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.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Keeping score

In the last few days it seems like an epidemic of gun permit holders and/or "law abiding" gun owners gone wrong. One of my commenters wanted to know how I could say that there are more incidents of shootings or near misses of law abiding gun permit holders? It's simple. It's the real life stories about permit holders using their loaded guns carelessly in public places. They are frequently in the news. Let's make a list of just a few in the past few days to highlight what I am talking about:

  1. An Indiana permit holder gets angry over the wax job on his car at a car wash and wields his gun- Really? Is this O.K.? What gets into people with guns that makes them think they can do things like this. From the article:"Witnesses told police a customer at Supersonic Car Wash, 1306 W. Chicago Ave., became irate after looking at the detailing to his 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe and then chased an employee through the waiting room with a gun in his hand. The pursuit allegedly continued outside, where witnesses said they heard a gunshot. The employee was not injured." It's hard to know what else to say about this one.
  2. This Nevada man was found naked on his back porch having discharged his gun in the neighborhood, luckily not hitting anyone with the bullets fired. " Todd Kitchner, 52, of Pahrump was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm at or into an occupied residence, assault with a deadly weapon, child endangerment, discharging a firearm on a public street, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and possession of drug paraphernalia." And from this more recent article: " As reported Friday by Las Vegas TV station KTNV, Kitchner said he regrets what happened and never intended to harm anyone.“I used to live in Alaska. We used to get away with this kind of crap,” he told the news station. “If I wanted to kill somebody, I would have.” Kitchner further said that he had been through a lot lately, including taunting from neighbors and an inability to sleep due to severe back pain." Yup. Those are all good reasons to shoot up your own house and shoot at innocent neighbors and passers by in cars. Do people really get away with that "kind of crap" in Alaska? You can take a look at the link to the Brady Campaign's new State Scorecard to check out how Alaska does compared to other states when it comes to laws to keep guns away from people who should not have them. Alaska is one of the states with the lowest ranking. And to think the guy can say he could have killed someone if he wanted to while not realizing that he could have killed someone by just shooting randomly! Wow. This guy has serious problems.
  3. An Ohio man shot himself with his loaded gun as he was getting out of his car. My readers know that I have written about quite a few similar incidents of this nature on my blog. Some gun permit holders are stupid and dangerous. It appears that there enough of them to make us stand up and take notice. The first question is why did the man think he needed his gun in the shopping center in the first place? Can't gun permit holders figure out that there is not a good reason for them to carry their loaded guns into every nook and cranny of our communities? The chances of shooting oneself or someone else are greater than needing that gun for self defense. Where is common sense?
  4. A Washington state permit holder shot and killed a young woman at a party over the week-end. This one was not only senseless and stupid but tragic. Guns and alcohol just do not go together. And bringing a loaded gun to a party? Why? What will you need your gun for at a party where you know alcohol will be served? Maybe you will need one to protect yourself from the other stupid and dangerous "law abiding" gun permit holders. Good grief. " Investigators believe DeJong fired a .40-caliber handgun while at a party early Sunday morning. The bullet went through a wall and hit a 20-year-old woman who was at the party and standing on the other side. "We do believe that it was due to reckless handling of the gun that caused it to go off," Bove said. "We do not believe it was premeditated."According to court documents, a man who call 911 to report the shooting told dispatchers "my best friend shot a girl in the house, he was drunk."" Bullets do travel through walls. Guns are dangerous. There are too many victims.
And last, let's take a look at the newly released Brady Campaign state scorecard concerning gun laws. From the press release issued today:
“Guns don’t fall from the sky into the hands of criminals,” said Brady Acting President Dennis Henigan. “All too often, crime guns come from gun dealers in the states that stubbornly refuse to enact common sense, lifesaving gun laws. Every day, a river of illegal guns flows out of the states with weak gun laws, victimizing families in states that are doing their best to protect their residents.  It is no accident that the states with the weakest gun laws are the exporters of death and injury.”
Indeed. Also from the press release and the report:
A fresh analysis of data for crime guns recovered by police and traced back to the dealer that sold the gun provides additional evidence showing that strong gun laws help to curb the supply of guns to the illegal market.  The ATF data, available on its website, provide information on the source states of U.S. crime guns by state.  The data show that states with weak gun laws have a crime gun export rate nine times higher than states with strong gun laws.
The Brady Center analyzed the data to identify patterns in the movements of crime guns across the United States, including which states have the highest rates of crime guns moving across state borders, known as the crime gun export rate (per 100,000 population).
Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and West Virginia are among the 31 states that together export crime guns at a rate nine times higher than states with strong gun laws.
You can read much more about the scorecard on the website linked above. There are no surprises here. Today, in my own state of Minnesota, the Senate will vote on the "Shoot First" measure that will surely make it easier to shoot someone and get away with it. Minnesota got 14 points on the Brady Scorecard. That will change if this law goes into affect because not only will it increase the ability of people to shoot others under the guise of using deadly force when it may not be necessary, but the law will change the length of time between local background checks for permits to purchase handguns and assault weapons from one to five years. So if someone becomes a domestic abuser, drug abuser, adjudicated mentally ill, etc. in that five year period, there will be no way for local law enforcement to to deny that person their permit. The permit must be shown to Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers in order to purchase handguns and assault rifles. Any amount of these guns can be purchased in this one year period. So instead of working to make us safer, the NRA and its' minions in Minnesota intend to make us less safe. Read more about it at the Protect Minnesota website where you will see that law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are vehemently opposed to his bill. But never mind, the NRA knows better than the people who actually deal with the system. Where is common sense?

UPDATE: The Senate vote on the "Shoot First" bill has been postponed. Perhaps our Minnesota Senators got some common sense and listened to law enforcement, prosecutors and the many people who contacted them in opposition to the bill.


