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.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Voices of reason

There are actually voices of reason in the "debate" over gun rights and gun control. These voices are muted by the much noisier and louder voices of the gun rights extremists. They often speak softer but they speak the truth to the untruths spouted by the gun lobby. It's a breath of fresh air when these voices are heard and read. The people whose voices have spoken up have dared to put themselves in the public arena about the wisdom of common sense gun laws and sensible talk about gun policy.  Watch this video as LAPD ( Los Angeles Police Department) Chief Bill Bratton and Richard Belzer, actor on Law and Order SVU talk about large capacity ammunition magazines. Thank you to Bratton and Belzer for putting their necks out for public safety and common sense. Large Capacity Ammunition magazines endanger the lives of police officers and the public as well, as in the case of the Tucson massacre.

A Florida Internal Medicine Physician wrote this piece for the New York Times about the new Florida law requiring that doctors not talk about gun safety with their patients. Dr. Erin Marcus had the nerve to write this about the new law, now being challenged in court: " As a general internist in South Florida, I often see the effects of gun violence. Many of my patients have been injured or disabled by a gunshot, or had a family member shot and killed. Shortly after the new law went into effect, local television stations broadcast a story about a 4-year-old in Miami who was accidentally shot by his 17-year-old half brother, who was playing with a .22-caliber rifle." And she added, at the end of her piece, At the moment, however, those of us working in a clinic or hospital will have to imagine we live in a place where gun injuries aren’t a public health issue and forget some of the questions we learned to ask in medical school. In doctors’ offices in Florida, prevention has its limits." Right. Let's live in a pretend world where kids don't shoot themselves or others when they get their hands on a loaded gun. And let's not talk about it either. Thank you Dr. Marcus for daring to speak the truth about what the NRA and speaking up for common sense.

And last, but not least, is this editorial piece from Dan DeWitt writing for the St. Petersburg Times on the site of tampabay.com which just happens to speak the truth about the NRA. It's great when someone is willing to be out there in opposition to the extreme positions taken by the NRA. It's not easy to do, as I have found out. There are gun rights extremists who are willing to attack with impunity, to call names, to demean and debase, to issue threats, to verbally abuse, to make offensive and sexually explicit comments and to harass. If they don't like what you say, it's not just a matter of disagreeing. It's the way in which they do so. Intimidation is a favorite tactic. I love this from the linked article: " So let's note one more time that the group's sacred text, the Second Amendment, says the right to bear arms "shall not be infringed," and that, meanwhile, the NRA is the biggest infringer around. In Florida, it has infringed on business owners who want to keep guns off their premises, on doctors who try to have confidential talks with patients and on local governments safeguarding residents. Assuming gun owners value these rights of privacy, personal property and small governments to stand up to big ones, I wonder when they'll start telling the NRA what it tells everyone else: Stay the heck out of our business!" Thank you Mr. DeWitt for daring to speak the truth and common sense and to challenge the NRA's illogical arguments about gun rights.


  1. How, exactly, is touting the liberal line on this issue "putting their necks out" for an actor in Hollywood and the chief of LAPD? Isn't this sort of just expected?

  2. Let's see now-there's Charlton Heston and Chuck Norris for just a few Conservatives- oh and good old NRA Board member Ted Nugent. Then there's Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee, etc. etc. Isn't that just to be expected as well?

  3. I don't agree with Belzer about the magazines nor do I see that it took a great deal of courage for him to make the commercial.

    I happen to agree that the doctors shouldn't have their speech muzzled. I will say that they brought this upon themselves by dropping patients who refused to answer questions about guns.

    Lastly, the laws that Mr. Dewitt was crying about were supposed to be removed 20 years ago. However the various communities just told the citizens "so it is against the law, so sue us!" and went ahead with enforcing laws that were preempted by state law. After 20 years of having the state law ignored the legislature said "fine, ignore us if you want to but if you get caught you pay the fine, not the community."

    This is something that I have noticed about the anti-rights and pro-crime supporters. Any law that effects them like the Florida law about doctors asking about guns is illegal even though it is currently the law. Anything that is illegal but effects gun owners is okay, things like the long gun reporting requirement that violates the gun control act of 1968, the BATF smuggling guns to Mexico and Honduras, the FBI deliberately allowing felons to bypass the Brady checks to aid the BATF in Fast and Furious, the local and county ordinances that violate state laws. What is the point of trying to get "commonsense gunlaws" if we aren't going to have rule of law anyway? Why don't we just go with the law of the jungle or the law of the strongest?

  4. Couldn't dsagree with you more, Robin

  5. "will have to imagine we live in a place where gun injuries aren’t a public health issue"

    The problem is that gun injuries are not a public health issue.

    Public health issues, properly understood, are epidemiological in nature. And there's no epidemiology in the problem of interpersonal violence.

    Of course, the public health community built up such a great reputation in dealing with the various epidemiological threats that they have very little to do, anymore. But they, rather than congratulating themselves on a job well done, and then reducing their staffing (and funding) to levels appropriate for the very much lower public health threat that we face, nowadays, have been searching desperately for other areas of concern that they could incorrectly portray as "public health issues", simply to keep the grant money flowing in.

