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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More NRA nonsense in the news

Cross posted at Media Matters Gun Facts

More NRA nonsense was exposed by media outlets while I was away from my blog. The Rachel Maddow show ran this piece on September 30th summarizing the latest paranoia and false assertions put forth by the NRA. In the piece, Maddow touched on the new Ohio law allowing guns in bars,( more on this later) on the "spokesperson" for the NRA on Fox T.V., on NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre's speech to the conservative CPAC conference  and other gun nonsense. I was happy to see other media sources reporting on the stories about which I have also been writing. The NRA and the gun lobby as a whole has morphed into more than just an organization that supports gun rights and hunting rights. Rachel Maddow aptly points out this phenomenon in the link above by reporting on right wing blogger Mike Venderbough of the Sipsey Street Irregulars who comments regularly on extreme issues, including gun rights. As it turns out, he is the new Fox "expert" on gun issues ( see link to The Maddow Show above).

Americans should pay more attention to what some of the far right bloggers are saying and doing. For example, if you look at the link above to Sipsey Street Irregulars, you will see some pretty outrageous and falsified information. Check this photo title out:
Michelle Obama promotes new exercise regimen for Mexico: Gunwalking.
This is what is shown above a photo of First Lady Michelle Obama, obviously taken from a photo of her on a shopping outing to a DC area Target store. Many people criticized the photo and the First Lady after she was seen shopping like a regular citizen. Personally, I thought it was great. Who doesn't shop at Target stores? Why shouldn't the First Lady be able to shop there? But from the linked article, a quote from Fox News' Sean Hannity:
“First Lady Michelle Obama shopping at Target with an AP photographer in tow . . . . planned? I think so,” tweeted Fox News and syndicated radio host Sean Hannity.
And then this:
“One wonders if First Lady Michelle Obama truly thought she could pass for an ‘everywoman’ as she shopped” at Target, sniffed the Blaze, a Web site launched last year by radio host Glenn Beck.
And finally from right wing talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, ever the objective commentator for the Tea Party folks:
Rush Limbaugh called it “What a phony-baloney plastic banana good-time rock-and-roller optic photo op.” 
Whatever. But the linked article to Sipsey Street Irregulars with the doctored photo of Michelle Obama is an example of how the far right can turn anything into an opportunity to attack the Obama Administration. Thus, we have a photo of Michelle Obama pushing a shopping cart full of assault rifles supposedly walking the guns into Mexico as a spoof on the ATF's failed and much criticized "Fast and Furious" program. I have written about this many times before so I won't rehash it now. It has been roundly criticized by folks from the right and the left and surely deserves investigating. But there is no need to gin up the criticism of the program by using a photo of the First Lady to make a false point. The gun rights extremists have no compunction regarding common decency and telling the truth. One wonders then where these same critics of the program were during the Bush administration's same efforts to stem the trafficking of guns into Mexico. From the link above:
Also on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the George W. Bush administration conducted a program similar to Fast and Furious, in which Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were instructed to let Mexican drug cartel straw purchasers buy guns in the Phoenix area to follow the trail to higher-ups.
Known as Operation Wide Receiver, the Bush-era operation also let guns be transferred to suspected arms traffickers. Justice Department prosecutors have brought charges against nine people involved in the operation, according to AP; two have pleaded guilty.
The truth is that the NRA has a credibility problem. They loyally criticize, falsify and distort anything involving the current administration. And they are only too happy to call for investigations. When their own board members are linked to the infamous convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, there is something actually worth investigating. This article from Josh Horowitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is a great exposé about NRA Board members and links to Jack Abramoff. From the article:
Corruption? Conspiracy? You have to wonder why Wayne LaPierre is spending so much time making up cockamamie tales about the Obama administration. The stories that can be told around the table at one of his NRA board meetings are infinitely more interesting...and real. 
I don't make these things up, dear readers. They are based on very real information as opposed to the doctored and false photos and stories that appear, as the one linked above, in some of blogs and articles of the extreme right. Because the NRA itself is so good at making things up about the gun control movement and anyone who is opposed to their agenda, they have an "anything goes" mentality. This decision to get involved in extreme far right issues and non-gun related issues may just be enough to call attention to what the organization is really all about. Are they embarrassed by their lies and extremism? I doubt it. Perhaps in time they might just get caught with their pants down.

