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, December 18, 2012

Only in America

Only in America could a video like the one below be produced. It's too sad to think that it's even necessary for someone to make this video but because of our loose and crazy gun laws, this is what we will see. Please watch:

This video reflects the views of the majority of Americans. Today, political leaders and media personalities have publicly admitted that they have been wrong about their views about guns. One even apologized. Here are just a few:

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), an NRA A rated politician proclaimed that he was ready to do something about gun legislation. See below:

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Joe Scarborough, MSNBC host of Morning Joe, gave this moving statement in which he changed his mind about his views on the need for gun laws. Please watch it here:

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Senator Mark Warmer (D-Virginia), an NRA A rated politician, says that he is ready for a change:
“I must have had a half-dozen people come up — Colin Powell actually,” Warner said. “People were just coming up and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to [do something].’”
Warner declined to elaborate on what Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state, had said.
Warner said he hoped that the massacre would serve as a “game changer” on guns, as he put it in a tweet.
“I hope and pray that this won’t just be a flashpoint and then recede into the quagmire of legislative non-function in Washington,” he said. “But I think you’re gonna see — at least I hope — there are an awful lot of folks who, like myself, who’ve got an A rating from the NRA that are willing to say, ‘Enough.’ We’ve got to find a way that you can responsibly own firearms in the country but put appropriate restrictions on some of those tools of ... mass killings.”
Senator Yarmouth, Democrat from Kentucky apologized for his silence on the issue of common sense gun legislation:
“I have been largely silent on the issue of gun violence over the past six years, and I am now as sorry for that as I am for what happened to the families who lost so much,” he said in Louisville news conference during which he called for “meaningful action.”
But while Yarmuth publicly endorsed greater gun control, other Kentucky and Southern Indiana lawmakers — most Republicans — were reluctant Monday to take a stand, either sidestepping the issue or refusing to comment altogether.
He's sorry, as he should be. Many of our elected leaders should be sorry. How can they look parents in the eye and say they refuse to talk about reasonable gun control? How can they look parents or anyone for that matter, in the eye and say they refuse to do anything because they are beholden to the NRA. Only in America would this be the case. Only in America have we let NRA lobbyists write our nation's loose gun laws. It's too sad for words. It has caused much mayhem and the senseless deaths of children and adults. The list is growing as the public has expressed its' outrage and common grief over the Newton Connecticut massacre. It is well past time for the public to rise up in outrage. It is well past time for the lock on discussion about gun laws to be unlocked.

