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.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear gun rights extremists

Dear gun rights extremists,

You are woefully out of touch with what Americans really think about senseless shootings. But sports commentator Bob Costas is not. He quoted this commentary last night, written by Jason Whitlock, sports writer, about the murder/suicide of Kansas City Chiefs NFL football player Jovan Belcher. From the article:
"I would argue that your rationalizations speak to how numb we are in this society to gun violence and murder. We’ve come to accept our insanity. We’d prefer to avoid seriously reflecting upon the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it.
How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?
Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead."
Here is the video of what Bob Costas said last night on national T.V. during half time of an NFL football game:

Thank you Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock. We need more people like you to stand up for the victims and to challenge the gun lobby and the gun culture they have been promoting. Enough is enough. You represent the majority of Americans who say in poll after poll after poll that common sense gun legislation is a good idea. Reasonable people understand that passing laws that would make it more difficult for people to shoot each other are a good idea. They understand that the second amendment should not be used to stop the discussion about our daily carnage due to bullets. Reasonable people get that passing some laws won't affect their own rights. Reasonable people get that keeping guns away from kids, felons, adjudicated mentally ill people, gangs, drug abusers, domestic abusers, terrorists and other prohibited purchasers is good for public safety. Reasonable people agree that laws that make it easier for more people to carry more guns in more places are not a good idea. Reasonable people understand that allowing people to shoot another claiming self defense and getting away with murder is a terrible idea. The majority of Americans are not gun owners. Only a small minority have permits to carry loaded guns around in public.

It's time to do the right thing. As a country, we are better than this. Let's get busy and change the gun culture and change the laws. When notable people like Bob Costas speak out at long last, it's possible to change the culture. When challenges are made to the current culture, things are going to change. So, gun rights extremists, your specious claims and hyperbole are not fooling people any more. You can work with the majority of us to prevent senseless shootings or you can keep up your mantra of "guns don't kill people, people do" but you will be speaking to deaf ears. We are tired of your ludicrous rants and claims and your tactics to divert us from the real problem. We are tired of the daily shootings.

Others are tired as well. Read this commentary by Mike Lupica (New York Daily News) about the shooting of Jovan Belcher. He is remembering the first victim, Kasandra Perkins- the mother of Belcher's child who he shot in yet another domestic shooting before he shot himself.
But Jovan Belcher had a chance for it all to end differently, at least for him, no matter what brought him to this moment outside Arrowhead Stadium. That is why the real tragedy here — the real victim — is a young woman named Kasandra Michelle Perkins, whom Belcher shot and killed before he ever parked his car at the Chiefs’ practice facility and put that gun to his head.
She was 22 and the mother of Belcher’s child, a child who is 3 months old, a child who will grow up in a world without parents. At about 10 minutes to 8, according to Kansas City police, Jovan Belcher put a gun on the mother of his child in a house on the 5400 block of Chrysler Ave. in Kansas City and started shooting and kept shooting. You want to mourn somebody? Start with her.
We remember Kasandra Perkins and the many women who become instant victims of domestic shootings. Guns make it easy. They are victims. The survivors are victims. I am a victim. We're all potential victims. The Chiefs players and management are now victims. When people like Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock speak up, they are giving voice to the victims all over the country who are remembering loved ones lost to bullets.

And let me add this. If you gun rights extremists want to look as crazy as you are becoming, just keep making those predictable attacks on victims and anyone who dares to speak for them. They are already coming after the Bob Costas commentary. I'm guessing that even as I write, Costas, Whitlock and anyone else who has spoken out are now the victims of ugly, rude and offensive remarks from the gun guys. Petulant, puny, insensitive and specious attacks against people who speak out after yet another senseless tragedy are ludicrous. If people shouldn't speak out about our gun culture during and after the continual shootings like that of Jovan Belcher and Jordan Davis, they would be mute. The NRA and its minions, like some who read my blog and others, would love to mute us. Shootings are happening every day. 32 Americans are killed every day in gun homicides. 80 a day die from gunshot injuries in homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. If we don't talk about these daily tragedies, then we won't have to do anything about them. And that would be just fine with the gun lobby. I submit to you, the gun rights extremists, that that is unacceptable, unforgivable and shameful. When trumped up fear about mythical gun confiscation that will never happen comes before the fear of actual people being killed every day in our communities, something is terribly wrong. It's time to right it. When individual rights trump the common good, individuals will continue to shoot other individuals. For the common good and national common sense let's get to work. Will you join me in working to prevent these tragedies or will you continue to hide behind the second amendment and let the shootings continue?


