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.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Potato salad, loaded guns and other tricks of the gun lobby

I have so much to write about that it's hard to know where to begin. There is never a shortage of fodder for my blog because the gun rights extremists make it easy and the gun deaths and incidents of gun violence continue on a regular basis. What's different after 12/14 is that many more people are writing, blogging and advocating for common sense gun laws and safer communities. For years now, the gun rights extremists have been getting away with their paranoid and twisted version of gun policy in America. The rest of us have taken a back seat in the discussion. We have allowed the corporate gun lobby to co-opt the messaging and get away with it. Sadly, our lawmakers have succumbed to the tricks of the gun industry trade. One can't separate the corporate gun lobby from the gun industry. Profit is what this is all about now, not protecting rights of gun owners. Most gun owners understand that the second amendment can co-exist with gun laws. So why all the tricks and deception whenever any measure to keep us safe from the gun violence that devastates our communities is proposed? The corporate gun lobby is very skilled at false arguments and deception hoping that we won't notice their slight of hand. Check out this exposé of the most common lies spouted by the gun lobby and the gun rights extremists about background checks:

" Where in the modern world is there a similar illogical separation of rules for the acquisition of lethal weapons?

The explanation for this state of affairs is simple.  Major lobbying groups purporting to represent the firearms industry and/or gun owners have blocked any further progress.

And to strengthen their hand, they have spread the handy (and false) rationales that many lawmakers have employed  to vote against what polls indicate are the wishes of a majority of Americans who don’t want criminals to be able to openly buy guns—and who favor universal background checks as a means to stop them.

We hear our elected officials spouting some of these exaggerations, if not outright lies—and one has to wonder if they know what they are saying.

Is it possible that they don’t realize that they have been misled?  That would be an optimistic way of looking at it.

In many cases, however, the likely answer is that they are all too aware that what they are saying doesn’t hold any water."

And the writer goes on to say:
"Universal Checks are not going to end violent crime, but they will make transfers of firearms to prohibited persons easier for law enforcement personnel to detect, deter, and punish.
Dispelling these myths underlines the point that there is no good reason for blocking efforts to ensure the legality of a firearm transfer.
And our inability to curb illegal transfers hurts us beyond our borders.  Many countries not only find the current ease of access to firearms in the U.S. bizarre; they also find it irritating that firearms made in the U.S. reach their shores and contribute to their violent crime.
Recent statistics have shown that since 2000, the rate of firearms-related homicides has decreased.  It might be difficult to prove, but one has to wonder if the background checks that have been required since approximately the same time have played a role."
In the above linked article, the 6 most common false arguments against background checks are debunked. Please read them. Public policy must be based on facts, not myths. For too many years, the gun lobby's myths have been behind the mythical reasons not to pass gun laws in spite of the daily carnage in our homes and on our streets. And speaking of streets, in Minnesota the "open carry" folks promoted bringing loaded guns to peaceful neighborhood "Open Streets" family events. They thought it would be a good idea to get people used to the idea of people carrying guns around so maybe they wouldn't be afraid of them? I guess. The only thing is, people don't want gun toting folks showing up at picnics. There was a bit of a fuss and now these folks backed off, claiming that they, themselves are now victims of intimidation. Seriously? Another trick-pretending to be the victim. How a group of people who carry loaded guns around in public to intimidate people can claim that they were intimidated is beyond me. Openly carried loaded guns are intimidating. From the article:
Citing intimidating reaction from “anti-gun zealots,” a gun-owners group said Thursday it has shelved its intention to gather at Twin Cities neighborhood family events with their weapons in full view.
Shelley Leeson, the gun group’s director, explained that she called off the “meet-ups” because “people kind of freaked out and didn’t understand that we were just meeting up. It wasn’t trying to be some sort of demonstration. … I understand the concerns, but I think they are truly unwarranted.”
The group’s call to have permitted gun owners carry their weapons openly at Open Streets events came as a surprise to some city officials and organizers. During the events, streets are closed to motorized vehicles to allow families to ride bikes, skate, walk and play.
Nancy Homans, policy director for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, said earlier this week that she was “shocked and saddened” by the prospect of gun owners at the gatherings with their weapons in full view, which the state law allows for those with a carry permit. “It seems like [it] isn’t the right kind of activity for this event.” 
Leeson, 51, of northeast Minneapolis, said she shelved the “Open Streets-Open Carry” event because she was concerned about putting her fellow members “in a situation where they would be intimidated” by opponents who went online in recent days and threatened to “get in our face” at the gatherings. She pointed to one person’s threat to “bring a bullhorn and stand next to us.”
Leeson declared on the Facebook page promoting Open Streets-Open Carry that “the anti-gun zealots have proved their intolerance.” (...) 
Rothman added that he didn’t see why Leeson’s group would telegraph their intentions to “do an ordinary and legal thing.”
Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, an ardent supporter of gun rights, said he approved of the group’s decision to not attend. He said he’s always armed, but it’s always concealed.
“I fully support somebody’s right to carry,” he said. “And you know, if they wanted to carry with the coat on and carry a sign, I’d rather see them carry the sign than an open [weapon]. