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, October 26, 2011

Gun accidents don't have to happen

Why do we have to keep reading about kids accidentally shooting themselves, friends, brothers, sisters, etc. in the media? An 18 year old Georgia boy was in the bathroom when a bullet from a gun held by a friend in the back yard came through the window and killed him. Senseless. And yet, they continue. Calling all parents out there- do you believe you can hide something from your child and not expect that he/she will look for it and likely find it? Do you believe that loaded guns in the home can't possibly lead to your child using them unintentionally or intentionally? Guns are items of curiosity. I wonder why. We have a culture in this country that exposes kids to guns in every nook and cranny of the country. Our love affair with guns is noticed by the kids. Some people take their kids to the gun range for practice. Many people take their kids hunting. Those are legitimate, of course, and hunting is a sport enjoyed by families all over the world. Some people have guns in their home for self defense, loaded and ready to go just in case. That is their right and their choice. Guns are also dangerous. Children are killed or injured in significant numbers every year. From this article at the Children's Defense Fund:
The number of children and teens in America killed by guns in 2006 would fill more than 127 public school classrooms of 25 students each.
More preschoolers (63) were killed by firearms than law enforcement officers (48) killed in the line of duty.
Black males ages 15 to 19 are almost five times as likely as their White peers and more than twice as likely as their Hispanic peers to be killed by firearms.
Between 1979 and 2006, the yearly number of firearm deaths of White children and teens decreased by about 40 percent, but deaths of Black children and teens increased by 55 percent.
Since 1979, gun violence has ended the lives of 107,603 children and teens in America.
Sixty percent of them were White; 37 percent were Black.
The number of Black children and teens killed by gunfire since 1979 (39,957) is more than 10 times the number of Black citizens of all ages lynched throughout American history (3,437).
Sobering facts.

At New Trajectory, my blogger friend, Baldr, wrote this article about a gun turn-in program in Oregon. Forty guns were collected from people who have decided they didn't want or need the guns any longer. Some did it for money. Great. Maybe they realized that having a gun in the home is just not safe. They would be right and, in the light of articles like the one above, they made a good decision. But regardless of the merits of this program, the gun rights extremists just had to show up to make some noise:
Of course, like all the gun turn-ins, there are the pro-gun extremists who turn out at the entrance to the event to hassle anyone who attends, hollering at people who come to turn in their guns, offering to pay big money for their weapons.  Some convince the patrons to sell them their guns.  But the real reason the extremists are there, of course, is just to protest our attempts to remove weapons from the streets and from those who might abuse them.  These are the people who want more guns for more people in more places, at any cost, and fight to remove commonsense controls. Their answer to gun violence is to add more guns to our community and oppose any measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, children, or the dangerously mentally ill.
In addition, some of the people who turned in their guns had no time for the NRA:
"I'm an old Army guy, a military policeman," he said. "Believe me, I know what it takes in a self-defense situation." 
But Pyburn has no use for the powerful National Rifle Association and its anti-gun control agenda. "I'm not anti-gun, but I am anti-NRA," he said. "There's no practical way to keep guns off the street without a national registration system."
Really? That's a radical idea. Note that it's coming from a gun owner ( or maybe now an ex-gun owner) who understands that gun registration would actually make us safer. The gun rights extremists are not interested. Their way of making us safer is for them to have all the guns they want and carry them everywhere they go. Never mind that that also means more guns are available for people who shouldn't have them. Kids are not responsible with guns. Keep those guns safely stored and locked- away from curious children and teens. This is just plain common sense. And if you have decided you don't want guns in your home any more, programs like gun turn-ins sponsored by police departments and gun control groups around the country are one way to safely dispose of them. Gun rights extremists should be happy about this. After all, don't we all want kids to be safe? After all, don't we all want to reduce the number of senseless gun deaths and injuries in our country?

19 comments:

  1. Since I published this, I ran across this article about a 10 year old shooting his father while duck hunting- tragic- http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/10/21/duck-hunter-accidentally-shot-to-death-by-son/#.TqfwDzBRiMg.facebook

    ReplyDelete
  2. GMC- I am not sure what your problem is. I delete all of your comments and they have not been published for months. And yet, you persist. I have asked that you stop sending comments. You insist on insulting me and harassing me with your comments in spite of the fact that I have said twice now that your comments will not be published here. Please find another blog to hang out on. I'm sure someone else would welcome your constant harangues and insults. But you are not welcome on this blog. Stop sending comments.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "The number of children and teens in America killed by guns in 2006 would fill more than 127 public school classrooms of 25 students each."

    So, we go to WISQARS:

    http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

    And we pick 2006, and age groups 0-4 through 15-19, and turn off age-adjusting.

    And we get:

    63 firearms deaths for ages 0-4
    80 for ages 5-9
    266 for ages 10-14
    and 2,809 for ages 15-19

    Which makes me suspicious. So I go back and add "unintentional".

    For that we get:
    13 for ages 0-4
    18 for ages 5-9
    23 for ages 10-14
    100 for ages 15-19

    It turns out that nearly all of those firearms deaths are homicides in the 15-19 age group.

    In other words, it's gang members and those involved in the drug trade, shooting each other.

    This is clearly a problem, but it hasn't much in common with the "duck hunter accidentally shot to death" incident that you posted.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Children are killed by gunfire all the time, but it can so often be avoided with simple common sense. First of all, homes with children shouldn't have guns. Second, there should be Child Access Prevention laws in place to mandate safe storage of guns in homes with children. Third, even without a law in place, gun owners should keep their guns locked and unloaded, and out of reach of minors. It's so simple!

