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, September 16, 2011

Have we gone gun nuts?

What in the world is this all about anyway? A Florida company is trying to convince potential customers that they just must have an AK47 for their business, because, you know, er..... just because. But first, you must sign on to do business with them. Get your voucher for this lovely gun so you can feel safe while doing business. I couldn't help but look at the comments on this article. There were several which said what I'm feeling much better than I could have done myself:

  • This is the reality of gun control in America today.  There is none. Somehow I don't think knowing that every shop owner had a loaded AK-47 behind the counter would make me feel any safer while shopping.  And for a shop owner, is this really the weapon of choice?  You're as likely to wreck your whole shop rather than just hit the robber.  Are you expecting a siege?  It seems like a taser or something would be a smarter choice."
  • Before, you had your choice of a GE Alarm Clock with snooze button or a Coleman lantern but there is no right in the Constiution to be on time  for work or see around your campsite after sunset."
  • Remember catalog stamps like S & H green stamps.  They used to included them in cigarettes.  If you smoked a few cartons of cigs a month, you could get some lawn furniture.   For some reason this reminds me of them.  What I don't get is why anyone in a retail store would want an assault rifle?  Wouldn't you rather have one of those shot guns that has a pistol grip?"
  • Yes, an assault rifle behind the counter.  Compact, easy to use and fire, and not in any way cumbersome. (/highrangesnark) I seriously read this stuff and wonder WTF is wrong with people.  Giving someone a toaster or a laptop (or hell, even an iPad) no longer a viable option?  You have to arm untrained store employees to the teeth to sell your product? Stop the world, I want to get off."
Yes, when it comes to guns this article does point out the way in which this country has gone "round the bend". If it weren't for the fear and paranoia propagated by the gun lobby, this sort of thing would not be considered seriously. Anyone with common sense would realize that storing an AK47 for business protection is a totally ridiculous idea. But then, common sense is not what this is all about. Apparently it's about rights. The article links to this "No Merchant Victims" website. So I clicked on the site and was met with this little ditty playing as soon as I clicked. Here's the first verse:

"I got rights, 
I got my rights,
My Uncle Sam,
Says i got rights.
I don't have to let you rob me, 
I don't have to let you beat me, 
I don't have to let you kill me,
I don't have to let you eat me.
I got rights,
I got my rights,
The Good Book says,
I got rights."

Now, I don't know about your Bible, but my "good book" says nothing about gun rights. In the third verse of this ridiculous ditty, the Good Lord is invoked. Really folks, what is this nonsense? Are there people who believe this stuff? On what planet are they living? What does the ditty about rights and the Good Lord have to do with running a business? What kind of sick society are we living in to accept that something like this is O.K? Guns for business- even trade. The gun dealers and manufacturers benefit. No Merchant Victims  benefits. The business owner benefits, unless of course something goes wrong and that AK 47 happens into the wrong hands. Then, instead of the merchant victim we will have actual victims- dead people, that is. 

From the PR Newswire release by the company about this fabulous deal, the company admits that the chances of being robbed are really low, but you should be prepared just in case. So why the need for an AK47 then? Because, it's simple, "I've got rights." Listening to the song again, I am reminded of how this could be used as a routine on Saturday Night Live. I can picture it now- a man, for it's usually a man, walks into a business with his hand in his pocket. He says he has a gun and he wants money. The clerk behind the counter pulls out the AK 47 and blasts the guy until he's quite dead all the while singing, "I've got rights." Of course, in real life, things don't and won't likely work out quite so well for either party but we are not dealing with the real world here. This is a world where some people think that their gun rights come straight from the "Good Lord" and that they can do whatever they want with their guns because "they've got rights." Where is common sense?


  1. If I were a naive person, i'd believe that the business owner would be keeping the AK behind the counter.

    But as a logical person, something tells me that the AK is going straight to the business owner's home.

  2. Thereby, of course, defeating the purpose of the whole campaign. Plus, it seems as if there would be a problem with that, right? It's meant for the business but ends up in the business owner's home. Hmmmm.

  3. I'm at a loss as to why using AKs as a promotional give-away should be considered as different in kind from using toasters.

  4. AKs are nice a compact, you could tuck it behind a counter, or over a stockroom door frame.

    They're cheap, they run like a top, and have great stopping power, and better accuracy than a pistol.

    I'm all for it!

  5. Of course the Bible doesn't mention "gun rights!" Gunpowder wasn't invented until almost a thousand years later - in China - and didn't find its way to military use until around the 14th century.

    A friend of mine had a nun tell him that the Bible is not intended to be read as a history text. Don't get caught up in the exact times, dates, or terminology. It's the underlying message that's important.

    On that note, in Biblical times, "guns" were called "swords," and if we're going to bring up the Good Book, Jesus tells his disciples, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you do not have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one" (Luke 22: 36, NIV, emphasis added). The Lord saw the persecution his disciples would face, and encouraged them to have the tools to protect themselves as a last resort.