Here is the media release from the Brady Campaign/Center President Dan Gross regarding the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher/Kasandra Perkins:

Organization Re-Issues "Guns In Sports" Report in Wake of the Tragedy
Washington, D.C. - Brady Center President Dan Gross has issued the following statement in the wake of the shooting deaths Saturday of NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins:

“The Brady Center offers its deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins and everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. Even more so than the mass shootings that happen in our nation with shocking frequency, this tragedy speaks to the kind of gun violence that happens in our nation every single day -- domestic violence, arguments and suicide attempts that result in people dying because someone introduced a handgun into the equation. This isn't a debate about the Second Amendment. That has been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is about all of us, as a nation, coming together to say we are better than this, and having an honest conversation about the risks and dangers that guns pose and about what we can do to prevent tragedies."

As a result of this tragedy, as well as the recent fatal shooting of boxing champion Hector "Macho" Camacho, and the 5th anniversary last week of NFL All-Pro Sean Taylor's fatal shooting, the Brady Center is re-releasing Guns In Sports: How Guns Have Affected the Athletic Community & What It Tells Us About America's Gun Violence Crisis, which features more than 100 high-profile and everyday sports figures whose lives have been affected by gun violence.

The report is an exposé on how guns and gun violence have affected the athletic community, and some of our most beloved sports icons, including NBA MVPMichael Jordan, NFL MVP Steve McNair, NFL All-Pros Sean Taylor and Junior Seau, MLB Cy Young Award Winners Mike Flanagan and CC Sabathia, Grand Slam tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, Olympic Gold Medal Wrestler Dave Schultz, and Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.


These claims didn't sit well with the always outspoken and right-wing singer, who took to Twitter to express his vehement opposition to Costas' comments, slamming the sportscaster for blaming guns for the tragedy.
"We thought Bob Costas was smarter than that. Only fools blame tools instead of human failings. Shame Bob. Blaming guns for crime is like blaming helmuts for headbutts. WTF Costas! Uve lost it," Nugent wrote in a series of tweets, adding:
"Hey Bob Costas we all kno that obesity is a direct result of the proliferation of spoons & forks Get a clue."
Nugent is a longtime member of the NRA and is very vocal about protecting his Second Amendment rights. Following the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., this past July, the 63-year-old singer wrote an op-ed for The Washington Times, advocating for "nut control, not gun control."
Yes, Ted. We all know how credible you are about gun violence issues. Please don't say anything because when you do, you not only embarrass yourself, you diminish your own organization's credibility. Raise your hand if you think Ted Nugent has more credibility to speak about the shooting than Bob Costas. Also raise your hand if you think Nugent's remarks lend anything useful to the discussion. His boorish remarks should be distasteful to all who view them.


There is so much going on with this incident that it's hard to keep up. Many are writing, blogging and tweeting about the Costas remarks. I have been reading numerous articles about it, mostly on the side of congratulation Bob Costas for starting this national conversation. But some folks are dealing in myth about gun violence, as always. Media Matters has called them out in this article:
Lott disputed that the presence of a firearm had anything to do with the murder-suicide, writing, "Even if no weapon existed, the strength differential is so large that Belcher could have easily killed [his girlfriend Kasandra] Perkins in any number of ways."
Lott's attempt to take guns out of the equation was the latest effort by right-wing media to silence the discussion of gun violence in the wake of Saturday's murder-suicide. It is also at odds with research about the relationship between gun availability and gun violence.
As Forbes contributor Rob Waters noted, the presence of a firearm drastically increases the lethality of domestic violence incidents. Using statistics compiled by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Waters wrote that, "If a gun is used during a domestic violence assault, there's a 23-fold increased likelihood that the victim will die. Women who are victims of domestic violence are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm."
There are quotes from the research. And then Lott weighs in again with this ridiculous statement that reflects the mythical, ludicrous and flawed thinking of the gun rights extremists:
Turning to Belcher's suicide, Lott wrote in his column, "There are so many ways that Belcher could have killed himself, including crashing his car at a high rate of speed into a wall or even another car as he drove to Arrowhead Stadium." Citing his own research, Lott also wrote, "The research by economists overwhelmingly shows that gun ownership has no impact on suicide rates."   
This is also false. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that having a gun in the home significantly increased the risk of suicide. Furthermore, individuals with a firearm in the home were much more likely to use the firearm to commit suicide than to attempt suicide by other, often less successful, methods:
What? Is he serious about the car thing? In what world is he living? To even make that statement demeans what really happened here and the tragedy of easy availability of guns in our culture. Thank you to Media Matters for providing the facts and highlighting the fact-free statements of many in the gun rights community. Come on. Let's deal with reality and stop with the hyperbole. Attempts to mute this discussion are failing.


