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, June 2, 2012

Now where did I put that gun?

Why do these incidents keep happening? A Texas 9 year old is dead because her father had a gun in a bag and didn't realize there was a bullet in the chamber. Now Anaya Wilson is dead. As my readers know, I write about incidents like these often on this blog. Why? Because it is very obvious that shootings like this are senseless and avoidable. It can't just be blamed on irresponsible law abiding gun owners. There are enough of these to start wondering what the heck is going on in our country? We have a gun culture perpetrated by the NRA that has convinced some people that they absolutely need guns for self defense and they also need to be carrying them around loaded. The problem with that vision of the world is that that means there are more loaded guns around for accidents to happen. People may not always know or remember where their guns are, apparently. If you misplace a wallet, it won't kill somebody if they pick it up. If you forget that your keys were in your black coat pocket when you thought they were in your brown one, they won't discharge and kill someone when you discover where they are.  If you put your cell phone on top of the T.V. and forget that's where you put it when you walk out of the room, a child can pick it up and not kill him or herself. You get my point. Guns are designed to kill and injure. And that is what they are doing with increasing frequency in America.

My most recent post linked to articles about careless gun discharges and law abiding gun owners becoming dangerous when they accidentally or purposely shoot someone. Again, I recommend reading the Kid Shootings blog for many more cases of children getting shot by an irresponsible adult or older child or by finding a gun and shooting him or herself or a sibling. And again I must recommend the Ohh Shoot blog for many more cases of accidental gun discharges and other senseless shootings. These are the facts. Neither of these blogs make anything up. They are reporting on real live cases that happen every day in America.

As I was finishing this post, yet another senseless incident of a law abiding gun owner shooting someone came to my attention. This one bears repeating as a pure unadulterated example of the fear and paranoia the NRA has sown now reaping death. How else can you explain a 75 year old Wisconsin man shooting an innocent 13 year old boy with no reason other than thinking the boy might have stolen $3000 worth of shotguns weeks before? This one is should scare the pants off of parents everywhere. So your child goes outside to get your garbage cans and is met by an older man with a gun who accuses him of stealing something with absolutely no evidence of such accusation. He shoots your son once in the chest and then once again in the back as the boy runs away. This is a heinous murder committed by a law abiding gun owner that should be prosecuted to the fullest degree. Thankfully, the man was arrested and there should be no excuses accepted. But this is the scenario the NRA sets up as justifiable. All you have to do is think someone has done something wrong and you can blow them away. From the article:
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Alderman Bob Donovan had breakfast with Spooner earlier in the day at a George Webb restaurant. Donovan said the man told him he had lost $3,000 worth of shotguns in a burglary this week, was frustrated with police and was dying of lung cancer.
"He seemed burdened, truly burdened," Donovan said. Spooner also said something about "there are other ways to deal with situations" the police couldn't resolve, Donovan added.
Do you think? Was there another way to deal with the situation? Of course there was. Was there even a situation? Guns are the most frequently stolen item in home burglaries. Someone must have known this man had a lot of guns. And now this man's guns are in the illegal gun market where people who shouldn't have them now do and more gun crimes may result as well as more innocent lives taken. Further, people without guns wouldn't shoot an innocent child for no reason. Even if there was a reason to be actually suspicious, can you just blow a child away? The answer is a resounding NO.

What the Stand Your Ground laws have accomplished is to convince armed citizens that anything goes. Conceal and carry laws have made people think that they need to be armed everywhere. Suspicion reigns. And then, as this article explains, when the citizens of Seattle are jittery about all of the recent senseless shootings, a jogger dressed in black clothing jogs by with a holstered gun because he is so paranoid about the recent shootings and people have to be reassured he means no harm:
“Seattleites, we are losing it,” Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote Thursday, a day after the cafe shootings. He told of an e-mail from Bush School — one of several schools that went into lockdown after Wednesday’s attacks — reassuring parents that the man seen in a black running suit with a gun wasn’t an attacker, just a jogger who wanted to be able to defend himself.
“This is what it has come to: Jogging with your gun,” Westneat wrote. “But can you blame him?...We are a city on edge. A city now in full-fledged crisis. The mayor, the police and the feds need to quit bickering, sit down like adults — now — and hash out what, if anything, they can do. Because the people at this point are literally being caught in the crossfire.”
The jogger is a law abiding permit holder. How can we tell the difference between who is law abiding and who isn't when there have been so many random shootings and so many people are armed? One armed citizen looks like another. Suspicion and fear rule. Innocent people are killed. People have guns around where they dont' even know they have them. Loaded guns are dangerous. They discharge when a bullet is in the chamber. Kids go outside to innocently get the garbage and they are blown away. People misplace their guns and someone dies. Purses are dropped in Starbucks and a bullet is discharged from the gun inside. George Zimmerman lies about his bail money after being released on bond after shooting Trayvon Martin. He has to return to jail as a result. Really? George Zimmerman didn't tell the truth? An innocent Honors student, just graduated from high school in Oklahoma is shot dead by a "mystery sniper" while riding in her boyfriend's car. A mystery sniper? A high powered rifle? Are we at war? What country are we living in anyway?  This is insane. Why are we allowing this to happen? Where is common sense?


