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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be safe on Thanksgiving

It might be time for another "stupid and dangerous" post. There's no telling who will decide to become unsafe and potentially dangerous on this Thanksgiving.  Here's the first incident of a supposedly law abiding citizen who suddenly wasn't:
Neighbors said Malone, his wife and their grown daughter kept to themselves and lived protected, regimented lives. Malone often wore camouflage pants and a military-type jacket and patrolled outside the building, said caretaker David Spriggs, who lives down the hall.
He would also stand outside his apartment at attention for two to three hours, never breaking his stance, Page said.
"He was a little weird," Brown said.
Really, should we suppose that someone like this is a normal person? And given the fact that we have a culture that promotes guns and gun use in our country, anyone, even someone like this guy can legally buy and own guns. There are some scary folks living amongst us who pass for law abiding citizens with crazy ideas. Crazy ideas are one thing. But combined with guns, those ideas turn into dangerous ideas.

This story about multiple shootings in Sacramento reminds us that our country is sometimes at war. When 9 people are shot with one death from separate shootings in one place, what other conclusion can be reached?
Petit said there was no connecting story line for the abnormally busy night: The incidents were unrelated; they didn't represent a series of gang retaliations; it wasn't a full moon.
Maybe it's just that too many people have guns who shouldn't have them and even those who are legal use guns in arguments or when angry or drunk. That's the real story line.

If you've been awake in the past week, you know that a crazed man with even more crazy ideas, has been arrested and charged with the attempted assassination of our President. Here's a man who should definitely not have guns. But, of course, our country allows just about anyone to walk around with guns. Ortega-Hernandez didn't just have any gun. He was carrying an AK-47 knock-off in his car.
Hernandez used a cheap but powerful Chinese- made assault rifle when he fired shots at the White House. His SKS rifle carried rounds high-powered enough to crack a bullet resistant window, even after traveling one-third of a mile from Constitution Avenue.
Read here about why weapons of war like the rifle used by Ortega-Hernandez should not be available to citizens in the legal or illegal gun market. No one is safer when just anyone can buy and carry these sorts of weapons around with them. But the NRA made darned sure that this is possible. Their bought and paid for members of Congress allowed the Assault Weapons Ban to lapse in 2004. Now we have even more of these sorts of guns around and readily available to nut jobs like Ortega-Hernandez whose intentions for those guns are not for self defense. Of course, one doesn't need a gun like that for self defense anyway but don't tell that to the gun rights extremists who are convinced that they just can't get along without those weapons. I mean, maybe you are just going to visit family this Thanksgiving. Surely you will need your AR-15 or your Glock. You never know when a crazy uncle will decide to attack you after having a little too much wine and under the influence of Tryptophan. I say, just shoot him. That will take care of things just fine.

So back to the assassination attempt on the President. When people with assault rifles are roaming the streets of our nation's capitol will citizens be safer? How is it that some of those bullets didn't hit a visitor to the White House? When I am in Washington D.C. I often walk to the White House and other monuments. There will be a lot of people traveling into and out of Washington D.C. this holiday according to this article. People may or may not be safer where they find themselves over the holiday. I will be traveling to the Philadelphia area with my son's family to visit my daughter and her family where we will have Thanksgiving together for the first time in several years since she moved to Pennsylvania from Minnesota. No one in my family owns a handgun nor do we see a need for one. It doesn't even enter our minds that we should take a gun with us when traveling around the country. The gun rights extremists think differently. I remind my readers that those who carry guns in this country comprise 2-3% of eligible adults. For them, Congress is willing to endanger us all. There are potential consequences to allowing people who shouldn't have guns, who some states don't bother to prohibit, in public places. Those who just voted in favor of H.R. 822 are apparently not thinking of the actual consequences.

