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, February 11, 2013

NRA revealed on the eve of the State of the Union address

I'm grateful that so many organizations are getting involved in the fight to keep our communities safe from gun violence. MoveOn has made a great video with important information about the NRA. You can see it here:

Amen. Everything said in the video is information many of us have known for years but now that others are incensed by the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, they are getting involved in a big way. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly just released a T.V. ad on the eve of the State of the Union address. Their new organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions is going to work hard to change our nation's weak gun laws. Here is the video:

And speaking of the State of the Union, many in Congress have invited victims of gun violence to the event. But not Congressman Steve Stockman from Texas. In a total "in your face" move, he invited gun extremist Ted Nugent to the hear the President's speech. Surely you remember when Nugent was investigated by the Secret Service for making threats against the President? What in God's name is Representative Stockman thinking? To say it's insensitive is putting it mildly. It's a slap in the face to the actual victims of gun violence. But these guys care not a whit about victims. It's all about them and their rights. Shame on him for even thinking this was O.K. This move represents the extreme thinking of those in the gun rights movement who believe that anything goes when it comes to their gun rights. It doesn't. This will be a mistake on so many levels and I am guessing that Stockman will not be looked at kindly by many. I, for one, am looking forward to the emphasis on gun violence prevention and I'm grateful that President Obama is resolved to do something soon. It's past time to act. Having Ted Nugent at an event of this nature is just wrong and will do more to harm the NRA extremists than any good Stockman thought would result. Stockman is out of touch with the country and his own constituents, most of whom want reasonable gun laws. He must have forgotten that over 90% of Americans favor universal background checks on gun sales and the majority favor a limiting high capacity magazines and assault type weapons.

The state of the country is not good when it comes to taking care of public safety in our communities. The shootings continue on a regular basis unabated. Doing nothing will mean shootings will continue. That is a sad state of affairs. As a vivid reminder of why the President and the nation are focusing on gun violence prevention, another shooting occurred today at a Delaware court house:
Jose Beltran, a Court of Common Pleas worker, told the News Journal in Wilmington that he was walking into the courthouse lobby when he heard shots.
"I saw two shots," he said. "I saw people going on the ground so I just made a U-turn and ran out of the building. After that I don't know what happened."
Thomas Warren told the newspaper that as he approached the courthouse entrance to report for jury duty, he saw what appeared to be the body of a man lying on his stomach.
Local and federal authorities, including agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, responded.
The courthouse was evacuated and police did a floor-by-floor search of the 12-story building to make sure there was only the single gunman and there were no more threats, Shavack said.
The shooting came on the day the police chief of Wilmington was in Philadelphia to attend a roundtable discussion about gun safety. Vice President Joe Biden, law enforcement officials and members of Congress were attending. Biden, who served as a senator from Delaware for many years, acknowledged Monday's shooting.
"Wilmington has been dealing with a murder rate that exceeds any number a city of its size should be dealing with," he said.
The city's population is 71,305, according to 2011 census figures. There were 23 murders in the city that year, according to FBI statistics.
Monday afternoon Joseph R. "Beau" Biden, Delaware's Attorney General and the son of the vice president, spoke at a news conference about the shooting.
"This is not a random act of violence," he said, but stems for a long custody dispute that "has lasted in our court system for many years."
Biden and other law enforcement authorities would not publicly name the shooter or the deceased, saying that they wanted to continue with the process of their investigation first.
The officers who survived the shooting were treated and released from a hospital, police chief William Jopp said.
Note- two armed officers were injured in the shooting. This appears to be yet another in a series of domestic shootings where a man who is angry with his spouse or partner goes after her with a gun in a public place. Others have happened in Wisconsin and California recently. This is a problem. It requires common sense measures to try to prevent this kind of shootings.

