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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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's stupid and dangerous out there again, and again, and again....

You know, I read about these sorts of gun incidents on a fairly regular basis. This Indiana gun owner may rue the day he decided to threaten a truck driver on I-94 in Wisconsin. What was he thinking? Here's what:
"While being booked at the jail, Manning -- who was still wearing a holster -- told other inmates that he was being tailgated by a semi, and that if the trucker hadn't backed off, "I would have put four rounds right in the engine block.""
Right. And so what if it caused an accident? And so what if the bullets missed and hit the driver or another driver? Since my husband and I drive fairly often along this route when visiting our daughter in Pennsylvania, this does not make me feel very safe. Those permit holders are not as safe as they would have us believe. Don't get someone like this mad or he'll shoot you. Seriously.

And then there's the senseless shooting of a Mt. Ranier Park Ranger by a guy who clearly should not have had access to guns. What's wrong when someone like Benjamin Barnes can own and buy guns? Where are the laws that would make it harder for this man to get his gun? Where is the community and family members who don't pay attention to the fact that a veteran with undiagnosed PTSD shouldn't have guns? Are family members afraid to intervene? How about his friends? Just because he is a veteran, are people afraid to mention that he shouldn't have guns? We live in a culture that turns the other cheek on people with mental health problems and guns. No one ever thinks someone like this will actually use that gun to kill someone. Except perhaps his girlfriend, who knew he was a danger.
An ex-girlfriend, with whom he has an infant daughter, filed for a restraining order over the summer after describing Mr. Barnes as erratic and possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She noted that Mr. Barnes owned a small arsenal. One photograph released by Washington state law enforcement officials show a bare-chested Mr. Barnes brandishing two assault-style weapons. Did officials follow-up on the ex-girlfriend’s complaint or ask whether someone as apparently unstable as Mr. Barnes should be permitted to own and keep guns?
Families, friends and authorities need to be more alert to the potential for shootings for people like Barnes. Maybe an intervention is in order, something like what is done for alcoholics. Except, of course, we are dealing with deadly weapons. Does anyone want to confront someone pictured like this man was, with 2 assault weapons criss- crossing his chest which is all full of tattoos?

Domestic abusers with PTSD are especially dangerous. They are veterans trained in the use of guns. They already understand the damage that can be done with guns and perhaps have already shot people during their time in the service. At the least, they were trained to do so and trained to be aggressive, if necessary. And they are suffering from the after affects of war that affects their emotional and psychological state as well as their judgement. A recent shooting of a police officer in Minnesota was a result of a domestic case involving a veteran with possible PTSD. This shooting left Officer Schneider's   3 young children without their father. Officers may have to think differently when a call comes in about a veteran threatening a spouse or partner.

The other issue here, of course, is why in the world our Congress would pass an amendment to a credit card bill to allow people to carry loaded guns in our National Parks? At the time, here was the response from an administrator for the Parks system: ""If they wanted to stop this, it seems like they can," Faehner said before the House vote. "It comes down to whether or not they are willing to keep parks safe for the American people or kowtow to special interests like the gun groups."" Indeed. And now we have had a shooting of a Park Ranger by a deranged and dangerous man with a gun. And here is a response to this tragic shooting leaving 2 little girls without their mother, from a former National Parks administrator:
“The many congressmen and senators that voted for the legislation that allowed loaded weapons to be brought into the parks ought to be feeling pretty bad right now,” said Wade, whose term as chairman of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees ended Dec. 31.
Indeed. To move on, here is another case of a gun owner shooting himself in the leg. This time, though, it was not actually a law abiding gun owner. Though a huge question remains. Where did this convicted felon get his gun in the first place?
Johnson told police while he was using the bathroom the gun fell, striking the toilet and going off.
Johnson suffered a gunshot wound to the leg.
Johnson, a convicted felon, could face charges pending the outcome of an investigation.
Could face charges? I certainly hope so. The man should not have guns, period. Advise to permit holders- don't take your loaded gun into the bathroom with you. It could be dangerous! And speaking of stupid and dangerous, another accidental shooting incident made it into the press.
The preliminary investigation suggests Ogg's younger brother was holding the gun when it unintentionally discharged, the sheriff's office said.
Oh dear! And last, but not least, the headline of this article should give us pause. " Student gunman dies after school shooting in Brownsville." Student gunman is an oxymoron. Those two words just do not go together. But when kids can gain easy access to guns, we have to rethink what is normal. And when students think it's O.K. to brandish a gun in school, we have a problem. " It's not clear what type of weapon the student had but police said he had displayed it." Where do kids get their ideas about guns? More will come out about where this boy got his gun, but as this new blog, kidsshootings says about the incident: " Every gun in the hands of a child first had to go through the hands of an adult." And why do school shootings in America seen like part of our landscape? That is tragic. Why sensible gun laws are not passed after so many school shootings and so many mass shootings is really a travesty of America's political system.

