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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yet another law abiding gun permit holder has problems

The NRA and the gun lobby has worked hard to pass laws in all but one state to allow people to carry guns around in public places. Of course, it is under the auspices of public safety and self protection. The only problem with their assertion is that it is wrong. Permit holders are in the news often enough for having shot someone in a homicide to raise concerns about our gun culture and our gun laws. I have written about them many times before and the Violence Policy Center is keeping track of the number of permit holders who have killed someone with their gun. These are previously law abiding gun owners who used their guns to commit heinous crimes. Some of these folks should not have had permits but got them anyway. George Zimmerman and Jared Loughner to name just two. And then, I have also written many times before on this blog about incidents of those guns carried by law abiding permit holders discharging accidentally in public places. Remember this Texas woman who was shot in her buttocks by an accidental discharge of a gun in the pocket of a man sitting in the same restaurant? Senseless. Sometimes people get killed by these errant bullets. Sometimes, people are injured and sometimes people are lucky and no one is injured or killed. Surely you remember the Wyoming teen who had an illegally concealed gun in her purse, given to her by her law abiding gun owner father for self protection, when her gun discharged when as dropped her purse. Stupid and dangerous. She was just plain lucky that no one was injured. And these are just a few. You can read about a lot more on the Ohh Shoot blog.

And then there is this local incident- a Minneapolis legal gun permit holder was robbed at gunpoint- only with his own gun. From the article:
Willie Merriweather was charged with first-degree aggravated robbery in connection with the May 21 incident, which happened in the area of 31st Street East and 3rd Avenue South. Police said an adult male was walking home in the area when a man, later identified as Merriweather, was walking the other way and suddenly slammed the victim into a parked car.
The victim hurt his arm and wasn’t able to defend himself. Merriweather allegedly searched the victim, eventually finding a pistol, and put it to the victim’s head while demanding valuables. The victim lost the gun and his wallet during the attack, police said.
So this permit holder was not able to get to his gun in time to defend himself. I thought that wasn't supposed to happen. The gun guys on this blog claim that they would be able to defend themselves or others in these situations. The man would have been attacked by this felon and his money would have been stolen in any event. But he wasn't able to protect himself with his own gun. Further, he was lucky that the criminal didn't decide to pull the trigger or even worse, use the gun to shoot someone else once he stole it from the permit holder. And this is also how legal guns get into the illegal market. I have just had a back and forth about that with someone on my previous post. The gun has not been found. Where is it? Who has it now? Surely if it gets into the wrong hands it will be used by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place. There is no common sense when it comes to the agenda of the gun lobby espousing that more guns carried by more people into more places will make us safer. And our House of Representatives, anxious to pander to the gun lobby, passed the George Zimmerman Act to nationalize the carrying of guns by all of those law abiding gun owners into any state in the nation. Shame on them. They want people like George Zimmerman and Jared Loughner to legally carry their guns everywhere they go. So far, the Senate has avoided taking a vote on this ridiculous law that will make us less safe. Why is that? Perhaps they don't want to admit that passing such a law after the national outcry about George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin and the attention paid to the NRA and ALEC passed Stand Your Ground Laws would be a really bad idea. They would be right. Stories like the one above show that carrying a loaded gun around in public places has not worked out the way the NRA said it would when conceal and carry laws were passed in almost every state of the country.


It turns out that the shooter of 6 people, including himself, in the recent mass shooting in Seattle had a legal gun permit to carry that loaded gun around in public places. From the story:
The gunman accused of killing five people in cold blood Wednesday had a concealed weapon permit even though he was becoming noticeably more volatile over time, his father said in an interview with KOMO News.
Walt Stawicki, the father of accused killer Ian Stawicki, says he knew his son was troubled, but there was nothing the family could do to get the concealed carry permit revoked.
"The response to us was, there's nothing we can do, he's not a threat to himself or others, or we haven't had a report of it, or we haven't had to pick him up - call us when its worse," Walt Stawicki said in a Thursday morning interview with KOMO Newsradio.
"And now it's too late - much worse now, six people are dead."
Walt Stawicki did not specify which agency refused to revoke the permit, or which agency had issued it in the first place.
The disclosure was one of several Ian Stawicki's father made as he tried to paint a fuller picture of his troubled son, who was unemployed and hadn't held a job in several years.
This speaks for itself. Guns are dangerous. Carrying loaded guns in public is dangerous. Some people shouldn't be carrying loaded guns around in public. Period.


  1. And here in Tennessee a toddler somehow gets her hands on a loaded gun and the predictable tragedy occurs.

    Honestly I can't even feel sorry for these people anymore. How does a 3 year old and her 2 year old cousin get their hands on a loaded gun? Every single day there's another gun tragedy in the papers here in Tennessee. This is NOT what the Founders had intended.

    1. It happens almost every day. If you read Kid Shootings, you will see the awful number of times very young children get their hands on guns and shoot themselves or others. Senseless.

  2. And now there's been a multiple shooting in Seattle by a conceal carry permit holder run amock:

    He killed 5 people and then himself. His family knew he was dangerous and called authorities, hoping to have his conceal permit and guns removed, but without an arrest on his record or being adjudicated as dangerously mentally ill, there's no way to do so in our gun-crazy society. Now six families are mourning.

