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, May 15, 2012

False claims of discrimination of gun owners

Some days one can only hope one is not reading what the words on the page actually say. Such is this article about the next assault coming from the NRA in several states in our country. Let's take a look at what the gun lobby is up to in several states regarding their false idea of discrimination as described in the linked article above:
"As scrutiny mounts on the role that the NRA-supported "Stand Your Ground" law continues to play in the Martin slaying, state legislatures in Maine, Alabama, Missouri and Tennessee are busily working to pass bills written by the nation's preeminent gun lobby that would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of gun ownership.
Nowhere is the NRA's naked ambition more visible than in the Volunteer State, home to the infamous "guns in bars" law and a "Castle Doctrine" law enacted in 2007 akin to Florida's "Stand Your Ground." Two Tennessee state legislators have sponsored an NRA-drafted bill dubbed the "Employee Protection Bill" by the NRA's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legal Action. If passed, legal experts say, it would turn gun owners into a protected class with rights far beyond those that, say, GLBT employees were seeking in Metro's overturned workplace-protection ordinance."
And further:
Yet instances of workplace discrimination against gun owners are rare, to say the least. In her Feb. 21 testimony to the state Senate's Commerce, Labor and Agricultural Committee, NRA lobbyist Heidi Keesling cited a 2002 incident in which 12 employees were fired at a Weyerhaeuser pulp and paper facility in Valliant, Okla., after a random parking lot check turned up multiple firearms in violation of a new company policy. Not exactly Bull Connor's fire hoses, but you get the picture.
Opponents of the bill say the irony here is obvious: The same GOP-controlled state government that worked to prevent medical-malpractice victims from collecting too much money now says gun owners can't collect enough.
"It's astonishing that the same Republican-led legislature that has passed tort reform to supposedly create jobs in Tennessee is now legislating a whole new type of litigation for gun owners, despite the fact that business owners across Tennessee have made it clear that this type of legislation only hurts business," says David Garrison, an attorney with the civil rights firm of Barrett Johnston who specializes in employment discrimination.
Businesses are against these policies. But never mind what the businesses say about their own work place rules and potential for major liabilities because of these bogus anti-discrimination claims:
"The bill you all are about to adopt is the worst bill in the United States of America that any state has adopted on this [issue]," Chamber representative Bradley Jackson told legislators. "It creates a protected class of employee who if they feel they have been discriminated against because they own a handgun, then they have a private right of action" to sue for damages. That, Jackson added, isn't good for employers large or small.
In fact, neither the Faulk bill nor its House counterpart defines what constitutes an "employer." In theory, any company with at least one employee falls under the bill. Compare that to existing civil-rights statutes, in which an employer is defined as a business having at least eight employees. Basically, you'd have a much better chance to sue an employer if your termination had more to do with bringing that sweet .38 Special to work than, say, being a historically oppressed minority. Or disabled. Or a woman.
"Never has there been any empirical evidence that Tennessee employers have in any way ever discriminated against anybody who owns a gun," Jackson told the committee. "This bill is a solution in search of a major problem."
That is often the case with the pro gun bills promoted by the NRA. There is a cynical attempt to make themselves out as the poor folks who just can't get a break. They go looking for excuses and solutions to their own twisted and false problems. Does anyone care about the potential for shootings and accidents with guns in the work place? Not so much I guess. The mentality of the gun lobby is to make sure there are loaded guns everywhere so people have to think they themselves need to have a loaded gun as well. What a deal for the gun manufacturing industry. More fears=more NRA members making noise=more bad gun bills=more guns in more places=more people wanting to buy more guns=higher gun sales=more profit for the industry=more members of the NRA=more fear= more potential victims of gun violence=less safe communities.

Again, "The guys with the guns make the rules", as said by NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre:



So why should they get to make the rules? What makes them so influential? Is it because they have guns? Is it because they threaten and make it clear that they are not to be challenged? The majority of Americans understand that there are places where guns are not needed. Remember now, only 2-3% of Americans have permits to carry loaded guns around in public places. For those 2-3% we should change the rules to make them into a "protected minority"? People with guns are simply not the same as people of color or people of a different sexual orientation who feel actual discrimination. To try to make themselves into victims, the gun lobby brings forth bills like the ones described in the linked article. We all feel sorry for these folks, right?

