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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Friday, April 13, 2012

Who are the enablers?

Who are enabling the many gun deaths in our country? It would not be the usual suspects. It could be someone who sells guns unknowingly or knowingly to someone who shouldn't have them. It could be legislators or Congress members who vote for laws that make it easier for anyone to get guns and carry them anywhere in our communities. It is, in fact, those leaders. It is also leaders who run the other way when the word "gun control" is uttered. It is the NRA who is responsible for pushing bills that benefit themselves and the gun manufacturers and dealers but not the rest of us. It is people who think having loaded guns around everywhere they go will make them safer. It is people who think family members and friends should be able to buy guns even if they shouldn't have them. It's family and friends who think that their friend or relative couldn't possibly commit a crime with that gun they just bought. It's family and friends who think their friend or relative wouldn't shoot a spouse ( usually a woman) in a domestic case even if there is reason to believe that person is becoming agitated and angry over a marriage or relationship problems.

So let's look at this tragic unintentional shooting in Alabama as just one example of enabling:
“It was an accidental shooting,” said Limestone County Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt. “He was playing with the gun when it discharged, striking him in the chest.”
Smith had bought the gun a couple of weeks ago at a gun shop on Alabama 99, had purchased a gun permit and had even attended a four-hour gun-safety course Friday, his father and a family friend said.
McNatt confirmed Smith had a permit for the gun.
Under Alabama law a person who is mentally ill or mentally handicapped can obtain a gun permit as long as they have not been institutionalized.
Smith had multiple sclerosis since about age 5 and attended special education classes at Tanner, according to the family friend.
Anyone who wants to defend Alabama's gun laws, please raise your hand. The state of Alabama is an enabler. The law makers who passed the weak gun permit system are accomplices. The NRA, of course, who pushes for weak gun laws like this are also responsible and the parents of this boy? Why did they think it was a good idea for him to own and carry a gun? Where is common sense? I remind my readers that if the Senate passes S. 2213, Respecting States' Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012, people like this young man, who is now tragically dead, could carry their guns in states that have much stricter gun restrictions. More enabling. Good grief.

