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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

NRA- not relevant any more

Yesterday, someone on one of the network programs said that the NRA actually meant "not relevant any more". This is so true but it's taking a while for this reality to catch on with our lawmakers. The public is way ahead of most of their own leaders when it comes to gun safety legislation. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, lawmakers may finally be realizing the error of their ways in acquiescing to the demands of the NRA lobbyists. The public's patience is wearing thin with the antics and irrelevant and reckless reasoning of the gun lobby in the face of continued tragedies and carnage in our communities. There is just no room any more for an organization whose only reason for existence is to assure their own leaders a job and keep an industry in business. For this industry is one that makes weapons designed to kill people. The NRA was once an organization whose purpose was to support hunters and teach gun safety to those who enjoyed shooting sports. Then something happened. As hunting waned, it was necessary to find new ways to keep people interested in purchasing guns. So the evolution of the organization led to a finely tuned lobbying group to make sure laws were passed to get guns into the hands of more people and to fight against any reasonable laws to prevent senseless shootings. It seemed to be lost on these people that saving lives was more important than pushing a product that kills people. The use of the second amendment as a crutch and an excuse to stop anything that would lead to safer communities and fewer gun deaths is cynical, reckless and self serving.

But after 12/14, everything changed. As I have said many times before on this blog, the curtain has been drawn aside and the NRA lobbying mechanism has been exposed. For too many years, Wayne LaPierre and his colleagues and minions have been given a pass by the media and politicians who care more about re-election than public safety. The public is not buying it any more. When even Montana gun owners are asking their Senator Max Baucus to vote in favor of background checks, you know that the NRA's influence is waning. See the ad here:

The NRA has not only fostered ludicrous fear and paranoia amongst some of its' members and some of our lawmakers but they have interfered with other important things that could save lives. And let's remember that the organization's numbers are small compared to those who favor a reasonable background check bill. Let's look at this recent article from the New York Times about the lack of funding for adequate monitoring of gun shops by the Alcohol Tobbaco and Firearms agency:
One of the cynical arguments that Senate members recently invoked in ducking their responsibility to enact stronger gun controls was that the government first needed to enforce laws already on the books. The hollow, Catch-22 reality of this position has been underlined by a new inspector general’s report pointing out that a severely understaffed and underfinanced federal firearms agency failed to inspect nearly 60 percent of the nation’s 125,000 licensed gun dealers in the last five years.
The report did not point out that Congressional opponents, obeisant to the gun lobby’s demands, have imposed various hobbles on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to impede its performance. A 1986 law, for example, generally bans the bureau from making more than one unannounced inspection a year at a gun shop. Congress has made it more difficult to revoke the licenses of offending dealers, a process that can now take up to three years. Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked White House efforts to name a new director of the bureau, and Congress has denied the agency the right to a central database to better track crime-scene weapons.
One result is that suspect gun dealers who fail to comply with such basic law as buyer background checks go undetected “for many years,” a time in which they continue to sell guns, the report noted. A particularly alarming problem is the inability to track 174,679 firearms reported missing or stolen from gun dealers’ inventories from 2004 through 2011, a lucrative channel into the black market that should be a red flag about unscrupulous dealers.
So we have an opportunity to deal with "bad apple" gun dealers but we are not doing so because of the insidious influence of the NRA lobbyists and leaders. This is unacceptable. Common sense tells us that there is something wrong with this situation. If we could make America safer, why wouldn't we? I guess you would have to ask your lawmakers about this one.

Next, let's look at technology that could make guns safer. That, too, is put on the back burner or halted because of the NRA lobbyists. Let's take a look at a recent article about that one here:
The Smart Gun was well on its way. Over the years, prototypes went from having to be plugged into a computer to fire to being wireless and operable at the same time, all of the sensors and DGR gadgetry tucked away neatly into the grip of the pistol.
“We were at the last, literally the last drop in the gas tank of federal funding,” Sebastian said of a 2008 demo. “We were about to declare victory and show it off. We had an entrepreneur who was interested.”
But, things just never seemed to work out. Gun manufacturers, some say, weren’t willing to take the risk of investing money to push it to the next level and available government funding was shifted to other destinations. Though interest in smart gun technology overall has been rekindled following the massacre of 26 people, 20 of them children, in Newtown, Conn. it’s hard for Sebastian to expect it to last, given the project’s history.
Sebastian thinks NJIT is on the verge of a breakthrough, despite not having the funding, or interest, from gun manufacturers. He said he believes the school will have 25 handguns equipped with DGR ready for field-testing as early as this year. It works and will work when tested outside of a controlled environment, but what DGR needs is a face.
“My personal opinion is the only way this technology will be adopted is if it’s placed in the hands of people who will be icons (for personalized weapon technology), the military, police, Secret Service,” he said.  
Count Carole Stiller among those whose recollection of smart guns in New Jersey has clouded over a mostly fruitless decade. The president of the state’s chapter of the Million Mom March, an organization aimed at promoting stricter gun control measures, Stiller remembers great initial support for smart gun technology that eventually waned along with financial support for its development.
She said she’s still hopeful that the technology will be implemented in the near future, but noted that the development process seems to be hampered by the public’s short attention span. Whenever an accidental shooting, especially one involving children, is reported, there’s an outcry for more stringent gun safety measures. Soon, unfortunately, it’s all forgotten. Groundswells fade.
The next time a child picks up a loaded weapon and accidently fires it we’ll have the same discussion, she said, wonder why nothing’s been done to prevent it from happening again.
“People will say it was an accident. No, it was an accident waiting to happen,” Stiller said of the shooting death of Holt. “People need to have common sense. If you can lock your iPhone, don’t tell me you can’t do the same to your gun.”
It’s not that the same can’t be done, Sebastian said, it’s that there are forces at work ensuring that it won’t happen. When manufacturers unveil new personalized weapon technology or announce their intention to develop smart guns they’re met with immediate criticism and threats from the National Rifle Association, Sebastian said. The argument is that any restrictive technology renders guns unreliable, unaffordable, and, most dauntingly, under government control.
Indeed. Technology has affected our lives in many ways, mostly good. We have the capability to prevent accidental shootings, suicides and some homicides and what are we doing about it? No thanks to the influence of the gun industry propped up by the NRA lobbyists and leaders, we are not doing anything about this new technology. Ludicrous and unacceptable. Why does the NRA get to decide that we shouldn't use new technology to make guns safer from firing when the wrong hands are used? Ask your lawmakers.

