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.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We can do better than this

The public is lining up behind common sense. They always have but this time it's different. It is understood in America that when a mass shooting occurs, which is far too often in our country, no one will do anything to stop the next one. Sad, but true. This time it feels different. This time it was a movie theater where most people spend time in their lives with their families and friends for enjoyment. Of course mass shootings have occurred in other such places- shopping malls, schools, churches, bars and restaurants. People shouldn't be shot by crazed gunmen in every day places. Guns don't belong in these places. But the NRA has made sure they are everywhere. Because of their own efforts to try to "normalize" guns everywhere, that is what we have. Law abiding permit holders are now allowed to take their guns just about anywhere. So then, why wouldn't someone who wants to wreak death and destruction think it's O.K. to bring their gun as well? Guns are available just about anywhere in America. Anyone can get one. We have a gun culture that allows for that. That is America. That is unacceptable. Too many people have died as a result. We are better than this aren't we? Of course.

The Brady Campaign has a new effort to move the issue of gun violence prevention out of the impossible to the possible. We are better than this. Of course we are. We aren't the kind of country that turns it's back on a major public health and safety crisis are we? We support efforts to make things better after other national tragedies, don't we?  Other civilized countries have found a way to reduce and prevent incidents of mass shootings and your average every day shootings. But the U.S. is different. We allow the carnage. Why? Three letters- N.R.A. This has to stop.

Finally we have had one mass shooting too many. What took so long for us to realize it? How many did it take? Many are now saying that publicly-some of them from unexpected quarters. Let's just look at who is has been brave enough to ignore the extremist NRA. First and most important is President Obama who finally said the right thing:
Closing out a multiday trip that began in Aurora, Colorado, where he met with families and victims of the movie theater massacre there, Obama told a mostly African-American audience that such tragedies are replayed on a smaller scale in cities throughout the country on a daily basis.
"Every day and a half the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theater," Obama said in remarks to the National Urban League, a group that works to promote civil rights and economic improvement for African-Americans.
"I'm going to continue to work with members of both parties and with religious groups and with civic organizations to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction."
Discussing or even touching on the issue of gun control during an election year is risky, and Obama has been careful to avoid making proposals that could offend gun owners and rally his Republican opponents.
The president made a point of emphasizing his support for the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment, which covers the right to bear arms.
"We recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage," Obama said.
"But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals. That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities."
Thank you Mr. President. The NRA's extremist leadership hates President Obama. But the NRA's own members happen to agree with him. I wrote about that support in my last post.

Next, is the unlikely FOX news show host Bill O'Reilly. He actually tried to support reasonable gun laws while still saying he doesn't support them. Whatever. But he said it nonetheless. From the linked article:
"Only Bill O'Reilly could give an example of how effective a law is while claiming its ineffective," O'Donnell said. "New York City cops seizing four thousand guns that violate New York laws is an example of gun laws working. It's an example of taking guns out of the hands of people who are not legally allowed to have those guns."
O'Donnell later highlighted O'Reilly's heated clash over his proposed gun control law with GOP congressman Jason Chaffetz. O'Donnell said that Bill O'Reilly proposed a gun reform law "two sentences after accusing the far-left of trying to propose gun control."
O'Donnell said that O'Reilly knew exactly what he was doing. "He's a master manipulator of his audience," O'Donnell said. "O'Reilly thinks the NRA position of unlimited guns and amunition is unreasonable, but in order to present O'Reilly's gun control to his right-wing audience, he has to, first of all, talk about 'far-left loons,' so O'Reilly can then sneak his little gun control idea into his show without sounding like like a 'far-left loon' to the far-right loons who watch his show."
Hypocrisy. But did O'Reilly accidentally speak truth to power? Michael Moore, movie producer and director, has some passionate feelings which were expressed both in a piece for Huffington Post and on CNN's Piers Morgan program:
"If people would just rise up and say 'Dammit, this is not the America I'm going to live in. This is too great of a country to let this happen again. I am not going to let this happen again.' And I am not going to come on another one of these damn TV shows either, after the next one of these shootings, Piers," he declares. "I'm sick of this. I refuse it. I refuse to live in a country like this, as I said before, and, I'm not leaving. So therefore, what am I going to do? It's got to change."
Here's the video clip of the show.


