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.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Inconvenient?

Is it so inconvenient for law abiding gun owners to get background checks that we shouldn't extend the current background check system to private sellers of deadly weapons? That is the claim. The very same people who claim inconvenience seem to find the time and inconvenience to buy guns from federally licensed firearms dealers in large numbers on a daily basis. Obviously this great inconvenience has not stopped gun owners from buying any gun they wish to have. It has, however, stopped millions of people who shouldn't be able to buy guns from getting them from this source of crime guns. The NRA lobbyists claims that it will be too inconvenient for buyers from private sellers to have to go to a licensed dealer to get a background check before taking possession of a gun are specious. It turns out that a huge majority of Americans live within a 10 minute drive of a licensed gun dealer. You can check it out on this great map showing the locations of gun dealers all over America. I looked at the map of Minnesota and found this:

So, if someone needs to get a gun background check, virtually 99% of Minnesotans can get in their cars and drive 10 minutes to a place where that can happen legally. As it turns out, rural areas are shrinking in population so most people live in or near a fairly good sized city anyway. If they choose to live in a rural area, they know they will have to drive some miles to grocery shop, to shop for clothing and other goods, to visit a doctor, go to a movie, etc. Is that inconvenient? If it is so inconvenient, why do people continue to do these things on a daily basis? In my area of Northern Minnesota, there are actually licensed gun dealers outside of town on the way to cabins and hunting areas. Some of these are located in fairly unpopulated areas actually. It's easy to find a licensed gun dealer

This inconvenient fact was noted during last night's hearing of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary committee hearing as proof that law abiding gun owners would not be inconvenienced by requiring them to get a background check if they choose to buy a gun from a private seller. Still, the NRA lobbyists and the Republican members of the panel didn't believe it and chose to talk about inconvenience. They also tried to make points about the second amendment and erosion of rights. The rest of the panel didn't buy it. Most Minnesotans don't buy it. Most Americans don't buy it. That is the biggest problem with the arguments of the gun extremists and those elected leaders who have bought into their talking points. They just don't work anymore after the tragedy of 12/14. They just don't work after knowing that, from an article in the Star Tribune, a woman who was prohibited from buying guns got one on the Internet with no background check and shot her ex boyfriend. That was pretty darned inconvenient. What if buying that gun had been so inconvenient for the woman that she wasn't able to get it? So the committee voted 5-3 to pass a background check bill out of their committee to the Senate floor. Whether or not other politicians will be convinced that it's just all to inconvenient for them to have to vote on a measure to keep us all safer and prevent senseless shootings, time will tell.

The fear and paranoia that were also on display again last night. From this article about the committee vote:
Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, sponsored the background checks bill.
"Background checks for all gun sales would be fast an easy," Latz told the committee. "It would be at most a minor inconvenience."
Under current law, sales between private individuals are not necessarily covered by either federal or state background checks -- as are purchases from a licensed dealer. The law would close what gun-control activists consider a huge "loophole" that allows guns to fall into the wrong hands.
The bill would apply to sales of pistols and semi-automatic, military-style assault rifles that are transferred from one person to another -- but not to private sales of traditional hunting rifles. It includes an exemption for sales between relatives. Under the bill, parties to a private sale would have to go through a federally-licensed firearms dealer, who would perform the background checks.
 "It's the proverbial catch 22," said bill opponent David Gross of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance. "It's almost Orwellian. It's frightening."
The National Rifle Association and other opponents of the bill argued that background checks among private parties are not needed, would not affect criminal use of weapons and could lead to a registration system for all weapons in private hands.  They also objected to other provisions in the bill that would give local law enforcement authorities and judges more discretion in granting permits purchase or carry weapons.
The Senate sponsor of the orignial background checks bill, Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, praised the vote as a step toward keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
"Guns aren't a distant problem in another state," he said in a statement. "They are an issue right here in Minnesota."
Good grief. Really David Gross? "It's almost Orwellian. It's frightening." This hyperbolic talking point is getting less and less traction after 20 first graders were massacred on 12/14. Let us not forget why we are dealing with gun bills in almost every state of the nation and in Congress. It is because on 12/14 the country said they just don't want to see and hear about the massacred bodies of little children, left unrecognizable after the shooting of 12/14 to the point where parents couldn't identify their bodies except by the clothing they had on when they left for school that morning. Now that's frightening and Orwellian. The NRA extremists are describing non existant and mythical problems in the face of reality and real victims and their families. Discretion by local law enforcement to stop someone they believe could harm themselves or someone else is a bad idea? Really? As Senator Latz, Committee Chair said last night, "...better to be safe than sorry." We are dealing with human lives here in case anyone has forgotten that inconvenient fact.

