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, January 15, 2013

Gun lobby problem

The gun lobby has a problem. Hardly anything the various organizations are saying makes sense given the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Their previous attempts at logic are now challenged wherever spokespeople appear in the media. For instance, some groups are encouraging gun owners to go out and buy lots of guns on January 19th. This will be just a little over a month from the December 14, 2012 massacre of 20 small children. This editorial calls them out for being so tone deaf, and worse. From the article:
"Then we got word that the numbskull response by the NRA to fight gun violence by installing armed guards in every school in the country has been topped by something even more outrageous: a coalition of conservative groups has proclaimed Jan. 19 “Gun Appreciation Day.”
That appalling and heartless “celebration” falls just five weeks after 20 sets of parents in Connecticut lost their children to gunfire. The Second Amendment Foundation and others are calling on people to show up at gun stores and gun ranges — presumably with the objects of their appreciation — to protest what they call the Obama administration’s assault on gun rights.
We wish we were making this up, but even we don’t have a twisted enough imagination to conjure such an outrage.
What is it with these gun fetishists? In the most armed country in the world — with 90 guns for every 100 people — a lobbying group that convinced gun owners they have divine rights, and where civic and political leaders are so intimidated by the NRA that something as simple as a ban on the types of weapons that can massacre a classroom full of children in minutes requires a fight, we again fail to see how rational regulation equals “an assault on rights.”
Very few people are saying “repeal the Second Amendment.” In fact, one commentator did such a thing, back in 2007 following the mass murder at Virginia Tech. Walter Shapiro argued: “Looking at the Bill of Rights with more than two centuries’ hindsight, it is simply irrational that firearms have a protected position on par with freedom of speech and religion. Were Americans — liberal or conservative ... writing a Constitution completely from scratch today, they probably would agree that something akin to ‘freedom to drive’ was far more important than the ‘right to bear arms.’ ”
We urge Biden and the Obama administration to stand firm on the strong controls that they are discussing. Included in that must also be a recognition that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been without a permanent leader for six years, must be strengthened.
Is your worst-case scenario that the government is going to take your guns away? Consider parents who are living with a far-worse scenario: that a gun has taken their child away."
Heartless and cruel is being polite. The far right gun extremists are not at all polite. Here is one of their most famous Board members, Ted Nugent, again opening his mouth when he shouldn't. The linked article from Huffington Post quotes his latest ugly and offensive remarks:
Rocker and National Rifle Association stalwart Ted Nugent spoke out against President Barack Obama's latest push to address gun violence on Sunday, calling it a "psychotic" effort that would lead to the deaths of more innocent Americans.
“A person who lives by logic and studies history and tries to implement the lessons learned by history cannot begin to rationally explain the conduct of this president or his attorney general or this administration,” Nugent told conservative radio host Aaron Klein. “It is psychotic, it is crazy, it's illogical -- I believe it's clearly and dangerously anti-American, anti-humanity.”
Pot, meet kettle. Who's crazy and psychotic here? Does Nugent think he is living by logic and has studied history? Please. Just the opposite. Who in their right mind believes that Nugent is logic or a student of history? And he goes on:
He then criticized the leadership of Obama's gun violence task force, saying that putting "crazy uncle" Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder in charge was akin to "hiring [serial killer] Jeffrey Dahmer to tell us to how to take care of our children."
Nugent has frequently been on the forefront of arguments in favor of unfettered access to guns. He spoke out earlier this month regarding the Sandy Hook shooting, claiming that Second Amendment advocates would defeat a renewed push to consider gun control measures.
"There will come a time when the gun owners of America, the law-abiding gun owners of America, will be the Rosa Parks and we will sit down on the front seat of the bus, case closed," he said.
Sit down and be quiet. Running off at the mouth after 20 small children were massacred is unseemly and rude. Please be quiet Ted Nugent. Then David Keene, NRA President was on CNN saying that the NRA needed more money from the gun industry:
“One of the big questions here is who does the NRA represent?” CNN host Candy Crowley told Keene on Sunday. “You do take millions of dollars from people who make guns and who make bullets, all perfectly legal. I’m sure they’re all fine folks.”
“Actually, Sandy [sic], we get less money from the industry than we’d like to get,” Keene interrupted. “But we get some. We get more than we used to.”
“You get millions of dollars from them,” Crowley insisted. “The criticism has been out there that you, that the NRA and some other gun-supporter groups gin up this, ‘They’re going to come take your guns away.’ Because what happens, those gun sales rise. And people go out, and you sort of frighten people into thinking your guns are going away… The accusation is that you are ginning up this conversation because it helps gun sales.”
“The two people who are selling so-called assault rifles are Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein and President [Barack] Obama, not us,” Keene replied. “They’re the ones that are scaring American gun owners. It isn’t the NRA.”
A 2011 report from the Violence Policy Center determined that 74 percent — or as much as $38.9 million — of the up to $52 million corporations had contributed to the NRA over six years had come from the firearms industry. During the 2012 election cycle alone, the NRA spent more that $17 million on presidential and congressional races.
And Keene suggested that all that money translated into the ability to block any efforts to ban assault weapons or high-capacity magazines.
“I think right now we do [have the votes in Congress],” the NRA president said. “I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress.”
No, Keene. The gun dealers and gun industry in general are selling the guns. Every time there is a mass shooting, the crazed people who are so fearful and paranoid, run out to buy more guns. It has nothing to do with President Obama. He has done nothing in four years about gun violence prevention. He should have but he hasn't. It's the NRA and the GOA ramping up the fear of a Black President, calling him a Muslim and likening him to Hitler and the communists. That is what's selling guns. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, this is a travesty.