Thank you Michael Moore. We need to change the kind of country we have become. We are better than this. We can change it. If we show that we care about each other, we won't let this happen again.Thanks also to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne for writing this latest column about surrendering to the NRA in the face of carnage.
Talk about power: The gun lobby barely had to say a word before the media sent advocates of saner gun regulation shuffling off in defeat.
In a political version of Stockholm syndrome, even those who claim to disagree with the National Rifle Association’s absolutist permissiveness on firearms lulled themselves into accepting the status quo by reciting a script of gutless resignation dictated by the merchants of death.
It’s a script built on half-truths and myths. For example, polls showing declining support for gun control in the abstract were widely cited, while polls showing broad backing for carefully tailored laws were largely ignored.
If mass shootings are the status quo, what kind of country have we become? Yes, we have been taken hostage by the NRA's power and uber influence over an issue that should not be political at all. Our minds have been altered by the NRA's poisonous control over our country. We are talking about human life here. We are talking about people dying every day senselessly. If this isn't enough to move us to action, what is? The media talking heads have been taken hostage. Our politicians have been taken hostage. We should be frightened and concerned about this. Are we?

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist, also weighed in with his article on gun safety measures.
David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health has written an excellent book about public health approaches to firearms. But he argues that we need changes not just in laws but also in social mores — just as we’ve stigmatized drunken driving. Not to mention other kinds of irresponsibility.
“Where I see social norms changing is dog poop,” Hemenway said in an interview. “You’re not allowed to let your city dog run loose now, and you have to pick up your dog poop.” He muses: What if people felt as responsible for their guns as for their dogs? For starters, one result might be more people buying gun safes or trigger locks.
The bottom line is that to promote public health and safety, we regulate everything from theater fire exits to toy guns (that’s why they have orange tips). And if we impose rules on toy guns to make them safer, shouldn’t we do the same with real ones?
Indeed. We regulate dog poop. We regulate French cheeses. We regulate toy guns. We regulate baby cribs. We regulate pet food. We regulate just about everything- except the one that actually is designed to kill- guns.

In which line will you stand? Let those who agree with the NRA line up and try to explain why they are in favor of allowing people to order 6000 rounds of ammunition from the Internet and use some of those bullets to kill 12 innocent people. Let them explain why assault type weapons should be available for civilian use. Let them explain why people who should be prohibited from buying guns are allowed to buy them anyway. Let them look the victims' families in the face and tell them they are going to do nothing.

If we are not better than this, there is no hope for our country. Common sense should prevail. The NRA is not a relevant organization any more. From this Washington Post article:
A study of the 1994 elections found a two-point boost for Republican challengers from the NRA’s endorsement, but no effect for Republican incumbents or Democrats. The same study found no effect at all in 1996. So while the NRA was a factor in 1994, it was not decisive.
CAP’s Paul Waldman came to the same conclusion looking at election results from 2004 to 2010 — that Republican challengers endorsed by the NRA did two points better than Republican challengers not endorsed by the NRA. The endorsement had no effect for incumbent Republicans or any Democrats.
Most candidates endorsed by the NRA win reelection; but most candidates endorsed by the group are safe Republicans in safe Republican seats.
Conventional wisdom has it that NRA members could be mobilized to vote against any politician who backs gun control.
But Republican pollster Frank Luntz is out with a new survey suggesting that the reforms being discussed lately are fine with most NRA members.
Luntz, working on behalf of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, found that large majorities of NRA members support background checks for all gun purchases, gun safety training for concealed-carry permits and the denial of permits for people with records of violent misdemeanors.
Of course, the NRA doesn’t just have members; it has money. But while the group spends many millions every cycle, it spreads that money around.
We have been co-opted by an angry bunch of extremists who don't even represent their members. They are willing to hype up fear and paranoia and take money from unwitting members to further their own agenda of propping up an industry that makes weapons designed to kill people. But to support any measure that would stop those killing weapons from killing- not so much. Shame on them. We can do better than this and we will. Move over Wayne LaPierre. Get out of the way. The "guys with the guns" should not be allowed to make the rules any more. Your million dollar salary can't be justified given the hundreds of thousands of people who are shot every year in America.

