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, November 2, 2011

Football player gun owner changes his mind

I think most people recognize the name of NFL Football player Plaxico Burress. He once carried a gun and he once shot himself in the leg in a Manhattan Night Club. It got him into a bit of trouble, not to mention the pain of shooting himself. Now Burress is speaking out. Here is a video of his speech at a recent Brady Campaign/Center fund raising event:

Watch and listen as Burress says that a gun gave him a false sense of security. Those are words that more people need to be saying to our youth. This is his story from the linked article above:
Burress and Pierce were at the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan in late November 2008 when a gun that was tucked into Burress' waistband slipped down his leg and fired, shooting him in the right thigh.
The bullet narrowly missed a nightclub security guard who was standing inches away, prosecutors said. It lodged in the floor and was recovered by a bartender.
The gun was not licensed in New York or in New Jersey, where Burress lived. His license to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Florida had expired in May 2008.

For Burress, carrying that loaded gun illegally affected his personal and professional life and his sentence to prison gave him a long time to think about his life. His story is an important lesson to kids and teens, some of whom think carrying a gun is their security. One can almost see why they think this given that there are so many guns carried around by teens in some of our cities' neighborhoods. The result is kids shooting each other and sometimes shooting innocent by-standers or innocent kids not involved in the gun fights. Senseless. As long as 8 children and teens die every day from gun injuries, this country has a problem.

Speaking of children and teens being shot, check out this article in the Washington Post about all of the teens shot on Halloween night. I guess my Halloween cautions about staying safe was good advise since so many were obviously not. These shootings happened seemingly randomly and all over the city. The worst of it is this:
“This was a night where everybody comes out to have fun and enjoy themselves, and for this thing to happen,” Ramirez said. “I want to know why someone would do this.”
Violent crime was up last month in the District compared with October 2010. At a news conference Tuesday, Lanier and that Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) had tried to explain how a night of revelry could turn so violent in so many sections of the city.
“Last night, with all these shootings that occurred, [is] a symptom of the bigger problem,” Lanier said, which is an “uptick” in the number of guns flowing into the city.
In most of the shootings Monday night, the violence appeared random, Lanier said. The victims were just out walking, “friends visiting friends,” when the violence erupted, she said.
Right- Washington D.C. has pretty strict gun laws even after a challenge to their laws after the Heller decision. Many of the guns are coming from states surrounding D.C. with laxer gun laws. That is why we need some federal gun laws to ensure that everyone who buys a gun can pass a background check so people who shouldn't have guns won't get them easily. Guns are easy to buy on the streets. They don't fall out of the sky. Legal guns get sold to illegal people in great numbers in our communities. We can do something about this if we have the will and if the NRA stops blocking common sense gun legislation.

And speaking of Halloween shootings, check out this article about the bloody Halloween in New Orleans. Wow. I guess it was tricky to navigate the streets of New Orleans Monday night without being caught in the cross fire. Senseless.

And this incident in South Carolina highlights the dangers of children with guns. How can it be explained that a ten year old is walking around on Halloween night with a gun that he pulls on an unsuspecting home owner? This is just beyond explanation. And the sibling also had a gun. Where are the parents? Are they gun owners themselves? Most likely. If you yourself are a gun lover and pass that along to your children, what do you think will happen? If you have guns lying around your house, what do you think will happen? With rights come responsibilities. Some people are not responsible. When we have a culture of love of guns in our country, what do we expect? that is why Plaxico Burress is delivering the right message. That is why I am doing what I do.

Burress is right in wanting to take his message to the youth of our country.Though Burress's shooting incident was an accidental discharge, he was lucky to have only shot himself in the leg. Other lives could easily have been at risk. I can't even begin to count the number of times I have written on this blog about accidental gun discharges, most often when guns have fallen out of pants and hit the floor. There are the ones that have fallen from purses or backpacks as well. Most often people shoot themselves but occasionally the bullet hits a totally innocent person nearby as it did when a man's loaded gun discharged in a Texas restaurant, seriously injuring a woman sitting innocently eating her dinner. Senseless. If this false sense of security makes the people who carry those guns everywhere they go feel better- great. But they sure don't add to public security. Kids and teens are not safer carrying guns around or finding them lying around.

