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.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A message to the Republicans about gun background checks

The message to Republicans and some Democrats who are still walking the walk and talking the talk of the gun rights extremists came from an unlikely source today. Frank Luntz, Republican pollster, wrote in the Washington Post today about how wrong the Republicans have been about their messaging and their extreme language. Here is what Luntz had to say about the language regarding guns and gun policy:
"Beyond fiscal policy, Republicans need to revamp their messaging on other issues. For example, the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., offered Republicans a chance to discuss public safety — a more personal issue than “crime” — on a human level. That hasn’t happened, but it still can. Most people agree that there is a middle ground between gun-control hard-liners, who see every crime as an excuse to enact new laws, and the National Rifle Association, which sees every crime as an excuse to sell more guns. The Second Amendment deserves defending, but do Republicans truly believe that anyone should be able to buy any gun, anywhere, at any time? If yes, they’re on the side of less than 10 percent of America. If not, they need to say so."
Luntz's question is an important one and one raised on my blog often. Do the gun rights extremists really think it's O.K. for felons, adjudicated mentally ill people, domestic abusers, terrorists, minors, and others who are now on the FBI's prohibited purchasers list should be able to buy and own guns? If the answer is no, then there is absolutely no reason why every gun purchase should not go through a background check. About 60% of gun sales now go through federally licensed firearms dealers where background checks are required. What about the rest of the gun sales? No background checks required. Requiring them on all gun sales would only affect the very people we don't want to have guns from getting them. It is incomprehensible that anyone could be against this. What is the real reason?

Luntz has done some polling about this and other issues regarding gun policy. Twice, he has polled gun owners and NRA members about a series of questions concerning reasonable gun laws. And twice he has found similar results. NRA members are in agreement that requiring background checks on all gun sales is a good idea. Here is the latest of the polls:
Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released the findings of a survey by GOP pollster Frank Luntz showing that NRA members and gun owners overwhelmingly support a variety of laws designed to keep firearms out of dangerous hands, even as the Washington gun lobby prepares to spend unprecedented millions supporting candidates who pledge to oppose any changes to U.S. gun laws. The poll also dispels the myth among many Washington pundits that there is a lack of public support for common-sense measures that would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and keep Americans safe. 
Among the survey’s key findings:
87 percent of NRA members agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
There is very strong support for criminal background checks among NRA members and gun owners:
74 percent of NRA members and 87 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun.
79 percent of NRA members and 80 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees – a measure recently endorsed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry.
So can someone please explain to me what all of the whining, fussing, hand wringing, dissembling and even threatening is all about coming from the NRA leadership, its' lobbyists, and apparently a fringe group of gun owners? If you read my last post, you will see some pretty frightening behavior and statements coming from gun rights extremists. And the NRA leadership's response to Vice President Joe Biden's task force meeting the other day indicated that they are not about to give one inch and will fight any reasonable measures to save lives. Their response was sadly lacking in any respect for lives lost and the many victims of gun violence. It was reactionary and intransigent. Where is common sense?

Could the reason for this unreasonable resistance be that requiring background checks on all sales is an inconvenience? Not compared to burying your small child whose body was riddled with bullet holes. Could it be that some of these folks can't pass a background check? I hope not. Could it be that private sellers don't want to bother with paper work and the regulations that would go with the National Instant Check System? Since most businesses have to prove that they are operating in a safe and legal manner and not doing anything deemed unsafe to customers or taking advantage of customers, that would be a dangerous reason. Money? Would private sellers make less money if they had to follow procedures that licensed dealers now follow? In what way? Or do private sellers actually understand that they are selling guns to some folks who should not have them but it doesn't matter to them as long as them make a sale? That would be serious.

I believe answers to these questions should be required. There is no way forward to having reasonable discussion with people who refuse to participate in the discussion or answer very important questions. And if our politicians of either party can't answer these questions then they need to be reminded of the victims. They need to be able to look the parents of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting victims in the eyes and tell them why they won't support even this simple fix to our gun policy. There are many other suggestions that will come from Vice President Biden's task force. This one, of all of the recommendations, can surely pass in our Congress. More restrictions on the sale and ownership of assault weapons and the high capacity magazines must also be considered and also have the support of the majority of Americans. At this point, there is consensus and even broad public support for requiring background checks on all gun sales. If the Republicans in Congress and some of the Democrats who appear to be more afraid of the NRA than they are of the thousands of victims, can't come together to do the right thing, then serious questions need to be asked and the public needs to demand answers. They need to get out of their bubble and do what the public wants them to do. Time to open the bottle and read the message. Lives depend on it.


