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.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

These deserve attention

I haven't written a "stupid and dangerous" column lately because I've been writing about the 2% solution looking for a problem. But some stories just must be talked about. Once again, a law abiding gun owner foolishly thought his gun was not loaded and shot himself in the head. This was both stupid and dangerous. Loaded guns in the home are dangerous. The man is in serious condition after this senseless act of shooting himself in the head. Where is common sense?

Whenever a child shoots another child, it makes the news. This is happening far too often. The latest is this tragic story about an Idaho 2 year old shot by his 3 year old brother. Loaded guns in the home are dangerous. They need to be locked up and kept away from curious children. This family will be suffering for a long long time and the 3 year old will likely never get over this one. Where is common sense?

I just returned from a fund raising lunch sponsored by our local Safe Haven Shelter for women. The chair of the shelter board is our Deputy Police Chief who reminded us of a shooting several months ago in Duluth about which I blogged. It was a man who had robbed a store, stolen a car at gun point, led the police on a chase and rammed it into a house. He ran into the house where the home owner, a young woman, was shot in the scuffle and the man himself was shot to death by police. The man's partner was in the car with him. She had been a shelter resident and now sits in the local jail. My minister was at this event and sat at my table. She had to leave early because she goes to the jail once a week to have a session with the women there. This woman is known to her. Also at my table were several board members of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, our county Sheriff and the now former and retired deputy Police Chief and a few other folks. We all nodded in agreement with the Deputy Chief about the dangers to others in our community when domestic abusers with guns are in homes and on our streets. The Sheriff and I had a conversation about yesterday's senseless shooting of 8 people in the California beauty salon. The room held about 200-300 people. If I had stood up and asked for a show of hands, since I knew many of the folks in the room, every single person in that room would have stood up in support of sensible gun laws.

During the event, we saw a powerful video about how domestic abuse affects children. There were a lot of watery eyes in the room. We didn't have to say much. The discussion as we left the event and chatted was about yesterday's California shooting, another domestic shooting. Many people were wondering how this country tolerates mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting. Too many stupid and dangerous things happen with guns. They are weapons meant to kill. And kill they do. So as we listened to the stories of abused women, and one woman who told her story about her husband threatening to blow his brains out with a gun if she dared to leave him, a House Judiciary Committee heard ridiculous arguments about why this country needs H.R. 822. Here are a few of the comments from committee members as tweeted to me by a friend and my comments about them:
Rep. Gohmert, Republican of Texas claims that DC gun laws violate the second amendment event the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of the Maryland law upholding the DC gun laws just last week. I guess he doesn't believe in Supreme Court decisions.
Rep. Deutch Democrat of Florida notes that Florida is giving guns to misdeamont sex offenders. Is that what reciprocity will look like if this law passes? 
Rep. Franks, Republican of Arizona says misdemeanor sex offenses "vary greatly" & they shouldn't disqualify someone from carrying guns. Really? Is he kidding?
Rep. Conyers, Democrat of Michigan points out the obvious- there is no national data base for gun permit holders. How will law enforcement be able to check on permits? They won't of course. But the gun lobby doesn't concern itself with such details.
Rep. Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee removed himself as a co-sponsor of the bill saying it was repugnant to his view of gun rights. I wonder when he got some common sense?
Rep. Dan Lungren Republican of California says states have "general police powers" under our Constitution. Really? They're trying every angle.
Rep. Quigley, Democrat of Illinois made it clear that H.R. 822 sets the bar @ the "lowest common denominator" in terms of concealed handgun permits. He's right, of course.
Rep. Gohmert amendment to allow concealed handguns in DC fails as the NRA instructs GOP committee members to vote NO. Interesting. Whatever the NRA wants or doesn't want is what some in Congress will do.
Rep. Lungren (R-CA) asks if we really want to let misdemeanant sex offenders carry guns? Seems incredulous. Didn't he realize that what was would happen if this bill passses?
Rep. Nadler, Democrat of NY tells Rep. Franks if Arizona wants to allow misdemeanor sex offenders to carry guns, fine. Don't make other states do it. Didn't they realize that was what would happen if this bill passes? 
Rep. Franks spoke in favor of allowing those on the Terror Watch List to carry guns legally in other states. Great idea really.
Rep. Franks compared having a cleft lip to being on the Terrorist Watch List in terms of the threat to public safety. Where did this guy come from? As a Speech Language Pathologist, I can tell you unequivocally that someone with a cleft lip is on danger to us but someone on the Terror Watch list could very well be. I guess they will say anything to get their bill.
The following Republican House Members just voted to allow those on the Terrorist Watch List to carry guns in public in states outside their home state: Smith, Gallegly, Sensenbrenner, Goodlatte, Forbes, King, Adams, Franks, Gohmert, Quayle, Poe, Jordan, Chaffetz, Griffin, Gowdy, Amodei, Lungren, Ross, Marino. Check out to see if your Representative is on this list. Ask him or her how they could vote for those in the terror watch list to carry guns all over our country. 
Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-FL) introduced an amendment to bar those with misdemeanor stalking convictions from carrying guns in outside states. This just makes too much sense. Let's see who votes against this one. 
GOP House Judiciary members were virtually unanimous in voting today to allow the following individuals to carry guns in public in states outside their home state: 1) Misdemeanant sexual offenders 2) Individuals on the Terrorist Watch List 3) Individuals with misdemeanor convictions for stalking.   We really must have this bill. If the NRA says we need it, they will vote for anything without thinking through the real life consequences. Or maybe they have thought through the real life consequences which is even scarier and stupider!
So, you get the idea. This is just the latest and most extreme example of the stupid and dangerous things proposed by the NRA and its' minions in Congress. Tomorrow the bill be marked up and voted on in full by the committee after which it will go before the full House. Let's see which members of Congress, blinded by the power and control of the NRA will vote in favor of H.R. 822. It's the 2% solution looking for a problem. Where is common sense?

