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, August 10, 2011

It's hard to know what to say....

While I was away from my blog, so many things happened that require highlighting that it's hard to know where to begin or what to say. Let's start with this one- some teens had a copy-cat Columbine shooting planned for their first day back at school in New Orleans. Really, it's just a matter of time before another school shooting occurs. In America, they have become part of the expectations of our school year. That's why the campus of Virginia Tech was shut down for some hours last week. Why take chances? These are serious matters as everyone at that campus and the country knows full well.

But never mind, Representative Ron Paul wants to eliminate the gun free zone from schools so teachers and others can carry guns in schools. Right. Good idea. So now, when someone spies a gun on a college campus or in a school, they shouldn't call law enforcement or report it because that person could ( or then again maybe not) be a law abiding citizen. How can anyone tell? Good question. Or will we ask first whether the person with the gun has a permit before calling for help or dealing with an actual shooter who means harm? This is a conundrum that the NRA and its' friends and supporters have not yet explained.

So now, let me list just a few of the stupid and dangerous things from the news in the last week or so:

1. A Minnesota teen shooting at a squirrel shoots a woman instead. Right here in my home state, "The boy fired a .22-caliber rifle, and the round apparently passed through some shrubbery and struck the victim about 140 feet away." That's the problem with guns. The bullets travel and don't always hit the intended target. Guns are dangerous. I don't like squirrels in my yard either when they go after my plants or the bird feeder. But I have the good sense not to go shooting at them knowing that there are neighbors close by.

2. Someone needs to explain how these folks passed background checks when they bought their assault rifles, machine pistol and other guns in their arsenal. They all have criminal records and went on a crime spree last week, alluding police. " "We don't know where they're going or what their intentions are," said Nocco, the Florida sheriff. "May the Lord look over all of us, because these three are on some type of mission. And  it is a violent mission."" And this, " He said police fear the siblings are carrying "an arsenal of weapons." Tracing prior background checks run by gun sellers, police confirmed that Ryan Dougherty bought an AK-47 assault rifle – like the one used in the bank robbery – at a pawn shop two years ago. Similar checks showed his brother also owned guns."

3. I knew we couldn't go too long without another mass shooting in America. This one in Ohio was horrendous. The news was so focused on the Debt Ceiling debate and the downgrade of our credit rating that another mass shooting just didn't rise to the top of the news feeds. “A person running through the neighborhood and firing a gun” prompted calls to police, Copley Police Department said in a news release late Sunday. At a home, the gunman shot his girlfriend, ran to a home next door and shot her brother and four others, then chased two people through some yards and shot one of them, police said." I say, "good grief"!

4. I would say that Ohio has had enough with the shootings, wouldn't you? This shooting is so senseless and irresponsible that it makes the hair stand up on my arms. What country are we living in again? How do things like this happens? Do you ever think about whether a bullet will come flying through your window and hit your child as she is watching T.V.? Maybe you should. And what good would your gun for self defense do in this case? Another senseless shooting of a child.

5. Speaking of guns for self defense, the NRA is quite sure that they ought to be able to defend themselves in those terribly dangerous school zones. Yes, mass shootings have and will occur at schools. But schools are not the places where most of our nation's shootings take place. This article is more about the Ron Paul link above." Politicians are terrified of any suggestion that they’re not “for the children,” and the Republicans and NRA are not inclined to work on something that makes Paul look good after he’s not supported them. The only thing that can give this bill legs is a groundswell of grassroots support demanding that Representatives sign on as cosponsors and work for passage." Right. Get busy everyone. Tell your Congressional representatives that you are in favor of having loaded guns on school campuses around children. I guess being "for the children" (above) is a bad idea to the NRA.