And speaking of guns and sports and sports figures, let's talk a little about people carrying loaded guns in sports venues. Why is it necessary? Are there a lot of criminals hanging out at football, basketball and hockey games? I know that some of the behavior of the players can be rather ghoulish and violent. But fans don't need their guns. For a few hours, people can forget their fear and paranoia and enjoy some fun without thinking about a boogie man in section 324. I love this article about where people can carry in Wisconsin now that the new permit to carry law is in effect. Sports venues may now become places for people to carry their guns. Senseless.
Oh, one more sport. Golf. Let's allow golfers to conceal a gun in every one of those pockets in the average golf bag. That way when a band of teenage caddies comes roaring out of the woods angrily swinging seven-irons, you've got enough firepower to blast every one of those bastards.
As a golfer I do appreciate the humor of this. And what are we teaching our kids? Do young caddies need to see golfers with guns? Do football players need to carry guns in the locker rooms? Do kids need to see their parents and other adults carrying guns at soccer games? Does anyone remember this soccer mom who open carried at her daughter's soccer game? Tragically, she was shot to death by her estranged husband who then shot himself. Her gun was in her backpack hanging on a door in her kitchen. Guns for self defense don't work out quite the way the gun rights extremists imagine. But I digress. What point does it prove to carry a gun around at a sporting event? People just don't like to see others carrying loaded guns around in public places. Plaxico Burress now understands how badly that can work out. His message is important to young people who look up to sports figures. Role models like Burress can better deliver the message that guns don't make you safer than a soccer mom who flaunts her loaded gun at a youth soccer game.


  1. Why do you need to take your gun to sporting events? Maybe you were going to stop by Walmart on the way home from the game.


  2. What a disturbing story. I am not sure it proves your point that your gun would have saved this person. Are you sure you would have been in the right place at the right time? Are you sure anyone with a gun that night would have been there at that exact moment to save this person? I'm actually surprised that the people around this guy couldn't suppress him without a gun. So your contention is that you need a gun at a game because you need it later on your way home? That is lame.

  3. "Washington D.C. has pretty strict gun laws even after a challenge to their laws after the Heller decision. Many of the guns are coming from states surrounding D.C. with laxer gun laws."

    Why do those states with laxer gun laws have lower crime rates?

  4. Well I can guarantee that the unarmed man that was beat to death was not saved by being unarmed. Could he have stopped this? Like you say who knows. The point is if I knew the places I would need a firearm to defend myself I obviously would avoid that place. Unfortunately my crystal ball is broken. I am sure that needing a firearm in a Walmart was not on this guys list but crime can happen anywhere even sports games.

  5. "Are you sure you would have been in the right place at the right time? Are you sure anyone with a gun that night would have been there at that exact moment to save this person?"

    Why do you assume we carry to protect other people? I carry to protect my family and myself.

    Walmart is not the only place where a person might need protection.


  6. They have higher numbers of gun deaths.

  7. Washington D.C., I should add, has always had high numbers for both crime and gun deaths. That is why their strict gun laws were put into place in the first place. Even when guns were banned, they were coming from states surrounding them. There are many factors at play.

    DC is comparative to other states with high rates of gun deaths per 100,000 which are generally some of the Southern states where gun laws are less strict. It is pretty well known that there is an "Iron pipeline" for guns that come from the Southeastern states up the eastern corridor to states to the north of them. D.C.'s figures are also only those of one large city with high concentrations of population. States' figures combine their large city numbers with those of the more rural areas where population is less concentrated to give them an average figure.

  8. We've gone over this one before. You guys are using the idea that you can protect others in public places when you sell your conceal and carry bills. Then you change your rhetoric later. What was Robin saying? Was he saying that he himself could have saved himself from the beating with a bat that happened so spontaneously and by surprise that the chances of his pulling out his gun would have been very slim. Or was he saying that he could have shot the guy who was beating the man in the Walmart? Most of you are telling me that if only there had been someone with a loaded gun in public place, the outcome would have been different. You could have saved the day. You can't have it both ways.

