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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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back again- those inconvenient law abiding gun owners causing problems

I would just love to be able to go a week without seeing stories about gun permit holders and law abiding gun owners shooting people or making threats with their guns. First, here is a prime example of why that gun for self defense does not always work out the way the gun guys say it will. It is also an example of why people on my side don't like the "Shoot First" kind of laws proposed in so many states. This Florida man may just be sorry now that he was so trigger happy when hearing a noise at the door. Luckily for him, it looks like his wife will survive. But read the words of the law enforcement officer about this incident:
Police say Mr. Valadez will not be charged in the shooting. But a department detective added, "God forbid if is wasn't his wife, it would have been his child walking in because he wanted to pick up his toy. This could have turned out to be a real tragedy. Of course, we learn from these events, and we're asking, just the community that owns guns, to be very careful and be a little responsible."
Indeed. Nothing else needs to be said. On to another law abiding gun owner gone awry- making threats towards your neighbor while carrying a loaded gun is just not a good idea. This Pennsylvania gun owner also shot off his mouth in an inappropriate way and now he is in a bit of trouble. Too bad. This is a guy who should not be carrying a gun anywhere let alone in the privacy of his own home. It sounds like more investigation will discover whether the gun was fired as some neighbors claimed. From the article:
The tenant filing a complaint told police he heard a shot fired from his neighbor’s apartment he walked down the hall to his second-floor unit at Marshall Woods Apartments talking on his cellphone. Soon after, the neighbor who lives across the hall came out of his residence with a handgun in a holster and allegedly said, “Shut the (expletive) up, or I’ll shoot you,” according to a Norristown police report.
And speaking of threats, check out this article from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence about threats made against Abby Spangler, a Virginia Mom and founder of Protest Easy Guns, who has worked tirelessly on the effort to prevent gun injuries and deaths. If anyone wants to know why gun violence prevention bloggers and others who write articles shut down comments, here it is. There is a definite threat here to break into this woman's home and calling her names which I won't print here. Telling her to "go back to the kitchen" is not only misogynistic, it is offensive and highlights who the pro gun extremists really are. Further, when bloggers challenge these people or shut down comments, the pro gun extremists whine about it and make ridiculous claims that we don't want to engage in reasonable discussion. Whatever. If my readers can find anything that makes common sense in what these offensive commenters have said, let me know.

58 comments:

  1. Ironically, the CSGV facebook page has three insulting comments (out of eight) including one with foul language. It seems that individuals with a lack of civility are on both sides.

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  2. Just another "law abiding" gun owner with her gun on a plane for goodness sake. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/woman-arrested-gun-american-airlines-plane-15386894#.TxdOkGNWpu-

    Why do those law abiding folks think they can actually carry a gun on a plane? What is wrong with them? We have a problem. I have posted many times about people trying to carry guns onto planes in spite of the fact that it is clearly illegal.

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    1. This is a total non-issue. Nearly all of these cases involved people who just forget they had guns in their bags In all of these cases the law worked as it should. The people were detected, arrested, and learned their lesson.

      Sorry, but there is no scandal here.

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    2. What???? You think this is O.K.? With rights come responsibilities. Do you know how many times I have written about these idiots who "forget" they have their loaded guns in their carry-on luggage or on a plane? No- this is a big concern. You can't excuse this stuff.

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    3. Where did I say it was okay? All I pointed out was the people involved were properly arrested and learned their lesson. Your examples are simply proof the system is working as it should.

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    4. When someone shoots his own wife because he hears noises outside, the system is most definitely not working the way it should. It is broken. That is my point. You seem to have no empathy for the wife here. What is that all about? The guy must be feeling more than awful. He is responsible for almost killing his own wife because he got convinced that he must have loaded guns for self defense in the home without thinking through the dangers. They are both victims of a stupid and dangerous philosophy promoted by the NRA and their minions.

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  3. "There is a definite threat here to break into this woman's home and calling her names which I won't print here. Telling her to "go back to the kitchen" is not only misogynistic, it is offensive and highlights who the pro gun extremists really are."

    People that say things like this don't speak for me or anyone that I know. But I don't think these sort of broad brush generalizations alleging that these are who the pro gun extremists really are helps anyone - or is true.

    I do find it someone telling about the difference in the blogs I read on "your side" versus the blogs I read on "my side". The blogs from "your side" tend to either heavily moderate comments (here, CSGV) or have recently removed all comments (Baldr), and then some that rarely have comments open (Brady) - versus "my side" where comments are hardly moderated at all.