The NRA took down it's Facebook and Twitter pages after the horrific shooting on Friday. Why? What could they possibly have to say that makes any sense? Walmart took Internet ads down for the sale of the Bushmaster rifle. From the article:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, on Monday removed a website listing for a semiautomatic assault rifle similar to the gun used in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
Adam Lanza opened fired in Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday with a Bushmaster assault rifle and several high-capacity magazines, according to police, who said the weapon belonged to his mother, the first victim of the shooting rampage.
Some time on Monday, Walmart.com removed a listing for the Bushmaster Patrolman’s Carbine M4A3 Rifle; the move was first reported by The Nation magazine.
A Wal-Mart spokesman said the gun was never available for purchase online, only at some of the retailers’ stores, but would not comment on why the chain removed the website listing, which included customer reviews.
The rifle was still available Monday for purchase in Wal-Mart stores, including a supercenter in San Marcos, Texas, according to a clerk there.
Wal-Mart’s decision comes as some pro-gun advocates in Washington expressed a change of heart about the need for more gun restrictions following the country’s latest mass shooting, in which 28 people died, including 20 children.
Democratic Sens. Harry Reid, Joe Manchin and Mark Warner, all longtime supporters of gun rights, all came out Monday in support of discussing new gun laws.......
Who wants to be known as the store that sold the assault weapon used to kill young children in a future school shooting? Walmart knows it has to protect its' image and protect its' bottom line. Just follow the money. And yet, some are still trying to argue about things that no one is buying. They think teachers should be armed. Republican Florida Rep. Louis Gohmert stupidly thinks arming teachers is the answer. Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that having guns is necessary for an armed revolt against the duly elected government. Really, he said that. From the article:
The reptilian executive director of Gun Owners of America, last seen telling gun control advocates “they have the blood of little children on their hands,” argued that we are “less free without automatic rifles,” and need to stay prepared.
Matthews, who loves nothing more than hurling himself through cracked-open doors like this, was all too happy to oblige with a “prepared for what?”
Pratt: “To take on our government. [And this] government has gone overboard.” He continued that it’s time to take action “when elections are stolen.”
Does this mean that the Gun Owners of America’s 300,000 members are preparing to revolt?
Good question. Mike Huckabee tried to walk back his ludicrous comments blaming the lack of religion in our schools for the school shooting:
Fox host and former governor Mike Huckabee attempted to walk back his comments linking a lack of religion in schools to Friday's tragic shooting in Newtown, CT. But while Huckabee now claims that he did not suggest "prayer in schools" would have prevented the shooting, he indeed seemed to imply that religion in schools could have done as much in his remarks on Friday.
On Friday, Huckabee responded to a question about God from Fox host Neil Cavuto by linking the removal of "God from our schools" to mass school shootings.
On Fox & Friends Saturday, he attempted to clarify his comments, saying, "Yesterday, I was on Neil Cavuto. He asked me, you know, where was God? I said, you know, we've systematically removed him from our culture, from our schools. Well, I've been barraged by people who have said that I said, well, if we just have prayer in schools, this wouldn't happen. That's not my point."
What was the point, Mike Huckabee? What did you really mean? From the video in the linked article:

Ah, now I understand. Or do I? From the article:
Yet while Huckabee now claims that his initial point wasn't that "if we just have prayer in schools, this wouldn't happen," Huckabee told Cavuto on Friday, "We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?" Huckabee concluded his remarks by saying, "Maybe we ought to let [God] in on the front end and we wouldn't have to call him to show up when it's all said and done at the back end."
Whatever. If this makes sense to you, raise your hand. And now we can see where the NRA is going in response to the Connecticut school shooting. A Minnesota Representative, known for his far right views on most issues, thinks Minnesota teachers should be armed:
Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, said Monday he will propose arming teachers so they can stop school assaults like that in Newtown, Conn., on Friday. He knows his idea won't get far in next year's DFL-controlled Legislature, but he wants his point of view discussed.
"They can talk about all the gun control laws they want to, but nothing really in the laws that have been passed will stop a guy like this," Cornish said. "The only thing that will stop it is a bullet."
Cornish said he would allow teachers to volunteer to carry loaded weapons in their school rooms, after undergoing stepped-up training on how to deal with Connecticut-style assaults.
His idea follows the gun-rights concept of fighting gun-violence with freer access to guns. He said in these cases, the damage has already been done before the police get there, even when they arrive instantly, as was the case in Newtown.
"What I'm proposing is somebody that's already there," he said.
He added that the Connecticut assailant knew the school was a "gun-free zone" and there would be "nothing meeting him in the form of resistance." He added, "If he would have thought that the teachers would be armed ... this person would have been very wary of being shot. He probably would not even think about it."
Heather Martens, head of Protect Minnesota, a gun-control organization, said Cornish's idea is "nuts." She said it is based on a "fantasy" of gun-rights activists that such carnage can be stopped by having more guns on the scene.
She noted that the assailant's mother herself accumulated weaponry under the theory of self-protection, and then became the first victim of her son's rampage.
"She was an accomplished shooter and gun collector," Martens said of the mother, Nancy Lanza of Newtown."She was at home where all of her guns were ... She was the first person shot to death.... If the theory works at all, you would think it would work for her."
She added, "It doesn't work. There's no instance of that kind of saving-the-day happening in a mass shooting."
Nuts indeed. Martens explains further:
Martens said in such instances, a teacher's job is to lock the door and protect the children, not to go out in search of the shooter. And she said in this case, the teachers would have had to have assault rifles to match the shooter's firepower. (...) "The difference between our solutions and those kinds of solutions," she said, referring to Cornish, "is we believe in preventing the dangerous person from getting the gun in the first place." 
Let's prevent the shootings in the first place. Arming more people is not working in America. What the gun lobby and the NRA lobbyists are saying now is just plain nuts. The public does not want excuses. The public does not want to arm teachers. The public wants action to prevent shootings. The public wants our nation to practice common sense in protecting our communities from senseless acts of violence. All you have to do is read the daily and almost hourly commentary from Democrats and Republicans alike. The commentary coming from the gun rights extremists is almost nill and what they are saying is irrelevant and nuts. The public wants common sense. In America, we can and have acted to prevent the public from deaths and injuries. This NewYork Times piece about the success of M.A.D.D. in changing public policy concerning drunk driving is instructive for what's coming for gun legislation:
But the experience of other countries puts the lie to that argument. In Australia, in 1996, a man killed 35 people in the course of an afternoon rampage. Australia soon went from having relaxed gun laws to having tough gun laws, including such common-sense measures as character witnesses for people who want to own a gun, and the purchase of a safebolted to the wall or floor. There are still plenty of hunters in Australia, but it hasn’t had a mass killing since.
South Africa may be an even better example. For many years, South Africa was a country every bit as gun-soaked as America. I have a friend, Greg Frank, a hedge fund manager in Charlottesville, Va., who lived in Johannesburg during a time when it had become so crime-ridden that people felt the need to own guns to protect themselves. He, too, owned a gun as a young man: “I made the excuse that I needed it for self-protection.”
The guns didn’t make anybody safer. People who were held up while waiting at a red light rarely had time to pull out their guns. And the fact that so many homes had guns became an incentive for criminals, who would break in, hold the family hostage, and then order that the safe with the guns be opened. “Everyone knew someone who had family or friends who had experienced gun violence,” he said.
Finally, he says, people got fed up. In 2004, the laws changed, requiring annual relicensing, character witnesses and other measure to keep guns out of the wrong hands. There was also an appeal to voluntarily surrender guns.
“I took my gun to the police station,” recalls Frank. “The cop receiving it wrote down the serial number, took my ID, and I was gone. It felt transformational, like a huge weight off my shoulders.”
It will for us, too, when we finally get serious about stopping gun violence.
It's time to get serious. Murdering small children in cold blood is a serious matter. We all know that, as a country, we are better than this. For God's sake, let us move now to prevent future horrific acts of terrorism and violence against our children. Americans have every reason to expect that we are going to protect our children from bullets. Americans should expect their leaders to do better and to do something now. We have waited for far too long while elected leaders have been bowing to a strong buy mythical special interest group. It's past time for that to change. The voices of common sense are becoming louder. It's ridiculous that it took the heinous murder of 20 small children to make them listen to the voices that have been calling for years.


And yet another ridiculous has been has entered the fray regarding gun policy. Raise your hand if you think Sarah Palin has anything cogent to say about anything. But here is what she said after the school shooting:
"Those who let themselves be terribly disappointed in political leaders as they ignore real problems, aided along with a complicit media bombarding us with irrelevant distractions in order to avoid facing the reality of a fallen culture, should know those distractions are to hide from a finger pointing to the main contributors to much of our problem. To stop distracting would result in acknowledging the political and media machine's starring roles in our failing society. So, as they too often tear down those who try to do good, while elevating and celebrating corrupt selfishness, they dumbly assume we don't know it is they who significantly contribute to our upside down world today. We've learned our lesson. Don't put your hope in Hollywood or Washington. Instead, build resolve and seek truth more aggressively than ever at such a time as this."
And then raise your hand if you can make any sense of the above statement. Really folks, you just can't make this stuff up. It's time for Sarah Palin to sit down and be quiet.