6. So being a teen in Minneapolis while riding a bike can get you shot but not as often as you could be. What? Oh well. Here's more about this story. " Family members say Taylor is a kid who is more concerned with playing basketball than hanging in the streets. Police say they believe the shooting is not random. His family said Taylor was in the wrong place at the wrong time." How can you be in the wrong place at the wrong time when you are just innocently riding your bike and get shot? When a young boy or girl gets onto a bike in the neighborhood, the thing parents shouldn't have to think about is whether or not their child will be shot. But when teens and others on the streets of our cities can so easily gain access to guns, it is one of those things that happens. Guns are dangerous no matter where they are.

7. I just hate to keep reporting on those pesky gun permit holders shooting other people but they keep happening. This one happened about a year ago when the Pennsylvania permit holder confronted a driver in a road rage incident. Unfortunately for him, and predictably, his gun fell out of his "holster" or back brace, as it is called in the article during the altercation. When a gun is available, it just might get used and in this case it was. Instead of backing away from a situation that could have resulted in 2 bruised and battered guys suffering from stupidity and road rage, one man is now in a vegetative state; the other is going to jail. How many times have I written this same line in my blog?

8. Oh, and this one seems like a broken record as well. It happens. Guns behaving badly. This time, a poor Arizona man was shot in the penis by his fiancĂ©'s gun discharging in his pants. Ouch! I know I have reported on a similar case not long ago. I wonder why this stuff keeps happening? Could it be because guns are dangerous and gun owners and permit holders suffer from lack of common sense? Sorry, I got distracted thinking about how many times I write about this stuff. Back to the story. This poor guy was just trying to help his fiancĂ© out by putting her cute little pink pistol into his pants waistband before entering a store. Not a good idea as is turns out. This incident shows how ridiculous it is for people who think that carrying a gun into a grocery store will make them safer. The possibility of needing a gun for self defense in a grocery store is less than the possibility of shooting yourself or someone else with that gun. From the article: "  A gun tucked in a waistband, something commonly seen in television shows, might look "cool" and seem convenient, but in reality it is inherently dangerous."

9. This one is almost too tragic to write about but it happened in 2007 and the story about the conviction of a New Mexico father who shot his 3 year old son made the news recently. Here is another felon who shouldn't have had a gun but did anyway, trying to blame his son's shooting on a drive-by shooter. Shameful and senseless. And speaking of 3 year olds and guns, this Colorado child is dead at the hand of his own father who also killed himself. A comment on the article said that he/she had no problem with suicide, just don't take a child with you. Really? In many many cases, someone who commits suicide with a gun often takes someone else with them. I know that first hand. But back to this story, it is totally unimaginable that someone could shoot a 3 year old. I have a 3 year old grandson. These stories just tug at my heart and bring me to tears at the thought of someone shooting him.

10. And finally, I thought that gun shows didn't provide guns to felons. That, of course, is what the NRA and its supporters love to tell us. Private sellers don't have to do background checks in 33 states in the country. How can the gun lobby claim that private sellers just don't sell to those who shouldn't have guns? They can't, plain and simply. It's not necessary to require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows, they say. And yet, in Ohio, these men got caught buying from a private seller even though they are prohibited purchasers. " Two years after a local gun show was a target of a New York City investigation highlighting a loophole in federal firearms laws, local authorities arrested four men Saturday on a variety of weapons violations." Oh, and the gun lobby also hates New York City Mayor Bloomberg for his role in Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the undercover gun show videos showing how easy it is to buy guns without background checks. So here we have the Ohio law enforcement officers targeting the same gun show and finding actual prohibited purchasers buying guns without background checks from private sellers. Those folks who were luckily caught before they did someone harm with their guns, would have been stopped at the point of sale had that private seller been required to run background checks on these guys. Maybe they would have been forced to get their guns somewhere else. But why make it so easy by providing them with a "legal" market at gun shows?

How many examples do we need before we will do something about the shootings and the loose gun laws that allow people who shouldn't have guns to get them anyway? Common sense tells us that we can do something about this national problem. I have written about just one week's worth of articles and incidents involving guns, shootings and gun laws. And these are just a few of many. I wonder what next week will bring?