And then there is this one which I have referenced before in a previous post. Landon Jorgensen, a "good guy" according to many and a "law abiding" gun owner, gun permit holder, gun blogger and all around gun rights enthusiast, is now dead. He shot himself after first shooting his girlfriend and her 5 year old daughter. Josh Horwitz of Coalition to Stop Gun Violence writes about his story and the loose laws that have allowed for things like this to happen every day in America. From the article:
With five states currently allowing civilians to carry guns in public with no screening or training, and more than 30 others allowing residents to carry with a lifetime requirement of just a single day-class of training, do we really think that the George Zimmermans of the world are adequately prepared to play cop in our public spaces? And do we really want to give them more permissive rules of engagement than we give our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan?
With these increasingly lax regulations, we have enabled a culture of vigilantism in which incompetent, morally suspect shooters are given free reign. "Good guys"? Jorgensen spent much of his time at ConcealedCarryForum.com posting misogynist diatribes, engaging in murder fantasies and writing about inheriting the two guns his father used to commit suicide. Zimmerman had been arrested and charged with a felony assault against a law enforcement officer and was previously subject to a restraining order after allegations of domestic violence and sexual abuse. None of that was even considered when they purchased guns and brought them out onto our streets.
Until the advent of "Kill at Will" laws, the only people we gave legal sanction to carry guns and police our neighborhoods were law enforcement professionals. "Kill at Will" turns this proposition on its head by assuming that almost anybody has the judgment necessary to make split second life-and-death decisions; with minimal training, schooling and testing.
Enabling people to carry loaded guns in public places has not made us safer. The people who carry loaded guns in public are not all good folks or responsible folks or folks who should be allowed to have a gun amongst us. The evidence is mounting. That is the lie of the NRA's rationale for getting these laws passed in 49 states. Do our leaders understand that, not only have they been fooled by the NRA and their illogical ideas about safety, they are also enabling these kinds of shootings to happen? It is inevitable that we will see shootings like the ones above as long as we continue to let the NRA control and buy politicians and make them fear their power. Elected officials have become accomplices. When the NRA and their legislators got these laws passed, they promised we would all be safer. We have not been. How else can we look at this? Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign, agrees when he writes about this situation in his latest blog:
The gun lobby says it is fighting for a right to bear arms, or self-defense.  But  it is not.
The gun lobby is just that, a lobby.  It fights for an industry whose goal simply is to sell more guns – and they don’t care who buys the guns, or how they are used.  It reflects the perspective of a small group of political extremists, not even the average NRA member.
I would imagine that most Americans don’t even realize that today, a convicted felon can walk into a gun show in most states and buy a gun without a background check.  So can a convicted domestic abuser or a terrorist.  And virtually anyone, including those same people can also arrange a private sale over the Internet and legally buy guns, also without any background check.
As a result, thousands of Americans are injured or killed, every year.  That is the work the gun lobby is doing and it is the America that the gun lobby wants.  They claim they are protecting your rights or helping you defend yourself.  Those are lies.  They are selling more guns.  And they are killing our citizens.
Even, worse, perhaps, are the politicians who do the gun lobby’s bidding.  These are people who put the agenda of the gun lobby ahead of the lives of the citizens they have been elected to represent.  I have talked with many of them. They know the difference between right and wrong.  Yet they make decisions that they know are going to cost lives, and they do it out of political expediency.
In the end, is the NRA winning or losing with its' extreme positions? Their organization relies more and more on contributions from large corporations and gun manufacturers rather than members. That is becoming more obvious as the organization does not just do the bidding of their membership but is involved in other sorts of politicking:
Less well known is that the NRA has also helped ALEC spread other conservative laws that have nothing to do with gun rights.
ALEC drafts and shares model bills with state legislators to promote corporation-friendly and conservative social policy.
A watchdog group called the Center for Media and Democracy first documented the NRA's role in these bills with ALEC.
An NRA lobbyist, Tara Mica, helped shepherd a model bill that requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Many conservatives have pushed voter ID laws to prevent election fraud. Many liberals say these laws inhibit voting by minorities.
Mica also helped preside over ALEC's passage of the model bill that became the basis of Arizona's immigration law. That's the law that requires police to arrest anyone who cannot prove when asked that they entered the United States legally.
The NRA and Mica wouldn't talk with CNN, so it's not known whether Mica consulted with other NRA officials about the bills on voter ID and immigration. 
This writer expresses what many are thinking these days:
Needless to say, that's not what happened. Over the past decade, and accelerating after the Heller decision was handed down, the NRA has gotten almost insanely aggressive. The government is still coming to take away your guns. (Aided by the UN, natch.) And gun owners, not satisfied that the Supreme Court has upheld their basic Second Amendment rights, have gone on a tear, fighting even modest registration and safety requirements and insisting on the expansion of shall-issue laws, concealed carry laws, unconcealed carry laws, stand your ground laws, and a bevy of laws that would all but remove the right of private property owners to ban guns on their own premises. I mean, guns in bars! WTF? Can you even imagine a worse place for guns than a bar?
So....I feel like I'm slowly but surely becoming more anti-gun over time. I still don't want to take away anybody's guns. I hope you handle them safely, but that's about the extent of my concern.
But do I really want squadlets of NRA zealots with chips on their shoulder pretending that we live in the Old West and parading around the mall with guns in shoulder holsters just to prove that they can? Not really. And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. We don't live in the Old West. Keep your guns at home or at the range. Shoot only as a last resort, and don't feel like the law should protect you if you gun someone down just because he took a swing at you on your front lawn. Enough's enough, folks. It's time to declare victory and go home.
So we have an NRA that has become more extreme, is representing corporate interests and the interests of the profits of the large gun manufacturers. And their lobbying efforts have produced a country where access to guns by people who shouldn't have them has become increasingly easy and laws have passed that allow people to "kill at will" and get away with it- and a country where guns are allowed into every nook and cranny of our communities. You know, some days it's hard to keep up with it all and meanwhile the shootings continue unabated. Another police officer ( Chief of Police) was shot in New Hampshire and 4 officers injured. Another sheriff's deputy was shot while trying to evict a homeowner. This statement about that shooting says a lot:
The incident began when two Stanislaus County deputies went to the north Modesto home to deliver the notice, said Christianson, who called the incident “another dark day” for law enforcement in California.
“One of my valued members of my team is dead,” a distraught Christianson told reporters. “I am overwhelmingly frustrated that we don’t have the sufficient resources to protect the community.”
Indeed. States have cut back on essential services in the rush to cut important programs rather than increase revenue. Sad, but true. And another domestic dispute ends with a shooting in a public restaurant, leaving 3 dead and 1 injured ( a child). Really folks. What is going on? Can we really sit around and just talk about this stuff day after day without acting? Why in the world do our leaders not step up and say enough is enough? We are at a place in our nation's history when we must look at ourselves and ask if this is who we really are and if this is who we want to be.

7 comments:

  1. What was the man who shot his wife and 2 daughters in an Ohio restaurant doing with a gun?? http://www.newser.com/article/d9u49a201/ohio-man-kills-wife-daughter-at-cracker-barrel-restaurant-and-is-shot-by-officers.html

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    1. Fewer guns equate to fewer instances of all kinds of gun violence - homicides, suicides, accidents.

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  2. Sorry to say that some stupid person called me an f$#@%ing bitch a while ago. Apparently he hasn't learned yet that any such comments don't get published on my blog. He somehow used the name of "Unknown" but there are more than a few of these kind of gun rights extremists who troll blogs and think they are cute and can intimidate me an others. Though it's offensive, it's almost laughable and really sad. This person will, of course, never get published on my blog so he can go away and troll someone else's blog. I hope he doesn't talk to his wife, sister, daughter, or mother like that. And he must be a really nice guy- NOT. Stay off my blog. You are not welcome.

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  3. I forgot to mention that "Unknown" who tried to intimidate me with an offensive comment is either from Jolon,California or Lebanon, Oregon. I believe the person from Lebanon, Oregon has called me offensive names before and reads my blog a lot.

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  4. I didn't call you you a fucking bitch. I called you a stupid bitch.

    You can't write anything without lying, can you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear- you just said I should do my f%$$#ing homework. I misplaced the "f" word. Silly me.

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    2. Here, dear readers, from the guy from Lebanon, Oregon, is what was posted on the previous post " " I hear that guns are not allowed inside. I wonder why not? "

      Do some fucking homework and find out you stupid bitch."

      Delete