    Of course, there were two sides to this. The gun control advocates were desolate, after the sociological and criminological research that they had pushed so hard for came back with a solid conclusion that gun control didn't work. So they were quick to back studies in the public health arena, where the lower standards of peer review meant that studies with severe procedural flaws had a good shot of getting published. Hence Kellerman, et al.

  6. I find the comment about the NRA infringing to be interesting. First, the Bill of Rights enumerates restrictions on the Government not on private people or organizations. The NRA can't really do much other than bring lawsuits, not unlike the ACLU. If the courts find that the NRA is right, then winning implies that the other side was BREAKING the law.

    For the same reason you would like an Assault Weapon ban passed at the Federal level (that is everyone MUST obey the law) you have to admit that it works both ways. If you propose Federal laws to restrict this or that, the Federal laws also TRUMP local laws when something is deemed to be allowed.

    Same at the State level. Imagine a local community in Illinois passing a law allowing concealed carry in their town. You would (rightly) expect the state law to disallow it. Same thing at play here except the NRA can afford the best lawyers to handle the challenge.

    It's the cities themselves that bring this on when they knowingly violate Federal or State laws.

    If they want to spend their money defending a losing cause, that's their business, but sooner or later the NRA will get around to all of these illegal ordinances and I'd think the communities have better places to spend their money. Like on Police.

    (It's says I'm posting as 18Echo, but I saw one of the last posts came across as benatong.. No idea why it's picking the account name not the "user" name or whatever.. Just wanted you to know who is really typing..)

  7. Thank you Dr. Jdege!! The purvue of epidemiology includes things such as auto accident injuries, smoking, obesity, diet, etc. Your ignorance is showing,jdege. To say that public health studies are not subject to peer review is just false. What evidence or facts are you using because they don't fit with reality. As I have said before, two of my close family members practice medicine. They don't agree with any of your false assertions.

  8. Check out these sites, jdege- http://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/10_01_01.pdf


    http://psy.psych.colostate.edu/CICRC/organization.asp and


    Epidemiology and injury control clearly go together and are intertwined as a study of medicine and medical research.

  9. "The purvue of epidemiology includes things such as auto accident injuries, smoking, obesity, diet, etc."

    The core of epidemiology is the triad - host, agent, and environment.

    The boundary line between epidemiology and psuedo-science masquerading as epidemiology lies in the understanding of what an agent is.

    If it's not a living organism, capable of reproduction and infection, it's not an agent, period.

    And yes, that means that most of what has passed as epidemiology for the last 40+ years, isn't.

    But then, most of what the profession has been doing for the last 40+ years shouldn't have been done.

  10. And what sort of expertise do you have to be making comments such as this? This is ridiculous. I suppose you are anti-science as well as anti-medicine. Just because you don't want any restrictions on guns or your gun rights doesn't mean you can deny a profession that is studying the causes and affects of gun violence. I am just stunned at this illogical argument based on nothing buy your own opinion.

  11. "Just because you don't want any restrictions on guns or your gun rights doesn't mean you can deny a profession that is studying the causes and affects of gun violence."

    They aren't studying the causes and effects of gun violence, they are engaged in academic fraud.


  12. Total nonsense, jdege, but you can live in your little world of paranoia and fear if you desire. That is not the world where most people live.

  13. http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/the-tainted-public-health-model-of-gun-control/

    "The most prestigious medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), which claims openness to contrary views, is not immune to bias in this area. In fact, it is one of the most anti-gun publications in medical journalism. The NEJM routinely excludes articles that dissent from its well-known, strident, and inflexible position of gun-control advocacy. Editors have come and gone, but the governing board has made sure that the anti-gun position remains unaltered.

    In “Bad Medicine—Doctors and Guns,” Don B. Kates and associates describe a particularly egregious example of editorial bias by the NEJM.3 In 1988, two studies were independently submitted for publication. Both authors were affiliated with the University of Washington School of Public Health. One study, by Dr. John H. Sloan and others, was a selective two-city comparison of homicide rates between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington. The other paper was a comprehensive comparison study between the United States and Canada by Dr. Brandon Centerwall.

    Predictably, the editors chose to publish Sloan’s article with inferior but favorable data claiming erroneously that severe gun-control policies had reduced Canadian homicides. They rejected Centerwall’s superior study showing that such policies had not lowered the rate of homicides in Canada: the Vancouver homicide rate increased 25 percent after implementation of a 1977 Canadian law.4 Moreover, Sloan and associates glossed over the disparate ethnic compositions of Seattle and Vancouver. When the rates of homicides for whites are compared, in both of these cities, it turns out that the rate of homicide in Seattle is actually lower than in Vancouver. The important fact that blacks and Hispanics, who constitute higher proportions of the population in Seattle, have higher rates of homicides in that city was not mentioned.