    Indeed, self-defense can be an act of love. Jesus also said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (John 15: 13, NIV). Risking one's own life to protect friends and family from a criminal act shows true love and commitment.

    Suggested reading: http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/qselfdefense.html
    There's a good quote that sums it up at the end.

    May Peace favor you.

  6. Wow. Blatant promotion of violence. And how many stories every year are there where the robber takes the weapon away from the storeowner? What then? And, of course, flashing a weapon on an armed robber is more likely to get you killed than to rescue you. Robbers typically use guns to intimidate, not kill, but when you put up a fight, especially if you pull your own weapon, the fight is on.

    As for me, when I find out a store is packing, I stop doing business there, and tell them so.

  7. Archer, if we are going to go "tit for tat", how about this one? http://bible.cc/isaiah/2-4.htm " He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."

    Right- let's not read the Bible literally. So then let's not think that because Jesus said that you should lay down your life for a friend, that means you should carry a gun around in self defense in case you have to lay your life down. That's carrying the interpretation too far.Guns and swords have little in common so we should not even be talking about equating them except to say that they both can kill people. I would venture to say that a gun with multiple rounds can do a good bit more harm than a single sword. I suggest you check this one out, Archer, to see what the interpretation of the reference to swords means in the New Testament http://answeringislam.org/Authors/Arlandson/luke_22_36.htm
    " The events in the Garden of Gethsemane and the commands of Jesus there teach the Apostles nonaggression, so Luke 22:36 does not permit violence. He said to Peter: "For all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matt. 26:52). Peter and the others heard those words that clarify the use of swords. Therefore, a lifestyle of the sword must not be part of the disciples’ new walk with the resurrected Christ, as they preached his message of hope.

    To read a series on Pacifism and the Sword in the New Testament, click on Jesus, Pacifism, and the Sword. Most of this present article was taken from Part Two in the series."

  8. Speaking to the passage from Isaiah, He can only settle disputes among people who've wholly accepted Him into their lives. Since most of humanity apparently hasn't, nations - be that religious factions, sub-cultures (i.e. gangs), or actual nations - still train for war and take up "arms" against each other.

    Literally speaking, I agree with you: guns and swords have little in common. Generally speaking, however, they have very much in common. Both are weapons. Both are designed and built for a specific purpose. And the part you miss over and over, both are inanimate objects that do nothing on their own, but can be used either for good or evil, depending solely on the wielder's intent. I'd say a sword in capable hands can do a great deal more damage than any gun: guns require ammunition, swords don't run out. Again, it depends solely on the wielder.

    Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back in its place ... for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matt. 26:52, NIV). Reading this passage, if we are talking about self-defense, we are talking about a situation where an innocent person already has a sword drawn upon them. In the case of the store owner, an armed robber already has his gun out. What's the good store owner to do?

    Jesus also said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matt. 10:34, NIV). He was not a pacifist. Rather, He opposed violent confrontation when there were non-violent alternatives. He opposed hatred, anger, and vengeance, promoted love and patience, but did not advocate total pacifism. The "lifestyle of the sword" (i.e. a soldier's life) must not be part of the disciples' life, but they need not lay down their lives to anyone who asks or demands it.

    For the record, I'd rather carry a gun for defense of me and mine against someone who wishes them harm, than be forced to lay down my life for them because of mandated defenselessness. With respect to J.R.R. Tolkien, "Those without guns can still die by them."

    @Baldr: Cite references, please. I've not heard/read any stories where the store owner had their guns taken by robbers. The vast majority of "defensive gun uses" end with the "defender" brandishing their gun, and the robber deciding they have pressing business elsewhere.

    May Peace favor you.

  9. Archer- I am not a Theologian and neither are you. It is totallly pointless for us to continue along the vein of your arguments. They simply are not believed by most Christian folks. You happen to represent a small but vocal minority of people who love to think that having and carrying their guns is in some way religious or Biblical. It must make you think you are virtuous or some such thing, to be doing what "Jesus" told you to do. It is pathetic and nonsensical. It's your opinion against mine. I'm finished arguing with someone who is not a theologian about matters of religion. Remember- don't ever argue about religion and politics. This thread is going nowhere. We've been at this one before and there will not be more comments published arguing with me about whose religious view is better or right.

  10. "...they can do whatever they want with their guns because "they've got rights." "

    Who's making that argument?

  11. The discussion of Christian theology and Bible study as it relates to self-defense and ownership of weapons is only mildly interesting to me, because I am not a Christian. According to the tenets of my religion, people should prevent harm from coming to others, not only by refraining from inflicting harm, but also by actively preventing others from inflicting harm. Arguments from the Christian Bible are therefore unlikely to sway me one way or the other, since I do not subscribe to the premise that it is necessarily correct. However, I recognize that the Bible is important to public discourse, since there are more Christians in this nation than followers of any other faith.

