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, October 14, 2011

In my neck of the woods

Am I imagining things or are there more shootings in the news of late? Unimaginable as this one is, a Minnesota father shot his two young children and himself and then set fire to their RV while camped at the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. And further:
The double murder-suicide was the second tragedy involving students at the school in recent weeks. On Sept. 15, a 6-year-old Skyview student went home from school to find her parents dead. Her mother, Cintia Guadalupe Ornelas Bustos, 28, and baby sitter, Angela Uscanga Gonzalez, had been shot. Her father, Jaime Anival Almaras Velasquez, 32, committed suicide. 
So that's 6 dead as listed in this one article. But there's more. Another domestic dispute led police to shoot this Minnesota man who came at them with a cleaver. He was injured so will likely be able to be held accountable for his abusive behavior.

And what about this early hunting season shooting? The victim was only grazed, luckily. When folks with hunting guns are walking around looking for game, the "game" should not include a human being. When guns are handy, however, they often get used. Guns are dangerous and designed to kill. During hunting season, disputes like this are rare but they do happen. I hope that we will not hear about more gun accidents or homicides during this hunting season. I grew up in a hunting family and my husband is a hunter though goes infrequently of late. I understand the hunting mentality well. Our cabin on a lake is surrounded by hunters and we hear gunshots in the woods close to our cabin. If we are there in deer season, we have to wear red and orange clothing so as not to be confused for deers. Actually, if it was allowed to discharge guns within the city limits, we could have our limit in the opening minutes of deer season since two 10 point bucks are hanging around in our yard eating our plants and scraping their antlers on our newly planted tree trunks. We regularly scare them away by any means- throwing shoes, yelling, etc. But they just look at us and continue their munching. But I digress.

This guy was in my blog once before. He shot himself with a shotgun, not easy to do, and then claimed he was shot by a black man. It turns out he was a felon in possession of a gun and had numerous other violations of the law. He apparently shot himself to attract the attention of a girlfriend so she would think he was a hero or something for being shot? Whatever. Some people have strange ideas about what to do to get a girl. All pleas to the contrary, the jury and judge did not believe this ridiculous story and he will serve time.

In the state of Wisconsin, whose shoreline I can see from my bedroom windows across Lake Superior when the leaves are off the trees in winter, the hullabaloo is all about whether or not the new law to allow people to carry loaded guns around in public should require people to have any training. Unbelievably enough, here is what one lawmaker thinks.
Republican state Rep. Evan Wynn of Whitewater also objected to Van Hollen’s proposed rules on Thursday, saying the training should depend on experience, not time.
Wynn supports an even broader law that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Once Wisconsin’s law takes effect next month, Illinois will be the only state in the country that bans concealed weapons.
Great idea. No training required to carry a loaded weapon around in public. Are we going backwards here or what? And then the NRA, whose mantra is always that they care about gun safety and, in fact, according to the gun rights extremists who comment on my blog, the permit holders are safer than cops and also better aims, says this:
The NRA is deeply disappointed in Van Hollen’s decision and will do whatever it can to overturn it, said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.
“It’s clear that the will is to allow people to gauge what their own needs are,” he said. “There are some people who need additional time and others who do not.”
Come on now. Really? Let's let people judge for themselves if they are proficient when carrying a loaded gun around in public? Great idea. Really great. What next everyone?

Also in Wisconsin, I guess some folks don't bother to obey rules about discharging guns within city limits. We all know that some people don't care about that law because people are shot every day in homes, public places and on the streets. Guns are dangerous. Bullets travel long distances. Innocent people in the line of fire get shot. Stupid and dangerous.

Really folks, what kind of world do we want? I'll answer my own question. Some- the 2%ers- are looking for a solution to a non existent problem. The argument from the gun guys that anyone can carry a gun anywhere with virtually no permit or no training and carry openly at that, is leading to what they really want. This is the slippery slope. To ascribe the name of something that your side is doing to accuse the other side of your own tactics is tacky, clever but false rhetoric. It has worked for far too long.

And then there's an exchange on my blog with a Minnesota permit  holder who is making claims that H.R. 822 will not change much in Minnesota. Except that people who Minnesota law enforcement would not grant permits to would now be able to carry their guns in all the same places Minnesota permit holders can carry, including bars and restaurants where alcohol is served. He is also claiming that there is not a national data base for checking driver's licenses just like there isn't one for permit holders. This is a false claim. My own Police Chief said that it would be impossible for an officer to determine the validity of an out-of-state permit in non office hours because of the lack of a national data base. I originally provided an incorrect link for this one. There are computerized data bases for law enforcement to check information about driver's licenses which can be shared. There is not such a data base for gun permit holders.