  1. I've gone through well over 30 security clearance investigations in my life. It makes sense to have this done.

  2. I am OK with background checks. I am not ok with equipment controls. I've done nothing wrong and in fact, I believe sound suppressors should not be regulated as they are actually a safety and public nuisance control device. It is a few drama queens who've made these mufflers "pornographic".

    1. Well I don't know about the "drama queens" and the pornographic stuff but I'm happy to hear you are OK with background checks. If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear. I hope it stays that way.


    2. This is heart breaking for any human with an ounce of compassion and, unfortunately, is unthinkable, yet it happened.

      People afraid of guns have every right to stay afraid and to never touch one - this is America!.

      However, the legislators, DA's, the governor, the judges and cops, etcetera, serve us and must abide by our inviolate laws, namely the US Constitution. And, if they refuse to do so, we can put them in jail where they belong.

      The main reason all of those innocent victims have died (and unfortunately others will just like them because of the same illegal laws that led to this horrific situation) is because anti-American types (some out of pathetic ignorance and some bent on abolishing our freedoms) have systematically pushed to take the inviolate rights away from segments of the population, i.e. school employees, leaving those people helpless and defenseless.

      You can’t illegally take their rights away, fail and even refuse to protect them, and then blame it on the guns. Guns don’t kill, but crazy people will look for vulnerable situations and easy targets like the ones our servants have created. This would not happen in Israel today because the people there wised up after they simply could not take the losses of their babies anymore. We even have a Constitution that prevents our children from being in this position, but we have allowed idiots to create illegal laws that led to segments of our population being at risk.

      Our founding fathers knew what they were talking about when they warned that we must protect ourselves from our servants and that we must protect our Second Amendment (inviolate rights) as when we have lost them completely, we are all at risk – the same horrible risk that these young children faced because no one around had a gun that was needed to stop the slaughters.

      Wake up America. And, for those of you that spit on our inviolate laws, know you do not belong here and you cannot think of yourself as one of us – YOU ARE NOT! Instead of fighting the freedoms that exist, you need to go form your own country and stop trying to ruin ours. You are to blame, no one else if you don't reverse the illegal anti-gun ownership/possession laws NOW that you have so blindly supported!

    3. Dear Jeff, I will not publish any more of your ludicrous comments. I only published this one as a prime example of the craziest of the fear and paranoia existing in America. Your comments, I believe, are called treason.

    4. We don't allow you to drive 90 miles an hour just because you haven't had an accident yet.

      It is clear that some equipment is inherently more dangerous and more damaging than others, and on that basis should be restricted or banned.

      The reality is that it is entirely within the rights of our government to deny people certain weapons and equipment and certain kinds of ammo, and to restrict other the way we currently restrict machine guns. It is NOT legal or ethical for citizens to put judges, prosecutors or law enforcement behind bars because you have an ill-educated and badly founded notion about law and government.

      The reality is that our freedom is not in any measure predicated on having or not having guns, it is founded on the right to vote, which too few people use who are able to do so legally.

      Expect those laws to become more restrictive and for gun ownership to become more expensive. Expect guns and related items to be taxed, and expect requirements for them to be insured.

      The cost to our economy is $174 billion with a b a year; we have no obligation to subsidize the damage from your desire to have lethal weapons; we have in fact an obligation and a duty as well as a right to regulate that more equitably.

      so long as academic research like this (and there is extensive research like this in a variety of disciplines) shows that people with guns present a greater risk to themselves and others, we have no obligation to allow them to be owned, any more than you can legally own a nuclear device.

      We're sick of people being killed with guns, and given that most of the mass shootings, and a shamefully large number of suicides, and murder suicides and accidents, especially kid deaths are from legally purchased and legally owned guns, you have no basis in whinging on about legal or lawful gun owners. Gun owners are demonstrably neither safe nor lawful, and it is reasonable to set limits to correct that, even if it means that like good drivers having to obey the speed limits and other traffic laws, you have to obey the gun laws to make us safer.