    I've also seen comments removed that were not of a threatening or insulting nature from facebook pages like CSGV and Brady - and individuals banned for engaging in conversation from the pro-gun side on facebook (Protect Minnesota).

    Why is that?

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    1. It's very simple, Bryan. We are not generally trolling through your blogs. You guys are commenting on each other's blogs and laughing and mocking about people on my side. It seems like a lot of "fun". I can count on one hand the times I read one of the pro gun blogs. They make me sick as a rule because of the personal and vitriolic crap I see. That is why we moderate. I refuse to let you guys take over my blog with your hatred and offensive remarks. If I didn't moderate comments my blog would turn into the sleazy stuff written by those on your side.

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  4. Japete: “Funny thing- I checked out the CSGV Facebook page and really saw maybe 2 comments that used "bad words" Those were in response to the insulting and offensive stuff used by the gun guys. It's nothing compared to the pro gun extremists web pages and blogs. Nothing at all like it. No excuses TS. You can't make the other side look as bad as yours.”

    I am not making excuses for the people on my side who leave offensive comments. It is you who are defending your people by saying they are not as bad (are we really ranking foul words?), or it is ok to leave them in response to rudeness. I just don’t understand why CGSV doesn’t delete these comments. It is especially ironic given the subject of the post. By the way, you have to expand Rene’s comment to see the third insult.

    For what it is worth, I started collecting insulting comments from the gun control side directed at gun-rights people over the summer. I would copy and paste them as part of my normal reading (not going out looking for them). I did it for about two months and then stopped because I really don’t think it advances the discussion to use it. Do you want to see them? The point is that both sides have people that do it, and I objected to you pushing this idea that you are the good guys and we are the bad guys. Plenty of us stay civil on both sides of the argument, so let’s leave the conversation to the adults. If you still want to highlight the insults and call people out for them, then extend it to the people who do it in the name of gun control too.

    Say the word, and I’ll send you my list, though I would rather we just drop the whole subject. Honestly you won’t be able to comb through it and make the excuse that they are not as bad.

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  5. Nope- your list would pale by comparison. There is no need. I have quite a list of my own that I have been keeping since I started this blog. It would take way too many pages to print it so I won't bother. If we are going to be in a p%%$$ing match, your side would lose hands down.

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    1. Nope- your list would pale by comparison

      I would more than likely agree. I have seen some awful comments on both sides though.

      If you use the WIKI numbers for NRA membership and Brady campaign as a guide. I would expect that you have 153 times the negative comments.

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    2. Ah, so that's the problem. There are more of you so there are more ugly people on your side than on mine? Hmmmm. When comparing NRA membership to the average population, there are fewer of you than the average folks who tend to agree with my side- like anywhere from 70-80% of so when polled year after year. So my supposition is that, though there are fewer of you guys, what you have is a bunch of people who are willing to say anything they please about people on my side. Why? Good question. Maybe you can explain it. Bullies love to intimidate even though they might be weaker. Or is it fear and paranoia and fighting ugly is one way to fight back rather than on the merits. I'm interested.

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    3. The latest poll I have see it is 47% Self-Reported Gun Ownership with a error rate of 4%. The interesting thing is that democrat gun ownership seems to be the fastest growing admitted owners. From poking my head over at DU there sure seem to be a lot of them. Where do you get your 20-30% of the population gun owners?
      http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/Self-Reported-Gun-Ownership-Highest-1993.aspx

      Also Rasmussen and Gallup both have interesting numbers about new gun laws

      38% Favor Stricter Gun Control, 50% Oppose
      http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/gun_control/38_favor_stricter_gun_control_50_oppose

      and
      Gallup finds a new low of 44% of Americans saying the laws covering firearm sales should be made more strict

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/123596/In-U.S.-Record-Low-Support-Stricter-Gun-Laws.aspx

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    4. Will you at least condemn their words? Ask them to stop? Admit that they are not helping the cause with rude language and insults? Regardless of who is worse, wouldn’t you prefer that the vitriol is limited to our side? If you are going to condemn this behavior, apply it equally- that is all I am saying. Or the other option is to just ignore their immaturity (on both sides). It seems that because you’ve been insulted, you’re giving impunity to those who insult gun-rights supporters so long as they meet your subjective opinion of not being as bad.

