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.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What in the world is going on?

It's enough to make us all wonder what in the world is going on. The gun guys who comment on this blog get upset with me because they think I am lumping all gun owners together when I post articles about stupid and dangerous law abiding gun owners involved in shootings. Admittedly many gun owners are safe with their guns. But when incidents like the ones I will highlight below continue unabated even gun owners should be ready to support laws that work to prevent and reduce the shootings.  We just can't ignore this serious public health and safety problem. So let's get started.

There's been another shooting in the Minneapolis area. A woman was killed at a sandwich shop, apparently by her husband, who chased her with his gun.
"A gunman chased a woman through a Cottage Grove strip mall Thursday, eventually killing her in a sandwich shop before shooting himself. He died late Thursday.

Bystanders watched in horror as the woman ran through the parking lot as the man repeatedly fired at her, shattering the glass door of the Anytime Fitness gym, where the woman apparently had been exercising.

Cottage Grove police were called about 3:35 p.m. to the mall in the 7700 block of Harkness Avenue S. after receiving reports of shots being fired, said Craig Woolery, the city's director of public safety. When they arrived, they found the woman dead inside a Jimmy John's shop. The shooter was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he died within hours. No one else was hurt.

The dead man is Chevel Richard, 22, according to his father, Dale Richard.

"My boy is dead," Dale Richard said after talking to Cottage Grove police late Thursday.

Also dead, Dale Richard said, is Tensia Richard, Chevel's wife.

"They're both gone. She's deceased, and so is he," Dale Richard said, adding the couple had two young sons, a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old."
Two more young children are now without their parents. I'm sure we will be learning more about this incident soon. This one appears to be yet another domestic shooting. Haven't we had enough of those lately? As of yet, we don't know if the shooter was a law abiding gun owner.

And why do we keep reading about incidents of law abiding gun owners leaving their guns around for young children to find. This 3 year old Seattle boy is in serious condition after finding his Dad's gun in a truck. Senseless. From an article:
It appears he found his father's hand gun inside the truck and accidentally shot himself, police said.
They said the boy’s father then rushed him to Sunnyside Community Hospital.
Police said the father has a valid concealed weapons permit and is cooperating with investigators.
Enough said. Just check out the Kid Shootings blog for many more of these type of incidents involving law abiding gun owners. And, of course, there was a horrific shooting of a family in California:
Police detained four people for questioning Thursday in the search for a gunman who killed three people and critically wounded two others at a family-owned fire extinguisher business and a relative's nearby home in suburban Los Angeles.
The development came a little more than 24 hours after the shootings that left friends and neighbors grappling for answers as authorities remained mum about a motive.
The four people – three men and a woman _were detained Thursday afternoon, though no arrests were made, said Downey police Lt. Leslie Murray.
The gunman doesn't appear to be a former employee, friend or family member, Lt. Dean Milligan said. Police, however, say they don't believe the killings were a random act of violence.
Authorities were still looking for a stolen black Camaro, which they say the suspect used to get away after the shootings.
Police have not identified the five victims, but a portrait began to emerge of a tight-knit family who threw large parties and ran a successful company.
We will also learn more about this shooting in the coming days. Since the shooter is still at large, we have yet to learn whether he was a law abiding gun owner.

Meanwhile, the domestic shooting at a salon in Wisconsin is continuing to resonate because it was preventable. Domestic shootings are fairly common but shouldn't be. Women are at great risk when there is a gun in the home and when there is domestic trouble. I know that from personal experience. Here is a blog post from Brady Campaign President Dan Gross about why this shooting was preventable:
Forty seconds. That's all it would have taken to potentially save the lives of three women at the Azana Spa and Salon in Brookfield, Wisconsin this past weekend.  Forty seconds is all it would have taken to keep a community and our nation from suffering yet another mass shooting in a place that we should all rightly expect to be safe.
You see, 40 seconds is the amount of time it takes the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) call center to approve the majority of "Brady criminal background checks" on anybody who wants to buy a gun. But in America, millions of people every year, including those with criminal and dangerous intentions, can buy a gun without ever having to go through such a records check.
That is because of the 40 percent. Sometimes you will hear this problem referred to as the "gun show loophole."  But that is a dramatic understatement.  The reality is a full 40 percent of all legal gun sales in our nation require no background check at all. That includes every gun sale that takes place outside a federally licensed firearm dealer -- an estimated millions of guns sold every year, thousands of guns sold every day, not only at gun shows, but also through private sales arranged over the Internet or through classifieds (basically a permanent, massive national gun show).  
And what that 40 percent means is thousands of guns every day could be, and too often are, falling into the hands of criminals, the dangerously mentally ill and domestic abusers, like the man responsible for this weekend's tragedy in Wisconsin. A judge had handed him a restraining order and then he went out and bought a gun over the Internet without any background check.  And, unfortunately, stories like this are not unusual, and they are all just as preventable. 
Dan Gross is right. Why are so many people who shouldn't have guns getting them anyway? Because we let them. We are doing nothing to stop them. In fact, we encourage people to buy guns in America. We make it as easy as possible. It's easier to buy a gun that it is to vote in America. What a sad sate of affairs. The Wisconsin shooter was technically not a law abiding gun owner because if he had tried to buy a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer, he would have been turned down. But our laws allow people to buy guns without background checks from unlicensed private sellers. It is not illegal for these kinds of sales to take place. The NRA has made sure of that. This man should have been arrested but wasn't. We need better laws regarding threats by abusers. That is why the Duluth model, started by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, is so important.

As long as this is the status of our gun culture, we will continue to have incidents like the next one on my list. A racist Oregon man who had too much to drink brought his AK 47 to a construction site where Hispanic men were working. I'm sure we will eventually learn whether this guy was a law abiding citizen being stupid and dangerous. This is the problem with our gun culture. Too many people have guns they shouldn't have and think they should be able to use them whenever they want. When a gun is available while someone is drinking, the scenario changes in just seconds. Alcohol and guns just plain do not go together. Further, do people just carry AK 47s around in public? Are we at war? This incident reveals the cavalier attitude about guns held by folks in the American gun culture. The love affair with guns for some folks leads them to think they might just use them. And use them they do. More from the article above:
Police arrested a man who they said threatened a group of construction workers with a loaded AK-47 assault rifle in Northeast Portland Wednesday morning.
Police said Charles Edward Larson, 43, went to a home near Northeast 11th Avenue and Church at around 10 a.m. and threatened the group of workers.
No one was hurt.
Police said when they arrived, officers saw the suspect in a white truck. The truck began to drive away, but officers yelled for him to pull over and he obeyed.
Officers arrested Larson without incident. He faces charges of unlawful use of a weapon, intimidation, menacing, reckless driving and DUII.
Larson was intoxicated and angry because he objected to Hispanic people getting construction jobs, according to Portland Police spokesman Robert King.
This man was lucky no one was hurt. When so many people have guns and we have such loose gun laws, we will see more and more of these kinds of incidents. Since I have been blogging, there has been an uptick in incidents like this. I am not the only one to notice this uptick. Or maybe it's that some of us are now blogging about what has been a more hidden problem, except to the victims of the shootings. And now we are calling attention to a very big national problem. Speaking of bloggers, over at the Ohh Shoot blog, a new post lists 3 more accidental and preventable shootings. One was a neighbor target shooting ( a law abiding gun owner by the way.) Luckily for him, the man he shot was only injured slightly. Another happened at a gun range ( where people should be safe, right?) A Sheriff was accidentally shot by one of his own deputies but was not injured because of a protective vest. And the last of this trio of shootings was another law abiding gun owner target shooting when a stray bullet landed in a neighbor's house causing fear and surprise but no injuries. Law abiding gun owners all.

Really you can't make these things up. So, to the law abiding gun owners who get upset when I point out how many of them are doing stupid and dangerous things, it's time for you to own up to the serious problems with guns in this country and join me in promoting common sense gun legislation. If our country is not better than this, something is terribly sick and needs fixing.


The shooter in Cottage Grove, Minnesota was a "law abiding" permit to carry holder:
On Thursday, bystanders watched in horror as Tensia Richard ran through the parking lot of a strip mall in the northwest corner of Cottage Grove near Hwy. 61 and 80th Street. Chevel Richard repeatedly fired at her with a .45-caliber handgun, shattering the glass door of the Anytime Fitness gym where the woman apparently had been exercising.
He had a permit for the firearm, Woolery said.


  1. Cottage Grove is actually a suburb southeast of St. Paul, but you are correct in that it is part of the larger Mpls/St. Paul metro area.

    The shootings of spouses/partners and the committing suicides happen almost daily, sometimes mulitples a day in this country.

    It is an extension of the idea that it is desirable to shoot someone yourself rather than rely on law enforcement and the courts where there is a problem. It is the logical extension of self-defense carried to offense, the notion that you and everyone else has some right to handle disputes themselves in a violent manner.

