Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Officer shot at Wal-Mart and other thoughts about loaded guns in public

So, what are we to make of this tragic shooting of an officer in Texas gunned down unprovoked by a drunk armed man in a Wal-Mart? After reading this article some thoughts that are related to officer shootings, guns in public places, gun laws, ALEC, and guns for self defense came to mind:
  1. The officer was armed but the drunk man got his gun out so quickly and shot so fast that the officer didn't have time to respond.
  2. The drunk man should not have been carrying while drunk. Who was to stop him? Did anyone know he was carrying concealed when he caused problems at that wee hour of the morning? As my readers love to tell me, it's not legal to carry while drunk. Hmmm. Can we monitor people when they drink at home ( or in a bar) and then go out in public with their loaded guns?
  3. The drunk man was in a Wal-Mart at 2:30 a.m. What was on his mind? He was not responsible for his actions at that point. Or was he? He is now.
  4. The officer had no idea he was dealing with an armed drunk man.
  5. Once the shooting occurred, a gun was not needed to stop the shooter. Several store clerks held the shooter down until reinforcements came. In other words, they did not need a gun to apprehend the man. 
  6. Wal-Mart began selling guns and ammunition again in 2011 (after stopping gun sales in 2006 in most stores) to boost overall sales.
  7. Wal-Mart is a member of ALEC.
  8. ALEC has been responsible for providing the language for the Stand Your Ground laws that have passed in over 20 states in America. Does Wal-Mart benefit from laws that increase the sale of guns? I'm just asking.
  9. Stand Your Ground laws (now being closely examined after the Trayvon Martin shooting) are an extension of conceal and carry laws now in place in 49 states. They are part of the NRA's overall agenda to push for more loaded guns carried by more people in more public places. From the linked article here: " And if Trayvon became angry about being stalked and falsely accused, I did, too. In the aftermath of the Trayvon case in Florida, it is more likely that vigilante justice will happen in the states that have so-called Stand Your Ground laws, Michigan among them. The media coverage of this shooting sends a clear message in these states: If you seek a confrontation and then find yourself physically threatened, you can kill with impunity."
  10. This is not the first shooting at a Wal-Mart store ( Modesto, CA, Avon, MA., Kissimmee, FL, Huntsville, AL, Port Orchard, WA, McAllen, TX., Commerce, TXSheboygan, WI, this one reported widely earlier this year at a Wal-Mart distribution center in Virginia,) and likely others. What's going on in and around Wal-Mart stores? But I digress. Sadly and tragically, law enforcement officers all over the country have been killed by armed people in surprise or even planned attacks ( Tacoma, Pittsburgh for just two). Some of these shooters were legal gun permit holders ( Pittsburgh shooter).
Are there any conclusions to be drawn? An armed person cannot always defend themselves from another armed person who intends harm and surprises them with an unprovoked attack. A gun is not always needed to stop armed people from doing more harm. (See the Tucson shooting and Chisholm, Mn. bar shooting). The armed man in Austin, Texas killed someone for no reason. He almost seemed proud to have killed the officer ( according to the linked story above). The armed officer didn't have a chance. If the drunk man had been unarmed, the officer would be alive today celebrating the holiday week-end with his family. Loaded guns in public places are a bad idea ( see links above to shootings at Wal-Mart stores)

