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, December 9, 2012

Woolery foolery

I happened upon a video made by game show host and conservative/libertarian Chuck Woolery. When I first saw it, I thought it was satire and mockery. But as I watched, I realized this guy was for real and spouting the far right's crockery. It represents all the usual and specious talking points coming straight from the NRA. The video promotes the sale of assault weapons, the reasons to fear your own government, and why the guns shouldn't be banned or regulated. I wonder who paid Woolery to "star" in this video? (For that answer, be sure to watch the #6 reason for why people should own assault rifles.)

Here it is now. Do check out all the urgent reasons why folks like him absolutely need and must have their assault weapons.




Don't you love the patriotic music? And the clever optics? Catchy. You've got to love Chuck Woolery sitting with an assault rifle in his hand. I particularly liked the endorsement from the rapper Ice T, not exactly a role model for an upstanding citizen. Tyranny? Really? To refute just one of the many falsehoods and specious arguments in this video, here is the fact about the Yamamoto quote:
Advocates of gun rights often argue that in World War II Japan was deterred from invading the U.S. mainland by a fear of American citizens with guns in their closets. They frequently quote Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto as saying: "You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass."
But this quote is unsubstantiated and almost certainly bogus, even though it has been repeated thousands of times in various Internet postings. There is no record of the commander in chief of Japan’s wartime fleet ever saying it.
How do we know? We contacted Donald M. Goldstein, sometimes called "the dean of Pearl Harbor historians." Among his many books are "The Pearl Harbor Papers: Inside the Japanese Plans" (1993) and the best-selling "At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor" (1981). He is a professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. He told us the supposed Yamamoto quote is "bogus."
Given this, why would anyone believe the rest of the myths in this video? Woolery states his arguments with such conviction that no one could refute them, right? He states them as facts. But then, he is an actor and a game show host. I'm sure many of the gun rights extremists believe what they want to hear and hear what they want to believe. Fact checking the claims in this video is easy enough. Just for one, the National Firearms Act of 1934 refers to regulations on only certain types of guns like automatic machine guns. The original NFA of 1934 is now void. What is left of the original 1934 NFA is not an assault weapons ban by any stretch of the imagination. Unless, of course, you believe that only automatic machine guns fit the definition of assault rifles. That is where the disagreement is between the NRA and most of the rest of the country comes in. As we all know, assault type weapons are readily available at gun shows, gun shops, on the internet and from private sellers all over America ( who don't ask the buyer to go through a background check). They are even more available now that Congress let the Assault Weapons Ban sunset due to extreme pressure from the NRA.There was a good reason for the AWB. But the gun guys still love to claim that the weapons banned are just ordinary weapons used every day by themselves and their compatriots. If anyone thinks a grenade launcher is just an ordinary weapon used or needed for hunting or self defense, raise your hand. You can buy one if you want to here and other places. But I digress. If it's true that the military is the only entity that uses the term assault rifle to refer to a certain type of gun, not to be confused with assault weapons  (made up by the left) why do gun shops (like this one) advertise guns as assault rifles? Why do Walmart stores sell assault rifles?

The truth is that too many Americans are being killed by assault type weapons every year. Many Americans are killed by handguns and other guns that fire bullets as well. Even shotguns made for hunting are weapons used in homicides. The murder of a Minnesota police officer was due to a shotgun injury to his face. Another recent shooting by shotgun was a tragic hunting accident involving a Nebraska father shooting his son in the back of the head. So all guns are capable of injuring and killing people. That is their purpose. And kill they do. 32 Americans die every day from gun homicides. In total 80 Americans a day die from gun homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. When that many Americans die for the same reason or from the same disease or accident, we all put our heads together and try to do something about it. We've done so with smoking, second hand smoke, auto accidents, drunk driving, breast cancer, colon cancer, crib deaths, influenza, etc. So why not look at the problem of easy access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition by too many people, many of whom have mass murder on their minds? (See Aurora, Colorado theater shooting) ( See Tucson mall shooting) ( See Sikh Temple shooting) (See Columbine shooting) Suffice it to say that Woolery's opinions on the subject of assault weapons are not expert opinions. He is trying to convince his audience that assault weapons are not bad and that they need to buy and own them. Follow the money. Raise your hand if you think he presents compelling reasons for the need to own weapons designed for wartime use and to kill as many people as possible.