      For the record, you (or Abby Spangler) don’t deserve to be talked to that way. No one does. That includes us.

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    5. I have. Will you? It's a bit hard to ignore the immaturity when attacks are as personal as they are and threatening. Do you just ignore that stuff or do you worry about your safety and the safety of your family? What do you think? Has someone ever attacked you so personally that it takes your breath away and wonder how anyone could be so offensive when you are just a person saying what you think and writing from your heart? Has anyone attacked you personally on their own blog- naming you by name and pretty much taking you down to a level so low that you wonder if it get lower? Has that ever happened to you TS? I have a thick skin but comments go beyond the pale and cross a line that is hard to ignore. So that is why people like me eventually close down comments. Do you want to look at this stuff day after day about yourself? I will not be intimidated but I will also not be attacked viciously and with unwarranted vitriol and hatred. Who needs it? I don't write my blog for the gun guys. I write it for the public. The gun guys want to take it over. They will not do that. It's hateful and unnecessary and tasteless and sometimes scary.

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    6. Japete: “I would love to see a pro gun extremist denounce some of this crap. So far, I have not seen that.”

      Didn’t you just see me say that you and Abby don’t deserve to be talked to that way? Or am I not an “extremist”? Maybe you are implying that pro-gun advocates denounce this stuff all the time, but the ones who cross your line into extremism don’t.

      I’ll make it more official though: I, TS hereby denounce the malicious words spoken to Abby Spangler, and yourself. These are crass immature people, and they only offer negatively and ill-will.

      I am not so sure you really have denounced these kinds of words spoken by your side. When faced with examples, I have only seen you defend them by saying “it is not as bad”, or it is in response to someone else’s wrong words (therefore making it right?). Here is your chance. A fourth insulting comment was added by Gloria, with the oh-so-common tasteless degradation of debate, by referring to “shortcomings”. Can we get a denouncement?

      Japete: “Has anyone attacked you personally on their own blog- naming you by name and pretty much taking you down to a level so low that you wonder if it get lower? Has that ever happened to you TS?”

      Yes.

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    7. I guess I have to believe you. I have denounced people who say these things many times before on my blog. I don't condone that kind of language for anyone. I am not defending them. I am letting you know that these comments are nothing compared to the ones coming from your side with the very personal attacks. I'm done with this back and forth now. We both agree that these are not acceptable ways to communicate on the internet or anywhere else for that matter. Enough now.

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  6. That abby spangler thing, I don't think that is so much of a pro gun thing as it is a Youtube thing. Many of the people who leave comments on Youtube videos are total wastes of oxygen. Just try looking up random youtube videos and read all the comments.

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    1. What makes you think it's not a pro gun thing, Dave? I'm interested. Because it is clearly someone who doesn't like what Abby is doing and that has everything to do with gun legislation.

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    2. Like I said, go spend some time on Youtube, read the comments, you'll a running theme of hatred. The guy who left the comment saying it's a shame the mother wasn't shot, his screen name is steamingpoopfart. If you think the people who squabble with you on your blog are trolls, youtube commenters are basically the lowest form of human existence. They make random hateful comments just as a way of poking the bee hive, so to speak. So to say that it represents the pro gun point of view, is disingenuous. It would be like taking a sample of middle school locker room talk and saying those 13 year olds represented all boys/girls/white people/whatever demographic they happen to fit in.

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    3. Yes, Dave. I get this part. But it still doesn't convince me that these hateful people are not pro gun guys. They could be and they could be how you described them. Unfortunately for the pro gun side, there are so many ugly and offensive comments left on blogs and articles by then that whenever comments like this appear, they are lumped right in with the pro gun extremists. The pro gun extremists are not keeping good company. I would love to see a pro gun extremist denounce some of this crap. So far, I have not seen that.

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    4. Ok, These people who make violent threats against other people based on differences of opinion, are wrong. They should stop. They are making fools of themselves, and are making everyone look bad.



      There you go.

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    5. Oh, and if you're going to call guys like me a pro gun extremist, is it ok for me to call you a gun control extremist?

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    6. I'm happy to know that you don't consider yourself a pro gun extremistt, Dave. I wouldn't have put you in that category. I know I'm not an extremist either but you wouldn't know it from the comments made about me.