  1. japete writes: "But this is the scenario the NRA sets up as justifiable. All you have to do is think someone has done something wrong and you can blow them away. "

    That's a gross misrepresentation of the use of force laws, the NRA's position on this issue, and the actual content of the so-called "Stand your ground" laws.

    You can't just think someone has done something wrong and then legally use deadly force. There's not a state in this country with a statute like that - and it's certainly not what has been proposed in other legislation - even here in Minnesota.

  2. Then how do you explain the Trayvon Martin shooting or Joe Horn in Texas? We have enough cases to show that you are wrong. In Minnesota the standard for shooting someone under Shoot First was that if had a reasonable belief that someone was going to harm you you could shoot. What does that mean? It's up to the shooter to decide and the victim is dead. These laws are clearly written with language to allow people to shoot first and then ask the questions. That is what the NRA wants.

    1. The current law for self defense in Minnesota is reasonable belief. You have it wrong.

      Neither the railroading of Zimmermann nor Joe Horn in Texas had anything to do with Stand Your Ground.

    2. You keep saying that shoot first states which all you need to do is claim self defense and you walk away no evidence will be gathered and you can keep your gun as if it is a get out of jail free card. How does that fit with the Zimmerman case where he was taken to jail in cuffs, his gun was taken, evidence was gathered, and he is now on trial. So are you incorrect or is Florida breaking the law by charging Zimmerman?

    3. Let me know when you crawl out from under your rock, Robin.

    4. More on Joe Horn -- Jeff Wentworth, the senator who wrote Texas' Castle Doctrine law said it didn't apply to Horn. But Texas law before the Castle Doctrine did.

      § 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is
      justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
      tangible, movable property:
      (1) if he would be justified in using force against the
      other under Section 9.41; and
      (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the
      deadly force is immediately necessary:
      (A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of
      arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
      nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
      (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
      immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
      robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
      property; and
      (3) he reasonably believes that:
      (A) the land or property cannot be protected or
      recovered by any other means; or
      (B) the use of force other than deadly force to
      protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
      another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

      So Horn was covered by preventing a burglary or prevent the escape of the burglars.

      If you want to argue that it isn't worth taking a life to save property, I would accept that as a valid arguement although I would argue that under current law the lawbreakers knew the risk and accepted it before they committed their crime. But, you cannot make this about Castle Doctrine which simply does not apply.

    5. japete writes:"In Minnesota the standard for shooting someone under Shoot First was that if had a reasonable belief that someone was going to harm you you could shoot."

      Just to harm you? No, it had to meet a higher standard. Even the current statute in MN (609.065) uses reasonable belief:
      "The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode."

      Reasonable belief is a commonly used legal term.

    6. Good grief Bryan. Find something else to pick at. If you can find a difference between what I said and what the law says, let me know. Otherwise stop bothering me with your nitpicking. We all know what is meant by the language in the law. What is meant is what George Zimmerman thought it meant- someone was acting suspicious. He thought he had a reason to believe Trayvon Martin might harm him. He followed him, pursued him and then shot him in self defense once Martin himself had a reason to believe that Zimmerman meant to harm him. Have a nice day.

  3. Did you forget Anthony that George Zimmerman would have walked away free as a bird because of Stand Your Ground had there not been so much attention paid to this terrible law?

  4. For my readers who have tried to distract from the problem of gun deaths in the U.S. by insisting that England is such a violent country, I ask you to look at this http://www.gun-control-network.org/GF07.htm
    " Gun Deaths

    Number of Deaths from Firearms Injury - United Kingdom, 1997 to 2006
    Figures include deaths with a Coroner's verdict of accident, suicide, homicide and undetermined intent.

    Answer given on 25 October 2007
















    2004 -191
    2005 -185

    I've gone over this many times before on this blog but you guys keep insisting that you know something different than the facts. Here is another table showing that the U.K. comes nowhere near the U.S. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

    From this article: http://www.vrg.cf.ac.uk/nvit/NVIT_2010.pdf

    " Overall in England and Wales, serious violence decreased by 10.6% in 2010
    compared to the previous year. Apart from a 7% increase in 2008, levels of
    serious violence have fallen every year since 2001 according to this measure.
     11% fewer males and 8% fewer females were injured in violence and received
    hospital treatment in 2010 compared to 2009.
     Serious violence affecting those aged 11 to 50 years decreased (by 16.5% for
    youth violence: injury of those aged 11 to 17) while violence following which
    children aged 0 to 10 years needed emergency hospital treatment increased by 20%"

    So please quit sending me stuff about violence in England. You are all wrong.

  5. Robin- I say nonsense to your false assertions about Joe Horn. Mr. Horn told the 911 operator that he could shoot those 2 men because there was a new law in Texas that allowed him to do so. They were not burglarizing his home but that of a neighbor. He shot them in the back. That was murder, plain and simple. He should never have gotten away with it. and wouldn't have without the law in place in Texas. If we can start shooting people who run through our yards because they have robbed someone else of their things, we will become a lawless society and it won't be just actual criminals who are lawless.