The public is not believing in this nonsense. Public opinion is changing according to this new Gallup poll. People are not satisfied with our current gun laws:
In the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, and as Vice President Joe Biden leads a federal task force that will recommend ways to curb gun violence in the U.S., 38% of Americans are dissatisfied with the nation's gun laws and want them strengthened. This is up from 25% who held this set of views a year ago, and is the highest since 2001. Still, more Americans are either satisfied with current gun laws, 43%, or think they should be loosened, 5%. (...) After a decade of little change in Americans' overall level of satisfaction with the nation's gun laws, significantly more now express dissatisfaction and want laws to be stricter. It's yet another sign that the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December have given Americans pause on the issue, at least in the short term.
The most recent and most important poll was just released by the Washington Post showing very strong support for reasonable gun laws. From the article and polling data:
More than half of Americans — 52 percent in the poll — say the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., has made them more supportive of gun control; just 5 percent say they are now less apt to back tighter restrictions. Most also are at least somewhat worried about a mass shooting in their own community, with concern jumping to 65 percent among those with school-age children at home.
The findings, which also show broad bipartisan support for mandatory background checks to purchase firearms at gun shows, came as President Obama said Monday that he will lay out specific White House proposals on gun-control legislation and executive actions this week.
Obama has pledged to champion broad new reforms in the wake of the mass shooting that killed 26, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown one month ago. He is scheduled to receive a list of proposals Tuesday from Vice President Biden, who is leading a task force on gun violence.
You can read more specifics here. Times have changed. Everything changed after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Everything, that is, but the gun lobbyists who are a front for the gun industry. But I digress. From the polling data, above, 98% of Americans believe that gun violence prevention should have at least high priority in Congress. That is almost unanimous. 88% favor background checks on all gun sales at gun shows and 67% support those same checks on all gun sales. 58% favor a ban on assault weapons. 65% favor a ban on high capacity magazines. There's much more here for us to review going forward. Disapproval for the NRA is now at 44%. I wonder why?