  9. "You guys are using the idea that you can protect others in public places when you sell your conceal and carry bills."

    You keep saying this but I haven't seen anyone on our side say it. There is an ancillary benefit to legal concealed carry in that the crime rate drops because the criminals don't know who is and isn't carrying. But at no time did we agree to become the volunteer fire department of crimefighters.

    You also keep saying that the good guys will be so overcome by surprise that they will be unable to defend themselves. Possibly sometimes but not always, I don't even think usually. Even so, a man armed with a pistol stands a better chance against a man with a bat than an unarmed man.

    As for having it both ways, quote one time I have ever said I could or would save the day for anyone but me and mine. Every adult has a choice when they leave the house, be armed or not. If you chose not, that is your choice and I see no reason why I should overrule your choice.

  10. Robin- I am talking about "you guys" as a plural and what most on your side say. Someone sent me a comment with an article about a woman who was brutally raped while out running. The Sheriff said that if only there had been a permit holder around, this wouldn't have happened. I assume the person who sent it wanted me to get that message. If only someone with a permit would have been there to help this woman. That has nothing to do with self defense of the person with the gun. The man at the Tucson shopping mall who almost shot the wrong person instead of Loughner- would that have been in self defense? He was not in danger at that point himself but his intention was to save the day.

  11. "You could have saved the day. You can't have it both ways." What we have is the CHOICE. It is possible that we would try and help. It is also possible that we would leave the person to their fate. I carry to protect my family and my life. That is the end of my *responsibility*. Period. I have no OBLIGATION to step in.

    If you choose to be defenseless then you are depending on the intervention of someone else should you need them. NONE of those people, including the police, have a legal obligation to come to your aid. Odds are very high that a Policeman will NOT be there when you need them. Why? Because criminals are smart enough to wait until there are no police around to break the law.

    So what are you left with?

    Either you are willing to take care of yourself or you depend on the mercy of someone else, starting with the criminal, spreading out to the surrounding people and finally waiting on emergency response. Each step adds additional time and risk.

    Psych 101 will teach you about a principle called "the diffusion of responsibility" That is one of the reasons that people stand around and watch a woman being beaten to death and do not step in. None of them feel it is their responsibility to respond. Some of us train to break that habit, but the vast majority do not.

    Bottom line. If you think you can *depend* on anyone else to save you in a bad situation, you are kidding yourself. If you think the police can arrive in time to thwart the evil intent of a criminal, same thing.

    You are in effect saying "If something bad happens today, someone, somehow, is obligated to save me and will do so."

    When you tell us to not carry in public, you are in effect asking us to join you in depending on someone else for rescue.

    We don't work that way. We don't think that way. We would never ask someone to put their life on the line to save us, because we weren't willing to save ourselves.

    We see that as an IMMORAL request so the answer will always be "no thanks"

  12. Perhaps surprisingly to some, I find myself agreeing with the notion of not bringing a gun to a crowded sporting event. With literally thousands of people in all directions, it's almost impossible to "Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction" with such density of people. I'm taking responsibility, as I am not confident enough in my ability in that scenario.

    My dilemma though, is transport to/from the event. For many of us in dense metro areas, we use various forms of public transportation to save time and money on parking.

    Over the years I've seen fights, intoxicated fans and vagrants get inappropriate with females on public trains and buses. The elements of a dangerous situation are present, with law enforcement far off, handling the other 50,000 people leaving the game.

  13. This one is worth the read- another law abiding permit holder shoots himself in the leg while in a car at Patriots game- http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2011_1107gun-toting_fan_shoots_self_in_leg_misses_shot_at_seeing_pats_game

    stupid and dangerous

  14. So your story for why not to let firearms in the stadium is one which a guy notices the stadium bans firearms and he is shot in the leg when he removes his firearm. Seems to me if they would have allowed firearms it would have stayed safely in his holster.

  15. Well that was not an option, Anthony. This could have happened regardless of where this man was. Perhaps even in the stadium.