    I'm sure that if pressed to defend their reason for having firearms, every single gun owner who flipped out and offed someone else and then committe suicide would give the same lofty-SOUNDING excuse of self-defense for their firearm.

    No one who commits this kind of violence, even as they are doing it, sees themselves as the bad guy - not ever. EVERY one of these people - mostly men - saw themselves as justified in what they were doing.

    They were not. The numbers of people who use firearms to coerce, intimidate and kill others easily obtaining unlimited firearms and ammo SHOULD be sufficient as a basis to make firearm ownership more restricted. So should the number of accidents.

  2. The problem is that most of the people who post here are part of a small minority of hard core gun rights supporters, who might not even own guns. They are not interested in dialogue, they are interested in winning an argument.

    Failing that, they want to wear us down and silence the movement.

    The problem is that as more factual evidence arises to counter the pseudo-scientific balderdash which allowed for these laws to be passed which have weakened any gun regulation that existed, and works to further weaken it, people will begin to revolt.

    Even Fox News is outraged at the Montana shooting.

    Fortunately, while rewriting the Second Amendment in Heller-McDonald, the Supreme Court has allowed for strict regulation of firearms. As they said, the only thing which is off the table is a ban on firearms in the home for law abiding citizens. And we should have the ability to do a proper background check to see who is a law abiding citizen.

    Proper Background Checks on all sales and Registration of all firearms is the MINIMUM standard for gun control.

    And when I say PROPER, I mean something other than an instant check which could be horribly inaccurate (most mass shooters bought their guns legally through this system). That might take time, but I know it would save lives.

    1. Clearly no legislation that would punish the suicide murderer after the crime would be effective, and since anyone who is law abiding today could commit a crime tomorrow, a total firearm ban is the only solution that would prevent all murder-suicides by gun.

    2. Good grief, Migo. Do we have to go over this again? Gun laws make a difference. Why do you think all other countries with strict gun laws have so few gun deaths? Give me a break and stop saying that. It makes no sense. You are wrong.

    3. Laci, you say we are a small minority, but with mosy us states now ceding to the will of their constituency and passing ccw laws, i dont think the word applies and because there are sp many of us, it's high time you stopped treating us as if we don't matter. Even in Massachusetts where i live, the state that never met a ban it didn't like, ccw is increasing.

      In the 1990s, Boston was paralyzed by gang violence and the stupidity of the war on drugs. Every night youd hear of some subhuman with a gun killing another or bystander. Boston today still has its gun crime but its a fraction of where we were then

      No it was not our draconian gun laws that solved the problem. It was a combination of community support, smarter law enforcement tactics and courts who stopped tolerating thuggery.

      Enforcement of existing laws and making it very unattractive to be a scumbag accounts for the' Boston miracle,' because gangbangers don't apply for ccws.

      Oh and by.the way one can still own high capacity firearms in the Commonwealth- im spite of the fact that Massachusetts retained the Clinton era ban

    4. It was not the will of the constituency. It is because legislatures fell to NRA backed politicians who do their bidding. The majority of people do not favor the laws passed.

    5. Japete, I dont agree that the all powerful NRA has all of the legislators in their thrall. The NRA does have a powerful lobbying force because it represents millions of members, but they arent any more powerful than say various unions, AARP, VFW, ETC. Every so often, legislators have to answer to the voters for legislation they supported or not. The voters decide based on the record.
      You have but to look at states like California, New Jersey, or Illinois to see that the NRA is not all powerful. Those states have passed strict gun control measures because that is what the voters want. However in order for the measures to stay in place, the voters have to see that the laws are effective. If they dont work as promised, the voters will demand a change.

    6. They are mostly blue states. That is the difference. The Republicans are more in bed with the NRA than the Democrats.

    7. That is the whole idea behind state legislatures. They can more accurately represent the citizens. And they can more effectively give feedback to them.
      Do you consider Minnesota to be a blue state considering that the last time the state's electoral votes went to a republican was in 1972? Yet, we are a shall issue state.

    8. Since you live in Minnesota, I believe you know perfectly well what kind of legislature we have here. It's a Republican legislature that passed the Shoot First law and a Democratic Governor that vetoed it. They did not represent the citizens. There was no clamor for a Shoot First law. It came directly from ALEC and the Republican/NRA agenda. The people did not ask for it or want it.