Meanwhile, the NRA is losing its' court battles to turn every gun law they don't like into one about their unfettered second amendment rights. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided not to take up an important gun rights case previously ruled on by a Federal Appeals Court which ruled against the gun lobby efforts to overturn gun laws passed in Washington D.C. after the Heller decision. From the Appeals Court ruling language: " “Accordingly, the bans do not violate the . . . constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”" This ruling was a victory for common sense and shows that the gun lobby just can't run rough shod over reasonable gun laws. The NRA's loss this week shows that the highest court of the land just does not agree with the organization's extreme views:
The US supreme court has refused to consider whether an individual's right to own guns includes carrying a firearm outside the home – staying out of one of the nation's most divisive social, political and legal issues.
And last week in Lubbock, Texas, a conservative court rejected the notion brought forth by the gun lobby, that 18 year olds had a right to own and carry loaded guns. From the article:
We're pleased that the court rejected the NRA's challenge to this common-sense gun law limiting teenage access to handguns," said Brady Acting President Dennis Henigan. "While the NRA keeps trying to get judges to strike down life-saving, democratically-enacted gun laws, courts around the country have agreed that the Second Amendment doesn't prohibit strong laws to keep guns from dangerous people.
And, of course, there have been several high profile shootings while I was away from my blog. One was a mass shooting in California- 3 dead and 3 injured at a party last week. Another California shooting is being reported as I write this post. Annoyed and disgruntled with your job? Just get out that gun that you own for self defense ( in this case, we don't know if the man was a legal gun owner) or steal a gun or buy a gun illegally or however you happen to have one, and start shooting. That is the American way! The shootings just don't stop. And they won't stop as long as the media and our elected leaders choose to run away from the real issues about guns and gun violence. The real issue is that too many people are shot to death every day in this country. If we put our collective will and minds to solving this national public health and safety issue, we could prevent and reduce shootings. Will we? Will common sense prevail?

(This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)


  1. "Americans should pay more attention to what some of the far right bloggers are saying and doing. For example, if you look at the link above to Sipsey Street Irregulars, you will see some pretty outrageous and falsified information. Check this photo title out:

    Michelle Obama promotes new exercise regimen for Mexico: Gunwalking."

    Do you think anyone believes that that photo is real?

  2. Wow Anthony. You sure missed the point.

  3. The debate here is between those of us who believe that responsibility lies with the individual, not the device and those who believe that groups must control every action to achieve safety. I don't know what your definition of common sense is, but if you look at the map of firearms laws, the trend is in the direction of good sense. Even the Brady Campaign's scorecard for states shows it. Notice how more and more states are moving downward in their ranking? Notice how the number of shall-issue states goes up year by year, as does the number of constitutional carry states?

    As I've pointed out before, life is dangerous--danger being a word that originally meant powerful. The safer life is forced to be, the less choice we each have. I'm not opposed to offering safety devices, but they should be a matter of choice.

    You observe that guns are designed to kill. Indeed. Not all killing is wrong. If someone is threatening my life, I have the right to defend myself. If you're a pacifist, you may disagree, but if you support self-defense, then you have to answer why you would deny me an effective instrument for that defense. And don't tell me that I may have my gun at home. Trouble comes to us in many places. If my tool of self-defense is at home when I'm out, it's useless to me.

    Recently, you have called my comments trite and confusing. I'm speaking plain English here. There are hundreds of millions of guns in America. There are some six million holders of concealed carry licenses. You can point to a vanishingly small number of those two groups that have done something stupid or evil.

    But what do numbers matter? I will stand with individual rights over numbers any day. I refer to my First Amendment rights in other comments because the rights of the First are of the same kind as those of the Second. Rights are not convenient, nor are they safe. That's why we decided to have a system of government to protect rights. Yes, my views are from an older world. I'm anti and ante-modern. But being current doesn't equate with being correct.

  4. "Meanwhile, the NRA is losing its' court battles to turn every gun law they don't like into one about their unfettered second amendment rights."


