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, December 31, 2011

"Toast" to the new year

This New York Times editorial hits the nail squarely on the head about gun violence in America.
"None of these have been enacted as the nation heads toward the end of another year of almost 100,000 people shot or killed with a gun. There’s been a hearing for a worthy Senate bill that strengthens the background check and applies it to all gun sales, but the House is poised to swat it down. The gun lobby, fairly crowing, claims the spike in gun sales is because more people are feeling the need to protect themselves — even though the latest F.B.I. data show a 6 percent drop in violent crimes. A raft of studies have found that the presence of guns greatly increased the likelihood of homicide and suicide in households." And also from this editorial:
" Instead of cowering before the gun lobby, political leaders in both parties should be treating the annual gun death toll as a serious public health and moral problem. Polls show the public is wiser than many politicians on the gun issue. Protest candlelight vigils organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence are being planned nationally for Jan. 8, the anniversary of the Tucson rampage. Nearly 30 cities and towns have signed up, proof that sensible voters are demanding stronger protection from gun violence."  
So as we go into the new year with pretty much the same issues before us and the same number of Americans killed and injured by guns, why not get a toaster that embeds the NRA logo on your bread? Just for fun, right? Just as a reminder that the NRA is the most well funded and powerful organization in the country and keeps our country rolling in guns and bought and paid for elected leaders.
The NRA, which began as a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching marksmanship, enters the 2012 election season as a lobbying, merchandising and marketing machine that brings in more than $200 million a year and intends to help unseat the incumbent president. From 2004 to 2010, the group’s revenue from fundraising -- including gifts from gun makers who benefit from its political activism -- grew twice as fast as its income from members’ dues, according to NRA tax returns.
While people are being shot every day, here is what some NRA contributors are doing:
While dining on mahi-mahi and crab salad, attendees at the Friends dinner in Hawaii bid on firearms and hunting equipment. What really got them talking was the NRA toaster, said Glennon Gingo, who organized the dinner. It sold for $650, he said.
Gingo joked that using the appliance is a great way to vet your social circle. “You can make ‘em toast in the morning and see how many friends you really have,” he said.
“I understand that they’re planning on putting out a waffle iron next year.”
Back to reality, my friend, Joe Jaskolka has an important message for people on New Year's Eve. Don't shoot guns into the air to celebrate the coming new year. It's peculiar to me that anyone would do something like that anyway. But I guess some people think anything goes without regard to consequences. With rights come responsibilities. Joe's life, and that of his family, was forever changed by a celebratory bullet.

As for me, I am hoping for fewer gun deaths in the new year. I am hoping for fewer women getting shot by spouses or partners in the new year. I am hoping for fewer children finding loaded guns in the homes of their parents, relatives or friends. I am hoping for fewer mass shootings in the new year. I am hoping for fewer law abiding gun owners shooting people accidentally or intentionally. I am hoping for fewer felons getting their hands on guns and using them in crime to harm others. I am hoping for more common sense concerning gun policy. I am hoping for fewer efforts to loosen the gun laws already on the books so that more people can carry guns in more places. I am hoping that the discourse about guns can be more civil and less confrontational. I am hoping that our elected leaders decide to stand up for victims instead of the gun lobby. I am hoping that people running for public office realize that the majority of people agree with common sense and actually want reasonable gun laws. I am hoping that what's moral and right wins over what's politically expedient.

And most of all, I wish everyone a happy and safe new year. From the Leonard Cohen song, Hallelujah:
Well, maybe there is a God above,
But all that I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
It's not a cry that you hear at night,
And it is not somebody who has seen the light
It's a cold and it is a broken Hallelujah


  1. Stuuuuuuuuuunning, my dear friend.

    K. D. Rocks & so do you. Xx

    PS. There is A God Above & He's Pissed.


  2. The NY Times editorial you quote says: "A raft of studies have found that the presence of guns greatly increased the likelihood of homicide and suicide in households."

    Yet the same editorial refers to "the spike in gun sales" at the same time that "the latest F.B.I. data show a 6 percent drop in violent crimes."

    So in the same paragraph, the NY Times shows us that actual reality contradicts the "raft of studies."

  3. Nope it doesn't. Violent crime does not refer only to gun crimes. Gun deaths and injuries have remained about the same but crime has gone down. You have forgotten about suicides and accidental gun deaths which don't fall under the heading of violent crime.

  4. "Violent crime does not refer only to gun crimes"

    True, but the Times referred to "homicides." Homicides are not violent crimes?

