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.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The NRA- a unique American experience

I have been writing and writing about the uniqueness of the power of the pro-gun rights at any cost NRA in America. It doesn't happen in other countries. Here is an article that reveals why the same tactics used in the USA to keep politicians from voting in the best interests of public safety don't work in Canada. Likely they don't work in any other country because the NRA is a unique American experience.

Beyond the power of the NRA is the mythology of the organization as it tries desperately to deny what is actually happening regarding gun trafficking to Mexico. When the NRA doesn't like a law or a ruling that attempts to promote safety, it just files a law suit to stop it. Of course, that is because of the deep pockets that allow the organization to spend a lot of money. Executive VP of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, has been busy. He's trying his darnedest to explain away the Obama Administration's order for border state gun shop owners to report the sale of more than one long gun a purchase. What he doesn't explain, of course, is that the ATF will find this rule very helpful in aiding the gun trafficking to Mexico. " Forcelli explained that the rule "gives us a head start to investigate potentially unlawful sales. It is just another investigative tool like fingerprints. Alone, the reporting requirement isn't going to stop illegal activity, but it is going to give agents another tool they can use to keep guns out of the hands of criminals."" And what's wrong with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals again? Explanations need to be given for that one. I guess the NRA is not interested in saving the lives of Mexican citizens. What's the real reason for the resistance by the NRA? Follow the money. It's simple. The gun business is a big business.

In the lawsuit against the government, one gun dealer, a party to the suit, is offering up assault weapons for cheap. These are the very weapons used by the Mexican drug cartel. Is this a problem? And then, what about this one? The NRA and its' supporters need to explain how they can defend gun dealers and citizens such as these who are clearly contributing to illegal gun trafficking, which sometimes results in deaths and injuries. This has nothing to do with the second amendment or gun rights. This has to do with protecting the wrong thing- sales at gun stores and the manufacture of guns.

On the topic of the ATF, what has the NRA done to make the job of the agency more difficult? In this article you can read about how the NRA and its' supporters in Congress have kept the ATF from using the latest technology tools to adequately perform the job of monitoring gun dealers, making sure our criminal background check system works and other very important public safety measures. This paranoia and protection of the gun dealers and manufacturers by the NRA would be ridiculous and laughable if it weren't so sad and serious. This is the power of the NRA. And they get away with it, in part, because much of this flies under the radar of average citizens. It's a wonder the ATF can do its' job at all given the road blocks put up by the gun lobby, including the refusal of NRA backed Senators to confirm a permanent ATF Director.

The NRA is only too willing to insert itself into law suits all over the country to ostensibly protect second amendment rights. Here is a new NRA-ILA column that informs its' readers about litigation. It's instructive to note that the column failed to mention a very important case that the NRA recently lost. I have already reported on the lawsuit lost by the gun lobby in the case of the young man shot in 1999 with a gun taken out of a gun manufacturer's factory. No background checks on employees is a bad idea. The NRA likely knows this but has not made much, if any, mention about the lost case. The above-linked column writes about some of the cases won but if you read below, the gun lobby and its' supporters have lost almost every case brought since the 2008 Supreme Court Heller ruling. Why would they want their readers and supporters to know that they have lost so many gun rights cases?

Another article writes about how the NRA has actually not been winning all of these cases touted to members in the link above. From the article: " “This is serious business,” Wilkinson wrote. “We do not wish to be even minutely responsible for some unspeakably tragic act of mayhem because in the peace of our judicial chambers we miscalculated as to Second Amendment rights.” Isn't it interesting that even a conservative judge would see the flaws in the arguments of the gun lobby? Who wants to be held responsible for someone going on a spree shooting if you make the wrong ruling in a court of law? Guns are dangerous and it is, indeed, "serious business." 

And then, of course, is the ever present political activity around election time. This round, the gun lobby was involved in the Iowa straw polls. If candidates don't bow to extreme views on gun rights, they will be in trouble with some voters, apparently. After all, with the lowering of our credit rating and the fact that we don't have enough jobs and all of the other problems in this country, gun rights should be considered to be of utmost importance? This article written by the National Association for Gun Rights, takes credit for the ex-Governor of my state, Tim Pawlenty, dropping out of the Republican Presidential race. There are many obvious reasons why Pawlenty called it quits. But from the article," You see, Pawlenty refused to tell gun owners where he stood on important firearms issues. Refusing to return a survey is often an indication that a candidate is hiding something — often anti-gun beliefs." Really? Governor Pawlenty signed the bill to change Minnesota's conceal and carry status from "may issue" to "shall issue" moments after the bill passed in the legislature in 2003. I guess even that is not enough for the gun rights folks. If you don't do what they want and sign their pledges and answer their surveys, you are not pro-gun enough. To say that Tim Pawlenty is ant-gun is ridiculous. Check out the website of the National Association for Gun Rights to see what else the group has to say about their grass roots gun advocacy. Though they are not the NRA, they espouse the same far right philosophy and have the same aims and same hyperbolic sense of their own power.