There will be a fight over how to keep our children safe from another massacre. But there is movement happening. I can feel a difference this time. This time, 20 little children were mowed down by a young man with alleged mental illness and access to an AR-15. The public does not want this to happen again. We can't just get used to this being our way of life. It makes no sense that nothing has been done about senseless shootings. The excuses and craziness from the far right is making it worse and will lead to a self inflicted wound to themselves. They will have no one but themselves to blame if some of their group say things like one of my readers said ( below) on a recent post:
"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."
He's suggesting that public officials should be put in jail for violating inviolate laws. Which laws? How would they put in jail? By whom? What does this sound like to you? Raise you hand if you think this is helpful to any reasonable discussion. The parents of 20 little children just lost their loved children in an act so heinous, most of America can hardly think about it without crying. And the response from the far right is to arrest public officials who dare to pass common sense gun laws? Or go out and buy more guns on the week-end that many celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday? Or get the gun industry to give the NRA even more money to fight against the national discussion we need to have. In what kind of country are we living? The American public is asking for a reasonable discussion and reasonable solutions. The insulting and dangerous comments made by some are making things worse for everyone. These are about 10% of Americans. Why should they get to decide on the laws that take care of public safety- on don't as it turns out? Here are the people who should get to decide on the future of our gun laws- the victims who know how it feels to lose a loved one to bullets. Here were the parents of the Sandy Hook elementary children today in Newtown, Connecticut:
About 30 family members took their seats on a small stage underneath a basketball hoop at one end of the Edmond Town Hall gym for an emotional press conference attended by friends, community leaders, first responders and about 150 members of the media. Many wore green-and-white ribbons. Some held hands as tears streamed down their faces. Tissue boxes were placed at their feet.
Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was killed, was the first parent to speak.
"It's a sad honor to be here today," Hockley said, her voice occasionally cracking as she spoke. "At times it feels like only yesterday, and at others it feels like many years have passed. I expect him to crawl into bed beside me for early morning cuddles before school. It's so hard to believe he's gone."
"I'm Ana's mom," Nelba Márquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old was killed in the Dec. 14 shooting, said. "A month ago I put two children on the bus, and only one came home.
"We choose love, belief and hope instead of anger," she continued. "We choose love. Love wins. Love wins in Newtown. This is a promise to do everything in our power to be remembered not as the town filled with grief and victims but as a place where real change began," Márquez-Greene said.
"Doing nothing is no longer an option," noted Tom Bittman, co-founder of the initiative and a resident whose children once attended Sandy Hook School. "We want to Newtown to be remembered for change, not tragedy." (...) 
"My wife and I have spent the last month tasked with being the best possible parents for our surviving son, Nate," David Wheeler, whose son Ben was among the 20 first-graders killed, said. "But what we have recently come to realize is that we are not done being the best parents we can be for Ben. If there is something in our society that needs to be fixed or healed or resolved, it needs a point of origin. It needs parents."
Wheeler asked parents to begin the process of change by looking inward: "I would respectfully ask every parent that hears these words to pause and ask yourself, 'What is it worth to you? What is worth doing to keep your children safe?'"
Speakers urged supporters to sign the Sandy Hook Promise and to begin a dialogue "to identify and implement holistic, common-sense solutions that will make our community and our country safer from similar acts of violence."
The group stopped short of responding directly to the National Rifle Association, which said on Sunday that it has enough support in Congress to block any new gun-control laws. "We do not have any response to that," Tim Makris, another co-founder of the initiative, said. "We need to take the time to have a national discussion."
"Some of us are gun owners," Bittman said. "We hunt, target shoot, protect our homes. We teach our sons and daughters how to use guns safely. [But] we're not afraid of a discussion about responsibility and accountability. The bottom line is we must act. We can't let this happen again."
"There is not going to be one simple solution," Jeremy Richman, father of 6-year-old victim Avielle Richman, said. He added that he and his wife have started a foundation in Avielle's honor to study "behavioral and biochemical mental health."
One thing is clear, Makris said: "We need to do something different."
Indeed. We are going to do something different. No thanks to the extremist gun lobby, things have stayed the same or become worse over the past decades. We have done nothing to prevent senseless shootings and the NRA lobbyists have made sure of that. They do not represent Americans and they do not represent their own members. This time, the curtain has been drawn away from their extremism. America is not buying it any more. We are better than this and we are going to not only have the national discussion we deserve and the families of the 20 children who were massacred deserve, we are going to do something to stop the next shooting. Enough. Let's get moving before the next set of parents have to stand tearfully in front of T.V. cameras and beg for something to change.