  1. "Reasonable people get that keeping guns away from kids, felons, adjudicated mentally ill people, gangs, drug abusers, domestic abusers, terrorists and other prohibited purchasers is good for public safety. "

    Perhaps I've missed something in the news, but can you tell me which one of the common sense gun laws you favor would have prevented this? I often hear you mention that many people who kill are previously law abiding gun owners. Can you share what your solution to this challenge would be?

    1. No need to go into that Mark I have stated what I think about that. You know what I am talking about.

  2. And if oj Simpson didnt possess a knife, Nicole brown and ron Goldman would still be alive today.

    Judging by the.enormous backlash directed at costas by thousands of ordinary Americans for trotting out the corpses of belcher and his girlfriend, it would appear again that this majority you speak of is a myth.

    The concern should be directed at head injuries and the overall thug culture that plagues the NFL. Simpson. Burress. Vick- all scumbags, all punks held aloft as heroes in a pointless bloodsport, worshipped by morons every Sunday and Monday

    Their misdeeds do not represent me or the majority of law abiding ccw holders. Bob costas, fox sports and the nfl fo not speak for me anymore than they have a say in the free exercise of my rights

    1. I should have known you would add another ugly remark. That is what I predicted. If I were you guys, I would stay quite. Your remarks are not well received nor are they shared by the majority. I remind you that about 2% of Americans have gun permits. You are NOT the majority. The fact that the ugly remarks sent to Costas are the "majority" as you put it, is just because you are the trolls who hang around ready for the attack. Please stop. Your remarks are not relevant. There are real people being shot to death every day. How about a little compassion? Is that even possible for you guys?

  3. Dear PitBullAngel,

    Take your irrelevant and ludicrous comments somewhere else. They won't be published on this blog.

  4. Well, to use the tired old cliche--guns are tools.

    Yes, they are. They are tools used for killing or seriously injuring people. They make it far easier for someone who is weak, or just doesn't want contact to seriously injure another person.

    Isn't that why you lot are so enthralled with guns--their lethality and lack of contact with the person who is being shot?

    Using a knife or other weapon requires that someone actually be in contact with the other person. The fact that there is actual contact also means that attack can be countered.

    I found this on morbidity of knife wounds:
    J Trauma. 1989 Jan;29(1):99-101. The injury potential and lethality of stab wounds: a Folsom Prison Study. Walton CB, Blaisdell FW, Jordan RG, Bodai BI. Department of Surgery, University of California, Davis.


    The morbidity and mortality of stab wounds is unknown since much of the data is unobtainable. Folsom Prison, a closed system with respect to population at risk and medical care, represents a unique situation where all stab wounds and subsequent care are accounted for. A retrospective review of stabbing incidents at Folsom Prison identified 751 wounds in 270 prisoners. Overall mortality was 3%. Thirty-five per cent of the victims were hospitalized. The overall chance of serious injury, defined as an assault victim requiring more than cleansing and suturing of his wounds, was 25%. The most common procedures were tube thoracostomy (performed 36 times) and celiotomy (performed 31 times). We believe that this is the first study of its kind involving a closed population to accurately assess the overall morbidity and mortality of stab wounds. The 3% mortality and the 25% requiring a procedure beyond suturing reflects the low injury potential long clinically suspected in stab wounds.

    Quite frankly, if you were interested in lethality, then you would consider these other options that you mention as causing more deaths than firearms.

    Yet, you don't.

    That says quite a bit for the lethality of firearms.

  5. Funny, but Nugent was pretty adamant about neglecting his obligation to serve in Viet Nam:

    Short version:
    In a 1990 interview with the Free Press Ted Nugent explained how he intentionally avoided the draft:

    “He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment.”

    Consider the source when it comes to Nugent and Patriotism.

    It's pretty obvious he only shoots at things which can't shoot back at him.

    I'm going to seriously wonder about Mark if he starts defending Nugent.

    1. Hi Laci,

      I dont recall having ever defended Mr. Nugent. And from what I've heard from him he likely doesnt think he needs any assistance in that area.

      "Isn't that why you lot are so enthralled with guns--their lethality and lack of contact with the person who is being shot?"

