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.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The case for President Obama on issues

I ran across this great article about guns and the 2012 election from one of my favorite writers- Sanjay Sanghoee who writes for the Huffington Post. From the article:
Gun control has always been a no-win issue for Democrats. After all, with 90 firearms for every 100 Americans, it is clear that gun owners form a very large voting bloc in this country, and given the passion with which a lot of them love guns, and the extremism with which some of them interpret the Second Amendment, it is obvious that any politician who advocates gun control is gambling with those votes. As a first-term president with a lot on his plate, including a massive economic crisis, spiraling healthcare costs, rising oil prices, explosive unrest in the Middle East, a catastrophic oil spill, and congressional gridlock, not to mention a reelection campaign, it is no wonder that Obama opted not to add this particular issue to his agenda.
But a second term is a different story.
If Obama wins in November, he will be in an unusually powerful position to take on the NRA and the issue of gun control in a way that has not been seen in more than a decade. With no more campaigns to fight and with two of his biggest commitments--the economy, which is gradually recovering, and the Affordable Care Act, which is firmly in place--under control, the president will be free to take action on this matter with boldness and reason. His balanced view on guns ensures that he would only push for reforms that are critical to protecting the safety of Americans -- such as banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and restricting the sale of unlimited amounts of ammunition -- and leave the core of the "right to bear arms" intact so that citizens can continue to protect their homes and families. This will net him the valuable moral support of the wider public and give him a true mandate to restore sanity in our society.
The reality is that after the recent string of massacres, starting in Colorado, America is getting extremely tired of senseless shootings, and even more tired of the reckless attitude of gun rights advocates who choose to ignore the gun violence sweeping our nation. Not only is the NRA's campaign to glorify guns irresponsible, its opposition to even common-sense gun laws like background checks is blatantly unpatriotic and dangerous. It gets away with this sort of recklessness because of the vast sums of money at its disposal, which it can use for misinformation campaigns and lobbying -- and because of the lack of political will in Washington to tackle gun control. 
Exactly. So I have been at work since yesterday and will be until election eve, on the Obama campaign's Get Out The Vote efforts. It was a rewarding day yesterday. We had a record number of enthusiastic volunteers come in to our staging location to go out door knocking. We had an office full of people making phone calls. I just don't see an enthusiasm gap for Democrats. There are an awful lot of myths out there that get in the way of common sense. The one that Sanghoee talks about has to do with what I wrote in my last post. That would be about the NRA and its' mythical but disproportionate affect on elections. Yes, we understand that there are a lot of guns and gun owners out there. But we also know from consistent polling data year after year after year, that Democrats and Republicans alike support reasonable restrictions that won't affect law abiding gun owners' ability to buy guns, to shoot them for hunting, for sport or even, if they so choose and God forbid, for self defense. Even gun owners and NRA members agree with this. We can also understand that the reason our country has so many senseless shootings is because we have so many more guns and gun owners than almost any other civilized country not at war. And our gun laws do not address major problems with our system of too easy access to guns, the type of guns and ammunition too easily available to just about anyone, and too many guns carried in too many public places by too many people, for just a few. It is no coincidence, then, that we also have so many more shootings and so many more dead people as a result.

I believe that President Obama is going to win this election. I believe that gun control will not be the first thing on his agenda. I believe that he is willing to have a reasoned discussion about the issue. I believe that any discussion going forward under the second term of President Obama will not be what the NRA insists it will be. President Obama recognizes some truths. There is a Second Amendment. There are rights. But he also, like most reasonable people do, recognizes that with rights come responsibilities. I know, and I believe that in their heart of hearts most gun owners know, that no one is going to try to take any one's guns away or ban their guns or take away their rights. That is the fear, paranoia and hyperbole spewed by the extremists in the gun lobby.

If this election has told us anything, it is that the extremes just do not appeal to the average American. People are turning away from candidates who are making crazy statements about rape. They don't want to hear a young woman called a slut just for standing up for women's health issues.They don't want to hear the lies about Chrysler sending all Jeep production to China. They don't want to be told they belong to the 47% who don't take responsibility for themselves. They don't want to be told that women can't make health care decisions for themselves. They don't want to hear that women would go backwards regarding equal pay for equal work. They don't want to hear that the Republican party is trying to stop people from voting or keep people who have different sexual orientation from exercising the rights the rest of us have. They don't want to hear that the millionaires and billionaires amongst us pay a lower tax rate than than they do. As Vice President Joe Biden has said, they are tired of the "malarkey" in politics. And certainly, they ( and all of us) don't need to hear the lie that the NRA's very own Wayne LaPierre continues to foist on the minions who hang on his every word:

Nonsense. Let's just get down to the real issues and stop the hyperbole. It's time to have serious discussions about serious issues. It's time to think about the human suffering caused by poverty, by domestic violence, by actual rape, by natural disasters, by the under regulated banking industry, by bullets, by inadequate or no health care, by lack of jobs and so much else. As a country, we are better than this.