So to end, one of the best little gems of the day's news is that the NRA website has removed its' ludicrous enemies list from its' website after taking a lot of heat for it:
A controversial list of 494 people and organizations that the National Rifle Association considered "anti-gun," and which received significant media attention in recent weeks, has apparently been removed from the gun lobbying group's website.
The list was posted online Sept. 17, 2012, but on Monday, clicking on the page that once housed the list brought up a note reading "Page Not Found." The Internet archive "Wayback Machine" captured an image of the page as it looked in late January.
The NRA's "enemies list" -- which contained dozens of celebrities, as well as doctors, clergy members, journalists, Hallmark Cards Inc. and the PTA -- underscored how many influential and generally respected people and groups the NRA opposed. The roster was initially intended as a boycott list, but over time had grown to include private citizens like teachers and social workers. In the aftermath of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, questions were raised about the nature of the list.
A spokesman for the NRA, which claims more than 4 million members and has long been a powerful lobbying force on Capitol Hill, declined to comment on what happened to the list.
But it's easy to see why the NRA might have made the decision to take it down. On its face, the list gave the impression that the group was out of touch. A number of the people on it were deceased, including writer Nora Ephron and theater owner Stanley Turwood. Moreover, many of today's most visible gun control advocates, like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, were missing.
Others said their inclusion on the list made no sense. Retired game-show host Bob Barker, who was listed as "anti-gun," told Bloomberg News that he sleeps with a loaded gun next to his bed, and he donated money to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whom the NRA also backed.
At least one large company, 7-Eleven, was trying to get itself off the list, to no avail. The nation's largest convenience store chain reportedly could not get anyone at the NRA to explain why the company was on the list.
But plenty of listed celebrities were proud to have been identified as anti-gun. Sir Patrick Stewart, the British actor, wrote on Twitter that the NRA enemies list was "the most prestigious list I've ever made." Political commentator Alan Colmes wrote a widely circulated essay entitled, "Dear NRA, Please Put Me On Your Enemies List."
Good. The organization's leaders are totally out of touch with the country and even their own members.  Paranoia reigns. Who has an enemies list? Does this smack of McCarthyism? In what country and what year are we living? Here is the definition of paranoia in case you have forgotten what it really means:
1.Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.
2. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.
We are better than this.