But speaking about disagreeing, you should not disagree with a far right gun guy who believes in the apocalypse, as the woman in this incident did, and then got shot. From the article:
An argument over the likelihood of a zombie apocalypse becoming a reality ended with a woman getting shot in the back by her boyfriend.
According to Nassau County Detective Lt. Raymond Cote, 26-year-old Jared Gurman of Long Island had an "ongoing debate" with his girlfriend Jessica Gelderman, 27, about whether AMC's The Walking Dead could play out in real life.
"He feels strongly about the possibility that some military mishap could occur. She thinks it's ridiculous," Cote told reporters. "She was not taking him seriously or taking the show as seriously as he does."
In the early hours of Monday morning, a text exchange between the two became heated, and Gelderman went to Gurman's apartment to calm him down.
However, Gurman, who greeted her with a .22 caliber assault rifle, refused her efforts to defuse the situation, and as soon as she entered the apartment, Gurman shot her in the back.
"Her injuries are a shattered rib, a pierced lung, a pierced diaphragm and she is in serious, but stable condition," Cote said, noting that Gurman drove Gelderman to the hospital himself.
Police arrested Gurman at the hospital and charged him with attempted second-degree murder.
So this gun nut actually believes in a zombie apocalypse and used an assault rifle to shoot his girlfriend when she disagreed with him. Apparently, that's one reason that an assault rifle is necessary, according to Chuck Woolery and others like him. You just never know when the zombies are going to show up and end the world as we know it.

Common sense tells the majority of Americans that this is Woolery foolery. It's the NRA's mythical and hyperbolic thinking.  We are better than this.

UPDATE:

Here's another entertainer who has weighed in on guns. On Nov. 26th, singer Willie Nelson put his toes in the water concerning assault weapons on CNN's Piers Morgan show:
Five months from his 80th birthday, the man with more than 60 studio albums to his credit says he grew up around guns and has no problem with hunting. In his mind, however, high-powered assault rifles are an entirely different discussion:
"I don't know what I would do with a gun that would shoot 100 times," Nelson tells the "Piers Morgan Tonight" host. "I don't agree with that. I think it should be more regulated. I think a lot of guns - there's no need for civilians to own those. Those are for military."

23 comments:

  1. You said " If anyone thinks a grenade launcher is just an ordinary weapon used or needed for hunting or self defense, raise your hand. You can buy one if you want to here and other places."

    Remind me again where you can buy the grenades for these? I am sure you have the figures on how many people have been killed in the US by these grenade launchers? Would you mind sharing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/957371_Grenades_for_sale_in_Phoenix.html

      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101227213931AAdMto0

      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100125183257AA8kGdq

      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110327160626AAoUNdr

      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_civilians_buy_grenades

      http://www.nevadashooters.com/showthread.php?t=20381

      Delete
    2. Actually the person in Phoenix was convicted of selling fake hand grenades. Sort of like the people that sell fake drugs.
      http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/04/08/20100408men-sell-hand-grenades-sentenced.html

      Actually the ammo for sale is available on the link Japete used in her article. It's only training and practice stuff, smile, and illumination rounds. All cost a lot and you still have to pass the same background check as for a fully automatic weapon and a $200 tax per round.

      Keep in mind, that in World War 2, the standard battle rifle issued to soldiers was a semi-automatic rifle with an internal eight round magazine. The venerable M-1 Garand.

      Delete
  2. "Specious talking points" is right. The one that kills me is that we "blame the weapon." They must think this one is cute, they say it so often. It shows their intellectual dishonesty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. japete writes:"They are even more available now that Congress let the Assault Weapons Ban sunset due to extreme pressure from the NRA.There was a good reason for the AWB."

    Which was what exactly? Because the DOJ's own studies show that the ban did nothing to the crime rate. The ban focused entirely on cosmetic aspects that did nothing to make the weapon more powerful.

    And since you've claimed several times that you're not in favor of confiscation, I'm really unsure what a ban on manufacturing is going to accomplish...

    "But the gun guys still love to claim that the weapons banned are just ordinary weapons used every day by themselves and their compatriots."

    The AR-15 is one of the most popular hunting rifle in a number of states, including Minnesota. It's one of the most popular competition rifles. It's one of the most popular rifles in general - I see hundreds of them on the days I volunteer at our club when it's open to the public.

    "If anyone thinks a grenade launcher is just an ordinary weapon used or needed for hunting or self defense, raise your hand. You can buy one if you want to here and other places. But I digress."

    How many crimes were committed in the last 40 years with grenade launchers? Each round is a NFA weapon, requiring a $200 tax and registration with the ATF.

    I suspect zero, but I'm sure you have that data.

    "If it's true that the military is the only entity that uses the term assault rifle to refer to a certain type of gun, not to be confused with assault weapons (made up by the left) why do gun shops (like this one) advertise guns as assault rifles? Why do Walmart stores sell assault rifles?"