  1. The one thing you are missing with the MN permit is that you still have to do a federal background check at the time of purchase. The MN permit was a stop gap measure to satisfy the Brady Bill that never went away after the NCIS was implemented.

  2. The local check is a better check on individuals known to L.E. That is why they like the system. It catches more prohibited people. That's a good thing, don't you think?

  3. This is a timely article, japete, for Oregon. Here in Oregon, the state House just passed a bill to make private the names of CCL holders. Currently, those names are available after petition on a need-to-know basis. Keeping it open allows for public scrutiny of the sheriff's granting policy and allows people to check to see if potential abusers may endanger them (irate employees, adult babysitters, angry ex-boyfriends, etc), but keeps secret those who need it (such as domestic violence victims).

    The bill isn't likely to pass the Oregon Senate, and this is at least the third unsuccessful time the gun guys have tried to pass this. But the gun lobby isn't above continuing to waste our legislator's valuable time on it.

    The gun guys insist that bill is needed for privacy and that CCL holders never commit crimes. But they clearly DO commit crimes (here's a link to many deadly shootings by CCL holders since 2007: http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm), and their privacy isn't nearly as important as the safety of our community.

  4. Here's yet another permit holder who actually killed someone in a dispute over dog poop!- http://articles.philly.com/2012-02-15/news/31063478_1_fatal-shooting-dog-waste-gunman
    Really? Come on. These incidents make permit holders look really bad.

  5. Are you sure he was a permit holder? It seems like there are multiple stories that claim he did not have a permit.

    1. To whom are you referring? The story says he is a permit holder but they were checking to see if the permit was valid. That would make it even worse. The guy was carrying when he might not have been a valid carrier.

    2. To whom are you referring? Tyrirk Harris and your story

      He also was a school district police officer until recently. Here is one story that states that it was revoked. It is sad that the media just runs with story and does not wait for the facts to be verified.


    3. The man had been a law abiding permit holder until one month ago. He was very recently law abiding until he wasn't. So what's your point?

  6. *** It is no accident that the states with the weakest gun laws are the exporters of death and injury.****

    Why don't people get this? It's not really that complicated.

    Or am I missing something?

    1. No you are not missing anything. You get it just right.

  7. japete writes: "One of my commenters wanted to know how I could say that there are more incidents of shootings or near misses of law abiding gun permit holders? It's simple. It's the real life stories about permit holders using their loaded guns carelessly in public places. They are frequently in the news. "

    Posting a set of stories is not the same as posting aggregate data that shows the actual trend.

    The actual facts, such as those I posted in a comment to a previous post of yours, show using Minnesota as an illustrative example that permit holders commit crimes - particularly involving firearms - at a rate far far less than the rate of the general population. Data from Texas, Indiana, and Florida show a quite similar trend.

    1. As long as permit holders are shooting people intentionally or not, we have a problem. The general population are also shooting too many people. There are no excuses for the incidents I write about. Permit holders are supposed to be more careful. That is what you all said would be the case. It's not working out so well.

    2. japete;

      as to your statements above, what would you propose? Ban all guns? It seems that the only way to keep ALL shootings from happening, you would have to both ban and destroy all guns.

      (and stopping ALL shootings does seem to be your goal, as evidenced by your concern over the small number of shootings your referred to above, especially compared to even the lowest estimated number of crimes stopped by Defensive Gun Use, which is 108,000 / year.)

  8. japete writes: "but the law will change the length of time between local background checks for permits to purchase handguns and assault weapons from one to five years. "

    There's nothing in HF1467 or SF1357 that does this. What bill are you talking about? It's certainly not in the bill you refer to as "shoot first"

  9. Replies
    1. It does seem to be in there but this is also.

      The chief of police or sheriff must conduct a background check by means of electronic data transfer on a permit holder through the Minnesota Crime Information System and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System at least yearly to ensure continuing eligibility.

    2. Odd! The bill I have that has the 5 year permit had that language also. The bill that passed seems to have had both removed.

      This seems to be the bill that was passed


    3. The bill has not passed in the Senate.

    4. correct I should have added "from the House"

  10. The current version of the bill in the Senate, and the most recent engrossed version from the House do not have the 5 year timing change on the MN permit to purchase.

    Even when that language was in the bill, it required an annual repeat of the background check. This same approach is used during the 5 year lifespan of a MN Permit to Carry.

    I expect this bill to pass the Senate in the next week or so.

  11. Great article from today's Star Tribune about why Shoot First is not needed in Minnesota- " Checking …

    Checking …

    Um, not really, no.

    How about cases in which such a citizen successfully diffuses a situation by brandishing a weapon?

    Haven’t heard of many. Maybe they don’t like to brag.

    Well, are there at least examples in which someone wishes, in a given moment, that they had a weapon?

    Yeah, a few of those.

    Fact is, most people can get guns if they want them; occasions to use them heroically are rare and fraught with peril, and existing law does indeed address those situations.

    In such a context, the conservative thing for a legislator to do is nothing at all."


  12. Oops- one more CCW holder accidentally discharges gun at actual class to teach people how to properly use their guns. And in this case, it was the instructor himself. But never mind, let's not worry about those permit holders. They are perfectly safe- http://www.goupstate.com/article/20120219/ARTICLES/202191029/1027/OPINION?Title=Student-accidentally-shot-at-concealed-weapons-class

  13. I just hate it when I have to keep adding incidents of law abiding permit holders being stupid and dangerous but here goes anyway- http://www.wtxl.com/content/topstories/story/Woman-loses-gun-at-Governors-Square-Mall/QPb8sipmAEuV-ajtqoZylA.cspx

    People shouldn't take their guns along when they are shopping. Too many bad things can happen and I don't mean shootings by bad people. I mean mistakes by law abiding people.