19 comments:

  1. "Rep. Franks, Republican of Arizona says misdemeanor sex offenses "vary greatly" & they shouldn't disqualify someone from carrying guns. Really? Is he kidding?"

    Misdemeanor sex offenses include things like, say, urinating in public. Do you really think that urinating in public is a good reason to deny someone their constitutional rights?

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  2. A misdemeanor sex crime in Texas is homosexuality (which is a horribly out-dated law in and of itself, but still on the books). Are you encouraging discriminations against gays?

    This is what those on my side call the "unintended consequences" of "common sense".

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  3. Pat and Heather just made the argument for why this is a bad bill some states allow sex offenders to have guns because they have not provided a clear deliniation between actual sex offenders and the folks you have both raised up. That is clearly the problem here. If that is what Florida allows why should other states be forced to allow these folks to carry loaded guns in public? Make laws that make sense.

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  4. You mean like driver's license laws? Sex offenders driver's licenses are good in all 50 states. So are the driver's licenses of people on the secret-police "terrorist watch list."

    If you can't trust a person with a gun, why are they walking around free in a world where gasoline and matches are so easily available?

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  5. I assume you are being provacative and not serious with this question.

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  6. The federal prohibition on possessing a firearm triggers on any state conviction that might carry a sentence of greater than two years in prison. (Not "they were sentenced to more than two years," but the law under which they were convicted had a maximum penalty of greater than two years".

    So when you are thinking about how this bill allows "sex offenders with guns", you have to look at which "sex crimes" have maximum penalties of less than two years, because those are the only ones that would not trigger an absolute federal ban on legally possessing a firearm.

    In Minnesota, we're talking about crimes on the order of mooning the opposing team after a football game.

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  7. Do any of you gun guys think it's a good idea to separate out the true sex offenders from the rest of the minor crimes? Until we do, we have a problem with the gun laws.

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  8. japete writes:
    "Rep. Conyers, Democrat of Michigan points out the obvious- there is no national data base for gun permit holders. How will law enforcement be able to check on permits? They won't of course. But the gun lobby doesn't concern itself with such details."

    There's also not a national database of driver licenses, but police do ok verifying those..

    It's not at all difficult for law enforcement to validate a carry permit from state to state.

    B

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  9. All the contentious nay-sayers are saying what exactly? Are they suggesting that the bar for disqualifying people from their god-given constitutional rights is low enough? I don't think anyone seriously wants a public urinator to lose anything, but the bar is still too high. Violent people, road rage people, accident-prone people all need to give up the guns, in my opinion.

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  10. Bryan- you can claim that all you want. That is not what law enforcement is saying about the bill. I have had personal conversations with my own Chief and Sheriff. There is no way for them to check to see if someone has a legal permit in another state unless they make some phone calls during daytime hours when state offices are open. Driver's licenses and license plates can be checked in computerized systems from the police cars so that officers will know if there is a problem. Police can verfiy from their patrol cars on the scene. They cannot do that with permits to carry, Check this out- http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2007/12/what_do_the_cops_have_on_me.html
    From Answers.com- " They call the license number into a computer system. This will check the driving record. It will also insure that it is a valid drivers license. the system will also check the license against any outstanding warrants to see if the driver is wanted for anything."

    You are wrong.

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  11. japete writes:
    "You are wrong. "

    I'm not.

    Individual states maintain their databases of driver & vehicle records. Some states are linked in an automated way through NCIC (the FBI's system that tracks certain data) - some states are not.

    Officers/Dispatchers make a request through a computer for data from their particular state - if it's an out of state vehicle or drive, then the computer makes a request to that other state for the information. In some cases, they must call the state to obtain information - the same way that they would have to call to verify a permit.

    The only national database is the FBI's NCIC and III systems. Between the two systems, they maintain a database of individuals convicted of felonies and serious misdemeanors, current warrants, and stolen property. Even in the case of criminal history (the III database), the FBI holds only "pointer" information - the officer/dispatcher must then make a request of the particular state to obtain the criminal history information that they are seeking.