I believe what Sanghoee says at the end of his linked article ( above):
But I view Obama as the type of man who does not intimidate easily and who, once he decides to do so, could really give the NRA a run for its money. Anyone who doubts this should remember how he won the battle on health care and the ferocity with which he pushed it through in the end, despite the machinations of the Republican Party and the insurance companies. Whether you like Obamacare or not, the president's mettle on that was undeniable.
The NRA knows this and also knows that, should Obama get four more years, he is likely to take on gun control and put a serious dent in the group's efforts to bully America into submission. That is precisely why the organization is going after him now, and why it's worried that he might win on Tuesday. It may be an unintentional compliment, but the NRA has revealed its own belief that Obama is a tough president who can get things done, and in the process, given all of us another reason to vote for him.
And that, dear readers, is what has the NRA so twisted in knots over the re-election of President Obama. As for me, I will be working hard to get President Obama re-elected. He is the man who will lead us into a better four years after leading us out of a fiscal disaster which was no fault of his own. So, I will telling people why I believe they should vote for President Obama. And I believe I will be celebrating his victory on Tuesday night. I am a big fan of Nate Silver who writes the Five Thirty Eight blog for the New York Times. Here is a recent article about his predictions:
Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t. If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public.
Please go vote. Exercise your right to vote while before the far right tries to take it away as they are attempting in Minnesota. Vote against extremism. Vote in favor of common sense. Our lives and vitality personally and as a country depend on it. 


  1. As Sanghoee points out, our President has a real chance of changing the daily carnage of gun violence. The NRA knows this, and their efforts to arm everyone indiscriminately will be impeded. At last, pro-criminal efforts such as the NRA's will be put to an end.

  2. To be completely fair, Mitt Romney would sign any gun bans your side could dream up. He already signed into law the most restrictive ban in the nation in Massachusetts. In fairness, he has *done* more for your cause than Obama has.

    Would you support Romney for president, based on that topic?

    FYI - as you know, I am very conservative. Therefore, I have not voted for Romney nor for Obama. My vote was cast for Gary Johnson. I point this out so that you can know I have no motive in this other than my stated curiosity.

    1. No, I would not support Romney no matter what he said about guns. As you can see, I care about a lot of other issues like women's right, health care, the environment- all of which Romney is an abysmal failure.

    2. And you are wrong about Romney and guns. He would do the bidding of the NRA because he was bought and paid for by them.

  3. Howdy Japete,

    It sounds to me like you're suggesting that the President will be realizing gun owners' fears by wanting to further restrict gun ownership if he wins a second term. How can you suggest that Governor Romney would vote the way he's told by the NRA when I imagine he went against them when he signed his state's assault weapon ban.
    You seem to suggest that the NRA doesnt really have the power to warp politicians' minds that everyone seems to think. Then you seem sure that Romney is "bought and paid for" by the NRA.
    I suspect that many politicians have been "bought and paid for" many times over by more than the NRA in the hopes of being elected. Both presidential candidates opted out of the public financing of their campaigns with it's spending limits which also allowed both to take in large amounts of money from special interest groups.

    1. There are some truths out there, Mark. Romney sought and received the endorsement by the extremist NRA for one reason and one reason only. He needs the votes. He will do their bidding if he wins. He can't afford not to. The NRA does not have the power. They have convinced candidates and politicians that they do because they bully them and threaten if they don't support them or dare to cross them. Bullies win often enough but shouldn't. Yes, politicians are bought and paid for by ALEC, by the Koch brothers, by big corporations. I hate all of it. But I happen to be writing a blog about the gun issue so that's the one on which I concentrate as you well know. Citizens' United needs to be overturned. We will soon not be able to call ourselves a Democracy any more. It all disgusts me.

    2. I guess I see the special interest thing on both sides. Neither is without blame. And now soon to be former Mayor Bloomberg is becoming his own super PAC.
      Though in all honesty, if a person isnt willing to make a decision without checking the data, then perhaps we get what we deserve be it with gun legislation, healthcare, foreign trade, or reproductive rights.

    3. O.K. I'll bite. Which decision are you talking about, Mark?

    4. About any decision regarding the kind of government we get. If you make a bad decision based on advertising, you might find out something doesnt taste good. Bad decisions regarding government stays with you till the next election. Talk about a long lasting aftertaste.
      Advertising to sell your side is one thing as long as you stick to facts, but in politics there doesnt seem to be the necessity of at least telling the truth.
      Though there have never been any real limits in truthfulness in politics now, or in the past.

    5. What are you talking about?? Mitt Romney is the one who has lied through his teeth and more in this election. When several CEOs of auto companies say as much, it is a fact. Mitt Romney hasn't told the truth during this whole election or for years for that matter. The record of flip flops speaks for itself.

  4. Both candidates for district 10A have now spoken in my political science class. The DFL candidate has been endorsed by the NRA, and the Republican challenger claims to have received the highest score a new candidate can get from the NRA. I wonder if the NRA ever plays both sides.....

  5. "I wonder if the NRA ever plays both sides....."

    As in working AGAINST the interest of gun owners?

    They have been for the past 40 years or so. The NRA is neither a sportsmen's organisation or truly interested in "gun rights". It is a right wing lobbying group designed to lure single issue voters to vote against their interests.

    Could Romney work "against the interests of gun owners"? There is that possibility. Especially since the Heller-McDonald decisions have made it clear that strict gun regulation does not offend the Second Amendment.

    Of course, if that issue is truly taken out of the political mix in the US, then what other wedge issues can be used to get people to vote against their interests? And how long can you keep people ignorant that the people who talk about these issues don't really care about them, but only want your vote?

    Advertising is merely another term for propaganda. And propaganda is getting people to short circuit their intellect by use of the emotions.

    And wedge issues work on emotions, not reasons.

  6. "As in working AGAINST the interest of gun owners?"

    Actually I was referring to the two candidates for the same seat. Wondered if the NRA ever contributes to both candidates for one seat.

    You are correct, wedge issues work on emotions as opposed to reason, be they conservative or liberal issues. The same for advertising. Though another term for political advertising is free speech.
    Got the voting thing done, was hard to be informed on anything below state level since no one else seemed to want to do more than put up signs. And of course the constitutional issues. Will be very glad when tomorrow comes and things might calm down.