  1. Can you think of any law that will prevent stupidity?

    I can't.

    Can you think of any additional law that will prevent a determined person from committing violence? Let's see - murder is already illegal, as is assault, as is battery, as is possession of a firearm with same intent, but if we just make him fill out an additional form, well yea, NOW that will stop him.

    Right? It'll be even more illegaler!


    The fact of the matter is, these laws aren't really designed to stop criminals. They're designed to make owning a firearm as difficult and onerous as possible, in the hopes of discouraging and suppressing firearms ownership. They're designed to trap gun owners in a hopeless maze of pointless and counterintuitive laws. Politicians like to call these sorts of laws "tools" for law enforcement, that they can selectively trot out when convenient. And passing these sort of laws lets politicians claim to be "doing something."

    Were that not the case, we'd actually enforce the firearms laws we have now. But we don't. Unless, of course, we have a political reason to do so.

    Instead, ATF is busy running guns to Mexican cartels in order to create facts on the ground to justify more laws.

    You've demonstrated - again - that it is not the guns that are dangerous. It's the people.

    Tell me again how more laws will fix stupid?

    - GMC70

  2. GMC-" They're designed to make owning a firearm as difficult and onerous as possible, in the hopes of discouraging and suppressing firearms ownership." That is total myth coming from the gun rights extremists and the NRA.

  3. "But never mind, Representative Ron Paul wants to eliminate the gun free zone from schools so teachers and others can carry guns in schools."

    In Minnesota, it was legal for any permit holder to carry a gun in any public school, up until 2003.

    During that time, we never had a single school shooting.

    In fact, the only school shooting in Minnesota history occurred after the law was changed to ban guns, at Red Lake in 2005.

  4. And I'm just postiive, jdege, that banning guns in schools was the cause for the carnage at Red Lake.

  5. If you are so certain that the ban caused the illicit possession and shooting, wouldn't it be common sense to end the ban?


    I doubt there is a real connection between the ban and the shooting, except that the "good guys" lacked the most effective tools for dealing with a gun toting lunatic.

    NYC's gun "control" laws are generally held by the Brady group to be good, and they are a bloody pain for any who would abide by the law, and no barrier for the criminal.

  6. "And I'm just postiive, jdege, that banning guns in schools was the cause for the carnage at Red Lake."

    The shooting at Red Lake was caused by the shooter, no one else.

    The ban didn't cause it. It encouraged it.

    There's nothing that will convince a troubled kid that the solution to his problem is to grab a gun and start shooting at random, than the knowledge that you and yours have created a space where he can do so without any concerns about being stopped by someone else with a gun.

    The gun ban didn't cause the shooting, but it enabled it.

  7. 8 people die in yet another mass shooting this year, and it hardly makes a blip on the news. Sigh. Just another day in America.

    Good post. Lots of false NRA myths exposed... again.

  8. Several readers have demanded my answers to how to reduce gun deaths and injuries. They are usually asked in a trite, accusatory and snotty manner with some attack on the Brady Campaugn or other GVP group. My positions are clear if you read the post. No need to badger. Background checks on all gun sales; carrying of loaded guns in public places restricted to only those who show a need to carry; banning high capacity magazines and also some assault type guns. There is no proof, as some have suggested, that having a gun in a school zone would stop a shooter. I am all about preventing the shooter from getting the
    gun in the first place. I have been very clear about that. If you can think of more cogent questions, " fire away".

  9. I find your last comment to be nonsensical, judge.

  10. And if the Red Lake shooter didn't have access to a gun, what would he have used? a fly swatter?

  11. Thanks, Laci. And does everyone remember where the Red Lake shooter got his gun? From his grandfather's home-who, by the way, was a law enforcement officer. He killed his grandfather as well with the pistol he already had. And then- " Weise then stole Lussier's two police-issue weapons, a .40 caliber Glock 23 pistol and a Remington 12 gauge pump-action shotgun. He then fatally shot Michelle Leigh Sigana, Lussier's girlfriend, two times in the head as she was carrying laundry up the stairs."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Lake_massacre

    Weise was mentally ill. How did he get the first gun?

