrest and 5 years of probation along with financial restitution. I wonder if his gun and permit rights were taken away? Hmmm. Where is common sense?

I don't know about you, but I expect my elected leaders to practice what they preach. This Ohio legislator was one of the supporters of Ohio's bill to allow guns in bars where alcohol is served. Senator Jordan is also a gun permit holder, as is his wife. Isn't it great that he thinks it's O.K. to have guns in public where alcohol is served and not worry about whether the combination of the two will be dangerous?  But then, when imbibing too much himself, he engaged in physical violence against his wife, and, according to transcripts of the 911 call, Jordan took one of his many guns from it's usual spot. And the state Senator was angry enough to cause his wife to call for help from law enforcement. This is what I call hypocrisy. He is the poster child for why drinking and being around guns is just plain dangerous. Here is one of the comments from the linked article, ".. why was she calling 911?  i mean, she has a concealed carry permit, and i've been told by the gun nuts that as long as you have a gun, you're safe.  wasn't she safe, then? " That is a good question. Will he think that his own behavior is excusable? Will he think that his own vote doesn't matter? Well it does. If he himself can't control his anger when he drinks too much and has a gun available, what makes him think that anyone else can? Everyone was lucky that he didn't decide to fire that gun at his wife. But I'm just saying....


  1. " And further, his sentence?- house arrest and 5 years of probation along with financial restitution. I wonder if his gun and permit rights were taken away?"

    One's gun rights are not "taken away" but rather an individual loses the ability to own or possess a firearm when an event occurs that makes them ineligible.

    In this case, he plead guilty to attempted manslaughter, a felony carrying a sentence longer than one year. Under federal law, he is barred from purchasing, owning, or possessing a firearm.

    I can't speak for Ohio's permit law as I'm not familar with it - but the federal prohibition would apply in either case

  2. "Isn't it great that he thinks it's O.K. to have guns in public where alcohol is served and not worry about whether the combination of the two will be dangerous?"

    The combination that's dangerous isn't "guns in public" and "alcohol being served", but "carrying guns" and "drinking".

    That person A is carrying and person B is drinking doesn't make either person A or person B more likely to do something stupid with a gun, even if they are in the same room. It's the person C who is both carrying and drinking that is the one we need to be concerned about.

    And in the laws in question, person C would still be violating the law. This is as it should be. But the law should not be written so broadly as to punish A or B.

    Here's a similar idea - open bottle laws. In most states in the US, it is illegal to drive with an open bottle of alcohol in the car.

    I spent some time in Germany. They have no such laws. It's perfectly legal to drive down the highway at autobahn speeds, while drinking a beer. But get caught driving with a BAC over their very strict limit, and you'll never drive again.

    Their DUI laws are written to punish only those who are actually causing the problem, and deal with them quite severely. And their DUI rates are far below ours.

    The laws you so strongly oppose are of the same nature - rather than a broadly-written ban on behavior only some of which is problematic, with little teeth, they propose a narrowly-written ban on the behavior that is actually problematic.

    Why you think that is a bad idea I simply do not understand.

  3. Do not try risk management of society as a whole, but rather, concentrate on the actors involved in risk. The percentage of people who are actually engaged in criminal activity is very small. The percentage of those who engage in a broad spectrum of illegal activity is quite large.

    I do not have the numbers in front of me, but in a study from Atlanta I saw, the number of people who are not felons by age 21 who go on to commit felonies later in life is very small. Of those who were in the system after age 21 but not before, almost all admitted to just having been lucky in not getting caught.

    if you look at the topic that drove you to look at this issue, Domestic Violence happens whether or not a firearm is available, and in most countries of the world, at much higher rates than here, and with much higher death rates, even where firearms are almost completely banned.

    Start here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_domestic_violence

    I know you dont like the idea that taking guns away will not reduce the rates of DV or DV deaths, but hte data is pretty clear.

    More here, From the WHO, which is as you know, clearly not a puppet of the NRA.


    Another raving conservative bastion here...(mild sarcasm)

    Here are other methods...


    The issues are not if someone sitting at Denny's and has a permit, the issue is not someone sitting at Cosmo and has a glass of wine with the endive and conch salad, the issue is people who are criminals,who engage in criminal behavior, and who will only stop when imprisoned or convinced the cost of engaging in such behaviors is far above the benefit.

    Posting anecdotal events which are statistically insignificant helps no one, not your side, not ours, but only serves to muddy the issue of how to keep society, and individuals safe from criminal behavior.

  4. Peter- what is your point again? I don't see any evidence in the linked article for your statement about domestic violence. When a gun is present in these cases, women are more at risk for being killed. I don't see at all that the data you provided in your link support your point.

  5. What do you make of situations like this:
    "The situation could have gone either way: I could end up beaten or dead, or we could all go our separate ways.

    All I could think to do was to get to my backpack and find my phone. As I fumbled for the phone, I heard one of them say, “Does he have a gun?”

    So I kept my hand in my backpack, allowing them to wonder whether I was reaching for a gun. Then a couple of them started to run away, and the others soon followed. I got back on my bike and pedaled as fast as I could out of there."


  6. Thanks for sending this, Stew. I saw this man interviewed on a news program. I know you are just waiting for me to say something you can jump on. I will be writing more about this later.