Americans are speaking. They don't want any more of these pictures of horror on their T.V. screens. They don't want any more of their relatives and friends getting shot. They don't want our elected leaders to shrink in the face of out sized political power and influence. They don't want politicians to say nothing. They want action. We can do better. Americans know that our country is better than this.

UPDATE: July 27

There are just enough crazed gun rights advocates in the U.S. to be able to predict something like what a man in Maryland did after the Aurora shootings. This is why there should be no excuses for the extreme positions taken by people like this:
One week after Colorado's movie theater shooting, Maryland cops arrested a heavily armed man who told his employer he was a "joker" who was going to "blow everybody up."
Police said today they believe they "thwarted a massacre."
The suspect, identified as Neil Edwin Prescott in a court document obtained by ABC News, was being dismissed from his job. He made threatening statements to his supervisor at least twice on Monday, police said.
Prescott had an arsenal of about 25 firearms at his residence, including semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns, according to a police affidavit. Police said he also had high powered scopes and magazines and thousands of rounds of ammunition in "40 large steel boxes."
He was quoted as telling his employer, "I am a joker, I'm going to load my guns and blow everybody up," police said.
"It is clear that the comments made by Prescott reference a recent mass murder which occurred in Colorado within the last several days in which the alleged shooter called himself the Joker, died [sic] his hair red and shot up a movie theater containing men, women and children and showing the 'The Dark Night Rises,'" according to the court document.
"Prescott also stated that he would like to see the supervisor's brain splatter all over the sidewalk," the document said.
Prescott allegedly acknowledged to his employer that he should not be making these statements over the phone, saying, "It's kind of foolish of me to say this kind of things [sic] over government phone."
These are the kind of (presumably) "law abiding" citizens who are living in our country ready for an insurrection or a mass shooting. We are better than this, certainly. This is why assault type weapons and large amounts of ammunition should be regulated in some way. The exception to the rule, like this guy, is the reason we need to pass better gun laws in our country. One exception- one excuse- could result in the next mass shooting. These weapons and ammunition are meant for something sinister. Why else would they be necessary?

12 comments:

  1. You would think the NRA would tone down its extremist language, with poll after poll showing that even their own members have majority beliefs in line with ours, for stricter regulation of guns to keep them out of the wrong hands.

    And now the President has, as well. See my blog post for transcript and video:
    http://newtrajectory.blogspot.com/2012/07/at-last-president-calls-for-stricter.html

    He understands, as the NRA does not, that regulation of guns is a popular choice and badly needed to reduce the gun-related deaths in our country.

    ReplyDelete
  2. However much they want to spin it backwards, the gun nuts are losing.

    I have long predicted that it is just a matter of time before the U.S. grows up and joins the trends across the rest of the world regarding guns - which is a trend in the opposite direction from our violent and antiquated gun culture that is such an epic failure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do your predictions reconcile that NICS checks continue to increase every year?
      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/070512_1998_2012_monthly_yearly_totals.pdf

      You can keep calling gun owners, "gun nuts", but I seriously doubt everyone described in the following article fits your pejorative:

      http://www.pri.org/stories/politics-society/fear-prompts-firearm-sale-surge-gun-control-debate-after-colorado-shooting-10846.html

      The reason is simple. There's also an increase in people taking concealed carry permit classes. Now why would your "gun nuts" want to do that? Wouldn't they already have a permit, if they even care to own one?

      I had lunch with an old friend yesterday who asked me if I'd be willing to let him try out one of my .45 pistols because he's curious about them. He also told me that several new gun owners have moved into his neighborhood, with one of those a young doctor, who apparently has more guns than I do! My friend, by the way, is an engineer and his wife is also a doctor. Another younger friend of mine who just finished building an "assault" rifle is a physician assistant. The young son of my neighbor across the street recently showed me his Mosin-Nagant rifle, an "assault" rifle from the past.

      I think President Obama is on the right track with his statement "I'm going to continue to work with members of both parties and with religious groups and with civic organizations to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction." because as I've said before, our problems are related to people who have come to believe that extreme violence is the solution to their problems.

      Unfortunately, the unfounded fear instilled into your "gun nuts" that President Obama might enact tougher gun-control measures in his second term, might cost him the election and rob him of the time needed to pursue this worthwhile goal.

      Delete
  3. I believe that since most people agree with the President, including NRA members, he will be re-elected in spite of efforts of the extremists in the NRA leadership to go after him with nasty ads and mailings saying he is going to take all of their guns. They lie.