  12. So the kid goes on a rampage with PD weapons and somehow more gun control is going to help? If anything, gun control made this worse by ensuring his victims were deprived of the best tools for resistance.

  13. I understand now. This is what you have in mind:


    Thanks, japete. I feel safer now.

  14. "Yes, anon, this is exactly what I mean", she said sarcastically.

  15. And Stew, what do you think would have worked to stop the shooter? Do you really think that when someone comes in with guns blazing, you would stand them down with your own gun? Don't answer that because that is, indeed, what you guys think. What about the idea that when you have a grandson who is mentally ill and having all kinds of problems, you don't leave your police guns sitting around where he can gain easy access to them? Where do school shooters get their guns? Many of them from their own homes. Safe storage is a great idea. Maybe Weise would have gotten a gun anyway, and indeed, he did have one. Where does a teen with mental health and behavior problems get a gun in the first place? And where do those illegal guns come from in the first place? All guns start out as legal unless, of course, you have people with criminal records working at a gun manufacturer who takes guns out of the place of business and sells them somewhere else. And, to my readers, this will not be about relitigating the Red Lake Shooting. That is not what this post was about. It started with a discovered plan by some students to shoot up their school in New Orleans on the first day of school. Where do kids get the idea that they can do such a thing? Where do they get their guns? Where are the adults in the room? We need to prevent these incidents- not wait for them to happen and hope like hell that there just happens to be someone with a gun nearby who is not scared out of his or her pants and doesn't get shot first, to stop the shooter. Your scenarios are fictional. They just don't and won't happen the way you envision them. I have posted about this numerous times.

  16. GMC- sometimes your remarks are meant only to antagonize. You must have forgotten that I don't publish remarks from people who act like jerks.

  17. Speaking as a veteran of the infantry who earned his combat badge: NO. I'm not charging in guns blazing. That is just dumb. Call for backup, stay on the line with dispatch, and see if I can pin the murderous bastard down? It is not a great plan, but it's going to be good enough.

    The fastest way to end these murder rampages, "active shooters" as the police call them, is to return fire. They have a habit of killing themselves at that point.

    Moving past Red Lake, who discovered the plans? As usual, it is the alert citizen, perhaps a minor in this case, who discovers the nefarious plot allowing the Police to interrupt it.

    These kids also planned to die in their attack. An armed teacher can, not necessarily will, hasten that.

    Besides the point: These kids are not thwarted terrorists, they are not seeking political change.

    The point of responsible carriage of arms is not to defeat all these murderous loons. It is to give the citizen a fighting change when the mad come a killin'.

  18. WHO was the first person shot at Red Lake School, an unarmed security guard.

    Why do most High Schools now have a uniformed police liaison officer on the grounds? Because of the Red Lake event.

    No matter how many times it seems something horrible happens with guns, think of the fact that its one out of 75 million or more Americans doing it. We have nearly as many guns as people in the nation, and its going to more guns than people very soon. The object is not the issue. Never has been, never will be.

    You work as an educator, you should have learned this by now. How many Shootings have occurred in a parochial school? One, but an outsider who forced his way into an Amish School. Why might that be? Could it be our schools have failed at instilling values, that very subject the Educational Elite deemed to sensitive to teach in school.

  19. Peter- it is totally ridiculous to suggest that the reason there has not been a shooting at a Parochial school is because of the lack of teaching of values. That's a first. I've never heard anyone suggest that before. The two are unrelated. There are troubled and mentally ill kids in all schools. And, by the way, it is not true that values are not taught in public schools. At the school where I worked, we worked hard at talking about how to treat other students. "Values" were not taught as a subject but taught in many other ways. What does the "Educational Elite" mean? Does it mean that religion is not overtly taught in public schools or exactly what do you mean my that?