    "Gun deaths and injuries have remained about the same..."

    Following a "spike in gun sales." Again, we see no cause and effect.

  5. Argumentative, Jay. I've answered the question.

  6. Joan, I think Jay has a point here.

    According to wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    from 2004 to 2010 the table below is the homicide rate in the US (CDC and Brady says that 65%+ are guns)

    Also according to Brady we add 2 Million new handguns to the the pile each year.


    VPC puts total handgun ownership at about 65 million handguns.

    Note here, I am using brady, vpc and an international study... NO NRA propaganda..

    So taking 2003 as a base and adding 2 million each year.
    2003 5.5 0
    2004 5.6 2 (million)
    2005 5.7 4
    2006 5.6 6
    2007 5.4 8
    2008 5.0 10
    2009 5.0 12
    2010 4.8 14

    and back calculating.. we went from (65-14) 51 million to 65 million handguns over that period. A 23% increase in handguns during a 16% DECREASE in homicides.

    So one the surface it's really hard argue that a massive increase in handguns has made any difference at all in the gun violence in America.

    You encourage us to post links and use facts instead of emotion when trying to prove a point. I've used your sources and I think the facts bear Jay out on this one. A 25% increase in handguns doesn't seem to have mattered at all. (unless you want to accept that they caused the homicide rate to go down)

  7. I am always arguing that, as Americans, we have the most guns per capita and we also have the most gun deaths per capita of industrialized countries not at war. In countries where there are fewer guns per capita coupled with reasonable gun laws there are fewer gun deaths. Whether those two go together, one must wonder. See this article- http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/28/us-world-firearms-idUSL2834893820070828

  8. Japete: “Whether those two go together, one must wonder.”

    No need to “wonder”- of course they go together. They HAVE to go together. The definition of a “gun death” involves the use of a gun. Where there is no link is guns to homicide. JayF and 18Echo just gave you some damning evidence against that link. That is why you are always arguing about gun deaths- it is the only way to get the numbers to work.

  9. I'm confused, TS. Did you say there is no link between guns and homicide? There is, of course, as firearms are the weapon most used in homicides. That is a fact. And that is why I am talking about gun deaths. That is exactly what I am blogging about, as you know.

  10. Japete: “Did you say there is no link between guns and homicide?”

    Yes, that is exactly what I said. There is no statistical correlation between gun ownership rates and homicide rates. There is also no statistical correlation between gun laws and homicide rates. If these correlations existed, surely you would be touting them. But instead you guys invariably use this “gun death” term. There is indeed a correlation between guns and death by gun. There is also a correlation between guns and self-defense with a gun… and between guns and shooting guns at the rifle range. But these are pointless correlations to make because we are talking about linking the presence of an object to the use of the same object.

    It is a fact that if you correlate either quantity of guns state by state, or strength of gun laws (using Brady score), you will find no correlation between homicide rates or violent crime rates. That is a fact.

  11. You might find this interesting then- http://www.lcav.org/Gun_Laws_Matter/Gun_Laws_Matter_Chart.pdf from this report- http://www.lcav.org/gun_laws_matter.asp

    And this one as well- http://www.vpc.org/press/1110gundeath.htm

  12. Thanks for the links. That LCAV chart is exactly- and I mean EXACTLY what I am talking about. Note that they are comparing gun ownership to 2007 “gun death” rates. Not homicide rates- but death involving a gun. Your side always uses this measure because the numbers simply don’t work for homicides. Case in point, if you take this same chart, and substitute “gun deaths” for homicide rates, you will find that there is no correlation. None. How do I know? Because I did it. I crunched the numbers myself. I did an epic three part post on this in response to Laci who touted the same link. I’ll find the post and send it to you tomorrow.

  13. Interesting but only proves the lack of a direct correlation, which is what TS has stated. California has a GDR of 8.98 with a 19.5% ownership rate while Nebraska has a GDR of 8.02 and a 42.1% ownership rate. Vermont is near the bottom of LCAV's state rankings yet appears to be safer despite a 45.5% ownership rate.

  14. Thanks TS. Somewhere in here, some of you have forgotten that I am writing this blog because of GUN deaths and not overall homicide. Gun homicides take more lives than any other weapon or method. My sister was a victim of bullets and I don't have a sister any more to talk to or spend holidays with. That is why I write this blog.

  15. Many crime guns used in California come from states near by where restrictions on guns are looser. Vermont has a high rate of suicide by gun. More guns? One of my friends who lived in Vermont killed himself with a gun. Population density also accounts for higher numbers of gun homicides. California has several large cities where, typically, crime is higher and gun deaths are higher.