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  7. When people are asked specific questions about gun law restrictions, they respond favorably. So, for example, when asked whether background checks should be extended to all gun sales, even 69% of NRA members respond affirmatively. In most polls, that number is up to over 80%. Gun ownership numbers are questionable given various studies showing gun ownership down at its' lowest in many years- Violence Policy Center. But you don't believe anything the VPC says anyway. Do you find it interesting that the Gallup poll finds 2 different things- how can this be true within the same study that says gun ownership is in the high 40s percentage?- " One in Three Americans Personally Own a Gun" That last one fits what the VPC found in it's study. And, further, if I was asked, I would say yes- there is a gun in the home since we have hunting guns. I don't personally own these guns. They are my husband's hunting guns. So then, I could fall into both categories- guns in the home=yes; personal gun ownership=no. And these numbers do not mean that these folks are against or in favor of gun control. Since many gun owners, like my husband and most of the people I know who happen to own guns, believe in reasonable restrictions, the numbers do not reflect support for or against legislation.

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  8. "Do you find it interesting that the Gallup poll finds 2 different things- how can this be true within the same study that says gun ownership is in the high 40s percentage?"

    They are apparently looking at households if you look at the bottom you can see where the 47% comes from

    34% personally owns a gun and 13% Other household member owns a gun
    34+13=47%

    I too believe in reasonable restrictions. Apparently we differ on the definition of reasonable.

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  9. Anyone recall the conversation in this space last week about the 82 year old who shot and killed a burglar through the door of his home (and, I'm not sure if "through the door" meant through a closed door or through an open doorway)? I wrote that there might be wiser first choices than opening fire when we hear suspicious noises. Several commenters begged to differ, but is there any better illustration of my point than the Florida incident japete describes above?

    The position of 2A zealots is that we must be free to grab a gun any time we perceive a threat. I feel that position is part of the problem of gun violence in our country. Japete documents this in her blog week in and week out. Thanks for it.

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    1. Sorry Alan, but the homeowner was never charged and the chief of police fully backed his actions. He had the law and common sense on his side.

      The home invader wasn't shot for trying to steal property. He was shot for breaking into an occupied house while armed with a deadly weapon. In such circumstances, a victim doesn't have to be a mind reader of a fortune teller and determine what the bad guy is intending to do.

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    2. I believe that Alan was bringing up this point because he thought that the idea that someone could just shoot someone without actually knowing who was there is a bad idea. The case in this post is just such an example of shooting first before you know who is on the other side of the door. I hope you are not saying that because this man was not charged with shooting his wife, it was O.K. because he had the law on his side. That is the problem with "Shoot First" laws. You can shoot anyone with the idea in mind that you felt threatened and not be held responsible. That is the point here.

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    3. Of course you should identify the target first. That's one of the four basic rules of gun safety.

      In the case cited by Alan, he didn't give any evidence the 82-year old homeowner didn't identify his target first. Even if the door was closed, there are other ways of identifying a threat. For example, you can look out a window. You can shout through the door to demand identification (the article didn't say if he did this or not either).

      It seems Allen is just assuming the homeowner didn't identify his target based on the words "fired through the door". It seems like gun control advocates too often give criminals the benefit of the doubt over lawful citizens whenever there is insufficient information.

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    4. I am going to hope that Alan speaks for himself. The gun guys too often come down on the side of gun owners who shoot someone even though they could have done something different. The case in my post is an example of why siding with a gun owner is just not a good idea. This happens often enough that we need to think through these sorts of Shoot First laws again. We will continue to see these incidents. I guarantee you that I will be writing about more of them. The gun culture appears to think that some victims are just a part of the landscape as long as you can all do what you want with your guns. I object to this line of thinking.

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  10. Hard to say it better than japete has. Kid9 seems to think I said the 82 year old did something illegal, but I didn't. What I'm saying is that he did something tragic and possibly needless and harmful to his own conscience. What I'm saying is that the Florida man who shot his wife after hearing some noises in the house (which japete cited today) also did something tragic and (I'm more sure in this case) needless and harmful to his own conscience. Japete documents frequently that these kinds of incidents are not rare. I think they occur more frequently where there is such a thing as a gun culture, as in our country.

    I'd be as frightened as anyone if an intruder came to my home. I agree that I would not know his intentions. I think such criminals deserve every punishment that fits their crime and I have no sympathy for them beyond that they are human beings.