      The reasons I use a firearm for self defense are the same as those for police officers. They are the most effective means to stop an assailant who means you harm. The operative word is stop. If that means he decides to run away, then I've been successful.
      As I've said here fairly recently, if someone develops an effective nonlethal alternative to a firearm, I'd be happy to switch. My standard for effectiveness is when it works well enough that law enforcement replaces their firearm for the nonlethal means as their primary weapon.
      As for your suggestion that one of the attractions of a firearms is the lack of contact of the one being shot, I'd be happy to agree. My purpose is to defend myself and my family. And that's all. And I dont believe that I'm under any obligation to engage in a "fair fight" with someone who initiates force, any more than a police officer is.
      Knives arent effective weapons for stopping a fight. If they were, you'd see police officers using them.

    2. I would suggest that your use of a firearm is different from that of L.E. Not only do they have to defend themselves from sometimes law abiding gun owners but from criminals, mentally ill people, domestic abusers, drug abusers, gangs, etc. but they also are there to protect the public from harm. That is their job, not yours. And don't tell me that trite thing about officers not obligated by law to protect us. If you find an officer who doesn't think he/she isn't there to protect us when we are in trouble, raise your hand. Interestingly, the gun guys told us during the debate about CCW that if we let more people carry guns in public, we would all be safer. So you are saying that's just not true. You are only going to protect yourself and your family. Apparently we were fooled by the rhetoric.

    3. "The research by economists overwhelmingly shows that gun ownership has no impact on suicide rates."

      This statement by Mr. Lott would appear to be true. The United States ranks 38th in the world for rate. While Japan, which has as close to a total ban on firearms as you can likely make it ranks 7th.
      Again, there appear to be other determining factors besides firearm ownership in the area of suicide. As is noted in my source, there isnt uniformity in when the data was collected.

    4. Apples to oranges Mark. We are discussing gun suicides on this blog. But you knew that right?

    5. "Not only do they have to defend themselves from sometimes law abiding gun owners but from criminals, mentally ill people, domestic abusers, drug abusers, gangs, etc."

      Those are the same people I defend myself against also. With some limitations. It isnt my job to chase down and apprehend criminals. If they leave, then I'll be happy to call the police and let them do the chasing.

      "That is their job, not yours."
      Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming by your statement that you believe that I should completely delegate any use of armed defense of me or my family to the police. And I'm not going to say anything about legal obligation. I agree that everyone pursuing a career in law enforcement wish to do good deeds.
      Lets however talk about real life in that the police are only human and can only be in one place at a time. Where I live, that can result in a half hour wait. In fact, I'd get a quicker response from the local fire department. What if however contientious they are, they're just a bit too late. Much like being trained in first aid to render aid until help arrives, I use defense methods to keep people safe until help arrives.
      And I do have both a legal and moral obligation to protect my children.


    6. Do you live in this much fear all the time, Mark? I feel sorry for you having to be so fearful at all times. I, too, have a responsibility to protect my children. I guess it's legal and moral. I took very good care of my children without any guns except hunting guns. I wonder how they ever grew up? And they are taking very good care of their children without guns in their homes. They have security systems and dogs. So far that is working out quite well for them. It actually works out pretty well for the 60-65% of homes that don't have guns in them. How do people live from day to day without their guns I wonder?

    7. "Do you live in this much fear all the time, Mark? I feel sorry for you having to be so fearful at all times."

      On the contrary, I'm not fearful. Any more than having first aid supplies implies an unreasonable fear of injury. Or a police officer carrying his weapon off duty.
      Everyone chooses their own path in the area of child rearing and lifestyle. I'm not a dog person and cant own one where I live. The same with a security system, though you could say that I'm the security. My training is comparable to a police officer's.
      It also for the most part works out well for the 35-40% of homes that do have guns in them.
      I'm sure you think that if their security system never goes off, your kids will be quite happy. But they still have chosen to get one.
      As with them, I'll be very happy if I never have to use my firearm for defense, a sentiment shared by most police officers I might add.

    8. Their security systems won't kill them or their children on purpose or accidentally- big difference. If you can't have a security system, do you live in a secure apartment building? But you are not a police officer. You are not doing the same training as a police officer. I'll take the police officer over you.

    9. What is your definition of a secure building? It has a door that opens with a key, and tenants can buzz people in from their apartments. No more secure than my locked front door.
      Again, I dont have to chase bad guys, only secure my family. You dont have to take me. Each of us has made that choice and are good with it.

    10. I don't have to take you??

  6. japete writes: "The NRA and its minions, like some who read my blog and others, would love to mute us. "

    No one is interested in muting you. I'll defend your right to speak out as much as you like - in fact, I would encourage you to do so.