There are criminals with guns and law abiding gun owners with guns amongst us in public. We have loosened laws allowing "law abiding" people to carry guns in public to protect themselves from armed criminals in public. More people are allowed to get permits. They can carry in more places. Permits are not required to carry in some states. Getting permits in some states involves only an on-line application with no requirement to be trained in how to handle a gun or even to actually handle a gun. Meanwhile, why have we not passed better laws to prevent criminals from getting their guns in the first place? ( see NRA). Indeed, the NRA has actually pushed for laws to allow felons to regain their gun rights. Requiring background checks on all gun sales (so even guns purchased from private sellers would undergo background checks) have met with strong resistance from the NRA. The laws that are already on the books allow people to fall through the cracks:
n 2005, the latest figures available, the Justice Department determined that more than 3,000 people walked out of a gun store with a firearm that they should not have been able to buy, because records later revealed they were felons or otherwise prohibited from owning a gun.
At that point, it's up to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives to get the gun back.
"Imagine you're law enforcement and you're sent to retrieve the firearm from the felon who bought it or the domestic violence offender," said Becca Knox, director of research for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Not exactly the situation we want to put our law enforcement officers in."
Some of the biggest challenges for the database, experts say, are domestic violence and drug cases, which often have inconclusive ends. Defendants are sometimes given a year or two to attend treatment, complete community service or enter therapy before a court decides whether a conviction will stand. An arrest is not enough to prohibit someone from buying a gun.
According to the Justice Department, some states are still entering those records manually. In states where records are fully automated, a clerk in a courtroom can punch the information into the database. Other states pass a handwritten piece of paper from one office to the next before it gets entered — a delay that can be costly for victims of domestic violence who have requested immediate restraining orders.
"You can see there's uneven performance," Knox said. "The database is an incredible step forward, but we still have to figure out where the administrative and financial roadblocks are."
In 2009, the FBI ran 10.8 million background checks on potential gun buyers. About 150,000 people were rejected. Most had felony or domestic violence convictions, or a restraining order, on their records. Less than 2 percent were rejected because of a mental illness. 
Guns do not make us safer. If they did, we wouldn't have so many daily shootings in our country. 32 Americans a day die from gun homicides alone. 80 a day die, in total, from gun injuries( including suicides and accidental gun deaths).

So my the last question about the incident above is this- was the shooter a law abiding gun permit holder? It appears that he was looking to rob the store and had been charged with drunk driving earlier this year. If he was a legal permit holder, did driving drunk disqualify him to hold his permit? Did he have his gun legally? Where did the gun come from? These will likely come out during the investigation. Common sense tells us that the shooter of the Texas police officer should not have had a gun no matter how he got it. And Wal-Mart may want to re-think it's membership in ALEC just as other corporations are now doing. I'm just saying.


I have found more shootings at Wal-Mart stores and/or parking lots:


  1. nice distortion, honey, but the shooting at walmart has nothing to do with SYG.

    1. No one calls me honey on this blog so if you care to comment here, please do not call me any demeaning or diminutive names. If you read the article, I didn't say that the Wal-Mart shooting had to do with SYG laws.

  2. fine, but youre still very much guilty of distorting the incident to fit your agenda. the walmart shooting has as little to do with SYG as it does a moron in public with a firearm. what remains unclear in this story is whether or not this man was legally carrying said firearm - not being familiar with the laws down there, did he have a permit?

    SYG isn't a 'shoot first' solution. Not by a long shot. All it does is shield citizens from the terrifying reality of criminal prosecution by overzealous politically heeled DAs and civil suits in cases where such self defense is indeed defensible. Nobody should go broke defending themselves for...defending themselves.

    I think what happened in FL, IF its a bad shooting is terrible....but its not a reason to gut SYG or concealed carry. Re-evaluate it, possibly, but knee jerk reactionism won't bring anyone back to life. If anything, it might create more victims.

    Happy Easter.

    1. I couldn't disagree with you more. Did you read the post? I said we didn't know if he had a permit. I didn't say the incident had anything to do with SYG. Please read the post before commenting.

  3. AngstofthePeople- great name by the way. Obviously you don't agree with me. You don't need to keep commenting and tell me what you think of me and my writing. And your side of the issue, is of course, not politically motivated?? Give me a break. Happy Easter.

  4. Here's proof that gun rights extremists not only buy guns from unlicensed dealers without background checks but they brag about it on their blogs and then use racial epithets to be in the face of former Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke https://twitter.com/#!/CSGV/status/189003943353921537/photo/1

    Nice guy, that.

    How do we know this guy is law abiding? Anyone can buy a gun the same way.

    1. How do you know he's NOT law abiding?

      In a free society the government and the other members of the community must implicitly trust every person, until they have proven they cannot be trusted.

    2. That's an interesting comment considering that the side of gun rights doesn't seem to trust anyone and those who carry their guns around everywhere they to don't trust anyone. George Zimmerman is a prime example of that lack of trust.