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  11. After what I just posted, I reread kin9's 11:18 AM posting and wanted to say that I think he has good points. I did jump to the perhaps unwarranted conclusion that the older man didn't know who he was shooting at. Point well made.

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    1. I appreciate that. Now about this point:

      "What I'm saying is that he did something tragic and possibly needless and harmful to his own conscience."

      It's true taking a life even in self defense is tragic, but the "possibly needless" part is again based on pure speculation. There is no reason to assume it was needless. The homeowner couldn't have known what the bad guy's intentions were. All he knew was that a man armed with a deadly weapon breaking into his house, and action was required to deal with it.

      One of the best ways to get over such trauma is reassurance that you did the right thing. That's what the home owner needs from his friends and family, not only because it helps deal with the trauma, but also because it's true. The home owner didn't shoot to prevent his property from being stolen. He fired to prevent the violent invasion of his home by an armed intruder, something which no person should ever be required to submit.

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  12. This just in- one more law abiding permit holder running afoul of the law- http://meriden.patch.com/articles/meriden-man-charged-after-losing-gun-while-running-from-police

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  13. On the other hand, you do have a tiresome way of arguing (and re-arguing) points on which we agree. I wrote "possibly needless" exactly because I was speculating that only a robbery was under way. So would the other possibility be speculation, that the intruder was bent on murder. Also, I agreed already that we can't always tell what the intentions of an intruder are.

    What I do say, however, is that there are smarter ways of handling threats than pumping bullets into people. I have guns under lock and key in my home. They would not be available to me in the event of an intruder unless he phoned to say he was coming. I'm comfortable with this because I don't like the idea of killing someone. It's my second least-favorite thing. My top least-favorite thing, just like all the gun guys, is being killed, but my knowledge and experience tell me that the risk of that happening at the hands of an unknown intruder is very small. I don't have the stats on hand, but like the TV ad says, it probably approaches the risk of being attacked by a polar bear and a black bear on the same day.

    Lastly, I'm comfortable not having a gun at hand because I'm not brave or steady or deliberate enough to shoot the right person if I perceived a threat. There are lots of other people like me. Some of them, like the Florida man cited today by japete, do like to have guns at the ready. Japete tells the stories about the stupid, tragic consequences.

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    1. I keep finding weekly (sometimes daily) examples of people using guns for self defense, but I have yet to find any examples of polar and black bears attacking at once. I'm not sure why you brought up the hypothetical "unknown intruder" as the only example, since self defense works just as effectively when faced with a lethal threat from someone you know.

      If you want to store your guns in a way that makes them impossible to use for self defense, that's your choice, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of ways to store your guns in a manner that makes them readily accessible for defensive use, but still kept safe from unauthorized users. The best way is to have it holstered and concealed on your body. That way you can have it when you need it, but no one else will get it since they don't know it's there.

      Short of that, there are a wide selection of quick-opening gun safes on the market that provide fast access in a time of need. Usually just a turn of the key or pushing a few buttons is all it takes. Some even come with glow in the dark buttons so you can find them easily at night.

      It goes without saying not all threats should be handled by "pumping bullets into someone". That's true even in defensive gun use, since the vast majority of defensive gun uses don't involve any shots fired. Usually just pointing a gun at someone is all it takes to get them to re-think their course of action.

      However, there are plenty of situations in which shooting is perfectly reasonable, and the case of the 82-year old homeowner you cited above. No one should get the idea that a gun must be fired when it's drawn, but everyone who is in a situation where they need to draw must be ready to take it to the next step.

      You can find plenty of examples of people misusing every type of harmful item imaginable, from cars to power tools, which results in death. So the examples of gun owners doing dumb or careless things really doesn't serve any purpose, except pointless demonization. If japete were to post such cases and follow them up with good gun safety tips on how to avoid said accidents, then it would be worthwhile, but I havn't seen that happen here.

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    2. "What I do say, however, is that there are smarter ways of handling threats than pumping bullets into people."

      One always hopes that is the case. Good locks, good security awareness. Guns are a last resort, not a first one. Just like a fire extinguisher, you may go your whole life and never use one, but when you need one, you REALLY need one and you can't always wait for the fire department. I also have insurance that I hope to never use and airbags in my car I hope to never need etc...

      The thing I always come back to is the equalization factor. An 82 year old guy does not have many options if a weapon wielding bad guy actually gets inside. Same for the woman that defended her baby a couple of weeks ago.