  20. There is no proof, as some have suggested, that having a gun in a school zone would stop a shooter.

    Do you know what the common theme amongst spree shooters is, Joan?

    They are, almost all the way across the board (there are exceptions), stopped by armed people.

    The only thing we are asking is that those "armed people" be amongst the crowd being shot at, rather than a separate crowd that has to get called from miles away and just coincidentally wear badges. Reducing response time reduces casualties - even you cannot deny that.

  21. And I'm just sure, anon, that one of you will be "johnny on the spot" at the scene of every school shooting to stop the shooters. And surely, you will hit your target and not miss and your adrenaline will not keep you from shaking and wanting to flee to safety instead of staring down a shooter.

  22. Joan,

    We recognize we can't be everywhere at once, but neither can the police that you seem to believe will save everyone every time.

    What we want you to recognize is that there are more of us law-abiding citizens than there are police, so allowing us to carry helps ensure that SOMEONE is there to help if needed. We'll help the police if they are present, but in their absence we'd be the only responders available. At the very least, the thought that a school might not be as easy a target, that someone there could shoot back, just might prevent some of these shootings.

    Google-search "CPR Corollary" sometime to understand the concept of the citizen's role as first responder in the absence of police/EMS. Let us know what you think. Or don't, and we'll know anyway.

  23. Are all of you law abiding citizens with guns working in all of the schools in the country? Or should we call you on your cell phones if there is a school shooting so you can come to the rescue? Will you be available all the time? Or will you give us times when you are available and in the neighborhood of a school? Will the teachers know that you are a "first responder" or will they think that you are an accomplice to the shooter? Will you be trained in the tactics police would be trained in for specific situations? Will you be able to get into the building once it is locked down? Will you be familiar with all of the schools rooms with the room numbers and all of the exits/entrances in the building? Will you know who the teachers are and who the other staff are so you won't shoot them by mistake? Will you take training with the school district that is required for all professional and non professional staff as to procedures for each building, which could be different depending on the building? These are just a few of the things I can think of having worked in several school buildings in my district and the training I received to respond to these emergencies. I will think of more.

  24. No, but I'd be willing to bet that not all your colleagues in the school system believe as you do, that a disarmed populace automatically means that shootings won't happen. They are, however, just as familiar with the emergency procedures as you. They are also just as disarmed.

    Not going to search for "CPR Corollary," then?

  25. 100% of them agreed with me in the Elementary School and about 75% agreed with me in the High School where there was a larger group of people with slightly more varied opinions. Actually, there were some folks who were gun owners in the high school who agreed that there should be no guns in the school. They are not allowed anyway so it's a moot point. And they will likely never be allowed in the schools in my town. It is just not a popular view or a view that teachers generally believe in.

  26. "Are all of you law abiding citizens with guns working in all of the schools in the country?"

    The moment we change the law to allow carry in the schools, every single school will instantly be one in which concealed carriers might be present.

    No potential shooter will be able to know whether a permit holder will be present or not.

    And it's that very uncertainty that deters them.

  27. I'm a gun-owning teacher who thinks that responsible adults should be able to carry in schools.

    We'll see if this makes it through the filters.

  28. I'm a gun owning teacher who thinks the opposite, Heather. What's your point?

  29. It won't deter a shooter. It never has

  30. Then how do you account for the fact that when it was not illegal to have a gun in school, there was never a school shooting, but once it was banned, school shootings happened?

    How do you know that no one has been deterred by the presence of a gun? Can you read minds? Many a bank robbery was averted by the presence of armed security, a rational person would say the same about an armed guard at school....your arguments are losing credibility

  31. I'm not sure it ever was legal except for students being able to have hunting guns at school so they could go hunting after school. I attribute it to the rise in sales of pistols and assault guns. People used to own primarily guns for hunting. The culture has changed. Kids have access to mor powerful and sophisticated weapons in part thanks to their famied where they get the guns.