    Two more recent cases for you:
    http://ohhshoot.blogspot.com/2011/10/12-year-old-boy-unintentionally-shoots.html

    http://ohhshoot.blogspot.com/2011/10/mother-unintentionally-shoots-and-kills.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. And gang members are children and teens. Sometimes gang members kill innocent children who happen to be in the vicinity of the bullets. There is no category for gangs in WISCRS. 8 children and teens die a day from bullets. That's a hefty number. That is suicide, homicide and accidental.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Baldr. As you can see, jdege thinks the numbers are too high and he is suspicious. I write about children and gun deaths often on this blog, as do you. They are frequent.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Children are killed by gunfire all the time, but it can so often be avoided with simple common sense. First of all, homes with children shouldn't have guns. Second, there should be Child Access Prevention laws in place to mandate safe storage of guns in homes with children. Third, even without a law in place, gun owners should keep their guns locked and unloaded, and out of reach of minors. It's so simple!"

    Except that most of the "children" dying from gunshots are being intentionally shot. Child safety matters, but the rate of accidental shooting has been in constant decline for many decades - largely because of the NRA's firearms safety programs.

    There were more than 3000 children and teens killed by firearms, in 2006. If you eliminated all of those that were accidents, you'd still have more than 2850 "children" dying by guns.

    In other words, this isn't a gun safety problem, it's a violent crime problem. And your proposed "solutions" haven't a hope of making any difference.

    And that gets us to why gun owners don't trust you. It's because of stuff like this. We know you aren't stupid enough to think that these "common sense safety proposals" will reduce gang violence. So we have to assume you have some ulterior motive.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jdege bayou have forgotten, most likely on purpose, gun suicides. So your assertion is incorrect .

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yet another shooting of a child, Wed morning. This time by a guy shooting at deer in his front yard, not realizing the 11yo boy was waiting at a bus stop only 100 yards away.
    http://www.kmtr.com/news/local/story/Hunter-involved-shooting-injures-11-year-old-at/6W228orwO0Cw3BBCL-j7Kg.cspx

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Jdege bayou have forgotten, most likely on purpose, gun suicides. So your assertion is incorrect."

    The suicide numbers are there in WISGARs for anyone who chooses to look.

    In 2006, ages 0-19:

    Accident: 154
    Suicides: 763
    Homicide: 2,259

    Yes, there are more suicides than accidents, But homicides make up more than 70% of the total.

    ReplyDelete
  11. And your point again, is, jdege? Children and teens are dying in large numbers in this country. What are we doing about it? Do you have any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  12. To my readers- it is instructive to note that in some of the school shootings or other shootings, the guns that kids and teens have used to commit those acts have come from their parents or grandparents homes. Red Lake, Minnesota comes to mind- the gun was stolen from the home of the shooter's grandfather who was also killed in that attack. Paducah, Kentucky- gun was stolen from parents- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_High_School_shooting So yes, keeping guns safely stored can prevent homicides.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Children and teens are dying in large numbers in this country. What are we doing about it? Do you have any ideas?"

    Certainly. And if the topic were what to do about violent crime, I'd be discussing them.

    But you've set the topic - gun accidents. And the problem we're facing has nothing to do with accidents.

    As for what to do about gun accidents? There's only one real answer - training. Get more kids into the DNR and NRA firearm safety classes.

    Friends of the NRA sponsors dinners, around the country, to raise funds for safety programs of this sort. When was the last time you attended one?

    When was the last time you made any contribution, or provided any support, for any firearms safety program?

    ReplyDelete
  14. When is the last time you did anything meaningful to support organizations trying to stop gun violence and support sensible gun laws that might actually prevent shootings? Your comments are specious, as usual, jdege.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @ jdege: "As for what to do about gun accidents? There's only one real answer - training."

    Consider the following cases. How, exactly, would training these kids in firearms have saved their lives?

    http://ohhshoot.blogspot.com/2011/10/mother-unintentionally-shoots-and-kills.html

    http://ohhshoot.blogspot.com/2011/10/father-unintentionally-shoots-and-kills.html

    And, I might add, children are naturally curious and impetuous. I know, from being a dad of small children, that no amount of training will completely overcome their nature. Nearly every day I have examples of them doing things that I've told them not to do.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Baldr writes:
    "Consider the following cases. How, exactly, would training these kids in firearms have saved their lives?"

    In both of these cases, cardinal rules of gun handling were violated that resulted in these situations (including the deer hunting situation posted above by Baldr) - these are areas covered in any NRA course (Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Home Firearms Safety) - or even in the Minnesota Hunter Safety Class (required for a MN Hunting License if you were born after... 1978 I believe, or something like that).

    I'm sure there are other classes offered by other organizations that cover basically the same sort of safety lessons.

    Not everyone is going to follow the training, I get that, but getting the training is a good first step. I still believe making basic firearms safety part of our educational system is a good idea - the same reason we talk about STDs, safe sex, etc, in health class in school.

    B

    ReplyDelete
  17. Guns are owned by a minority. Sex is practiced by most. That is why you will not get gun training into curricula of schools. Some teachers do talk about gun safety in health classes on their own. It's too controversial. It won't happen.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Guns are owned by a minority."

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/Self-Reported-Gun-Ownership-Highest-1993.aspx

    If you trust Gallup, it''s a strict majority in the South and the Midwest. And you live in the Midwest.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've seen this poll. It's pretty confusing- " Since 2000, Gallup has asked respondents with guns in their households a follow-up question to determine if the gun belongs to the respondent or to someone else. On this basis, Gallup finds that 34% of all Americans personally own a gun.

    The gender gap in personal gun ownership is wider than that seen for household ownership, as 46% of all adult men vs. 23% of all women say they personally own a gun.

    Middle-aged adults -- those 35 to 54 years of age -- and adults with no college education are more likely than their counterparts to be gun owners."

    ReplyDelete