  1. The gun lobbies are severely out-of-step with the American people, and even with their own membership. People, including the media, are finally opening their eyes to this. I'm seeing it everywhere. The gun lobby's drive to fearmonger is creating a feeding frenzy among the extremists, but that is only hurting the gun advocates' cause.

    Consider, for instance, the NRA's newly-released target-shooting game for ages 4 and up! Released only a month after the Newtown shooting, and less than a month after LaPierre criticized the video game industry (with whom the NRA already had strong ties). Personally, I hope the hypocrisy and extremist talk from the continues. It's doing wonders for our side.

  2. Really baldr? The nra grew by hundreds if thousands since Obama started talking about laws. I suspect its going to go ballistic in the wake of new yorks infringement on the second amendment. You guys said you were about reasonable laws and what happened today was abysmal.

    You wanted to take us on? Well a fights coming now- now you're going to see where Americans really stand on the second amendment. So i wish obama well as he trots out a bunch of children who don't know any better- the time for civility is drawing to a close- get ready for open defiance and nasty legal fights.

    Like many amerucsn gun owners i was upset with tge nra ib response to newtown. I just rejoined them along with at least 30 people i know because this is an absolutely disgusting display of political maneuvering at the expense of public safety and civil rights.

    It's on.

    1. Max, Mayors Against Illegal Guns grew by at least 400,000 since the Newtown shooting and the Brady Campaign has grown by at least that much. No one wants to take anyone on. That is not what this is about. this is about saving lives. Is that what you want as well? Whose response is disgusting? The NRA's is the one that is disgusting and political posturing. I think the public agrees with that after they let Wayne LaPierre have a press event that he shouldn't have had. It was a mistake because now the public understands that the NRA does not represent what the majority of its' own members want and certainly not what the majority of Americans want. If you were upset with the NRA response, why in the world would you rejoin the organization? That makes no sense. Your definition of reasonable does not match what the public wants. And what do you mean by going ballistic? We are about what the American people have said they want. Read my latest post with the new polling data to see why the NRA is only representing a fringe group of gun owners and Americans.

    2. I did not know that there were 400,000 mayors in the US or that the Brady campaign had a membership.

    3. You are being obtuse and snarky. Who needs it? One can sign on to be a supporter of Mayors Against Illegal Guns as you most likely know. I did. Obviously many others have. In addition almost 1 million people have signed their petition to Congress. Brady has memberships, donors and supporters- lots of them and growing every day. Don't respond please.

  3. Japete,

    Maig and the Brady campaign are free to join. The NRA, GOA and other prominent groups cost money. The NRA's membership has increased 250,000 in the last month. People do not want to see their personal right to self protection reduced and are willing to pay to keep it.


    1. Are you speaking with some authority or what makes you so sure you know what MAIG, the NRA, Brady and others have seen as far as membership and supporter increases?

  4. Really good post, Japete. I wonder why the recent election results and the latest polling on gun issues doesn't give the gun guys pause. Might it be that they are as talented as is the Republican party in general at creating their own reality? That party energetically told itself that all the election polling MUST be oversampling Democrats. That was wrong. I think NRA extremists are going to be wrong this time, too. Their only hope, I think, is that their cadre of cringing lawmakers will continue (as is their right) to cringe.