    I am married to a Physician and my daughter is a Physician Assistant. Of the hundreds of people they practice medicine with I can count the number of people who own anything but a hunting gun. They are the minority. What's your point? More professionals don't have guns than do. And that's a fact. The lie about counting NICS check has already been addressed on this blog. Have a nice week-end Migo and don't spend time on my blog. I plan to enjoy mine with my family. The weather is great here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I meant to say I can count them on one hand.

      Delete
    2. My point was that I don't believe that many of the ever increasing number of gun owners are "gun nuts". I will take your excellent advice however. I hope you have a good weekend also.

      Delete
    3. All it takes is one to kill 12, 32, 6 or whatever number have been killed in the too many mass shootings in America. A gun loon was arrested in Maryland today. His intent was to commit another mass shooting. He had about a dozen guns, many of them assault type weapons and 40 large boxes of ammunition. Not exactly an upstanding professional type.

      Delete
  4. "We regulate just about everything- except the one that actually is designed to kill- guns."

    Uh...huh. And how many other consumer goods require purchasers to get permission from the government to buy them, and to register that purchase for 20 years (gun sellers are required to keep the Yellow Forms for 20 years, unless they go out of business, at which point they are shipped off to the BATF for permanent storage)?

    The design and manufacture of firearms is less regulated than that of toy guns for the simple reason that firearms are intended to be sold to adults, who are presumably competent to be able to learn to handle chemically-powered drills for making holes at a distance (basically, this is all a gun is), and a child, who presumably isn't. Of course, seeing a warning that it was a dangerous device which should not be used without reading the owner's manual, stamped onto the barrel of a Ruger .357 magnum revolver, gave me cause to suspect that there had been someone stupid with a good lawyer in the past, but most adults do handle firearms, and cars, and matches, and all sorts of other hazardous things, pretty safely. There is no obvious need for regulation of firearm design...unless safety is not the goal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The operative phrase here is: " presumably competent to be able to learn to handle chemically-powered drills for making holes at a distance (basically, this is all a gun is), and a child, who presumably isn't" Have you ever read the Kid Shootings blog? You should. Have you ever read the Ohh Shoot blog? You should. I guarantee you you won't use that statement again. What country do you live in again? We must get permits, and then licenses to drive cars. Cars are registered until they go to the next owner at which point they are registered to the new owner. Baby cribs are regulated for a reason. Every once in a while, a baby dies because of a bad design. Guns?- not so much. Most is not good enough when 30,000 a people die every year. That is exactly why cars now have seat belts and air bags. That is why there are speed limits and signs on highways. To save lives!! People can't smoke inside buildings in most states. Why? Second hand smoke kills people. It's pretty simple really.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I know that lots of children shoot firearms, UNDER ADULT SUPERVISION. My niece's first range experience was a couple of weeks short of her 6th birthday; she has always been mature for her age. The target practice was under the supervision of an NRA-certified instructor (you know; the sort that the police use). And she hit the target; she now, at the age of 24, is a better shot than I am, especially with the Bulgarian Kalashnikov she asked for for her 18th birthday (I offered her an AR-15, but she preferred something that kicked; go figure). She, nor I when I was young, was NEVER allowed near firearms without an adult present, and toy guns were to be treated as real. And neither of us, nor my father, nor his father before him, ever shot anything that we did not intend to shoot, and there are hollower boasts.

      That 30,000 deaths you keep quoting; how is that to be broken down? How many justified shootings by law enforcement? How many in lawful self-defense? How many suicides (that will be more than half...)? How many accidental (firearms are FAR safer than, for instance, bicycles or footballs)? How many are gangbangers fighting over turf, which would drop precipitously if the government would do something sensible, like legalizing drugs (we've tried everything else, and we have the historical experience of Prohibition to go by)? How many committed by people who are already prohibited from even TOUCHING a firearm or its ammunition (the GCA '68 had ferocious and very seldomly-invoked mandatory sentences for each instance of a felon even touching a gun or cartridge; the Feds won't prosecute if there are state or local charges, so what good is it?)?

