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.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

We've seen this movie before

I love to go to the movies. We go often with friends to the small independent movie theater in Duluth where we see the latest releases and other movies not released to the larger movie companies. Movies are mostly fiction but sometimes very real and about the real world. What I don't like is the fictionalized view of the world being promoted by the corporate gun lobby. The funny thing about the corporate gun lobby is that they keep re-playing their own old movies and hope that the rest of us won't notice. It's time for a new production. Here, in full view of us all, is the latest hypocrisy from the NRA and its' minions:
"So now the NRA is praising, among other things, a movie hero who’s an “almost unstoppable” “killing machine,” a career in criminality, and making a shootout a dance with great music. Talking Points Memo’s Hunter Walker writes that “TPM called the NRA to ask how celebrating gun movies fit with the group’s past comments criticizing Hollywood. No one from the organization responded.”"
Gun enthusiasts want to take us back to times when things were simpler, according to this latest from American Rifleman. Indeed, it was simpler when people who shouldn't be able to access the over 300 million guns in circulation get their hands on one and shoot up an elementary school leaving 20 small children massacred. It was simpler when mass shootings didn't happen in actual movie theaters as in Aurora, Colorado= 12dead and 58 injured. It was simpler when U.S. Congress members weren't the victims of a mass shooter who shouldn't have had a gun in the first place = 6 dead, 13 injured. Ah, for the simple life. But I digress. Surely we can all remember, can't we, that the NRA blamed everything but guns for the shooting on 12/14 at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut? The corporate gun lobby waited for a while for things to settle down before trotting out Wayne LaPierre to spew out the tired old talking points. If only it were true that the "good guys with guns" could save us from mass shootings and the daily carnage on our streets. They don't. But instead of talking about the real problem the gun lobby has laid the fault for mass shootings at the feet of the movie industry, among just one, instead of on guns and the lack of strong gun laws. They hate the movie industry in general, as do most of the far right conservatives. Why? Maybe because some in the industry happen to support liberal causes. But I digress.

This is, of course, not the only deception coming from the NRA apologists. Because the public is just not buying the trite talking points any more, Senators are making things up to try to " pull the wool" over the eyes of an increasingly skeptical group of voters. Here is an editorial about this tactic:
This kind of dissembling by gun control opponents has been rampant for years, but rarely have the National Rifle Association’s most captive lawmakers been so nakedly deceptive as in the weeks since public rage grew over the gun vote. Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, also voted against the Manchin-Toomey measure, and she immediately suffered the backlash of angry voters in her state. So she issued a statement saying “I support effective background checks” and reminding voters that she had backed the misleadingly named Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act — a measure that does nothing to close the loopholes for Internet or gun-show sales and that was, in fact, supported by the N.R.A. because it actually makes it easier to transport guns across state lines.
Polls have shown that the vast majority of New Hampshire residents support checks on all gun sales. Infuriated by Ms. Ayotte’s attempt to paper over her own voting record, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (a group financed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg) produced a video ad pointing out that she was the only New England senator to vote against background checks “when it counted.”
These ads are having an effect, putting many gun-lobby senators on the defensive. Rather than admit that they fearfully follow the dictates of the N.R.A., these senators are instead seeking to fool voters by supporting measures with fancy titles and hollow cores. “Contrary to the ad, I did vote to strengthen background checks,” said Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, though he emphatically did not.
This issue is not going away. The true supporters of background checks have promised another vote in the months to come. Those who really want to keep guns out of the wrong hands will have to stand up and prove it.

Instead of watching the reruns of the corporate gun lobby movies, the public and our lawmakers should be watching these movies for the real affect of gun violence in our country:

Living for 32


Or this:

So then, let's talk about what's real and not in the movies. Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund wrote this about the numbness towards violence and gun deaths in America:
As a nation we seem to be hardened and numb to what should be emotionally disturbing when we cannot legislate the most modest and reasonable measures for national gun safety even after children in as seemingly safe a place as Newtown, Connecticut, far from an inner city, can be shot down in school. We are numb when the same child can be shot one year at his own birthday party and shot again the next year at a Mother’s Day parade and both shootings are just another day on our cities’ streets. Why are we not all calling our legislators and expressing outrage? How can we let the voices of gun dealers and manufacturers drown out the cries of children?
This is real. And it's ludicrous and insane. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera writes often about the daily toll of gun violence in our communities. Here is the latest from him. In the real world, Walmart, one of the nation's largest big box stores and gun sellers, sells cute little rifles for children that end up killing each other while banning other items for sale that could harm children. Where is the real outrage over all of this? In the real world, real people are shot to death in large numbers every day. 32 a day die from gun homicides. 80 a day die in total from bullets. That is not a movie. Common sense tells us that this is unacceptable. But then, our lawmakers are putting common sense aside in favor of protecting the corporate gun lobby and protecting themselves from the mean and threatening onslaught of ugly phone calls and e-mails that happen whenever gun laws are under consideration. That is no movie. That is for real. We've seen this movie before. And the most cynical thing about the latest from the corporate gun lobby is that it once supported gun laws that could make a difference in saving lives. Representative Michael Paymar, D- Minnesota, wrote this piece about the recent failure of the Minnesota legislature to even consider a floor vote and the hypocrisy of the gun industry:
The NRA and its affiliate organizations claim that background checks are an infringement on Second Amendment rights. They claim that background checks won't prevent crime or mass shootings -- that only law-abiding citizens will be inconvenienced. If that's the case, then perhaps we shouldn't require background checks on any purchase of a firearm. If you want an AR-15, AK-47 or a handgun, just buy one, no questions asked. But in 1999, after the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the NRA's leader, Wayne La Pierre, told Congress, "It's reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes for anyone." What has changed?
It's time for a real change in the real world that will affect real people and save real lives. What we are doing now is just not working. It's time to act for real change. If we all really and truly care about public safety we will get to work and do what's best for our children, for our communities and for our emotional and physical well-being.


  1. Rep. Paymar helped shape the outcome of this legislation especially with him being a commitee chairman. In the early part of March, after the bill authored By Rep. Hilstrom was introduced, Rep. Paymar said he didnt think he would have time to debate the Hilstrom bill, which had bipartisan support. So in other words, he sat on it, and then discovered that he didnt even have the votes to pass it in a Democratically controlled legislature. Currently the DFL holds a comfortable majority in both the house and the senate, plus a DFL governor. This again speaks to what seems to be some sort of mistaken belief that 90% or some other big number favors stricter gun laws. I believe that our elected legislators are conscientiously representing their districts. Keep in mind that during the same session that Paymars gun legislation was defeated, legislation legalizing gay marriage was also passed.
    My guess is that come 2014, we'll see some direct feedback on how well the politicians did by either their reelection or defeat.

    1. Once again, you have missed my point. There was broad support for the very simple and fairly weak measure before the House. The Senate passed the version that should have been the one that came out of the House Public Safety. That is because they have more voters in their districts and they were responding to the wishes of their voters which is, as we all know from polling data taken many times, that at least 75% if not more- likely closer to 80-90% of voters favor background checks on ALL gun sales. The House did not represent their districts. They got scared of the corporate gun lobby. That is very clear from what happened. A few rural Dems mistakenly thought that their constituents did not favor the bill. They actually did. They voted the right way on the marriage amendment in spite of not as much support in their districts. They voted their consciences as they should have on the background check issue. But why re-hash this, Mark? I have written about it several times and you have responded several times.

  2. "Talking Points Memo’s Hunter Walker writes that “TPM called the NRA to ask how celebrating gun movies fit with the group’s past comments criticizing Hollywood. No one from the organization responded.”
    I believe that in some ways, media has an effect on how people think of various things. Be they when it comes to them in the form of fictional media or the reporting of current events. To what degree it shapes their thinking depends to a degree on how strong the person's beliefs of right and wrong are. In other words, how good a job their parents did with instilling in them a system of honor, and how to take what they are being told and to critically examine what they see, and if it passes the "logic test".
    When we talk about the effect the media has on out perspective, we seem to demonize the side we dont like, and not see or notice the things we do like. If the conservatives are going to blame media for the woes that they deem important, then they also have to allow the same effect on other issues.
    I will concede that it does seem a bit contradictory to blame media/video games for these shootings and then come out with a best of list. BTW, I'm disappointed that "Quigley Down Under" didnt make it. I can also recall way back when the lead character in a show called Murphy Brown caused a sensation when she became a single parent. The response when everyone was getting the vapors was that she was a fictional character. Which of course is correct. As for those in the movie industry supporting liberal causes, that is their right to support whatever they want. I have noticed that they seem to be very good at compartmentalizing their personal feelings from business. While it helps their bottom line, it will make people wonder how they truely feel. One of those liberal causes that many in the movie industry support is strict gun control, yet they have no problem playing the gun toting good or bad guy.

    1. I agree with that last sentence. Hollywood is great at making movies with violence and shootings.