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.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beware of guys with guns at the polls in November

There is a scary thing happening in our country. Voter integrity is threatened in many states, including my own where a voter suppression issue is on the ballot as a Constitutional Amendment. As if this isn't bad enough, the gun rights extremists in Florida believe that they could and should shoot people who they suspect of voter fraud. This is so frightening that I'm surprised there hasn't been more national attention to it. Please watch an interview with a Florida gun owner who is proposing this idea from the linked article above:

Raise your hand if you think this is a good idea. Statements from Nelson, in the video, should be taken seriously. If even one person is shot at the polls, we are not a democracy any more. Does anyone remember the days when black people were denied the right to vote and when women were denied the right to vote? Who are these folks trying to stop now? There is no voter fraud, or very little of it. But never mind, the far right makes specious claims otherwise and have managed to get some really bad laws passed to stop certain people from voting. These would be the elderly, college students, people of color and low income. Voter suppression is ugly and un patriotic and should not be tolerated anywhere. But the idea that law abiding gun owners should be allowed to shoot, with impunity, people they themselves think have committed voter fraud should send chills up and down our spines. Far from "Protect the Polls", we need to protect voters from law abiding gun owners with crazy and dangerous ideas.

Let's examine some of the words spoken in defense of this illegal activity promoted by law abiding gun owners. "We would like the law to be, if you suspect someone's committing voter fraud, you have a legitimate reason to believe it, you can legally pull out your weapon and not face criminal charges to stop it." Wow!! This takes my breath away.

A judge determined last week that the Florida voter suppression law could not be enacted the way the far right legislature wanted it to work. There was a law passed that made it almost impossible for "outside groups" like the League of Women Voters to register voters. We all know why the law was passed. Most of the newly registered voters in the 2008 election happened to have been Democrats. Were they registered illegally? No. Some groups happened to have registered more voters than others and worked harder. But to make registration of new voters almost impossible is beyond the pale and a clear effort to stop certain voters from taking part in our national elections. From the article:
Looking at some of the harsh laws which Florida has passed, it's easy to see how Republicans have implemented the game plan that Greer talked about them crafting for the past four years. They're throwing anything they can that may stick to get fewer African Americans and Latinos to vote, constantly discovering secret new belts to punch below. It's had a devastating affect on registration already, and the Republicans will fight for every law they can keep on the books without costing them more than it's worth. With Romney's unpopularity, this move is important enough to them that Republicans will probably be tattooing this issue's talking points on their henchmen.
Are the henchmen now the guys with the guns? And who will they shoot at the polls? Will they be on the look-out for minority voters who they don't like?  This is too ugly to consider but the words of Nelson, above, make this possibility more than just speculation. Watch out for guys with guns at the polling places. They do not have good intentions and they might just decide you look suspicious enough to get shot to death for exercising your right to vote. This is the vision of our country espoused by the NRA. It is dangerous and unacceptable. It is promoting gun violence for no reason whatsoever and promoting the idea that the guys with the guns get to make the rules.

No, Mr. LaPierre. You don't get to decide who votes and who doesn't. Voting is a right. Unless there is a very good reason, such as being an actual felon, or a non naturalized citizen, everyone should vote. We should be making it easier to vote in America, not harder. These laws are making us look like a country that needs to call in United Nations monitors to make sure our elections are legitimate. Where is the outrage? Where is common sense? Certainly, we are better than this.


It has come to my attention that this is a hoax. I have no more details about who the man in the video is or why he was involved in the hoax. As more details emerge, I will update the post or write a new one. For now, though, I am thankful that this nonsense isn't for real and hope that nothing like this is suggested or actually happens during our election season.


  1. Wow. Totally disgusting! It's bad enough that the GOP is trying to disenfranchise voters, but now people are suggesting a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach at dealing with people they *suspect* of voter fraud?

    Why am I not surprised this is in Florida, home of George Zimmerman and the birthplace of shoot-first laws?

  2. "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun." - Mao Tse Tung

    The presence of political violence in the US bodes ill.