  32. The point is not deterrence, Joan, any more than the point of laws is deterrence.

    The point is to end the shooting as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

    Waiting an hour for the police to respond is neither, and only serves to increase casualties.

  33. In very few cases did it take law enforcement on hour to get to the site of a shooting.

  34. "I'm not sure it ever was legal except for students being able to have hunting guns at school so they could go hunting after school."

    Let me educate you.

    Prior to 1975 - no state laws against carrying in Minnesota, whether open or concealed, whether in schools or not. Some communities had local ordinances banning carry, without a permit (including Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth).

    1975 - passage of the Minnesota's "May Issue" law. Carry was illegal, without a permit. The law forbade carry even with a permit in a few specific locations - public schools were not among them.

    1984 - passage of Minnesota's firearms preemption act. All local ordinances and regulation regarding the carry of firearms was preempted by the state.

    1990 - passage of federal "Gun-Free Schoool Zones Act". This made it illegal to carry a firearm within 1000 feet of a school, unless you had a state-issued permit. Since it was illegal in Minnesota to carry a firearm in public without a permit, anywhere, it had no real effect here. (Actually, it had no real effect anywhere, as it was almost instantaneously enjoined, as a part of the case U.S. v. Lopez, which in 1995 resulted in the Supreme Court declaring the law unconstitutional.

    1997 - Congress repasses the "Gun-Free Schoool Zones Act" adding the words "because it effects interstate commerce." The repassed bill still has no real effect on Minnesotans, because carry without a permit is illegal, and carry with a permit is an exception under the act.

    2003 - passage of Minnesota's "shall-issue" law. The bill as originally offered changed the requirements for issuance of permits, but did not change their scope. A discussion with the Minnesota Principals Association resulted in a compromise. They said that if a provision was added to the bill to make it illegal to carry in the schools, even with a permit, they would not object to its passage. The provision was added, they continued to oppose the bill. (Which provides a clear example of why it's generally a waste of time to try to compromise with anti-gun types.) The law as finally passed made it illegal to carry in schools.

    Carry in schools was legal, throughout most of the state, until 1975. It was legal with a permit, from 1975 to 2003. It's been illegal since 2003.

  35. Get to the scene? Yes, very few cases. Actually engage the shooter? I would wager most cases.

    But this is all besides the point. The victims of spree shooters are right there. Why do you insist in preventing them from stopping the shooting themselves?

  36. And your contention is that a bunch of people carried guns in our schools before 1997 and that is what made for fewer school shootings?

  37. Yup= it's a great idea for 14, 15, 16 year old kids to carry guns in school. I'm sure there's a lot of support for that idea.

  38. Well when I was 14 we were able to bring guns to school in order to hunt on the way home, if the presence of guns were the issue, why didn't something happen then? Might be the reason instead be the meds kids are being fed as well as the lack of value education.

    If you look at all these spree shooters, they are all on Prozac or a similar type of anti depressant. Listen to the Ads on tv everyday regarding these depression meds " if you have feelings of suicide, or thoughts of violence please contact your physician". Nobody questions the cost of these meds in terms of the lives they have cost.

  39. Joan, I never said either of those things. Why do you feel the need to put words in my mouth?

    School shootings are part of reality now. They were not in the past, for whatever reason. Only a fool would not adapt to a changing reality.

    And I am fairly certain that most teachers at most schools are over 21 years of age, have a clean criminal background, and meet all of the other requirements for bearing arms. Why not let them?

  40. "I'm a gun owning teacher who thinks the opposite, Heather. What's your point?"

    My point is that you cannot legislate on opinion, because people opinions differ. You must legislate on facts.

    Not sure why this post got moderated the first time, so here's my second try.

  41. As you know, I moderate all comments for obvious reasons.