    I find it interesting though that groups like the Brady Campaign, Protect Minnesota, CSGV, and others routinely delete comments from their facebook pages, block folks from following them on twitter, and ban them from their pages.

    Doesn't seem like much of a conversation going on in that case.

    "When trumped up fear about mythical gun confiscation that will never happen comes before the fear of actual people being killed every day in our communities, something is terribly wrong."

    You have repeatedly proposed a ban on assault weapons and "high capacity clips" - and two organizations that you are affiliated with (Protect MN and the Brady Campaign) propose the same.

    You've also stated that there's no reason individuals should have .50 caliber weapons and large amounts of ammunition.

    Are you saying that there would be no confiscation of said weapons, large amounts of ammunition, and "clips"?

    1. Dear Bryan, When we receive ugly and offensive comments, that is not discussion. Those folks are blocked. When all people want to do is harass and even threaten and leave racist and misogynistic comments, we block them. Wouldn't you? Oh yes, that's right- you gun bloggers mostly just comment amongst yourselves so you don't demean each other and attack victims. That's just on our sites. No confiscation, Bryan. I'm saying it. Where did you get that idea? Indeed, there is no reason for an individual to own a .50 caliber. Give me one good reason.

  7. japete writes: "When we receive ugly and offensive comments, that is not discussion. Those folks are blocked."

    All sorts of comments are blocked. Factual arguments against the positions of these organizations, attempts at reasonable discourse around the effectiveness of proposals, or just general discussion. It's blocked constantly and individuals are banned from those pages simply for disagreeing.

    There's plenty of evidence with screenshots and such out there around this sort of behavior.

    That's not much of a "national conversation around gun violence" is it?

    "No confiscation, Bryan. I'm saying it. Where did you get that idea?"

    Good. I'm glad to hear it.

    Since you won't be proposing any confiscation, I assume we'll see the same sort of impact that the 1994 Assault Weapons ban had on crime? Even the DOJ's own research showed that it had no impact.

    So what's the point in such laws then?

    "Indeed, there is no reason for an individual to own a .50 caliber. Give me one good reason."

    They're already legal. There's no need to demonstrate a need. You're the one proposing changing the law - what's your compelling state interest in banning them?

    And if you ban them, what would you do with the ones that are already in private possession?

    1. For pity sake Bryan. Get over yourself and calm down. I said what I said. Screen shots? Great. Of course, I don't have any of those of my own of some things said on my own blog or others that require us to kick people off. What's the problem? Why do you want to be on those sites so badly? You don't want discussion. You just want to argue and harass. Have a nice evening.

  8. I agree with this page. The gun rights advocates are complete crackpot extremists, and after the latest school shooting in Connecticut, I really can not read their lunatic posts without feeling nauseous. For starters, one doesn't even need to get into the obvious reality that no amount of guns in the hands of citizens is going to overpower the sophisticated technology our military uses. Second, the actual amendment to bear arms is taken completely out of context with what it's intentions were. The right to bear arms calls for a well trained and regulated militia, it does NOT provide for armed mobs of vigilantes. Back then, the distinction between militia and police was non existent, and even today certain countries do not have an armed police force, at least not armed with firearms. As far as I know, the amendment was drafted during Shay's Rebellion, which involved armed mobs of vigilante's. So it's the exact opposite of what it's being taken as. "Domestic threats" as stated in the second amendment refers to people like gun rights extremists who threaten violence should their guns be taken away, NOT the government. Aside from that, I don't even need to get into all this, because it's irrelevant. This is the 21st century, and we've come a long way from the single shot muskets used back then. You'd think common sense would cancel out the need to even mention this, but extremists lack common sense. You can't talk to these people, you will never be met half way. The majority of this country supports gun control and most would support a gun ban, the extemists will be dealt with properly should they act on their impluses when their guns are confiscated. I'm sorry, but it's utterly disturbing how people can be so passionate about guns, and so out of touch with all the lives lost due to guns. In closing, I'd also advise people not to engage extremists who bring up "dirty bombs" and "poisoned water supply" or other made up tactics they propose criminals will just resort to without guns. It is asinine. The fact is, 20 little children are dead in Connecticut because this kid had access to guns. Not because he poisoned the water supply, or planted a dirty bomb in the school, but because there were guns in the house. If somebody gets hit by a car at an intersection, nobody says "well let's just take down the traffic lights because people are going to continue to get into accidents regardless". That's nonsense. We don't invent problems before they occur as an excuse to do nothing about the problems that do occur and continue to occur for the same reason. That is the response mentality of an extemists and should be ignored.