Where is common sense?

34 comments:

  1. "Could face charges? I certainly hope so. The man should not have guns, period."

    Did you read that part about his being a convicted felon? It's illegal, under federal law, for him to possess a firearm.

    "Advise to permit holders- don't take your loaded gun into the bathroom with you."

    If he'd been through a carry course, he'd probably have sat through the "how to deal with your firearm in a public toilet" info.

    (And yes, there is such info in every book on CCW and in every CCW trainer's curriculum I've seen.)

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  2. Good grief, jdege. I think you should do something else today and not troll my blog. Do you not have a sense of humor or get nuance?

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  3. Do you really think if the National park law would not have changed this man would have not shot the park ranger? I do not understand the thinking that a criminal would murder someone but follow the rules on where to take a firearm

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  4. Was he a criminal? Not until he pulled the trigger.

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  5. “The many congressmen and senators that voted for the legislation that allowed loaded weapons to be brought into the parks ought to be feeling pretty bad right now,” said Wade

    Also from your link:

    A volunteer ranger at Mount Rainier told The News Tribune he didn’t think the law change, which he opposed, had any effect on this week’s shooting.

    “This is murder,” said George Coulbourne, who also is a hunting safety instructor and a veteran of 60 years of hunting. “When you have someone who would spontaneously kill someone, a prohibition of guns in the park wouldn’t stop someone like that.”

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  6. Yes, there is no way of knowing whether this would have happened even with the ban on guns. But the man didn't stop at the gate as he was supposed to do. And there is a priniciple here. Guns are not needed everywhere people go. When that is the way of thinking, guns will inevitably be used in public places to shoot innocent people. It is part of the gun culture and it was a part of this man's culture judging by the photo of him with his 2 guns. He was also having mental problems that should have been a serious red flag, as I said in my post.

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  7. "Was he a criminal? Not until he pulled the trigger."

    By the time he entered the park, he was already a fugitive from criminal shootings.

    From your link: Mr. Barnes and another individual are believed to have shot four people. Mr. Barnes then traveled to Mount Rainier to hide from authorities.

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  8. japete said...
    Was he a criminal? Not until he pulled the trigger.

    The below is from your link I think that would qualify as a criminal. It seems fairly obvious that laws did not stop him from killing people. I am sure you are correct though if the law would not have changed he would have not went in the park with the guns he would have left them by the gate.

    This was not the first violent incident of the day involving Mr. Barnes, officials said. In the first few hours of 2012, Mr. Barnes and a group of friends were playing “show and tell” with their guns when a fight broke out and Mr. Barnes and another individual are believed to have shot four people

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  9. BTW one of the "Assault weapons" shown Is a shotgun that does not have any of the assault weapon features. In fact it conforms to the sporting use ban I believe Clinton decreed.

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  10. Of course but the Park Rangers didn't know that and he was not a criminal in possession of that gun until a few hours before he shot the Park Ranger. He was able to get that gun legally before he did all the shootings. So until just a few hours before he shot the Park Ranger he was a "law abiding" gun owner.

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  11. "It's not clear what type of weapon the student had but police said he had displayed it."

    Not that it changes anything but it seems as if it was a pellet gun according to this report.

    http://news.yahoo.com/police-student-killed-officers-had-pellet-gun-231453248.html

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  12. Yes, I read that. Wow. It sounds like no one knew what kind of gun it was but it looked like a real handgun and the kid refused to drop it. He had also punched out another student before he brandished the gun. It sounds like a boy with issues for sure.

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  13. You mention the shooting of Stephen Ogg by his younger brother. An interesting note there:

    The boy and his brother, and their family, lived ON THE GROUNDS of a gun club, which they managed. Guns and shooting was an important part of their family. This accident renders moot the ridiculous argument of the gunnies that the solution to preventing accidents is better, and more, gun training for kids. No, the only solution to prevent kid accidents is *not to have guns in homes with children.* Kids, by their very nature, are impetuous and curious.