So, to summarize, there is nothing the NRA and its' friends won't do to make sure their influence is felt by elected leaders and candidates for office in this country and internationally as well. From the problem with guns from the U.S. being trafficked to Mexico for use by the drug cartel to the U.N.'s small arms treaty to stop illegal small arms trafficking around the world, the "uber" influence of the gun lobby is felt. It appears that the gun lobby supports what it deems to be rights to any kind of guns to carry everywhere over the rights of people to walk the streets without getting shot to death. Even when there is a program that, according to the ATF, works to keep guns out of the hands of the drug cartels, the NRA fights it.

 It doesn't have to be this way. gWhere is common sense?

28 comments:

  1. Japete: “It's instructive to note that the column failed to mention a very important case that the NRA recently lost. I have already reported on the lawsuit lost by the gun lobby in the case of the young man shot in 1999 with a gun taken out of a gun manufacturer's factory.”

    Japete, can you please provide your reference that shows the NRA was involved in this suit? Your link makes no mention, and I did some quick research on my own and found no indication that the NRA was on the legal team defending Kahr.

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  2. "the ATF will find this rule very helpful in aiding the gun trafficking to Mexico"

    Then by all means we must defeat it. The ATF has smuggled entirely too many guns to Mexico as it is.

    The reporting rule in and of itself is minor. What is not minor is the fact that it is a clear violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968. If I have to obey the law, so does the ATF.

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  3. TS- you are right in that the NRA was not directly involved with this case. I have no doubt that they were very interested in the results and have certainly done their job to protect gun manufacturers from law suits in getting the Immunity Bill passed.

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  4. Forcelli explained that the rule "gives us a head start to investigate potentially unlawful sales. It is just another investigative tool like fingerprints. Alone, the reporting requirement isn't going to stop illegal activity, but it is going to give agents another tool they can use to keep guns out of the hands of criminals."

    If this is a valuable tool, why don't they just go ahead and author a law so that it will be legal? There are a lot of people that are objecting to this, not because of what the reporting would or could do, but because the ATF is not allowed to write their own laws as they please. That is what we have a legislature for.

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  5. Yes, FWM- we all know how that will turn out. The NRA would never let it happen.

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  6. "The NRA would never let it happen."

    Exactly.

    So, when the government hasn't a chance of gaining lawful authority to do something, it's perfectly OK for it to violate the law in order to do what it wants?

    In what area other than guns would you consider that to be acceptable?

    Is it only when it involves guns that you think it reasonable for the government to violate the law in order to accomplish what you think it needs to get done? Or are there other areas where you would consider it OK?

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  7. Japete: “I have no doubt that they were very interested in the results and have certainly done their job to protect gun manufacturers from law suits in getting the Immunity Bill passed.”

    Ok, you can’t keep calling it “The Immunity Bill”. This case proves it. It is what we have been telling you all along. This is the type of thing that causes commentators to jump all over you about spreading misinformation. You want to claim victory for this case, but still want to hold onto playing the part of the victim of the all-powerful gun lobby. Here is a clip from the Brady Campaign directly from their website saying that the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” DOES NOT grant immunity for gun manufactures. If you won’t believe your own lawyers, who will you believe?

    In response to Kahr’s dismissal motion, Brady Center attorneys argued that the statute does not immunize gun companies, and is unconstitutional.

    http://www.bradycampaign.org/media/press/view/1422

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  8. japete wrote: Yes, FWM- we all know how that will turn out. The NRA would never let it happen.

    So . . . your position is that because the NRA supposedly will "never let it happen," it's OK for the Administration to simply ignore the law and do it anyway?

    Really?

    Does the phrase "rule of law" mean anything to you?

    japete wrote: TS- you are right in that the NRA was not directly involved with this case. I have no doubt that they were very interested in the results and have certainly done their job to protect gun manufacturers from law suits in getting the Immunity Bill passed.

    First, of course, there is no "immunity bill;" the Kahr suit makes that plain. The label "immunity bill" is as disingenuous as the label "shoot first." Second, if your claim is that the NRA is losing cases, and the only specific case you cite is a case the NRA was in fact not involved in, that kinda undercuts the argument, doesn't it?

    Yeesh. Logic is not your strong suit, japete. Nor is common sense.

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  9. Yes, TS. Isn't it great that the " Immunity Bill" didn't turn out the way you guys thought it would. I love it.