      And if you don't like it, tough. Threaten the government, or any part of it, and you belong behind bars, and will eventually end up there -- and I for one will not shed a single tear.

  3. You want universal background checks on every gun transfer? OK, then.... When one gets a license or ID at the age at which they may own a gun, a background check is done. If they are clear...they get one type of ID. If at anytime they are prohibited, then they get another, very different ID. Whenever a gun is transferred, ID's are checked. If its the wrong ID, no transfer.

    There ya go. Fixed.

  4. Good decision re: Jeff, japete.

    And yet, his unhinged rhetoric is pretty typical of extremist, NRA-type nonsense, isn't it? It's nonsense couched in terms of the constitution while at the same time claiming the right to commit treason against the government that our constitution establishes. Our constitution doesn't guarantee the right to commit treason, especially on any half-baked grounds that "gun guys" might imagine.

    And, I did get a kick out of iliberty's term "equipment controls". I ardently hope for equipment controls. That way, we might at least just see mass gun murders in the single digits like Tuscon, instead of double digits, like New Town and Aurora. That would be progress. Of course these equipment controls would also require NRA members to give up their adolescent fantasies of being members of Seal Team Six and the like. When you think of the twenty dead children in Connecticut, that seems like a small sacrifice.

    1. Good comment. And I have a CCW, live in Colorado..Wayne LaPierre is scary. I wish I had a 2nd Amendment Organization to join as I cancelled my NRA membership because of the likes of Ted Nugent and Rush Limbaugh. Any body know of that organization?

    2. I'm not sure there are other reasonable organizations to support reasonable people like you, Darcy. Maybe you should start one. The other organizations appear to further to the right of the NRA. The Brady Campaign welcomes reasonable gun owners and works with them as well.

  5. Treason?
    "1: the betrayal of a trust : treachery
    2: the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family"
    help me see it...

    1. It was Jeff Gaul's comment that reminded me of the treasonous comments of many on the right wing fringe. These extremists feel we need our guns in order to rise up against an oppressive government. They would "attempt by overt acts to overthrow the government" to which these lunatics actually do owe allegiance.

      As a practical matter, I wish them good luck (in a sarcastic way). Even a Bushmaster won't be very effective against the tanks and other weapons our duly elected government has at its disposal.

      I'm on the side of the duly constituted government of the US and its elected officials rather than the muddle-headed Jeff and his compatriots. I would never agree with their definition of what is unconstitutional. I suspect that nothing in their education, native intelligence, or experience qualifies them to be listened to on that subject. I would never agree that the place to determine what is unconstitutional is on pitched battlefields in our cities and towns. Normal, civilized people think the place for that is the Supreme Court.

      And yet, these kinds of assertions have been made year by long year by the NRA leadership and its small cadre of "true believers". This stuff is magnified in importance, of course by a large contingent of cringing lawmakers. It's just lately that the wider American public is being treated to this nonsense. I don't think they like it.

  6. "Even a Bushmaster won't be very effective against the tanks and other weapons our duly elected government has at its disposal."

    While I dont advocate for armed rebellion, I'd suggest you look at recent history to see how insurgent forces have faired against a modern military.
    We left Iraq before the mission was really accomplished due to political issues requiring our withdrawl. And intertribal violence is back on the rise.
    In Afghanistan, the insurgent forces there outlasted the Russians during their nine year stay, albiet with American assistance in weapons supply. Then there is the ten years that the United States has been there. Again, political issues on both sides have resulted in the United States providing a deadline for withdrawl of troops.
    Whether the local military is good enough to continue the fight will be discovered soon. Though I fear it will likely go the same way as Iraq.

    1. Not having a discussion about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on this post.

    2. Glad to hear you don't advocate for armed rebellion. I think the difference between the successful insurgencies in the modern era and that advocated by the pathetic collection of survivalists and hate mongers on the American Right is that the former had popular support. The latter seem to be standing alone out in right field pounding their mitts long after all the sane people have left the ballpark.