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  14. Or just have the firearms secured in a proper safe. Seems those who are law abiding and responsible don't seem to have issues with the firearms they possess.

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  15. I wish that were true of all gun owners but, sadly, it is not.

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  16. Adults have been irresponsible by leaving out all kinds of things for kids to get, from knives and car keys to medicine bottles. Kids have been injured and killed as a result.

    The answer isn't to ban said products, but to demand adults be more responsible and hold them accountable when they fail to do so.

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  17. Part of the human condition, you take the bad with the good. Can't legislate against human nature.

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  18. Unless I missed something, we have, as a country, made many many products more safe so children won't injure or kill themselves. Medicine containers for one- cribs, toys, food. That's because we know that some products can cause harm. We are preventing harm. Some products, yes, have even been banned and recalled for that very reason Not so much with guns, of course, where we can't do anything to make them safer or pass any laws to prevent injuries or deaths. But whatever. Yes, we can "demand" that adults be more responsible. But then, the gun enthusiast adults often just want their guns loaded and ready for that boogeyman waiting outside the door. So naturally, if that's what a child sees, that is the model. And we all know how much kids like to model adults. So if you come up with something to demand that adults are responsible and accountable, let me know.

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  19. Right- but we haven't done that with anything else. We have no smoking laws, we have drunk driving laws, we have seatbelt and air bag laws, we have laws that require that swimming pools need to be fenced so little kids don't wander into the yard; we have campaigns to prevent cancer of all kinds and we try to prevent heart disease with exercise and healthier foods. I would say that this partial list is proof positive that, in this country, we just sit back and take the bad with the good and never try to do anything about it. Wouldn't you?

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  20. "So if you come up with something to demand that adults are responsible and accountable, let me know."

    I'm not in the group advocating for restrictions. I train people to shoot and handle firearms responsibly and I can do no more to ensure they take those lessons to heart if they choose not to.


    "We have no smoking laws, we have drunk driving laws, we have seatbelt and air bag laws, we have laws that require that swimming pools need to be fenced so little kids don't wander into the yard"

    And people can still smoke if they choose to do so. People still drink and drive if they so choose to. People may choose not to wear seat belts. Swimming pools are not required to be fenced on private property in many parts of the country so that is still up to the owner.


    "we have campaigns to prevent cancer of all kinds and we try to prevent heart disease with exercise and healthier foods. I would say that this partial list is proof positive that, in this country, we just sit back and take the bad with the good and never try to do anything about it. Wouldn't you?"

    And cancer and heart disease still exist and still occur in people with even the healthiest of lifestyles. All the proper eating and exercise in the world doesn't matter if there is a congenital heart defect or a genetic predisposition to certain cancers. And no I wouldn't take your partial list as proof of anything unless you are attempting to prove that people make their choices and live with the consequences. Though it seems there are those that will blame everything but themselves, including inanimate objects, when problems occur.

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  21. Well great, James, so let's just not try to do anything about any of the things I listed. Que sera sera....... I don't think so. Because of the things I wrote about, lives have been saved and some diseases have been prevented. If you don't believe that you are living in a world that I don't recognize. Here is an example- my Dad had colon cancer. If I didn't have regular colonoscopies, maybe I, too, would get colon cancer. But because the medical community recognizes that colonoscopies can actually prevent colon cancer because they find polyps that could turn into cancer if left int he colon, we are now saving lives. Great thing, medicine. Since 2 of my close family members are practicing medicine, I am well aware of their efforts to get patients to practice preventative medicine. They can't make them, of course. People are free to ignore their doctor's advise and some do. But as a society there is proof positive that these things save lives and prevent injury and disease. That is the world I live in, thank goodness. I prefer my world to yours. You are wrong about your assessment in the last paragraph.

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  22. "Not so much with guns, of course, where we can't do anything to make them safer"

    Actually, we've done quite a lot to make them safer, over the last few decades. Firearms made to modern designs are far less likely to accidentally discharge than those of 40 or more years ago.

    Hammer blocks, firing pin blocks, and transfer bars are much more effective in preventing accidental discharge than are the old half-cock safety notches.

    But, of course, these are changes that the industry adopted on its own, for which the Brady Bunch can take no credit, and for which it can get no kickbacks (i.e., the significant financial contributions it's received from the trigger lock manufacturers), so they don't count.