    1. So much for more guns making us safer ala John Lott.

  3. There needs to be some sort of check on who has guns. We make people get their eyes checked every several years, to make sure they are safe. We should do the same thing with guns - as in requiring both eye checks AND some kind of mental health testing AND I'd throw in testing for substances that impair judgment over time -- some substances produce paranoia and delusions over extended use.

    We need some sort of sanity in our gun laws, sanity that recognizes that guns are lethal weapons, that unlike vehicles which are necessary for transportation, guns have as their primary purpose and design that they are intentionally lethal -- and NOTHING ELSE. To quote from the Seattle news paper article that the problem in WA was guns not gangs, "people who have guns USE GUNS."

    The ONLY reason we really have so many guns is that the gun manufacturers wanted to find ways to sell their product. They don't care AT ALL that their profit comes dripping the blood of human beings.

    We need to alter the 2nd Amendment. As is reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we all have a right to be safe, we don't all have the right - or any justifiable NEED - to be walking around carrying lethal force with us.

    The framing of that right grew out of the thinking of our 2nd Amendment right, but that understanding and definition of rights has evolved, just as it evolved from earlier definitions and understanding of rights evolved from earlier notions - like the divine right of kings which we eventually rejected to replace it with the idea of the right to representative government/ one person, one vote. These are not static, they are not carved in stone, they are not immutable. Our 2nd Amendment right did not come down on granite slabs like the 10 commandments in the Bible. The founding fathers (and mothers) were NOT clones of Moses, delivering the word of God.

    We have a right to be safe - and that means safe from other people with guns who DO NOT use them well.

    1. Well you are correct about the constitution it is not set in stone. There are a few ways it can be changed. However you should not be able to simply ignore the constitution. If you are serious I would think a new amendment would be in order to push you goals. It should be easy if you have the popular support that Japete says you have.

    2. I believe that is the first time I have heard a gun guy admit that the Constitution is not set in stone. But where you have it wrong is that the second amendment does not guarantee all the things you guys have said it does. Reasonable laws are perfectly constitutional and you guys try to get elected leaders and the public to believe they are not.

    3. Japete did you miss this part of "dog gone's" statement?

      "We need to alter the 2nd Amendment."

      To alter an Amendment is a bit different than the reasonable/unreasonable laws you have been pushing.

    4. +1 to Anthony's comment.

      There's a process available to add and repeal constitutional amendments. For example, the 21st amendment cancels the 18th.

      See: http://www.ushistory.org/documents/amendments.htm

      If you in fact have popular support, draft an amendment banning the types of weapons you feel are unacceptable for civilians to own and use. Maybe it'll be limited to shotguns - I'll let your team figure out what's "reasonable" for me to own.

      I'll oppose this tooth and nail, but I respect your right to pursue this in a democratic fashion.

  4. Aw Anthony, we can move towards reasonable gun laws, AND evolve with the times. I don't see us altering the 2nd Amendment in 2012, but the original Constitution allowed for some people to own others as slaves, and it did not allow for a lot of people to vote.

    The world changed, and it was reflected in changes to the Constitution to reflect the evolution in our understanding of rights - slaves were freed, women got the vote.

    I'm arguing that long term, when owning firearms is hazardous to so many people, being safe from firearm ownership will eventually erode some of that ownership -- and it should, given how many people are killed in this country compared to other civilized, developed countries.

    We have more kids shot in this country than all the kids in other civilized countries combined, as one example. Guns do not make us more safe, guns do not reduce crime, and frankly, guns do not ake us more free either politically. In the era of the writing of the constitution, there were relatively few artillery pieces, and citizens owned effectively the same weapons as the military.

    The citizens WERE the military, in the form of militias. The 2nd Amendment, no matter how badly the SCOTUS blew it when they claim otherwise, is CLEARLY the intent of the 2nd Amendment which was superseded by the laws creating a standing army --- one more thing, like slavery, the Constitution got wrong, and the corrected.

    Now, in the age of tanks, and drones, and nukes, citizens will never own comparable weapons to an official standing army --- but it doesn't matter, because that isn't how revolutions occur any more either, for the most part. And THAT is also part of why our Constitution will change, because there are multiple factors where the whole world, and our nation as part of that world, change to make the original provisions obsolete, and we need to change with it.

    So if you're wetting your pants because I note that the 2nd amendment will, at some point in time be changed or removed, to reflect new developments -- go change your underwear and put on dry trousers. The whole world changes, and our constitution will continue to change to reflect that --- and yes, that will also change gun laws, because currently our gun laws are dangerous and unhealthy. So eventually the change will be to get the guns out of the hands of people who are dangerous, who use them for things like massacres of artists in coffee shops, or for murder suicides.
    Criminals will be part of who are more EFFECTIVELY prevented from having guns, but that will also extend to domestic abusers and others too. Guns are NOT an inherent right, and they are not a God given right. The founding fathers got some of that wrong, and sooner or later, not because I want it or Japete wants it, but because change is inevitable, and guns are not owned logically or safely in this country.......gun laws will change.

    It took centuries of world history for that to happen with slavery, maybe one could say millenia. But it has happened. I simply noted another trend.