    2 In this administrative rule challenge, ORS 183.400(1), petitioner Oregon Firearms Educational Foundation seeks the invalidation of an administrative rule of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and the Oregon University System (respondents) that imposes sanctions on persons who possess or use firearms on university property. Petitioner contends that the rule exceeds respondents' statutory authority, that it is preempted by ORS 166.170, and that it violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. We conclude that the rule is preempted and therefore do not address whether it also violates the Second Amendment. Accordingly, we conclude that the rule is invalid."

  5. So- your point is? I'm aware of this one. The gun lobby is losing most, which is what I said, but thanks for sharing.

  6. "The gun lobby is losing most, which is what I said, but thanks for sharing."

    The NRA is losing, when they jump in and push poorly prepared cases aimed more at publicity and fundraising than actually winning.

    The NRA wasn't behind Heller, and it wasn't behind McDonald, and it wasn't behind Rosenblum. Though you'd have hardly noticed that from reading the NRA's self-congratulatory press releases.

    We've told you before - the NRA isn't "the gun lobby". It wasn't the NRA who passed shall-issue in Minnesota, or in any of the 30 other states that have passed it in the last 25 years.

    If you keep your focus on the NRA, you're going to miss most of what is going on.

  7. Come on jdege, do you expect me or anyone else to believe that the all powerful NRA isn't behind this stuff? GOA and National Association of Gun Rights is in the fight as well pushing for more extreme things than the extreme NRA is pushing. Who else is there? I'd love to know actually. I'm sure it's some kind of consipiracy!!! By the way, why don't you take a break from my blog? You are not duty bound to comment once per hour or so. Go do something else for a while.

  8. The organization that has done the most for the re-establishment of our second amendment rights (and as jdedge states, the organization behind Heller, Macdonald and Rosenblum among others) is the Second Amendment Foundation. Jdedge is absolutely correct.


  9. So wait a second -- California has the types of laws some in your camp would only DREAM about -- and I'm to believe some "whackjob" still chose to break those laws? Whats the solution, MORE laws?

    It BOGGLES the mind...

  10. What always escapes your side, mostly on purpose, is that though California has strict gun laws, the states around them do not. Guns come into their state from Nevada, Arizona, other states with looser gun laws and from gun shows in those states where background checks are not required on all sales as they are in California. I'm sure you know that but you want to deny it. That's how guns come into all of the states which have more strict laws. Until we fix the laws in all states, we will continue to have this problem. And, Pat, jdege was not being ironic. He was trying to "educate" this ignorant fool with his estoric and archaic language. He seems to think that if he speaks in quotes it will look good and will either befuddle me or impress me and my readers with his amazing knowledge about the topic. I didn't see any irony there at all.

  11. Now you're the one missing the point. Criminals don't follow the law...and all indicators are that he wasn't a prohibited purchaser under CA law either...

    So...where does that leave us? People do bad things?

  12. Why make it easier? You missed my point. That is always my point.

  13. Why make it easier? Why make it harder when it clearly and consistently does no good. By chance did you watchthe Ken Burns film on Prohibition? It was just on PBS this past week.

    Great intentions spawned horrible results, and drinking was never even stemmed. CRIMINALS found a way around the law and honest people were reduced to scofflaws.

    Exactly the same happens everywhere strict gun laws have been introduced. Attack the law breaker and the rest of society will do just fine. Attack the object and it will fail. Every time.

  14. Pat- I have not watched the whole series. I caught parts of the first one and thought it was a wonderful program. And yes, absolute prohibition did not solve anything, It made things much worse and in fact, led to an increase in organized crime and gun crimes and horrible shootings. But we are not talking about prohibition here with guns. We are talking about reasonable laws just as there are reasonable laws concerning alcohol consumption. It doesn't stop all drinking or drinking while driving unfortunately. But it has caused an awareness about the effects of alcohol so that people have designated drivers. My own kids were hyper aware of that while in college and as young adults. They took cabs or designated someone. Pregnant women don't drink now because we know there are affects from alcohol that can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Reasonalbe measures lead to reasonable solutions and not necessarily total cures or total solutions. So reasonable gun laws will not fail. In fact we have proof that they work. Look at the vast difference in the number of gun deaths and injuries in countries where stricter laws are in place. They are working. They are not banning guns and the laws are working. Your assertion is just not right here.