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  10. Anon- did you not read the link with the list of cases the gun lobby has lost? As to the trafficking of guns to Mexico, it makes perfect sense to institute a program that will help with the problem. It is already in place for pistols. Adding long guns is a simple matter and it will save lives. All Presidents do end runs around Congress with Executive orders. You guys just don't like this one because of some false perception that it will affect your personal gun rights. You are wrong.

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  11. Japete: “Isn't it great that the " Immunity Bill" didn't turn out the way you guys thought it would. I love it.”

    It turned out EXCATLY like I thought it would, and like all your commentators said it would, and like the NRA and its drafters said it would back in 2005. It DOES NOT and was never intended to grant blanket immunity from civil lawsuits. It is meant to protect lawful commerce only (just as it is titled).

    If Kahr was being sued simply for manufacturing “deadly weapons”, they would be protected under the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act”. The suit was over negligent practices in their security and screening of employees. There is no immunity for that- never has been, nor was it intended to be.

    It did not turn out the way YOU and the Brady Campaign thought it would. Though I provided a quote from the Brady Campaign legal team saying the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” does not grant immunity, you can find many instances of them using the phrase “immunity bill” or “immunity law” and describing it as placing “…the entire gun industry beyond the bounds of civil liability law."

    http://www.bradycampaign.org/media/press/view/697

    So to the press they call in an “immunity bill”, but then when it comes time to sue, they say it does not immunize gun makers. Don’t you think that is quite dishonest?

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  12. No, because immunity from law suits is what you all wanted and thought you would get. Now that suits are going forward and they are not coming out on the side of the gun rights folks, it is being shown that judges and juries do not want to grant immunity. I've read comments on some of the gun rights blogs and articles about the cases coming from people on your side who are upset with the findings.

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  13. I'm glad you're my opposition. Thanks for being you!

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  14. Do not tell us what we think or expected, you simply don't have that right.

    The Industry got the protection it needed against lawsuits designed to destroy the industry. Anyone who has read the law or understood it's intent would expect otherwise. A civil lawsuit over a negligent business practice has always been allowed.

    Finally, Kahr arms did not lose the case. They settled. They admitted culpability regarding inventory control but not in anyway saying the gun was at fault. Please be known that the individual who stole the guns was already a felon who lied on his job application and by stealing the guns is being prosecuted under federal law on those crimes.

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  15. No, we wanted the gun industry to be protected from frivolous lawsuits from ambulance chasing lawyers trying to make a quick buck and/or create gun control through bankruptcy. The PLCA just protects the gun makers from lawsuits stemming from criminal MISUSE of their products, which they have no control over. The Kahr example was quite obviously a failure on their part, and they rightfully paid for it.

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  16. There is every indication that the "felon" ( he was but Kahr didn't perform due diligence to make sure their employees could pass background checks) took quite a few guns out of the work place. There is also a question as to whether some other workers did the same since a fair number of the guns manufactured at the Kahr Arms plant have been found- all without serial numbers. They settled because they knew they were caught. And "saying the gun was at fault"? What does that mean? To you guys the gun is never at fault. A gun can't just get up and shoot itself or some such ridiculous thing. That is not the point. Bad people with stolen guns do bad things. It was the fault of Kahr Arms that bad people traded those guns to other criminals for drugs. It was the fault of Kahr Arms that they had shoddy business practices that allowed for a fair number of guns to be "lost" or stolen. Not good for them.

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  17. There has never been an ulterior motive on the part of those of us who fought against the Gun Industry Immunity Bill. All we wanted was fairness so that people could have their day in court just like with any other product where people can sue. The courts can and do decide, as they should, whether someone deserves a settlement of some kind. To espouse other motives on our part is just plain false and disengenous on the part of the gun rights extremists.

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  18. Well, anon, I'm glad I'm your opposition as well. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.

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  19. Japete: “No, because immunity from law suits is what you all wanted and thought you would get.”

    Find me ONE person on the gun rights side who says the PLCA act granted total immunity. Find me one person who said they wanted or deserved total immunity from lawsuits. Anyone. Lawyer, NRA representative, blogger, blog commentator… anyone. That type of talk has ONLY come from your side, and you have been proven wrong by your own victory over Kahr Arms. Everyone has been quite clear that the law protects the type of frivolous lawsuits that if granted would not allow manufactures to make guns because they would keep getting sued for… making guns.

    Japete: “Now that suits are going forward and they are not coming out on the side of the gun rights folks, it is being shown that judges and juries do not want to grant immunity.”

    If the law actually was immunity, it wouldn’t be up to the judges and juries- it would be against the law. But it is not. They can’t just decide to not follow the PLCAA. Since this case involved actual negligence, Kahr was not protected under the PLCAA.

