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, February 1, 2012

Arguments for common sense about guns

It's so nice to know that I'm in good company. I've been noticing of late, that there are plenty of people who, like me, realize that we need common sense solutions to our national problem of too many shootings. This one struck me as one of the most cogent arguments I have read recently concerning why allowing guns on college campuses is such a bad idea. Remember now, this person is a Republican who doesn't like guns but also supports the right for people to have guns in their home for self protection or for recreational use or hunting. This is not a liberal commie pinko who wants to take guns away as the pro gun extremists are so quick to yell when someone dares to question their arguments. I really like the way the writer of this article articulates the common ground between gun ownership and public safety and freedom from guns and gun violence. Guns are just not a good idea on campuses. Here is why, from the article:
But I worry about otherwise well-meaning students who may make the occasional really stupid decision.  Imagine a student who has a rough semester, so she goes to visit her professor to discuss how she can do better.  The discussion with her professor doesn't go well and she gets really angry.  Before she's really thought about what she's doing, she's pulled out her gun in the course of an argument.  Or imagine that student in the dorms who hates his roommate.  They never get along and are always fighting.  Then one day, the student who sleeps with a gun under his pillow loses it and grabs his gun to shut up his roommate.  And neither of these situations even addresses one where alcohol is involved.
These situations are definitely worst-case scenario and would likely not be a common occurrence.  But if carrying guns on campus is illegal, shooting a gun on campus requires a lot more forethought and planning.  This bill would have reduced that planning and forethought to a simple rash act of grabbing the gun out of a holster and pointing it.  Owning a gun in your own home is a protected right that all Americans should be able to take advantage of.  Carrying a gun anywhere you please is not a right, though, especially on college campuses.
I couldn't have said this better myself. Of course, I have been saying similar things on my blog for almost 2 years now. But these bills keep showing up in state after state. They haven't done well but that doesn't stop the pro gun guys from continuing to insist on more guns in more places. As my readers know, I am opposed to guns on college campuses and schools in general. I see no reason for having them in these places and I see no sense in pushing laws to get them on campuses when the public, campus administrators and safety officers are uniformly opposed. Shouldn't that say something? Who knows better about their own campus and the people who inhabit it and spend time there- the NRA or the college administrators? The answer, of course, is not the NRA.

This new Virginia polling, posted at Blue Virginia, just out, once again shows that voters are not on the side of the NRA and its' extreme agenda. The polling shows what it has shown year after year- most people want stricter gun laws and support background checks on all gun sales, for just one, and oppose carrying loaded guns on college campuses, for another. From this article:
Perhaps most impressive - even stunning - is that gun owners in rural, generally conservative, southwestern Virginia (note that there are also significant urban areas in Sen. Edwards' district) hold very similar attitudes to non-gun owners. For instance, only about 37% of gun owners, and about 26% of non-gun owners, in the 21st and 38th Senate districts support changing Virginia law to allow people to purchase more than one handgun a month. With regard to allowing guns on college campuses, just 24% of non-gun owners support that, and also just 30% of gun owners. Finally, 94% of gun owners, and 95% of non-gun owners, in the 21st and 38th Senate districts believe that "anyone who buys a gun should be required to have a background check done."
Bottom line: even in two districts of rural Virginia, and even among gun owners living in those districts, there is little support for weakening Virginia's gun laws, and far more support for keeping them the same or strengthening them. Which raises the question: why are members of the Virginia General Assembly voting against the wishes of a strong, even overwhelming, majority of their constituents? Think about that one for a minute.
The NRA would have the public and elected officials believe that the polling data can't possibly be true. They are wrong. So to counter the fact that the majority is just not in support of their agenda, the NRA continues to ramp up the fear of, well, fear of what? Take a look at this one to find out what in the world the NRA is doing here with a photo of JFK and the Challenger disaster to get a message to their supporters? Do they stop at nothing to scare people? Why choose these photos? What is the purpose here? Ah- to sell their products that "promote freedom"- coffee mugs and conceal and carry wallets and jackets for just a few. What is the NRA really selling to its' supporters with these photos and the wording on the web page? From this Media Matters article:
Quoting President John F. Kennedy's words over a photo spread of the assassinated president and the shuttle, the NRA told their members, "The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it." 
What exactly does this mean? What should the pro gun people be afraid of here? Did President Kennedy pay the ultimate price by getting shot to death by a crazy man? Is that the price of freedom? Whoa there. This is pure nonsense and hyperbole. And what the heck does the explosion of the Challenger have to do with anything the NRA has to say or sell? Nothing of course. Did the Astronauts on board that day pay the ultimate price for their own freedom or for ours? No, of course not. It was an accident and had nothing whatsoever to do with freedom. Do the people who frequent this website actually believe this stuff? Sigh. Houston, we have a problem!

And speaking of the NRA and hyperbole, I want to share a post from a fellow blogger about his arguments with the pro gun side over many years. I really like how Kenneth Quinnell, of the Florida Progressive Coalition Blog, categorizes the arguments. From my perspective as a fellow blogger, I share his views completely. Here are just a few that particularly resonated for me:
Ad hominem attacks: This is common with all right-wing argumentation, but is particularly common with gun proponents. Common insults include: Communist, socialist, liberal, liar, extreme, Democrat, etc. Yes, I actually am a few of those things, but even if I were all of them, none of these things belongs in a serious conversation about gun control or gun rights. Attempt to prove your case without namecalling or dismissing someone based on a label and then we can have a serious conversation. And this doesn't get into the more extreme and insulting namecalling that usually includes homophobia, misogyny and profanity.
Ditto. That has been frequent on this blog. And then this:
Conspiracy thinking: There is widespread conspiratorial thinking among the pro-gun set, arguing that everyone from the Brady Campaign, to the United Nations, to Democrats, to Media Matters, to the Joyce Foundation, is involved in a conspiracy to take away everyone's guns. And probably to kill gun owners on top of that. Or imprison them. Or something. As with most conspiracies, none of it makes any sense and it isn't backed up by any real evidence, it's more about innuendo and guesswork or flights of fancy. And anyone who ever says anything about gun control is part of the conspiracy.
Ditto again. I also belong in some of those categories but unlike what the pro guns folks have themselves convinced of, I am not involved in any conspiracies. Hyperbole and false attacks do not make for a discussion of any kind nor get us anywhere towards making us safer from gun violence. But I doubt that those who practice this type of attack care much about that. The rest of Quinnell's writings are on the mark. Thanks to him for writing so well about the world of blogging for common sense regarding guns, gun violence prevention and gun policy.

And finally, because I am on the topic of the pro gun arguments, I have had some interesting comments from pro gun folks who frequent my blog. When I wrote that I don't publish many of the comments sent to me for one reason or another, one of which is the demeaning, offensive nature of the comments. Of course, several people chose not to believe that I receive such comments and that I don't have readers who are supportive of my points of view. One accused me of lying about this because, after all, I have lied so often on my blog. And then he included some swearing to punctuate his remarks. Needless to say, I did not publish his comment. I haven't published his comments for a long time. But I digress. Just to make sure my readers understand the extent to which pro gun guys will go to intimidate, demean and offend those of us blogging for common sense concerning gun issues, I offer you the latest blog from Coalition to Stop Gun Violence which includes comments made about a "gun control" activist by some on the pro gun side. I have received similar comments but after I exposed the comments and stopped publishing anonymous comments, they have been much fewer. People don't like to have an actual name associated with their vile comments. I wonder why not? So, in addition to the continual and same old pro gun arguments that the gun violence prevention activists put up with, we also have to endure comments such as those in the blog above. Where is common sense?

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