Speaking of potential shootings, Thanksgiving day is no different than any other. In America, 34 people a day die from gun homicides. So what's another day? We all know that America is awash in guns and until we decide as a country that we won't continue to accept this daily carnage, the numbers will likely go unchanged. Other industrialized countries not at war, of course, don't accept that 34 people a day will be murdered by guns. So they have passed reasonable and common sense laws that make sure that doesn't happen. Other countries don't have the NRA. Other countries understand that public health and safety is more important than the profits of the gun industry. In fact, some countries also have gun manufacturers but they don't have a gun lobby exploiting the businesses to further their own political power and control. Don't you wonder how people live their daily lives having to  strap on holsters and carrying guns around with them everywhere they go?

From the linked article above, we find that Belgium, Germany and Austria produce guns such as Beretta, Hecklar&Koch and Glock. So the rate of gun murders in Belgium is about .42 per 100,000. In Germany, the rate of gun murders is .23 per 100,000. Let's look at Austria where the gun murder rate is .22 per 100,000. America gets the prize for having 2.98 gun homicides per 100,000. So having a gun manufacturer in your country needn't mean that the citizens of your country end up shooting each other in great numbers. The U.S. is a great country in so many ways. But it can't be said that we are a role model for other countries when it comes to killing our own citizens. We have no common sense when it comes to gun policy.

See below for shootings on Thanksgiving in previous years:
So I have an idea. For all of my gun carrying readers, try going gun-free on this Thanksgiving day. See how free it feels to not have a gun at the ready just in case. See how free it feels to not have that piece of steel hanging from your waistband. See how free it feels to not be fearful that someone is waiting to attack you at every turn. The freedom may surprise you. I do this every day. It's a great way to live. Try it- you might like it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Stay safe and try going gun free. I won't be posting for the next week due to my out-of-state travel. See you all after Thanksgiving.


  1. It has started already. Read this article ((http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2011/nov/18/tdmet02-man-whose-gun-discharged-killing-him-had-c-ar-1467500/?referer=http://t.co/OJf1aI5R&shorturl=http://bit.ly/u5D5sT) about a man who killed himself by shooting off his concealed weapon accidentally. " The 45-year-old man was sitting in the front seat of his family's minivan in a shopping center parking lot on Sunday when his .40-caliber Glock discharged, authorities said.

    "For some reason, maybe for comfort, he reached out and went to adjust it," said Spotsylvania sheriff's Capt. Liz Scott. "The detective thinks that in doing so — in just grabbing it — he inadvertently grabbed the trigger."" How tragic for this family right before Thanksgiving. Now they will be burying a family member and not enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner. What if the guy decided to go gun free while shopping with his family? What was he afraid of while sitting in the grocery store parking lot?

  2. The SKS rifle was not banned by the Assault Weapon ban that expired in 2004, nor is it banned by most local Assault Weapon bans since most versions of the SKS only hold 10 rounds.

    Most gun control advocates want to ban the SKS, but it usually does not fall under the same definition as other "assault weapons." So to ban SKS rifles, one first needs to ban "assault weapons" and then keep going on to ban more guns -- which happens to be what gun control advocates usually do.

  3. "What if the guy decided to go gun free while shopping with his family?"

    What if they guy had decided to use a holster?

  4. Yup- we are organizing now to come around to all of your homes to confiscate your guns. That is what gun control advocates usually do.

  5. Too bad that gun guys don't always do the right thing, thus endangering themselves and others.

  6. How much more illegal can things be made? He couldn't possess a weapon in DC without a permit which he didn't have. He couldn't possess an assault weapon or even an SKS at all in DC. He has a criminal record so he can't legally possess a gun. It is illegal to shoot at the Whitehouse or the President. Since he ignored all these things I am sure that if we just make it a little more illegaler he wouldn't have done it. I mean it isn't as if he were a criminal who was going to disregard the law or anything.

  7. "we are organizing now to come around to all of your homes to confiscate your guns"

    Nope -- because you don't have the votes.