      Oh, and comparisons with cars again. I would LOVE for guns to be regulated like cars. You do not have to have a driver's license to buy a car (though the dealership will usually ask for some sort of photo ID, and a driver's license is the most common form of photo ID). You do not need a driver's license to drive a car, if you do so on your own property, such as buying a truck to use on a farm, never taking it onto the public roads (the parallel with firearms is carrying one on your own property, which usually does not require a permit, as opposed to carrying one in public, which usually does). Nor do you have to license the car itself, if you never take it on the roads; auto license plates are for taxation purposes and have nothing to do with road safety (that is what the driver's license is supposed to be for). State-issued drivers' licenses are recognized and acknowledged as valid throughout the U.S.; try submitting your state-issued concealed carry permit to a police officer in D.C., or even your NY-issued carry permit in NYC. Do you REALLY want guns to be regulated the same as cars?

      If you bother to check, you will find that the portions of the U.S. population which have the highest percentage of LEGAL gun ownership also have the lowest incidence of murder, firearms accidents, etc. And illegal gun ownership is already, well, illegal, so the laws aren't going to be able to do much about the crime problem with those portions of the populace. The problem is not with guns; guns are simply specialized power tools, and will not do anything unless someone picks one up and does something with it. The problem is with culture; someone prone to violence will commit violence, whether guns are available or not (and guns have only been available for a few centuries, while violence is, sadly, as old as Mankind). But culture is hard for the government to effectively change (and, judging from past performance, it probably would not improve matters...); it is far easier to get people worked up over power tools.

      Delete
    3. Yes John. I hear this all the time on this blog. What's your point? Shouldn't we be trying to stop those who don't use their guns legally from getting them in the first place? How will any regulations to do such affect you and the many you say are so law abiding? They won't. So let's do it. Suicides account for more than half of the gun deaths in America. People don't always store their guns safely. Children and teens get their hands on them and commit suicide or shoot someone or themselves accidentally. That happens far too often. Many law abiding gun owners cavalierly leave loaded guns around where children are. That is what the Kid Shootings blog highlights way too often. Law abiding permit holders shoot themselves or others accidentally or on purpose often enough that it should be alarming. That is what the Ohh Shoot blog is all about. More than half of gun homicides are committed by people who know each other rather than random shootings by criminals. About 70% of domestic abuse deaths are caused by firearms. I know that one for sure since my sister was one of those victims. Jared Loughner was supposedly law abiding as was Cho as was James Holmes as were a good number of the mass shooters. Some of those should not have been able to buy guns legally because of being dangerously mentally ill but we didn't have laws forcing the sharing of that information with NICS so they would have been prohibited from getting their guns from FFLs. If they had, they could easily have purchased from private vendors at gun shows or other venues without background checks. That's not acceptable and shouldn't be. It shouldn't be to you. Is it? We can do better but we aren't because people like you resist common sense laws that could stop some of these senseless shootings because of some ridiculous fear that your own rights would be taken away. Nonsense.

      Delete
  5. Followed your blog for sometime now. A line in your article mentions "merchants of death". I seem to remember seeing somewhere on your blog and at the CSGV website ( how I found you :) ) , a mention of one of the gun nuts being very proud of teaching his poor little girl how to kill. I started looking around and found some more on him. The guys name is Dan Roberts ? I was shocked and outraged when I saw some of the vile and disgusting things he writes on his Facebook wall, ( he even boasts about his little girl shooting with photographic evidence of what I consider to be child endangerment ) and even worse things on some gun nut website he "writes" for, if you can call it that. I dont want to go to far off topic, but should'nt people like this be outed or exposed by you and others ? I dont know the rules for your blog, so I hope you will forgive me for pasting some links in this reply so you can see the disgusting things I saw with your own eyes.

    http://www.ammoland.com/2012/07/27/hypocrite-elitist-chuck-schumer-adds-magazine-restriction-amendment-to-cyber-security-bill/

    http://www.ammoland.com/2012/07/27/from-the-gun-control-lie-files-assault-weapons/

    http://www.ammoland.com/2012/07/25/need-reasonable-have-no-place-in-a-debate-over-god-given-rights/

    http://www.ammoland.com/2012/07/24/bloomberg-or-holmes-who-is-more-insane-you-be-the-judge/

    People like this man need to be stopped. I feel so sorry for his daughter having such an obviously disturbed individual for a "father". I dont know what else to do except try to shame people like him. Thank you for all you do.

    ReplyDelete