Instead, we should be talking about real victims. I almost wrote real live victims. It is really real dead victims, unfortunately. I ran across this wonderful blog post the other day that highlights what the real agenda of the NRA is in our country. Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence wrote:
Why is the NRA pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws? For the same reason it pushes a number of other laws meant to deregulate the purchase, possession and use of firearms — to sell more guns. Gun ownership has declined dramatically in the past 30 years, to the point that only one in five Americans now owns a firearm (and only one in 10 women). The gun industry’s challenge is to sell to men who already own multiple firearms. Industry marketing is focused on doing this by aggressively promoting military-style firearms (such as semiautomatic AR-15s and AK-47s) and “carry” guns (compact, semiautomatic handguns with “stopping power”).
By pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws, the NRA sends a clear message to the hotrods and wannabe vigilantes that’s it’s okay to buy yourself that new carry gun, bring it out into public and even use it without fear of legal repercussions. Then, when the rest of us realize that we are walking our streets surrounded by armed individuals with questionable backgrounds and terrible judgment (like Zimmerman), the NRA is hoping that we too will feel compelled to arm ourselves in public. It is a strategy that is both cunning and sick.
The NRA has shown us a roadmap to a society that relies solely on private violence — and the threat of private violence — to keep its citizens in line. Such a society absolves people of the responsibility to learn how to manage conflicts nonviolently, without escalating them. It’s not a society I want to see my daughters grow up in.
I couldn't agree more. If guns are the way to solve our problems or deal with our fears, we are creating a more violent society with more senseless shootings and more victims. And further our elected leaders have been fooled by the NRA because maybe they couldn't possibly believe in the extreme agenda of the organization and its' members. But would they change their minds if they would only read things like this blog post describing the "poor" gun owners crazy and dangerous ideas in the name of protecting themselves and their rights?:
And then we have this crackbrained entrepreneur from Orlando, Florida who has come up with the ludicrous idea to sell targets for the gun range, made in the image of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.  Supposedly in a self-defense situation, Zimmerman was charged with 2nd degree murder.  Even Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara said, "This is the highest level of disgust and the lowest level of civility."
What says even more about the gun nuts that bought the targets is the fact that they sold out in 2 days.  This scrapes the under-belly of the barrel of bad taste but is representative of a group whose priorities are so far out of whack that they cannot see beyond the barrel of their gun.  The National Rifle Assn. (NRA) has turned these poor souls into a lunatic fringe for their guns, convincing them they have the right to do anything they want with their weapons.
This is sick on so many levels that it's hard to even respond so I won't. Recently, one of my regular readers and commenters wanted to know why the Brady Campaign doesn't allow comments or ratings when they post You Tube videos like the one I posted in my last blog post. There are very good reasons. Some in the world of the gun nuts seem to think they can say anything. And when they do, they reveal what they are all about and to what lengths they would go to "protect their rights" as they perceive them. As if selling an image of a hooded Trayvon Martin target for shooting practice isn't enough, they insist on thinking they can impose their vision on the country according to their own twisted views as seen through their crazy gun world. Here is another blog from Coalition to Stop Gun Violence with examples of some other things the gun guys have to say:
The linkage between pro-gun extremism and anti-Semitism has been well documented over the decades, but it is still jarring to find modern-day examples of such bigotry. The pro-gun movement has long tried to have it both ways when it comes to this element in their ranks, on the one hand showing remarkable tolerance for the Nazi "paraphernalia" and "literature" that is a common staple at gun shows across America, while on the other disparaging proponents of gun violence prevention as Nazis and wannabe Hitlers. Two comments recently received by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) highlight this dynamic in its barest hypocrisy.
You can read more on this blog regarding anti-Semitic remarks by some in the pro gun community. I wonder if these folks ever think through what they are saying when they write these comments? The thing is, some things are just plain offensive and inappropriate to say in public. There doesn't seem to be a filter for these guys. So back to the top. I would point out that these are the very people who falsely believe they, themselves, are the subject of discrimination and should be in a protected class of citizens. It's upside down world. It seems to me that we are the ones who need to be protected from their extreme agenda. Their version of the country is a narrow and fearful one that believes that more loaded guns will make us safer. There is ample evidence to show that is not true. But never mind facts. We are dealing in hyperbole, power, paranoia and fear. That does not usually lead to common sense when it comes to public safety and policy decisions. The NRA and its' minions are very good at turning arguments on their head to further their own agenda. It's time for us all to examine what this really means. Just look at the comments left on some of the websites and blogs of the gun violence prevention advocates and you will find a true agenda that should make you sit up and take notice. Until this is exposed, the NRA will continue to demand more and more extreme measures that benefit only a small group of people with guns. What will you do to change that extreme view of the country?



3 comments:

  1. I shake my head at their ridiculous assertions of being discriminated against, and comparisons of gun control to discrimination against African Americans, for instance. As if not being allowed to carry a gun in a school, as example, is anything close to centuries of Black oppression and systematic discrimination! Their read of the 2A is that it gives a person complete and unfettered permission to do anything at all involving guns -- as a right! Ridiculous and dangerous.

    Coming from a family that has four different races represented in it, I'm disgusted by their failed logic.

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  2. Ha! I just saw the Daily Show's piece on it. Note that the legislator pushing the anti-discrimination against gun owners bill can't actually name an incident of discrimination:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-may-3-2012/free-at-last--free-to-blast

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  3. Thanks japete for a wonderful post. It's absolutely laughable that they're discriminated against.

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