  12. baldr wrote: As for me, when I find out a store is packing, I stop doing business there, and tell them so.

    That is your right, of course. Personally, I refuse to enter a business that will NOT permit me to carry there. And I tell them so.

    There are relatively few places I do not go. ;-)

    If you choose not to own or carry a firearm, or refuse to do business with those who do, that is entirely your choice. The difference between us, of course, is that you and yours side seek to force your point of view upon me.

    That is unacceptable.

    I have no desire to require you to own a gun. I have no desire to attempt make your life more difficult should you choose not to carry a weapon.

    You attempt to do both, regularly, upon me and mine. And then I am labeled as "unreasonable."


    japete wrote: Anyone with common sense would realize that storing an AK47 for business protection is a totally ridiculous idea.

    Why? Because you say so?

    Seems to me it would depend a great deal on the business. More importantly, isn't that a choice that is rightfully made by the business owners themselves, and not one imposed on them by the likes of you?

  13. Once again, the paranoia comes through. Who said anything about imposing anything on anyone? You have imposted loaded guns on the rest of us everywhere we go. I am giving my opinion and pointing out the nonsense of the opinions coming from the gun lobby- that's all.

  14. The whole idea of "rights" is an interesting one. In actuality, a "right" is truly properly understood as a limitation on government.

    Proclaiming one has a "right" to something is properly nothing more a statement that government may not do a particular act. A "right" to free speech, for example, properly understood, is framed by the language of the 1st Am., which begins "Congress shall make no law . . ."

    In similar fashion, government is barred from carrying out unreasonable searches, depriving one of life, liberty, or property without due process, and "infringing" on the "right of the people to keep and bear arms."

    All are limitations on government. The founders properly understood that government, for all the good it could do, was always a tyrrany waiting to happen if not limited. And the 2nd Am. represented the ultimate expression of that limitation.

    Thus one has "rights" against government, but not generally against individuals. Government cannot limit free speech, for example, but individuals can and routinely do. If I do not like your point of view, I may throw you off my property, refuse to do business with you, etc. This blog, by example, is japete's, to do with as she wills, and 'owes' no one a forum to write. That newspapers (or blogs) routinely do permit differing opinions to be published is an illustration of how much the idea of free speech is ingrained in our culture. It is not required as a matter of law.

    Thus saying one has a "right" to an AK-47 is merely noting that government has no authority to bar such possession. That is true assuming government has not extended its authority and limited one's choice to own a gun - i.e. taken away the right - after appropriate due process.

  15. Scalia clearly said in the Heller decision that the second amendment allows for some restrictions. From http://mediamatters.org/research/201005130031- a quote from Justice Scalia " Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." and this one " Nothing in our opinion should 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."

  16. "Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,..."

    And yet while I am neither a felon nor mentally ill you attempt to abridge my right because it bothers you that we may occupy the same proximity while I am armed. Yet you may speak, pray or exercise innumerable other rights in mine. Because as Orwell said "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others."

  17. Robin- what??? That is just nonsense. What the heck does it even mean?

  18. You rock. Keep this blog coming and keep up the good work.

  19. I believe Robin is complaining that in your quest to reduce "gun violence," you seem to have no trouble with his right to keep and bear arms being collateral damage.

    I live in New York City, so as a practical matter, I don't have any 2nd amendment rights. Restricting firearms ownership to crooks and cops has not made the City a safer place.


  20. We've "discussed" that point before on this blog, Stew. The guns that are used in crime in NYC or in the state are coming from other states with less restrictive gun laws. There is an "Iron Pipeline" from states further south on the East Coast that provide many crime guns to NY.

  21. In other news. Some places guns are tied with religion a bit more closely. I would also imagine that these are real AK-47 vs the american semiautomatic ones.


  22. So NYC's laws clearly are having no impact on criminal acquisition, but have disarmed me, because I am a law abiding citizen. See why I am troubled? I am violated, and my violation has achieved NOTHING.

    What of Robin's complaint? (Robin, is that an accurate assessment of your complaint?)


  23. How exactly is your life compromised, Stew? Are you totally disarmed? How can you live like that? That, of course, is how the majority of us live but just wondering how your life is so awful given what you said here.

  24. What's your point, Stew? I am talking about what is going on in the U.S. which I would say is quite different than Somalia- oh er, maybe not. Give-aways of dangerous guns seem to be the same.

  25. japete, we've "discussed" how more "gun control" is not the answer there, too. Your point - guns come in from other states with less restrictive laws - is probably true, but more "gun control" won't fix it.