    Personally, I think that people who attend rallies near the president with guns should be arrested--not praised.

  3. "2009 In September, 11 ACORN workers were accused of forging voter registration applications in Miami-Dade County during the last election. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state attorney’s office scoured hundreds of suspicious applications provided by ACORN and found 197 of 260 contained personal ID information that did not match any living person."

    THAT is why the law was passed. Let's see. I need an ID to buy beer. I need and ID to enter the DNC. (irony alert) I need an ID to WORK legally, an ID to buy cough medicine, spray paint and cigarettes. I need an ID to take several form of public transportation including flying and yet, somehow, asking for an ID to insure that the most sacred thing you can do as a citizen is not corrupted by the likes of ACORN is somehow ONLY directed at keeping 'legal' democrats from registering to vote..


    1. You are, of course, wrong about ACORN. Read here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/why-acorn-fell_b_510285.html

    2. He's very wrong about ACORN. First of all, voter registration is not the same thing as voting; voter registrations are checked against data bases to verify if they are correct. ACORN was required to submit voter registrations even when they knew them to be false - and they identified those they believed were incorrect when they submitted them to be sure they received closer scrutiny. People sometimes do that during voter drives to be jerks. Besides doing that many people inadvertantly fill out duplicates - which are also screened by voter rolls.

      Most people who believe the stuff that 18Echo is repeating are simply ignorant of how the rolls are maintained. I would encourag him or her to contact their local secretary of state to ASK them directly how they maintain the accuracy of the state's voter rolls.

      I did that here in MN, btw.

      The incidence of someone fraudulently registering to vote and then showing up to actually vote is near nil; the frequency of actual VOTER fraud, where someone votes who is not legally entitled to do so is 1 in 15 million.

      What has happened with voter ID is that even in those states where an appropriate ID can be issued for free, the costs of the necessary documentaiton such as replacing a lost birth certificate, and/or a decree if you were married and then got a divorce (proves your legal name) can be prohibitive for a person who is low income - typically $25 - $35 dollars for a birth certificate; anywhere from $15 - $50 for a certified copy of a divorce decree. Add in, as is the case in PA that the appropriate office is only open one day a week, or as was the case in WI, where those office had reduced hours and where those offices were closed completely in predominantly democratic areas, requiring round trip drives to other state offices of as much as 100 miles to get the proper documents, where many people did not have easy access to transportation (like elderly people in assisted living facilities) and you can see where it becomes impossible for some people to get that ID, either due to poor availability of the agencies, or cost, or transportation and distance, or all of the above.

      When voter ID started to be pushed, it was very clear that this was targeting people who would be likely not to vote for the CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATES.

      This is NOT as 18Echo represents it.

  4. Laci, there is a distance from the president that is enforced by the Secret Service which people with guns cannot cross already. Trying to get too close while armed will get a person arrested. It is sort of a no-fly zone for guns, but on the ground.

    I'm hoping this is satire, but from which side remains to be seen.

    If it had been legit, it would have been just bad, an extension of the True the Vote right wing efforts at voter intimidation. There were instances in the past two election cycles in Arizona, and reportedly in New Mexico as well, of hispanic voters -- LEGAL hispanic voters -- being harassed as they approached voting locations by men openly carrying guns stopping them, crowding them from the front and behind, and telling them they were going to be arrested if they tried to vote. News stories carried photos.

    It made this seem much more plausible, but possibly the exaggeration is intended to make a political comment about those thugs who engage in voter intimidation at gun point?

    These events were precisely why I became an election judge; to be present and involved in the event of uncredentialed polling challenges like the ones claimed but not in fact witnessed by the Crow Wing County voter faux scandal where Monty Jensen claimed to see voter misconduct that took place when he wasn't there. He was one of those uncredentialed poll watchers/challengers.

    It's only a matter of time until we find out the rest of the story. I'll pop the popcorn.......

  5. http://truth-out.org/news/item/11134-how-the-right-is-building-its-poll-watcher-network-for-november