    I can't speak for their advertising, but I know why Walmart sells them - they are highly popular with most shooters."

    "The truth is that too many Americans are being killed by assault type weapons every year."

    What exactly is your definition of an assault type weapon?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comments are only asking for me to repeat what I wrote in this post.

      Delete
    2. Hunters who feel a need to hunt with AR 15s must think of themselves as "Rambo".. There is absolutely no need for AR 15s for hunting. There are many other hunting rifles that the majority of hunters use. It's only you gun rights extremists who insist that AR 15s are for hunting.

      Delete
    3. japete: "Hunters who feel a need to hunt with AR 15s must think of themselves as "Rambo".. There is absolutely no need for AR 15s for hunting. "

      There's also no need for the new Twilight movie, or the latest Bond movie, or to drive anything more than a Ford Fusion... I'm not sure why need has anything to do with it?

      Are you proposing that AR-15s be restricted for hunting purposes?

      Delete
    4. Going to movies doesn't kill people. Oh, I forgot, it actually did in Aurura, Colorado. We all know why that happened.

      Delete
    5. Japete,

      The problem with letting someone decide what you do or dont "need" introduces the risk of governments making decisions that increase their power over citizens for the sole reason of making it easier for them to be in charge.
      There really isnt any impartial documentation that I've seen quantifying crimes committed using assault weapons. The first challenge is actually defining the term. Currently there seems to be no set definition with states defining them as they see fit. The FBI doesnt seem to track them and get classified as a rifle of a pistol depending on the information sent to them by local law enforcement.
      Some states like California have been changing their assault weapon law frequently to plug "loopholes" that result from people reacting to their laws in order to stay legal. In fairness though, California does actually track crimes committed using assault weapons as defined by their state law.
      Currently assault weapons seem to be an unknown percentage of the approximately 414 homicides committied in 2011. I got the number 507 from all homicides committed with a rifle,included a percentage of the unknown firearm homicides and other gun homicides. And it comes to somewhere less than 5% of all firearm homicides.
      Keep in mind also, that even if you ban assault weapons, since there arent any reliable numbers to start with, there is no way anyone can really determine if the law is effective.

      Delete
    6. Since we do know that a number of mass shooters have and most likely will use weapons of this kind to kill people, we have one way of tracking gun deaths with the weapons. Even 5% of homicides is 5% too many for me. Nothing will stop all shootings but talking about the role of assault type weapons, if they can be defined to everyone's satisfaction ( a big IF) then perhaps we can get somewhere. As to the government deciding what people "need" I think that's a bogus argument. What if you decided you needed to drive a car with no seat belts or air bags. You would be operating the vehicle illegally since most states ( if not all) have mandatory seat belt laws and sell only cars with these safety devices. Why? Because we have learned that saving lives through these measures not only has the result of keeping people from becoming victims but it saves on health and auto insurance payments and rates. The same is true for other products that are regulated for good reasons. Guns should be treated in the same way but they aren't.

      Delete
    7. Actually there are exceptions to seatbelt and airbag regulations. Some are work related, and of course, if the car didnt come with seat belts (pre-1965), then you arent required to wear them.
      Which would mean that if a new assault weapons ban was enacted, it would be much like the last one where there are pre-ban weapons available for legal sale. Unless you were suggesting some form of government confiscation of the pre-ban weapons.
      Then we could possibly see a reversal of the perceived transport of illegal weapons, instad of weapons traveling south, they would travel north from Mexico.

      Delete
    8. Not suggesting anything at this point. Some of your friends are sure zi'm coming for their guns. Pure hyperbole and speculation-just like your suggestion here.

      Delete
  4. Japete, the link you provided for grenade launchers has nothing to do with any piece of Assault Weapon Ban legislation in existence. Those are all NFA regulated Destructive Devices. Look at the pictures. They are stand-alone weapons with their own trigger group, firing mechanism, ammunition, and barrel. They are their own weapon that can be attached to another gun to have a 2-in-1 package. So how could it have anything to do with whether the host weapon is an "assault weapon”? You can mount this to a 30-06 bolt action hunting rifle too, and it doesn’t make that hunting rifle an “assault rifle”. If you have issues with the way the ATF handles NFA items (which are a highly regulated privilege, and not a right at all), then that is a completely separate issue from Assault Weapon Bans.