So in my neck of the woods, guns and gun issues are prevalent in the news media. Every day of late, there have been articles about shootings or gun laws or convictions. I think people are paying attention. I have had several people ask me questions lately about the news stories involving guns because they know of my involvement with the issue. All I know is that common sense does not prevail and should. I will be posting later today about more of the nonsensical comments at the hearing on H.R. 822 which is being heard in a Judiciary Sub-Committee of the House of Representatives.


  1. Are you trying to say that a suicidal father would not have murdered his children and set fire to his RV had he not had access to a firearm?

  2. He would have had a harder time doing it without a gun. Are you saying this is O.K. and we should just chalk it up to another one of those incidents that happen?

  3. Sorry readers- here is the link to the information about how police can access driver's license information. I provided the wrong link- sorry http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2007/12/what_do_the_cops_have_on_me.html and
    http://www.brennancenter.org/content/pages/vrm_department_of_motor_vehicle and
    There are computerized data bases containing driver's license information. There is no such thing for gun permit information that can be shared with law enforcement.

  4. You're sort of correct about the database thing. Drivers' licenses are handled though an interstate compact called the Drivers License Compact.

    For the most part, DL information is databased or housed on a state-by-state basis, the same as gun permit information, and like gun permit information, it varies from state to state. There is a national database, called the National Driver Register, but this database only contains information about people who have been suspended, revoked, or have a serious driving offense (like a DUI). So there isn't a database out there of every drivers' license, but it is possible for police to check the NDR to see if your license has been suspended or revoked, or if you've ever had any serious traffic offenses in your past.

  5. "There is no such thing for gun permit information that can be shared with law enforcement."

    Minn. Stat. 624.714 Subd. 15(a):

    The commissioner must maintain an automated database of persons authorized to carry pistols under this section that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, only to law enforcement agencies, including prosecutors carrying out their duties under subdivision 8a, to verify the validity of a permit.

  6. Thanks Sebastian. I can't believe one of you admitted that I might be right about something. I do appreciate it.

  7. jdege, Can officers check this from their patrol cars? Can they share it with other states? Do all states have this?

  8. So now that there is a database in MN the goal post moves. We now have to prove that the cop in his car can access the info. I would imagine if he has a computer or a phone he would be able to get the info.

  9. You got it. Cops can't call after business hours. That's the point.

  10. I did not realize that the AUTOMATED 24/7/365 did not cover nights.

    With a phone the officer should be able to call someone like a supervisor/captain/dispatch if the car was not equipped with a computer. Now if he did not have a computer and could not reach anyone by phone/radio he would not be able to check to see the Drivers License database either. I am guessing it is not very often that an officer falls into a electronic black hole like that though.

  11. It's my understanding that the drivers licenses can be checked any time of day or night. But getting info on permits is not in a shared data base that can be accessed in the same way.

  12. "It's my understanding that the drivers licenses can be checked any time of day or night. But getting info on permits is not in a shared data base that can be accessed in the same way."

    And your understanding is based on what, exactly?

    Your persistent refusal to believe what people who actually know about this stuff keep telling you?

  13. My understanding is based on two conversations I had yesterday- one with my Chief of Police, the other with my County Sheriff.

  14. Here's an interesting comparison.

    1) Law enforcement officers can carry in Minnesota even if they are from another state (or federal law enforcement special agents / officers). There is not a national database of law enforcement officers.

    2) Retired and former law enforcement officers that have completed the proper training can carry in all 50 states, the territories, and the district of columbia under LEOSA (HR218). There is not a national database of law enforcement officers.

    The issue of not having a national database of permit holders is much less of an issue that folks think that it is.


  15. You should inform the Chief of Police and the County Sheriff that the state is in violation of Minn. Stat. 624.714! It should be easy to have the courts suspend the permit system until this is taken care of. The other option is that the state is in compliance and the Chief and Sheriff you talked to are incorrect. I wonder what is more probable?

  16. Though not always perfect law abiding citizens for the most part I trust former and current law enforcement more than I trust regular gun carriers. You do not. We will differ.

  17. Anthony. Great that you presume to know more than the folks who carry out the laws. But then you guys don't hesitate to let us know of your knowledge. I trust that my Chief and the Sheriff know their stuff. I have no reason to believe otherwise. I take their word over yours.

  18. Anthony- relax and have a nice day.