    Sen. Feinstein, author of the 1994 Assault Weapon ban, told CBS 60 Minutes that she wanted confiscation of "assault weapons" but did not have the votes.

    Now, even more gunowners know how important it is to make sure that you never have the votes.

  8. japete said...
    Yup- we are organizing now to come around to all of your homes to confiscate your guns. That is what gun control advocates usually do.

    I know you meant this as a joke but the California did almost exactly that with the SKS rifles. They however called it a buyback.

  9. Too bad that we have so many organizations that purport to be interested in gun safety who do nothing at all to actually teach people how to keep, handle, and carry, and use firearms in a safe manner.

  10. Banning is not the same as confiscation. Provide a link please.

  11. Yes. People were rounded up in their homes at gunpoint and forced to give up their weapons. Terrible stuff, that.

  12. Robin. Missing my point. How do people like this get their guns?

  13. And kedge do you think GVP groups should be training idiots about how to carry their guns. NOT.

  14. Another CCW idiot shooting himself. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2063363/Criminal-justice-professor-accidentally-shoots-leg-class.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

  15. "do you think GVP groups should be training idiots about how to carry their guns"

    If their "concern" were more than posturing and pretense, they'd be doing exactly that.

  16. Well in California they said they would be legal and then changed their minds declaring them banned. They had to be turned in and "fair market value" was given for them.


  17. A "CCW idiot," eh?

    From your link: "Long Island University professor Jack Carney - a criminal justice teacher and retired New York City law enforcement officer..."

    In New York, retired New York City law enforcement officers may continue to carry concealed firearms.

  18. Ah -so the guns weren't confiscated then.

  19. Jay. He was carrying a concealed weapon.

  20. You are correct confiscated implies that people were not compensated for the loss of the item. So as long as you offer to let people turn in their property and give them "fair market value" for their once legally owned firearms you have no problem with it? You wonder why people do not like the idea of your registration schemes.

  21. " Here's the first incident of a supposedly law abiding citizen who suddenly wasn't:"

    Roseville police were called to Wayne Malone's apartment twice in August, once because he drank himself unconscious and the second time because he threatened to kill people in the building.

    Police made another visit on Thursday night, but this time they shot the 55-year-old dead.

    Want to bet last August wasn't the first or last time the police heard of him?

    "This story about multiple shootings in Sacramento reminds us that our country is sometimes at war..." How can this possibly be? California has almost no legal concealed carry, gun registration, no murder clips etc. It is the Brady poster child of states. Did Sacramento move to another state or did criminals do something illegal. We need another law to make it more illegal.

    "Missing my point. How do people like this get their guns? " No, obviously you were missing my point. Despite all your laws he still committed a crime by disregarding those laws. I on the other hand did not break a single law with my weapons all day yesterday, all of this week, all of this month, all of this year. Yet you want to punish me for what someone else did. That would be the equivalent of me saying that the shooter in Rosedale was from Minnesota so for goodness sake lets not let any Minnesotans travel to another state for fear that they will bring their lawlessness with them.

    "That is what gun control advocates usually do. " I have absolutely no doubt at all that it is what you would like to do.

  22. When the government takes my property away from me, with the threat of criminal prosecution if I refuse to surrender it, that's confiscation.

    And by the way, there are a whole lot of people who carry a concealed firearm legally. Do you regard all of us as idiots?

  23. I guess that's up to you. As long as "law abiding gun owners" keep shooting themselves and others the name fits.

  24. Hey Weer'd. I just drove through your town on the way to Hershey. Maybe some day I'll stop and say hello. Have a nice Thanksgiving.

  25. Unfortunately here is a shooting right before Thanksgiving. Another shooting of a college student. http://www.suntimes.com/news/9021704-418/man-charged-with-killing-niu-student-at-off-campus-party.html.

    Senseless. Why do young people need to have guns?

  26. To my readers in Pa- Feasterville and Downingtown and Coatesville, etc.---thanks for the gorgeous weather. Will be in historic Philly today. What a great way to end our visit.