    So what is meant by the “grenade launcher” text in existing AWBs? Take a look at this Wikipedia link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenade_launcher

    The first two pictures are of muzzle-fired grenades. The grenade launcher in question is what allows attachment of a grenade to the end of the barrel. It is a piece of metal usually permanently fixed to the end of the barrel, thus part of the gun, and one of the features that have been used in the past to define “assault weapons”. It effectively uses a blank cartridge to propel a grenade further than a human can throw it. It has been obsolete for a long time, but there are many collectable guns that have the attachment. Gun owners would still like to be able to buy these guns, and also stay out of prison, so it is worth objecting. Keep in mind the grenades are still highly regulated as explosive devices with all the proper licenses from the ATF- and I am not sure anyone still makes them even for military use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arguing over and nit picking about details like this ignores the larger philosophical points about whether or not these types of weapons are needed for civilian use. I contend they are not. That is the point of my blog. I have yet to see a compelling reason why these are necessary for self defense or whatever else people use these types of weapons for.

      Delete
    2. Grenade launchers were banned under the AWB. Now they are not. Why does anyone need one? Grenades are available. Grenades are weapons of war.

      Delete
    3. japete writes: "Grenade launchers were banned under the AWB. Now they are not. Why does anyone need one? Grenades are available. Grenades are weapons of war."

      Grenade launchers were not covered under the 1994 AWB. What was covered were rifle launched grenades that fired due to a discharge from the rifle's muzzle - not externally mounted grenade launchers.

      The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban referenced grenade launchers only in the context of what I wrote above - along with using the ability to connect a grenade launcher as one of the criteria used to define an "assault weapon".

      Grenade launchers themselves are regulated as destructive devices under different federal statute.

      Can you point to crimes that have been committed with such devices? Is there some trend or issue that has happened that creates a compelling government interest to change the existing statute regulating grenade launchers - which from all accounts, is working fine...?

      Delete
    4. Thanks, Bryan. I asked a question. You guys got yourselves tied into knots over it. I don't think grenade launchers are necessary no matter how they are obtained. I can't point to crimes committed with them. Most Americans don't believe they should be available for purchase under any conditions. That was my point. We disagree on that apparently. Read my post. You guys picked out one sentence and then ran with it. Can you name me one reason why someone would want one of these devices?

      Since you asked, however, I found a few things. http://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2012/09/az-mans-fake-grenade-launcher-video-gets-him-arrested.html

      This idiot thought it was funny to use a fake grenade launcher. Not funny.

      This one was in Canada-http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/08/02/bc-grenade-launcher-charges.html

      A crime ring bust in Florida turned up an anti tank grenade launcher- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1996627/posts

      Here's one in Seattle- http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/crime-law/grenade-launcher-major-drug-lab-found-eastlake-hom/nMdkW/

      Here is a case of replica weapons, such as grenade launchers, discovered by L.E.- http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_west_valley/avondale/avondale-police-sieze-25-military-assult-replica--guns--being-used-in-crimes

      This one is from Tacoma, WA- http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2012/04/rocket_launcher_propelled_grenades_weapons_tacoma.php

      Delete
  5. Dear readers,

    As always, some of my readers have chosen one sentence from my post and decided to argue about it. No more comments about grenade launchers will be posted. It is totally distracting to the main point of my post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You said "Suffice it to say that Woolery's opinions on the subject of assault weapons are not expert opinions" and then you turn around and quote a song writing doper? I am confused, if one has no validity, why does the second? Just because the second agrees with you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Ted Nugent is a song writing doper and gun guy and on the board of the NRA. Most people agree with me actually in poll after poll after poll.

      Delete
    2. "And Ted Nugent is a song writing doper and gun guy and on the board of the NRA."

      Actually Ted Nugent has been an advocate for anti drug and alchohol programs for over twenty years, while as recently as 2010 Mr. Nelson was charged with possession of six ounces of marijuana. Mr. Nelson is also an advocate for legalization of marijuana.

      "Since the early 1990s Nugent has become both popular and criticized for his conservative beliefs and his anti-drug and anti-alcohol stances. He is a national spokesman for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, advocating the "natural highs" to be found in an outdoor lifestyle."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Nugent#Drugs_and_alcohol_stances

      "On November 26, 2010, Nelson was arrested for possession of six ounces of marijuana found in his tour bus while travelling from Los Angeles to Texas"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Nelson#Personal_life

      In Texas, possession of more than four ounces is considered a felony.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for pointing out that Ted Nugent is a find upstanding citizen as far as drugs and alcohol are concerned. Other than that, what is good about him? His extreme statements border on lunacy. His gun talk is downright scary. In spite of the drug thing, I'll take Willie Nelson's statement over Ted Nugent's crazy talk any day.

      Delete