    Centerwall’s paper on the comparative rates of homicides in the United States and Canada was finally published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, but his valuable research, unlike that of Sloan and his group, was not made widely available to the public.5 In contradistinction to his valuable gun-research data, Centerwall’s other research pointing to the effects of TV violence on homicide rates has been made widely available; his data exculpating gun availability from high homicide rates in this country remains a closely guarded secret.6"

  14. I don't think that Libertarian journal articles are considered to be among the top scholarly assessments of science and medicine, given the bias of the people who consider themselves to be Libertarians. The previous article to which you linked was written by a Libertarian lawyer, a Urologist and 2 Psychiatrists in 1994. It is almost 20 years old now. Thankfully, medicine has changed a lot since then. Don Kates, professor of criminal law and constitutional law, also wrote " He is author of the entry on the Second Amendment in M. Levy & K. Karst, The Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; "Firearms and Violence: Old Premises, Current Evidence," in T. Gurr (ed.), Violence in America (1989); and "Precautionary Handgun Ownership: Reasonable Choice or Dangerous Delusion," B. Danto (ed.), Gun Control and Criminal Homicide, forthcoming (1990)." I would guess he is not too unbiased on the subject.
    Henry E. Schaeffer, PhD is a distinguised scholar and chemist and also this " Schaefer is often called a prominent proponent of intelligent design. However, he has described himself as "sympathetic" to Intelligent Design, but primarily a "proponent of Jesus."[4] He is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture,[5] the hub of the intelligent design movement,[6] Schaefer was once a fellow for the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design, which is now defunct.[7] and a signer of the Discovery Institute's anti-evolution letter, A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.[8]" This is not exactly in the mainstream of public thought and discourse.
    John Lattimer was a New York Urologist- not an Epidemiologist,and George Murray, M.D., is ( or was) a Boston Psychiatrist, not an Epidemiologist, and Edwin Cassem, M.D. is a Boston Psychiatrist, not an Epidemiologist. These people all seem to be top notch in their fields and areas of expertise and trained at top colleges. But I'm not exactly sure that the 1994 article for the Tennessee Law Review can be considered to be an unbiased and definitive piece about whether or not Epidemiology should include the study of injuries, which is plainly does, as I have shown in my links and from speaking to Physicians with whom I am closely acquainted.

  15. Well the NEJM is incredibly slanted. It knows it and it doesn't care. It has a clear agenda of big government, we know what's best for you, higher government funding for socialized health along with blatantly pro Democratic writings intended to sway even more government funding.

    It has a PAC and it endorses Democratic socialiists like Oneill and Kennedy.

    The simple fact is that almost all journals have some sort of political agenda. Suggesting otherwise is simply naive. Associations exist because people feel one way or another about an issue and bind themselves together to advance that mindset. Hunting magazines want conservation but on their terms. Trucker associations want more spending on better roads and less on rail improvements. AARP wants more spending on eldercare. The NRA wants shooting sports support and 2A issues support. That's why they

    A scholarly approach to review ANY study is first find out who paid for it. Follow the money is as apt a command as it was in the Nixon era. Then look at what is studied and what is not addressed. If the study is worded in a proper way, cyanide could be seen as the perfect cancer medicine. After all, all cancer cells were dead within twenty minutes of the first dosage. Now at first that sounds great until you find out all the patients died within twenty minutes too.

    So that said. If you are going to throw around studies, papers and polls, you need to be aware of who funded and who wrote them. Because we will look them up and chase down who paid for them and decide for ourselves about the scholarship of the piece. It will do you no good to post stuff that just pops up on google as evidence because it's usual not evidence but propaganda.

  16. Yes, P, I actually agree with you about the funding of research and studies. From what I know about the NEJM, since my relatives have been readers of its' articles for many years now, is that it is considered to be one of the best scholary journals in the area of medicine that most Physicians go to for new information. As for their having a political agenda? Not. I don't know of anyone, until I "met" you guys who are libertarians and have an entirely unique view of the world, who has called the NEJM a biased journal. Provide me with some examples please, if you read the journal.

  17. Japete: “A Florida Internal Medicine Physician wrote this piece for the New York Times about the new Florida law requiring that doctors not talk about gun safety with their patients.”

    Once again, I need to correct you on this. The Florida laws does not prevent doctors from talking about gun safety. The piece you linked to says no such thing either. What it does do is prevent them from asking about personal ownership or recording that information. We’ve been over this before (I linked to the actual text of the bill as my source), and you even acknowledged it, so why are you back to spreading the same misinformation? The AAP has a pamphlet on baby-proofing the home, and on the subject of firearms they recommend not keeping them at all, and if you do so anyway to keep them unloaded and locked with ammunition stored separately. Under the new law, Florida doctors can continue to hand out this pamphlet or verbally give this information.

    If you recall from our last conservation, I am actually on your side on this one. I don’t like the bill, and this is one of those rare cases where I would root for a Brady victory in seeing it overturned. How is that for a voice of reason? Though I am with you on this one, I don’t appreciate misinformation that makes the law seem worse than it is in another effort to defame the NRA. You can keep it factual and still point to reasons why the bill should be overturned, as the doctor in the link did. Kudus to the author for mentioning the exemptions in the bill as well.

    PS, looks like we all need accounts to post now, is that correct?

  18. Yes TS. My anonymous commenters were becoming abusive and harassing.