UPDATE #1 (2/12/13) :
Another article about victims of gun violence attending the State of the Union tonight:
The victims will sit in the visitors' gallery of the House of Representatives, overlooking members of Congress as Obama delivers a speech that will spell out his priorities for the coming year, including tougher gun laws.
"It's important to have people there who have been touched by gun violence," Langevin said. "They will be able to see members, and members will be able to look at the gallery and know they are there."
Langevin is one of at least a half dozen or so members of Congress who are also gun violence victims. Some lost family members and a few, like Langevin, were nearly killed. At age 16, he was paralyzed when a bullet accidentally discharged from a police officer's gun struck him in the neck.
"What happened to me shows that despite what the NRA says, having more guns isn't the answer to keeping our communities and children safe," Langevin said.
Langevin's guest at Obama's speech is Tyrell.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi invited a fourth-grade student from Newtown after the youngster wrote her. The girl didn't attend Sandy Hook Elementary but has since become a gun control advocate.
"After the shooting in my town, I started an online petition asking for help from the president and Congress to change the gun laws," the youngster wrote.
"What everyone in Newtown wants is for you to ban semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines," she wrote.
Natalie Hammond, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary who was shot in the attack, will also attend Obama's speech as a guest of her congresswoman, Democratic Representative Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut.
Langevin and McCarthy, along with three other House Democrats, urged colleagues to invite victims in the wake of the Newtown massacre and after Obama vowed to make gun control a top priority.
"It is our hope that their presence in the House Gallery will send a strong message that it is long past time to act," the five Democrats wrote.
Gun rights extremists don't want victims to be there tonight. It's inconvenient to their message that guns make us safer to have the faces of people who have lost loved ones or loved ones injured in shootings shown at this event. Too bad. The victims will be there. They will get a lot of attention, as they should. They will change the discussion and move reasonable gun laws forward, as should happen. This, as opposed to the vile and disrespectful Ted Nugent, who will also appear as a guest tonight. Here is another article about him: 
During a radio interview on Monday Nugent said the media underestimates him, not realizing he’s a “force to be reckoned with” and he’ll “dominate them.”
"We know that the president will have the State of the Union stacked and jammed with props, children and victims of violent crime," Nugent said. "And my friends wanted me to attend to counter that the way that I do: with facts, statistics and common sense and logic and a celebration of self-evident truths. So I will be taking on the media orgy following the State of the Union address."
Stockman, who is back in Congress after a 16-year hiatus, is riding a wave of support for guns that has come since Obama announced his administration would try to make assault weapons illegal on the federal level in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“It is at the member of Congress or senator’s discretion who receives a ticket from their respective office,” said Shennell Antrobus, spokesman for the United States Capitol Police. “Invited ticketholders with proper photo identification will be allowed into the event.”
“I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House chamber to hear from President Obama,” Stockman told USA Today. “After the address, I’m sure Ted will have plenty to say.”
Props. Victims are merely props to gun rights extremists. Victims have lost loved ones. Has Ted Nugent lost a loved one to a bullet? Has Ted Nugent experienced the grief of losing someone you love in such an unexpected, sudden and violent way? Has Ted Nugent had to look at the body of a loved one after being shot? Does Ted Nugent have a heart or a soul? When things like this happen, we get to see the real agenda of the gun rights extremists. It is not a pretty picture. Let's hope our politicians get this and get it fast. Having Nugent there will be another circus and bad news for the right wing of the Republican party who will have to deal with their association with nuts like Nugent. This will not be good for the NRA lobbyists, leaders and their minions though on their blogs they are claiming that Nugent is going to smack the President down and he will dominate with the "facts." The opposite will be the result.


Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post has this to say about Ted Nugent coming to the State of the Union address tonight:
Repugnant rocker Ted Nugent declared in an interview at the National Rifle Association convention last April, “[I]f Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” As we will see tonight, neither prediction came true since he will watch President Obama deliver the State of the Union address from inside the House chamber. And we have Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) to thank for this disgraceful move.
This is Stockman’s second tour in the House of Representatives. He was part of the Republican wave of 1994 that gave the GOP the House majority for the first time in 40 years. And he was sent packing two years later. As Politico reported this week, now that he’s back, Stockman is determined to be “Obama’s No. 1 needler.”  
Members of Congress do all sorts of things for attention. But Stockman’s invitation to Nugent is reprehensible. At a 2007 concert, Nugent said he told then-Sen. Obama “to suck on my machine gun.” That was after he called him a “piece of —-.” No wonder the Secret Service made it its business to talk to him after what he said at the NRA convention. In addition to his pessimistic premonition then, Nugent also claimed that Obama was a “criminal” who doesn’t “even like the Constitution.” (...)  I don’t begrudge Nugent’s right to attend the speech. This is America. But he should not have been invited in the first place.
Repugnant. Provocative. Reprehensible.


  1. "What in God's name is Representative Stockman thinking? To say it's insensitive is putting it mildly."

    Perhaps he was thinking that since one side of the debate was politicizing the event, it would be only fair to show both sides of the debate. Though it might have been more relevant to perhaps invite victims of crime saves by personally owned firearms.
    Pro gun control organizations are making a point of using the Presidents speech to get the largest audience possible for their ads as you have shown above.
    The suggestion that inviting this one man is so much more insensitive is a bit unreasonable. It seems to be a very modest response to a coordinated for the President's party and the President himself to use the bully pulpit to push his agenda.

    1. Nonsense Mark. Every network is talking about this. It is not looking good. These are real victims of gun violence. Nugent has threatened the President. But thanks for revealing your own extremism. If I were you, I wouldn't mention any support for Ted Nugent.