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  23. There are no kickbacks from any trigger lock manufacturers to any gun violence prevention organizations. I'm sure you guys would love to think so but you are wrong. We don't work the way the NRA does.

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  24. http://robertsgunshop.blogspot.com/

    And these are just 3 examples of successful defensive gun use. I can find just as many of these as you can find negligent use.

    As for the PTSD vets, the biggest problem is the VA system. They deny benefits as long as they can. I know this for a fact as my own case has been going on for 7 years. It got to the point I had to hire a lawyer. Just to get the benefits I was promised when I enlisted. Common sense should start there. Some vets need help and can't wait for it.

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  25. And those are far fewer than the gun deaths and injuries in this country. But nice try. Right. We need to make sure that Vets are getting benefits quickly. I believe that many Republicans have voted against measures to do just that. I know my own has. So I am all in favor of vets getting their benefits and the help they need. That could possibly prevent some of these sorts of problems. Or we can hope so anyway. But when guns are near, shootings may happen.

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  26. "You are wrong about your assessment in the last paragraph."


    I am more correct in that statement than you can realize. And your post proves the point that I, and many gun owners, have been making for years: treat the root-cause and not the symptoms (you should talk to your 2 close family members about how advances in medicine have made the greatest strides in that area). Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right? After school programs are a vastly better way of spending money than lobbying for gun bans in terms of actually preventing violence. Ensuring the NICS is updated is money better spent that silly ban "assault clips" campaigns.

    "Well great, James, so let's just not try to do anything about any of the things I listed."

    Not my point. I advocate measures that have proven to be effective with multitudes of peer-reviewed research and studies to back them up.

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  27. There have been many advancements to make guns and their users safer. It used to be that some guns were not "drop safe", meaning they can fire when dropped. Now pretty much every modern firearm is.

    New high-tech gun safes with glow in the dark buttons enable gun owners to quickly bring their defensive firearms into action whenever they are needed, while still keeping them safe from unauthorized users.

    New high retention and deep concealment holsters enable guns to be securely and safely carried, either openly or concealed, minimizing the chances of the gun being dropped or discovered inadvertantly.

    Civilian shooting academies have been springing up everywhere across the nation, allowing citizens to receive training up to and beyond what firearms training the police receive, while also clearly spelling out the law in regard to deadly force.

    These are the kinds of things that will continue to reduce accidents and unjustified shootings, yet the gun ban crowd has never lifted a finger to contribute to any of them. As always, it is those who know the most about guns who come up with the best methods of how to handle them.

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  28. Care to cite a source that shows lawful defensive use occurs less than criminal or negligent use? When libraries are near, reading may happen.

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  29. James- are you a Physician or some kind of expert or why do you assume that you are so right?

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  30. done so many times before James. No sense going over and over the same stuff.

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  31. No, you have not cited such a source. I doubt such a study even exists to be honest. My background covers the medical field, engineering, construction, and the military. All of which combined does not make me an expert in any single field but certainly gives me plenty of practical experience. I'm also an avid shooter and find it to be an enjoyable hobby. I have family member that visited from the UK that I took to a local range to do some target practice and she thoroughly enjoyed it. She certainly would have never had that opportunity back home.

    Here, read this.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/gun-control-a-movement-without-followers-01052012.html

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  32. Thanks for the link. It's an interesting article that has left out some key things. More on that later. " The inaction, especially President Barack Obama’s passivity on the topic, demonstrates that gun control has expired as a national political issue. " Expired? I don't think so. The NRA has made gun control a poison pill for any legislator who touches it. The American public believes in sensible gun legislation and the article touches on this briefly without exploring it further. I have written about this before as well. I'm sure you do enjoy your shooting. A lot of people do. No one wants to take that away. When I go abroad, there are things I do that I don't have an opportunity to do at home as well. Isn't it great that we can experience different things when we travel?

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  33. The American public does believe in sensible gun legislation. Sensible does not include gun bans, magazine bans, or attempting to close loopholes that don't exist. Americans find sense in better enforcement of existing laws, spending money to enforce laws that exist rather than create new ones that would have little to no effect on crime.

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  34. Yes, the American public has said in poll after poll after poll that we do, indeed, believe in sensible measures such as background checks on gun sales, reducing ammunition magazines to fewer rounds, on assault weapons bans, etc. They also believe in enforcing the laws we already have as do I. But the laws we have are not doing enough. We can do better.

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