The Rachel Maddow show again last night, during the Minnesota Senate hearing, described new evidence about the shooting of 12/14 that should make leaders and citizens all over the country stop their trite old talking points and think about reality. See it here:


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So if we are to think it's so inconvenient for law abiding gun owners to reduce the number of bullets they can use for recreational purposes to 10 or maybe even 15, let's look at how inconvenient it was for the parents of those 20 children to have to identify their bodies. It might have been inconvenient for Adam Lanza to have to reload his AR-15 many many more times while on a killing rampage, maybe fewer children and teachers would have been killed. Just maybe, his gun would have jammed or he would have had a problem reloading. Or maybe carrying 14 or 15 round magazines would have just been too inconvenient to do. Just maybe more people could have gotten to safety. Just maybe law enforcement would have come before the 14th and 15th child or teacher was shot. Just maybe someone could have stopped him somehow. For there is no argument that 30 round magazines are necessary for hunting or self defense. There is NO reasonable argument that can be made after all the mass shootings in this country.

There is no argument that makes sense. We are now in a different place in America. The proliferation of military style weapons is out of control. The shootings are out of control. The rhetoric about violating the second amendment is out of control. Commenters on my blog keep telling me things that are simply not true. Requiring background checks on all gun sales, or in the case of the Minnesota bill, only on pistols and assault rifles, will not lead to registration or confiscation. They keep saying it. It is not true. They must believe if they say it often enough it will become the truth. They have gotten away with those arguments for way too many years while little children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends have been shot on a daily basis. We simply have to change what we are doing because it hasn't been working. We simply must pass common sense gun laws to stop the daily carnage and devastation in our communities. We simply must look at the ugly truth and the facts in the face of senseless preventable shootings. And that is what legislatures and our Congress are now doing. This will not be easy. It should be a no brainer. It should not be this difficult. It's only because of the entrenched and faulty thinking of the NRA lobbyists and leaders that this is so difficult. We know that there are fewer homes with guns now. We know that this is a minority of Americans who have managed to co-opt the conversation. We know that the second amendment can co-exist with reasonable gun laws for it already does. We know that we can save lives. Let's get to work. Enough is enough.

UPDATE:

This video is a response to the comments from NRA lobbyists and Senators in regards to the bill passed last night in the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee by Committee Chair Senator Ron Latz:




8 comments:

  1. I haven't heard anything about how this proposed law is going to be enforced. Unless the sale takes place in front of an officer, you're just counting on the honesty of the buyer and seller to go to a dealer, pay the fee he must charge to stay in business, and exchange money for firearm.
    This could be done much more efficiently by just setting up a public portal to allow individual citizens to run the background check themselves. That would remove the complaint about inconvienance. Would you have a problem with such a system?

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    1. It's not in ant bill it has not been discussed in deliberations. It's not on the table. And how do younthinkmit would be enforced?

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    2. Sorry for the typos. Any bill. How do you think it would be enforced?

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  2. Again, it would be depending on the honor of the buyer and seller to follow the rules. Pretty much the same as what happens currently in regards to private sales.

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    1. Then you are saying it could not or would not be enforced by anyone. Interesting that you wonder why the proposals now before the legislature couldn't be enforced and yet you are suggesting a measure that is unenforceable.

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  3. Some on the gun rights side think we should have the "honor system" and just let private sellers have access to the NICS with no mention of how we would enforce this system. That is what we have now. Private sellers can sell guns to anyone with no background check and often no ID or anything else. That is a type of "honor system" that is allowing people who shouldn't have guns to get them anyway. That is why we need to change the system. It's not working. In the interest of making a sale, a private seller sells guns to people who have even told the seller they can't pass a background check. We have proof of that from experiences of people who have gone to gun shows and tried out the system. We have enough videos of people with hidden cameras at gun shows to know this is the truth. We have proof when we know that killers who are prohibited from buying guns legally got their guns through Internet sales and used them to kill people ( Milwaukee spa shooter, woman in Minnesota who killed her ex boyfriend).. And yet, some of my readers still think we should use an "honor system" for private sellers. That is a hypocritical and cynical position and doesn't address the true problem. And it doesn't reflect what the majority of gun owners and most Americans want. Clearly this viewpoint is a minority viewpoint that doesn't represent reality nor does it represent any real attempt to prevent people who shouldn't get guns from getting them. I reject it. Mark, I am done with this point. It makes absolutely no sense nor is it a solution to the problem. It is just one more attempt to deny and ignore a problem. You can be part of the problem or part of the solution.

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  4. If only Adam Lanza had taken his mom's guns to an FFL for a transfer to get them transferred to a Connecticut Pistol Permit in his name after murdering her and breaking into the safe. :(

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    1. If only the weapons purchased by Nancy Lanza had been banned for purchase as they would have been if we still had the assault weapons ban. If only Lanza had had 10 rounds in each magazine if he would have if we had passed a ban on high capacity magazines. If only........

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