      She had two men breaking into BOTH doors. At least one had a knife. Without a firearm, to equalize that situation, she had no other options. Her husband had recently died, so she was literally left alone to defend her kid.

      The police response time was 21 minutes from the time of the 911 call.

      Off hand I can't think of anything she should have done differently.

      " I don't have the stats on hand, but like the TV ad says, it probably approaches the risk of being attacked by a polar bear and a black bear on the same day "

      The odds of her being attacked that night became 100% but I'm sure she started the night out just like everyone else thinking they the odds were 0..

      Its just like the lottery. The odds of YOU winning are near zero. The odds of someone "winning" are nearly 100%. Except with crime the geographic distribution is not even.

      "Lastly, I'm comfortable not having a gun at hand because I'm not brave or steady or deliberate enough to shoot the right person if I perceived a threat."

      And that's fine. Perhaps having a safe room and a good security system is the right choice for you. Contrary to what you might think, most "gun" folks don't think that everyone 'should' have a gun. Just that they should have to right to make that choice for themselves based on their own circumstances.

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  14. I have never heard of a polar bear and a black (or brown) bear attacking anyone on the same day. However, my 84 year old mother in law was home alone when an intruder smashed in her front door and came into the house. Had she been unarmed I imagine that the intruder would not have turned and run. It only took the police 15 minutes to get to her but who knows what could have happened. This was 3 months ago. The police said the only thing she might have done different was to allow the miscreant to know about the shotgun before he got into the house.

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    1. Did your mother-in-law shoot the intruder?

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    2. No she did not. She pointed the shotgun at him and screamed "Get out of here!!!" Since he was bold enough to smash in the door in broad daylight in a suburban neighborhood I doubt he would have left had she not had the weapon. Her goal was to make him stop and simply showing him the shotgun persuaded him to do that.

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    3. And I assume then, Robin, that this incident gets added into the stats used by the gun lobby to say that people used their guns in self defense. True, she didn't know and you don't know nor do I whether that guy would have run anyway once he realized someone was in the home. It might have worked out the same with or without the gun. We differ on that, I guess. You don't want to take that chance so you take a chance that the gun will not be used against you or in a shooting accident. I choose to take the chance and so far it's worked out O.K. for me. At least I know that a gun accident won't happen in my house when my grandchildren visit or when I hear a noise outside that could be a friend or a neighbor locked out of his house which happened just a few weeks ago. I didn't have a gun nor would I have thought of shooting through the door when a man dressed in black was standing on my porch ringing my doorbell. My neighbor and I even joked about it. I did look carefully before opening the door, however.

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  15. Here's another man, previously law abiding with no criminal history, shooting his family in a domestic dispute- http://southmemphis.wmctv.com/news/news/67922-child-loses-mother-grandparents-triple-murder

    Guns are dangerous. They are used often in domestic disputes.

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  16. Guys, don't spend too much time investigating the "bear" thing. It was said tongue-in-cheek.

    There's been an encouraging lack of talk in this little conversation about needing an arsenal to fight off government thugs and the like and I appreciate not hearing that nonsense.

    And, Echo's point is taken: if someone wants a gun for self-defense, they ought to be free to get one. It ought to be difficult to get one, but I'm sure we can craft common-sense laws to allow for it while screening out the terrorist, the criminal, and the mentally ill. Unfortunately, the trend has been in the wrong direction: toward a free-for-all when it comes to the availability of guns. Japete works patiently and persistently toward changing that trend and may her efforts succeed.

    It seems as if the gun guys think that the notorious availability of American guns to international terrorists and the gaps that make it easier for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns is a small price to pay for having guns freely and easily available to the law-abiding. I don't think so. While we have a widely acknowledged right to own a gun in this country, it ought to be difficult to get one. If I decided to save up my money for a better shotgun than my old Remington 12 ga. semi-automatic, I'd be willing to wait for it; to go through whatever hoops common sense suggests we need to help keep guns out of the hands of bad guys. If it's worth having, it's worth waiting for.

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    1. Alan, how exactly do you suggest screening out terrorists?

      If you are referring to the government watch list, I speak from first hand knowledge when I say that law-abiding American citizens - including those we trust with the defense of our country and security clearances - are put on that list all of the time for no reason and there is literally no way to get off of it.