And yet another idiotic statement from the far right (James Dobson) blaming abortion and gays for the shooting:
Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I'm not talking politically, I'm not talking about the result of the November sixth election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.
I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn't exist, or he's irrelevant to me and we have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences, too.
And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the scripture and on God almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that's what's going on.
Again, you can't make this stuff up. Go away James Dobson. Be quiet. There are other "preachers" who have made statements found in the linked article. They should all go away. Every time they open their mouths, more embarrassing and shameless remarks come out.


  1. More Satire:

    Huntsman and NRA member Budd Hobbs said: “Normal guns are fine for deer but I’m actually after the Jersey Devil, a sort of bear/bat/wolf hybrid from popular American mythology.

    “When that mythical chimera is charging at me I won’t have time to reload. So if they found my bloodstained boots next to some massive three-toed footprints, it’d be those peacenik Democrats to blame.

    “You can’t argue with that logic, can you? Especially as I’ve got an assault weapon.”


  2. Why aren't Adam and Nancy Lanza's names included in the list of those killed in Connecticut?

    1. Do you think we should include the name of the shooter on the list? He was a victim in a way but his name should be mentioned as little as possible. The names of the children are more important to remember.

    2. I tend to go with keeping the assailant seperate from the victims. And while the assailant's mother was also what I consider to be a real victim, I would think the parents would find the inclusion of the shooter to be repugnant.

  3. Japete, I think we have a rare point of agreement. The shooter does not deserve to be recognized. I have taken to referring to his ilk as the "VT Shooter" and such. I think the media should stop splashing their pictures around as well.

    Its not like the olden days where you had 100 replies to your posts. Course most of us were arguing with you, but hey.

    Do you think we should use the little bit of bipartisan interest in solutions to try to hammer something out on mental health before we descend into full on gun arguing? If the politicians turn to guns first, the bickering will start and a lot of political capital expended and a lot of mutual interest in solutions given up in the bickering.

    I know you might want to have this fight now (that really isnt an insult, you are a partisan for your cause), but is it best for the country to? Isnt there enough mental health and social fish to fry that could help before we descend into the inevitable fight between our respective sides?

    1. We must have the "fight" now before the next group of little children are massacred by someone with an assault rifle. No, I don't think we should delay it until we've had the discussion about mental health. They can both take place at the same time. There should be no controversy about either of these if we truly care about saving lives. By the way, Republicans are against the ACA which will provide coverage for people who may need medical care for their mental health problems. In America we pay little attention to mental health as a medical diagnosis and disease. It is and should be funded and treated as such. But because no one wants to pay for it, the services are woefully inadequate. The same is true of public school funding. We need more school Psychologists and Counselors. No one wants to fund them. If we put our money where our mouths are, we could make a difference. The same is true with gun policy. We would totally irresponsible as a country if we put off the debate about gun policy. We've been fighting about it for years now. It doesn't need a lot of discussion. It just needs to happen and I am quite confident that it will.

  4. "Cornish said he would allow teachers to volunteer to carry loaded weapons in their school rooms, after undergoing stepped-up training on how to deal with Connecticut-style assaults."

    I'll have to go with Mz Martens on the main problem with this. An additional problem with going out looking for an active shooter is that most departments enter as a team to provide security. While teachers could easily learn this they would be seperated in the danger area.
    The assailant in this latest horrible shooting defeated the locked front door to enter. In the military, an obstacle that isnt covered by fire isnt effective. That is what happened in this instance.
    So put an armed security person at the entrance. They can double as the person who signs visitors in. Lock the door, lock down the kids, and the guard is there to cover the door.
    While preventing the assault before it starts would be great, in reality you need to be prepared for when it isnt prevented.

    1. Thank you Mark. There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea. But I don't like the idea that our children have to pass through an armed guard on their way into the building. Where are we living anyway? Are we at war? Good grief.

    2. First off, there is a huge cost to gun violence--and paying for armed guards in Schools is going to add to that whalloping cost.

      I read that the basic cost for treating a gunshot wound is around $30,000, with the average figure being around $300,000. Now do the math if you have around 100,000.