    Go back to your post entitled “Scardy Cats”- which is the last time we discussed the PCLAA (I believe there was another before that which was more in depth, but you would know better than me). This was before the Kahr Arms settlement. You’ll find that all the commentators were just as consistent then as they are now about what exactly the law protects against. There were comments for me, from JayF (July 10, 2011 10:41 AM), and 18Echo (July 10, 2011 12:08 PM). The comment that sparked this chain was you saying this, which we all know to be incorrect (and that includes you in light of the Kahr settlement):

    japete: "wasn't it clever of the gun industry to get themselves immunity from law suits?"

    Then there was this comment from P:

    P: “Ummm. Lots of other industries have that including the auto industry, home builders, tools, etc. There is statutory prohibitions against suing the manufacturer for the results of mis use by the end user. You can not, by law, sue Chevrolet for the actions of a driver who hits you while driving a Chevrolet. That's the same as the gun industry laws. The protections came when people tried to use frivolous lawsuits to cash drain the gun makers.” (July 10, 2011 10:48 AM)

    To which you answered (and closed the door on the discussion):

    Japete: “You're wrong P Topic for another discussion. We're getting too off topic so please no more comments about Immunity.” (July 10, 2011 12:36 PM)

    Sorry to play court reporter here, but you are not being fair to us and the history is there to prove it. Again, find one pro-gunner who said the gun industry had or ever wanted immunity from all lawsuits.

    Japete: “All we wanted was fairness so that people could have their day in court just like with any other product where people can sue.”

    And you have always had that. All we want is fairness for manufactures to be able to stay in business and not be sued because a criminal murdered someone (without there being actual negligence on the part of the manufacturer).

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  20. The ulterior motive of the protection bill opponents was clearly stated by several as suing the gun industry out of existence. The first of several lawsuits had already been filed when the law was passed with broad bi partisan support saying that the firearms industry when selling a legal product could not be held for the criminal misuse of that legal product. Several mayors trying to switch the blame from their failed policies tried to sue gun manufacturers blaming "marketing" for criminal activity.


    What I said in the statement that the gun was not at fault was there was no indication that a faulty product or unsafe design was to blame. The issue was with an employee stealing gun parts and assembling functioning guns from those parts.

    Quote. "It was the fault of Kahr Arms that bad people traded those guns to other people for drugs". Unquote.

    REALLY!?!?

    It may have been Kahrs fault that they failed to perform a background check, but the CRIMINAL activity of the INDIVIDUAL was solely responsible for the theft and disposition of the stolen property.

    If a pharmacy hired a person without doing a proper background check and that person stole drugs and sold them, the Pharmacy is only responsible for the failure of due diligence, the thief is responsible for the theft.

    Calling our efforts to protect a legal business from harassing and predatory lawsuits "plain false and disingenuous" is a perfect jewel of irony.

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  21. If Kahr Arms had done due diligence, the gun parts would not have been allowed to leave the plant piece by piece or whole for that matter. Those guns would not have been traded in the illegal market. Perhaps the shooter would have found a different illegal gun. But the fact that it was so easy for those guns to be taken out of the factory made murdering someone much easier. Tracing crime guns to their origin provides us with interesting details about how legal guns get into the illegal market.

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  22. You know, P, on further reflection, the fact that you are combing my blog posts to try to get me on a comment or two and finding your own and other people's comments on posts I made a while ago tells me that you should take a little time off. This is just a blog. Take it easy. Your intensity about this stuff is a bit over the top. I am not claiming to know absolutely everything about guns and gun policy. I am not an expert. I am a citizen who blogs and have had a personal experience that has led me to this blog. I am learning a lot as I go, and sometimes from you guys. But the thing I have learned the most about is the intensity and paranoia on the side of the gun rights activists who seem to be inordinately threatened by things that the bloggers on the side of gun violence prevention are saying. I recommend that you stop hanging on every word and trolling through blogs.I think you might find it less stressful. I'm not coming for your guns, for Pete's sake.

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  23. You guys who are saying I am full of BS are full of BS.

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  24. "The NRA and its' supporters need to explain how they can defend gun dealers and citizens such as these who are clearly contributing to illegal gun trafficking, which sometimes results in deaths and injuries."

    The Brady Campaign and it's supporters need to explain how they can put so much faith in the ATF when it is clearly contributing to illegal gun trafficking, which sometimes results in deaths and injuries."

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  25. Give it up P. You're trying to win a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

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  26. I'm not sure what that means Martha. Could it be that guns are not necessary in an argument??

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  27. Martha is saying that you lack the ability to comprehend P's statemtents (in other words witless) so it isn't worth the time to try and converse with you.

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  28. Thanks anon. This is what I love about you guys. You are always so polite and respectful of other opinions!!!

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