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    2. What is your first hand experience Heather? Do you think it's a good idea to allow known terrorists to be able to buy guns? We know they are doing it but we can't stop them. We've gone over this one before. The gun lobby blocks the terror gap bill because of fear that some law abiding citizen may lose their ability to purchase guns. While there are problems with the terror watch list, I'm sure we can work something out in the interest of public safety. But then, public safety rarely makes it to the top of the list of the gun lobby who blocks everything immediately without working to make changes to improve a bill to make it better for all.

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    3. As you know Ted Kennedy was put on the list. I dont know if that counts as defense but it should count as control I would assume that he also had some form of security clearance.

      Do you think that Ted should have been able to buy a firearm or do you think he was a terrorist?

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    4. Yes, Anthony, I do know that. Many people have been put on the list and have had to fight to get off. It seems as if most who questioned it have been able to get their names off. As I said, this should not be an obstacle to passing the legislation. We will work things out. That's what compromise is all about.

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    5. "This should not be an obstacle to passing the legislation. We will work things out."

      So why don't you work to fix the terror watch list, and then we can discuss using it as the basis for removing Constitutionally protected rights? As a two-time Iraq war vet who believes in a smaller government, owns a gun or two and has more than a week's worth of canned goods in the pantry, I certainly fit the profile of a "domestic terrorist" per the DHS. I refuse to even discuss anything based the terror watch list until it can't be used as a weapon against me, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that belief.

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    6. I'm so "glad" to see the willingness to compromise on the other side. Always nice to know that you guys are so reasonable!

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    7. I have a family member who was put on the list. They were NOT able to get off of the list. They repeatedly have to jump through hoops when trying to fly. They have not been accused of, arrested, convicted, or committed a crime. Do you think it is okay for American citizens to be treated in this fashion?

      This is a yes or no question. Either you think it is okay, or you do not.

      Joan: "Do you think it's a good idea to allow known terrorists to be able to buy guns?" Nope. But the "terrorist watch list" is NOT comprised of KNOWN terrorists. If it was, you'd find less opposition. Fight to change this "watch list" and THEN you might gain support. Don't ban guns for the watch list and say you'll change the list later.

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    8. Some things are so important to our democracy that there can be no compromise. The right to due process is one of them.

      There is no terror gap. Terrorism is a crime and anyone convicted of it can't buy guns. What the gun control extremists want is the ability for the government to deny gun purchases to anyone they suspect of being a terrorist and put on a secret list.

      That's unacceptable. No citizen can be denied their constitutional rights without due process. Suspicion of involvement in terrorism or any other crime is not enough. Due process can only occur through arrests, trials, and convictions. Until then, everyone's constitutional rights are off limits, regardless of what they are suspected of.

      The day the government can take away any constitutional rights just by putting them on a list is the day the constitution no longer has any meaning.

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  17. You all are better informed about the terror watch list than I am, but if it's imperfect, it would be a wonderful thing to work together to influence our legislators to improve it. I'm with japete in thinking it's not impossible to work out a compromise. Wouldn't it be earth-shaking to cooperate?

    I think dialogue like this is helpful. Even if we don't completely and radically change our minds about our positions, I have the hope that we don't think quite the same way about them once we've heard the other side's more rational arguments. But, it would be even better to DO something together (like encourage policy makers to work on the terror watch list?).

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    1. Even an improved list would not get to the root of the problem: A person's rights cannot be restricted without due process. Putting someone on a secret list isn't due process. No matter how accurate the list is, it can't be used to restrict any constitutional rights, the 2nd included. Legally speaking, a "suspected terrorist" is no different then a "suspected NFL fan". Until such a person is arrested, charged with a crime, and convicted in a fair trial, they still have the same rights as everyone else, no matter what they are suspected of.

      Everyone needs to understand the larger issues at stake here. If the government can restrict 2A rights by putting someone's name on a list, then there is nothing stopping the government from restricting any other aspect of the bill of rights in the same manner. For example, the government could restrict 1A rights by preventing people on the list from publicly criticizing the government, on grounds that they are "suspected terrorists" who could be trying to incite violence.

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  18. I've said what I am going to say about the terror watch list. I have gone around about that with you folks before. My beliefs have not changed. I know you don't like them and that you disagree.

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  19. Here's another "law abiding gun owner", and a conceal carry holder no less, who decided to commit a crime with his gun. This one tried to rob someone at an ATM. The unarmed patron resisted and actually chased the guy! http://www.kwqc.com/Global/story.asp?S=16465390

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