    Either the guns are stolen (stealing a gun is already illegal in all 50 states); or,
    Guns are bought by "straw purchasers in other states and brought in (straw purchases are already illegal under FEDERAL LAW); or,
    Guns are bought by "straw purchasers" within NY and sold/given to criminals (see above note on straw purchases).

    I'll concede that the "Iron Pipeline" probably exists, but how do you conclude that adding another law to the pile a criminal has to break to get a gun in NYC will deter them? If it's already illegal, how does making it "more illegal" help?

    What we need is to either enforce the laws on the books (the ones already being broken), or ease up the restrictions on the law-abiding citizens to make it easier for them to protect themselves from criminals.

  26. A really simple and uncomplicated thing could be done. We could pass a law requireing all private sellers at gun shows to get background checks on each buyer. All states would be the same so if someone couldn't get a gun in NY they couldn't get it in Virginia either. I realize that a lot of crime guns are stolen. Hopefully homeowners will be better about locking up their guns and gun dealers will report lost and stolen guns to the ATF. Some things are so simple that it's amazing there is so much resistance.

  27. Ah, yes, the "gun show loophole." It's a myth, of course. Some states (mine included) already require background checks on all sales at gun shows, dealer or private. The checks are even submitted to the state police, so the authorities can respond more readily. It has not stopped - or even substantially slowed - the local criminal element from acquiring guns.

    Several states have laws about locking up guns and reporting lost and stolen guns within a specified time period. According to the numbers they seem to have no significant effect on criminals getting guns, but seem to do a good job making "gun criminals" out of otherwise law-abiding people who didn't "immediately" and/or "promptly" notice the gun missing from their safe.

    The reason you see so much resistance to the new laws is that these kinds of laws - especially in places like NYC, where the right to keep and bear arms is effectively regulated out of existence - are more likely to punish the law-abiding for being law-abiding, while the criminals will just ignore them. That's what criminals do, and why they're criminals. They ignore laws.

  28. Out of curiosity what makes the gun show different from placing an ad in the local paper and selling it in the Walmart parking lot? Should I also need a background check if selling a gun to a relative at my house? What if people meet after the gun show at the local McDonalds and sell it in the parking lot should that still count?

  29. And just how would the law abiding be "punished"?

  30. It's not different but you guys have a fit if my side mentions anything other than gun shows. I would love to have background checks on ALL private sales. What about you since you asked, Anthony?

  31. Well to be honest I thought that was your goal but did not want to put words in your mouth. Basically you seem to be inching towards de facto gun registration (through tracking all sales) I would assume the next step would be an actual registration. Like you say "We've gone around and around about that one as well and I have given my reasons for my view many times."

  32. Yup, and after that, I'm coming to your house, Anthony, to get your guns. Be waiting. I'm scary.

  33. Good grief, Anthony. I think it's time for you to sign off for the night and think about something else. I guess you are too tired to recognize satire or subtlety. Good night.

  34. Japete, remember, under oath, Two Ramsey County Deputies were unable to come up with a single firearm tied to a crime that had been bought at a gun show. This was a hearing you were at, and you heard the testimony. I was there, as well, and Rep Paymar was quite distressed that his star witnesses were unable to support his claims with facts.

    This Iron Pipeline you speak of is a myth. The people involved in crime are by definition, going to ignore more laws. If we simply enforced the laws already existent, we could put a huge dent in criminal use of weapons, of all kinds. But we don't because we are afraid of the reaction of certain segments of the voting public.

    Almost all criminal use of a gun is a Federal Crime. Lets start using those Federal laws to lock people up for a long time who are violent. Long Sentences, no parole, no probation. That works, more laws repeating earlier laws, without enforcement, does nothing.

  35. Peter- the Iron Pipeline is not a myth- only in your mind. There are numerous studies showing crime guns coming from gun shows. What is your problem with closing the private seller loophole at gun shows? Given that it could stop someone who shouldn't have a gun from getting one, it is one place where we can stop a possible prohibited person at the point of sale. How would that affect you? Do you put your seatbelt on when you are driving? The chances of an accident are not great but just in case, it's a good idea. It prevents potentially lethal injuries. I am into prevention. It's a simple thing to do that would not hurt anyone but the people who shouldn't have guns. Can you prove that closing the loophole would hurt anyone law abiding? I don't think you can.

  36. The smallest diminution of my life by being unable to keep my arms in my residence, is that I have to go retrieve them from their place of storage. (Trustworthy friend who lives where they are legal, gun safe and everything.)

    This makes my life worse while contributing in no way to anyone's safety. (Actually, given the hazards of motor vehicle operation, it reduces public safety.)

    So yes, NYC's controls, included $400 of prior restraint on a Constitutional right, decrease my quality of life and decrease from public safety while failing to curb criminal misuse. (Oh, and any firearm, to be legal, must be registered. That is another "feature" that doesn't prevent crime, or aid investigations, while stinking of impending confiscation.) Why should I be pleased?