  27. Why do young people need to have guns? To learn how to use them, naturally.

    Here's a better question: Why do you think that gun ownership is about need?

  28. If you've been paying attention, Gregory, you will know that I identified those who I think actually need guns. The rest are folks who want guns but may actually not need them.

  29. "The rest are folks who want guns but may actually not need them." This is the way you feel and we are aware of that. The question was "Why do you think that gun ownership is about need?" Which you did not answer.

    Do you need to utilize your free speech by running this blog? Do you need to utilize your right to freedom of religion by going to church? Do you need to utilize your freedom to assemble by meeting with your Protect Minnesota comrades? Just because you have a right why do you need to use it? Why does the 2nd amendment have need attached to it?

  30. " A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    I don't see the word "need" here. "necessary to the security of a free State means different things to different people. The Supreme Court found that their is an individual right to bear arms but didn't talk about people needing guns. You have a right if you want. But everyone does not need a gun for their daily lives. I've gotten along without one for a good many years and my life has been fine with the exception of the murder of my sister by a man who thought he needed guns for self defense and thought he needed to shoot my sister during a difficult divorce. He also wanted to kill her. Without the idea of his needing those guns, she may be alive today. There is no sense continuing this discussion because we come at this differently and no sense arguing with me nor me with you. Have a nice week=end Robin. No need to respond. We have gone over this ad nauseum. If you have a new point to make, go ahead.

  31. "But everyone does not need a gun for their daily lives"

    I totally agree. Always have.

    Where the clash happens is when your side presumes to know what I need and then advocates law that enforces your concept of my need or forces me to "prove" my need to your satisfaction in order to go out in public.

    The meta question that is at the root of all of these arguments, not restricted to the 2nd at all, is this.

    Simply put, should we be a Republic or a Democracy?

    We were founded as a Republic and central to that idea was that people have inherent rights that pre-date all government, all laws and that those rights cannot be given away, nor taken away by anyone. For that reason, the founders spent a lot of time detailing not what a person MAY do, liberal freedom was assumed, but what the government may NOT do.

    Fast forward to today..

    A good example is the conflict between the laws you advocate and the one's that the NRA support.

    Since your side doesn't believe that everyone "needs" a gun" you feel justified in having the government pass laws based on "need", the laws you support tend to codify that into restrictions that require the proof of some sort of need, to allow ownership, sell, transfer, carry concealed or whatever.

    Point is you advocate restrictions and additional regulation by the government to what is "allowed" behavior by the people in general.

    Your side advocates "restrictive" laws. In contrast, my side advocates "permissive" laws.

    You prefer "May issue" I prefer "Shall Issue"

    You often state that the NRA won't be happy until everyone is carrying a gun. That is partially correct in this way.

    The NRA won't be happy until everyone is ALLOWED to carry a gun.

    If every law the NRA ever wanted to pass, passed. YOU would still have all of the choices you have today and be free to act on those choices. No law they have ever advocated would have required you to do something or restricted you FROM doing something. You could be just as unarmed as you are today.

    If the anti-gun side had been able to pass ALL of the laws they have ever advocated. MY life and the life of millions of citizens would be one of great restrictions, denials and I would have to jump through all sorts of legal hoops to own a hand gun, if it was allowed at all.

    The argument for restrictive law is the argument that people cannot be trusted to make the "correct" choice so the legal behavior must be limited to the range of "correct" choices.

    The permissive argument is that "the people" are fully capable of deciding for THEMSELVES what they need or don't need and acting on that knowledge freely. (and paying the price for being wrong,evil or stupid)

    I can't remember who said. "It is the job of the citizen to keep the government in check, not the job of the government to keep the citizen in check."

    That is actually what my side believes for almost all aspects of government so supporting permissive gun laws is just being consistent with that philosophy and not likely to change.

  32. 18 Echo has written his own thesis. More on this later.