And we can't forget about the ever ludicrous Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who is now going to contribute to illegal guns on the streets of her state. Here is from the article:
 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Monday signed legislation forcing municipalities to resell firearms from gun buy-back programs rather than destroy them, closing a loophole in the conservative state's laws.
Brewer, a Republican and staunch gun rights advocate, signed the bill preventing local governments from melting down the weapons obtained from these popular civic events. Before the new law, the state had allowed such firearms to be destroyed.
A spokesman for Brewer could not immediately be reached for comment late on Monday.
The bill had the support of the National Rifle Association and Arizona's Republican-controlled legislature. It cleared the state Senate earlier this month by an 18-12 vote. The state House approved the bill in March.
Supporters of the measure said municipalities were wasting taxpayers' money by not realizing the revenue from reselling turned-in weapons.
Opponents argued that it sent the wrong message and that the state needed to focus on the broader issue of gun control.
"This action by the governor is not only outrageous, but it is insensitive for us now to be putting these guns back on the streets," said state Senator Steve Gallardo, a Democrat and a leading opponent of the measure. "That's just plain wrong."
Come on. Why would this make any sense at all? It plain and simply does not. But Governor Brewer is in the thrall of the NRA and has put their wishes ahead of public safety. This is wrong for so many reasons. I will end this post with yet another example of a gun culture gone wrong. It's a reminder of why we need to do more to prevent the gun violence that devastates our communities every day. This senseless shooting makes one wonder in what kind of country we live. From the article:
Williams, 24, was killed before 1 p.m. Monday when a bullet intended for somebody else hit her in the chest as she stood in the door of her apartment on 64th Court Way South, according to Birmingham police. Her 10-day-old son was in her arms, but was not hurt.
One man had been chasing another man down the street and shooting at him after the two got into a fight at a nearby restaurant, Birmingham Police Department spokesman Sgt. Johnny Williams Jr. said.
"I can't say it was a stray bullet because a bullet doesn't have a name on it," Jackson said.
Sheri Williams was hit in the chest, Jackson said, and she was dead when authorities arrived at the scene. She had fallen onto a couch, Jackson said, her newborn child still in her arms.
Her six-year-old daughter had been at school, but her four-year-old son and her mother, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and whom Sheri had been taking care of, were in the home. Her mother was upstairs didn't find out that her daughter had been shot until a neighbor rushed over and told her, Jackson said.
Jackson said Sheri Williams was quiet, kept to herself and didn't want to live in Gate City anymore.
"For a long time she was trying to get out of here," he said.
Birmingham police have not made any arrests in the shooting, but they are looking for a black man in a white tank top and a black woman in a yellow shirt who is missing some braids. The two were last seen in a black Chrysler Sebring.
Jackson urged anyone who knew the shooter to turn him in.
"Just imagine if these kids would've been out here playing," he said. "All of the kids are out here, and someone could come through here shooting."
Why do we tolerate people running around in our neighborhoods shooting guns at each other? You just don't see this in other civilized countries not at war. Are we at war? When stray bullets are flying in our communities, it appears that we are. We are war with ourselves. Where do these folks get their guns? From many sources. But we are making it all too easy for them to get these guns because we aren't trying to stop them. Why? The NRA lobbyists. I suggest that the NRA is irrelevant to today's world. They have promoted the owning and carrying of any kind of gun imaginable with little or no regulation. That is not only insidious, it is dangerous, reckless and irresponsible. And if you don't believe we shouldn't fund the ATF to the fullest extent possible to stop some of the bad apple gun dealers from letting illegal guns onto our streets, then you are part of the problem. If you don't think we should figure out a way for guns to be made safer so small children, teens who use them to commit suicide or someone in a home who means harm to another, then you should read the Ohh Shoot blog and the Kid Shootings blog, both of which highlight how easy it is for guns to be used by children accidentally or for accidental gun discharges to kill or injure someone in a senseless shooting. The NRA lobbyists have fostered a gun culture that make these shootings possible. The NRA lobbyists should not be in charge of public safety in America. We are better than this. Enough is enough. Let's pass common sense gun legislation to make us all safer.


  1. "And we can't forget about the ever ludicrous Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who is now going to contribute to illegal guns on the streets of her state."

    "Guns turned in at buybacks would have to be sold to licensed gun dealers."

    So all buyers of these turned in forearms would have to undergo a background check at the FFL, ensuring they arent sold to a prohibited person. Just like Mark Kelly had to undergo when he attempted to purchase a pistol and an AR-15 rifle recently.

    1. As you most likely know, that is not the purpose of buyback programs. It is to get guns off the streets. They are usually melted down or destroyed in some way. We already have too many guns in this country. We don't need more out there. No questions are asked when guns are turned in. Some of them may have been used in crimes previous to their being turned in.