    So there is not a "nationwide database" of vehicle records - it's a network of individual state & territory computer systems.

    Several states (like MN), by the way, have their permit information available online - but only if the agency and individual officer have requested access.

    B

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  12. japete writes:"Do any of you gun guys think it's a good idea to separate out the true sex offenders from the rest of the minor crimes? Until we do, we have a problem with the gun laws. "

    What's wrong with the existing federal law, which prohibits felons and those convicted of crimes of domestic violence from owning/possessing/purchasing a firearm? (there are others prohibited as well, but for purposes of discussion here, I'm leaving those out since we're focused elsewhere)

    I don't think people convicted of an infraction (petty misdemeanor in MN - aka a traffic ticket) or a low misdemeanor for urinating in public when they were 18 should be prohibited from owning firearms.

    b

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  13. I agree with Mikeb302000. No one wants to deny a constitutional right to public urinators and homosexuals, but the solution isn't to preserve gun rights for everyone. The solution should be to distinguish the above groups from authentic sex offenders. If we broadly adopt the former solution, something gun guys advocate, we wind up awarding gun rights to people who have a high risk of being truly dangerous, such as those on the terror watch list. This is too high a price to pay for protecting the right to bear arms. It's risky, dangerous and illogical.

    Can't resist repeating one other comment: I like my hunting guns, but advocating for the wider distribution of handguns and assault weapons and their public display is barbaric. It is a step backwards in civilization.

    It's simply stunning to behold a loud, well financed minority pushing so successfully for the thorough saturation of our country with these firearms. I don't think the challenge is to change the minds of this minority. I don't think that will happen. Our job, at which japete works tirelessly, is to convince the majority and their legislators that they are the majority.

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  14. Your argument does not work. If there is not a national data base, there are ways for officers in most states to check out drivers' license information and much quicker than could ever get gun permit holder information. They are in no way the same. That is the problem. I know you don't listen to law enforcement. I don't know why not. They are the experts and know what this would mean for them. They don't want this. There is not an easy way for them to check out gun permit holder information. Most laws have made it difficult on purpose. I choose to listen to the concerns of law enforcement on this one and hope that my elected officials will do the same. This is a solution looking for a problem plain and simply. H.R, 822 will cause more problems for law enforcement and could lead to more gun incidents. It's not needed. You can't make a claim that it is necessary. And even if you did, it's just 2% of you who want this. Why should we pass a law for such a small minority of people who could actually cause deaths. I vote for prevention.

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  15. What's wrong with preventing sex offenders from other states from carrying guns in Minnesota? What's wrong with just leaving Minnesota law as is and letting us decide who should and should not be able to carry guns into our state? What's wrong with erring on the side of prevention? What's wrong with insisting that people who are not allowed to carry guns in Minnesota should apply to the folks who come in from other states? What's wrong with letting states decide these things? It has more or less worked out. Bryan- we will not agree on this one. You can go back to work now and stop commenting on every comment I make.

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  16. Once again Japete I wish you would argue so hard for states rights the next time the Brady Campaign proposes a federal gun law. I however know that the states rights issue you seem to have adopted will be dropped for the mantra of Strong federal laws :-/ That makes it hard to take you argument seriously

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  17. Nope. It's perfectly consistent. The very reason we need strong federal gun laws is the problem with H.R. 822. Since every state has different laws about who can carry guns and where they can carry, it is a bad idea to impose lax restrictions on states that have stricter restrictions, If all statees required the same training, who can get guns and where they can be carried we wouldn't be having this discussion. It is you guys who are hypocritical on this one. You want to impost lax laws from one state on states that have determined it's a better idea to not allow people who are domestic abusers permits to carry. Or to allow people who don't even have to go through training to carry in states that have some actual regulations about getting training before carrying a lethal weapon on their person in public.

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  18. I guess you dont like it when people play by your rules. I have made my position clear on this blog about 822. in your post above mine you state this "What's wrong with just leaving Minnesota law as is and letting us decide who should and should not be able to carry guns into our state?" seems like you use the states rights issue when it fits for you.

    What's wrong with just leaving Minnesota law as is and letting us decide who should and should not be able to buy high capacity magazines or for that matter any law the Brady Campaign backs?

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  19. "What's wrong with preventing sex offenders from other states from carrying guns in Minnesota?"

    Are they violent offenders? If so, they were charged with a felony and are therefore ineligible.

    What's wrong with just leaving Minnesota law as is and letting us decide who should and should not be able to carry guns into our state?

    Because our politicians can be arbitrary and capricious, simply failing to recognize a State permit because its form is pink, rather than white...

    "What's wrong with erring on the side of prevention?"

    Nothing you propose (or don't support) will do anything to prevent crime.

    "What's wrong with insisting that people who are not allowed to carry guns in Minnesota should apply to the folks who come in from other states?"

    Have you read the law? All State rules still apply, they just MUST recognize and offer reciprocity to another valid state permit.

    "What's wrong with letting states decide these things?"

    See point #1 - arbitrary and capricious and all that.

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