  16. Remember, you posted that information in response to finding the correlation between ownership rates and gun homicides. Those links proved that there was no correlation based strictly on those two metrics.

  17. "Many crime guns used in California come from states near by where restrictions on guns are looser."

    Like Mexico? Seems to me we have trouble keeping drugs from flowing over the border - whats to stop illegal weapons as well? Or are you still holding on to the ridiculous notion that all Mexico's guns come from the US?

    Regulate criminals Joan, CRIMINALS...and leave the rest of us alone.

  18. Yup. I guess I'm just ridiculous but I'm also right.

  19. No one cares about your guns, by the way, Pat. Have all the guns you want. These laws will not affect you- unless of course you are a prohibited purchaser. Can you pass a background check?

  20. I think paying $50 on top of the cost of a firearm every time I want to buy one is infringing on my right and my bank account for criminal acts that I had nothing to do with.

    $50 is what your proposed Gander Mtn transfer will cost me and every other gun owner.

    No thanks!

  21. I don't believe money for background checks is mentioned anywhere in the Second Amendment so no, it's not infringing on your rights. It's a business transaction for a service performed- like a driver's license fee, or your car license tabs, etc. Nonsense, Pat. It's a specious argument.

  22. Its an arbitrary tax placed on a right and its an infringement.

    This is why we oppose you...you won't stop until the shooting sports are too regulated and too expensive to pursue any longer. Then only the criminal element will posess and use firearms.

  23. Japete: “It's a business transaction for a service performed- like a driver's license fee, or your car license tabs, etc. Nonsense, Pat. It's a specious argument.”

    Serious question, is increasing the cost/inconvenience of firearm transactions part of the plan? You have been very dismissive of ideas that provide background checks without an increase in cost/inconvenience.

  24. I am actually surprised that until the 24th you would have supported a tax on voting as it was not forbidden. Or is voting a right that is a "good" right as opposed to firearm ownership?

  25. TS- what do you mean- part of the plan??

  26. What the heck are you talking about Anthony?

  27. Well the 24th amendment banned taxes on voting up until that point it would have been an acceptable practice according to your viewpoint. Your position is that taxing a right is fine unless the constitution forbids it or apparently is a "service". As you may know the federal government has an excise tax on firearms and ammunition there is also a federal tax of $200 to own some firearms and accessories. I was just wondering if you viewed the right to own firearms as a right equally protected to voting.

    Here is an example of the NFA tax increasing the cost by 80% http://www.impactguns.com/tactical-innovations-tac-65-22-suppressor-tac65.aspx

  28. No one is taxing your right to own a gun. No one should tax people to vote.The tax is on a material good, and not the right. Further, voting does not involve the exchange of money for a material object- very different.

  29. You might want to look into the NFA tax. It is a tax you pay to have the legal right to own something (actually for a stamp) not on the item itself in fact you have to pay the money months in advance and wait for approval to buy it. This is what your money gets you. Notice the value of the stamp.


  30. Anthony-????? Have a nice afternoon. We have exhausted this ridiculous thread in the conversation.

  31. Japete: “what do you mean- part of the plan??”

    I’ll explain. Your proposal is for all transactions to go through licensed dealers who are the only ones allowed to request a background check. As I see it, four things change with that plan:

    1) More background checks happen- the purported goal.

    2) The cost of buying and selling guns increases since a third party must be included and compensated.

    3) It becomes less convenient to buy and sell a gun. Two parties need to make arraignments and travel to a dealer. This is in addition to if the parties already met for the buyer to look at the gun to decide whether or not to buy. The inconvenience grows with the living distant between the two parties.

    4) The government gains full control over all legal transactions by having control over the licenses of the only people who are permitted to request the check.

    If the only thing you are interested in is number 1, then why be so dismissive of a plan that gives you number 1, without 2, 3 and 4? I could only conclude that 2, 3 and 4 are “part of the plan”. It is also quite possible that one of them (or collectively) carries more weight than item number 1, since a plan that involves the NICS giving “yes” or “no” information directly to the seller would be significantly better at the purported goal of making more background checks happen. Without numbers 2 and 3 in play, the transaction will be cheap and easy- and the surest way to encourage the use of anything is to make it cheap and easy.

    I know what you are thinking. 2, 3 and 4 don’t seem like a big deal to you. Fine, but why does it seem like you are holding onto them so tight when we offer an idea that doesn’t include them?