    9. I know. Yet the same block of voters have elected Franken and Klobuchar. The US house seats are tied at four a piece. The Replublican congresscritter in my district is being challenged and current polls are showing the challenger at seven points ahead in the polls. I've spoken directly with the challenger and asked him if he supported the national DFL platform on second amendment issues and he claimed to havent read it yet. Very disappointing.
      If as you say eighty some percent ov voters want tighter gun restrictions, then there should be the potential for a big turn over at the state level if the challengers are willing to make it an issue. If eighty some percent of the voters speak up and say they want something, their elected representitive should have no fear of bucking the NRA which has a paltry five million members nationwide.
      I personally think that the dichotomy of the state's representitive demonstrate that we have citizen's voting the way they want. Especially since the state also has a reputation for high voter turn-outs in elections.

    10. Mark. Are you being rhetorical? Or are you being annoying? You know my answer in one word. NRA. Have a nice day.

  3. Howdy Japete,

    As your post shows, guns dont care who is handling them irresponsibly, be they "law abiding" gun owners or Deputy Sheriffs. The deputy in question was violating range rules when he had a negligent discharge. As the Sheriff himself said so well, "complacency kills". I can but hope the careless deputy is required to answer for his mistakes as a regular citizen would.
    As for the shooting in Wisconsin, it sounds like the ball got dropped well before the restraining order. It sounds like local law enforcement missed out on several opprotunities to intervene. I'm still not understanding how someone can be told their under arrest, refuse to submit, and then police leave. With local law enforcements recent history of handling of this case, I have to wonder if Mr.Haughton was even entered in NICS. That information can be sent in electronically, but if it's never sent in, it's a moot point.

  4. japete writes : "The shooter in Cottage Grove, Minnesota was a "law abiding" permit to carry holder:"

    Nothing in that article mentions a permit to carry? Where are you obtaining this information?

    1. You are right. This article has changed since I posted it last night. There was one sentence in the article that was on-line last night that said he had a permit to carry. That has now been taken out of the article. I will continue to check out whether or not it is a fact.

    2. japete writes: "You are right. This article has changed since I posted it last night. There was one sentence in the article that was on-line last night that said he had a permit to carry."

      All the article stated is that he had a "permit for the firearm"... except MN doesn't require permits to own a firearm, so I have no idea what the police chief was saying.

      Permit to Purchase and Permit to Carry information is private in Minnesota and cannot be disclosed - statistics are reported annually to the BCA for publication, including crimes committed by permit holders, etc..

      Your post still states that he was a "law abiding permit to carry holder".

    3. Reporters can write about it if LE reveals that info. Mn law requires a permit to purchase a handgun or assault weapon as you know. The reporter inadvertently left that info out of the article and it is not clear if it's a permit to purchase or permit to carry. More may follow. It is important public information to know if permit to carry holders are killing people.

  5. Japete, I went to the story you linked on your update and could find no mention of a carry permit. I also went to the St. Paul paper and found no mention of a carry permit there either. Though it did document his conviction for domestic assault, which should have made him a prohibited person to possess a firearm, and should have resulted in the revocation of his carry permit if he had one.
    Did you possibly get your information about the carry permit from a different source than the link you provided?

    1. No Mark. There was one sentence in the linked article that stated that he was a permit holder. The whole article has been revised since I first posted it and that sentence is no longer in the article.

    2. The quote from the article was a quote. That is how the article appeared last night. Yes, this man should have had his permit revoked. We have a broken system. That is why the "may issue" was a safeguard against people like this guy having guns. And, of course, he could buy guns from unlicensed sellers with no problems at all- no background checks.

    3. This man shouldn't have ever had a permit in the first place; that is where may issue is superior to shall issue - law enforcement should have been able to deny him a permit; it would be even better if law enforcement could deny him gun ownership.

      That would require for real effectiveness that all private sales also go through checks to see that no prohibited person be allowed guns, from any kind of sale.

      There is no guarantee that would have prevented this murder, but wihtout a gun, it would have been much, much, much harder to be as lethal, and to commit suicide so as to avoid accountability for an attempt.

      That is what it will take to keep innocent people free from this kind of violence and lives of intimidation.

      We should be grateful he didn't kill the two kids as well, as so many of these murder suicide men do.

  6. dog gone writes: "This man shouldn't have ever had a permit in the first place; that is where may issue is superior to shall issue - law enforcement should have been able to deny him a permit; it would be even better if law enforcement could deny him gun ownership."

    Minnesota law allows the sheriff to refuse to issue a permit if s/he believes that there "exists a substantial likelihood that the applicant is a danger to self or the public if authorized to carry a pistol under a permit"

    There's been no official word on whether or not this individual had a carry permit or not... and since that information is confidential under MN law, we'll see what surfaces next year when the 2012 BCA report on MN Carry Permits is issued.