      That's just the medical treatment.

      This is where the "pro-gun" argument is a total failure-it costs far less to have the prevention than it does to deal with the consequences of gun violence.

      In fact, the topic of gun crime is the only one where dealing with the consequences, rather than trying prevention strategies, is practised in US criminology.

      Basic fact--prevention costs less than does actually dealing with the results: especially if there is no attempt at prevention.

    3. Japete,

      Some schools already have police officers assigned to them. How is this any different? And it doesn't have to be a uniformed guard. I worked for a number of years in corporate security as a plain clothes guard.

  5. Good discussion, but like many of the blogs and articles I've read this blog focuses on the problems, now how solutions might work and if they would work at all. I've started my own blog to start talking about this - from the prospective of a responsible gun owner.
    Check it out:

    1. Thank you. I do suggest solutions on this blog. I don't know where you get the idea that I don't. We welcome reasonable gun owners and we work with them on many things, including crafting wording for legislation. They come with us to hearings and speak out. I hope you will, too.

    2. Yes you do have solutions discussed, but they seem to be dwarfed by current events. I'm sorry if you took offense to that. I am trying to start my blog to a) let people get a glimpse inside the mind of a reasonable gun owner (hopefully I'm not in the minority) and b) to discuss the realities of existing laws and how we could tweak them to make our families and others safer.

      I don't want to talk about putting more guns into schools, having concieled weapons permits issued by the millions or other contravercial topics that have more of an emotional arguement attached to them.

      Thanks! and would you consider linking to my blog?


    3. I believe there are a lot of you out there. Polling data tells us this over and over and over. As to existing laws, I am interested in hearing more about what you think could be done to tweak them. And then we can discuss new legislation to fix what's wrong with our existing laws. As to your blog, I think I would like a bit more information about you and what you intend if you don't mind. You can see that I have lots of people here who want to take me and my blog down and hate what I do. I am regularly demeaned and attacked here. Many of the comments I receive are not published. So forgive me if I am a bit hesitant until I know more.

  6. Help me buy back guns and get them off the street. Any donation will help, please do your best.


  7. Ive been telling folks in my circles that if you have family members who are mentally ill, consider what’s at stake when keeping firearms around versus the good of the community. I’m not saying give up your weapons, but if you cannot honestly say that your security protocols will prevent access to that sick family member, either get rid of your weapons or for God’s sake, get that family member the help they need. You have a responsibility to get that person into some form of civil commitment or seriously reconsider owning guns. Lives and our very freedoms are at stake – now is not the time for pride or for denial.

    Going forward, I too hope never to hear again of a shooting of this magnitude. I know that the last 10-15 years has seen enormous gains in Second Amendment rights and am committed to maintaining those victories. The eyes of the nation are upon us though, and as gun owners, it is essential that we commit to not only being in the discussion, but that our contributions come from a position of strength and wisdom. With strong, aware comminutes and organizations that are willing to take their leadership role responsibly, there is absolutely no reason we should be in a position to lose freedoms while maintaining the shared goals of safety and security for all.


    1. Thanks, Max. I hope that means we can do the right thing without a nasty battle.

  8. japete,

    I must congratulate you. I never thought you could do it but in merely one week you have virtually ended the sales of scary weapons and normal capacity magazines. There doesn't seem to be a scary weapon, a magazine or any ammunition for sale on the shelves of any store or online. I am impressed.

    The NRA is gaining new members at around 8000 per day. How much higher are the Brady Campaigns gains?

    Again, congratulations on your achievement.

    1. All organizations working to prevent gun violence are gaining members by the thousands every day, I should congratulate you for that. We've never seen anything like the amazing support we are getting both in membership and in contributions. But why in the world should you be so cynical and mean spirited as to congratulate me about something this horrible? You should be ashamed of yourself for even bringing it up. I'm so over your mean comments and your insensitivity. If you can't be more sensitive in the face of the horrific shootings, then don't say anything here. I am not in the mood for your comments.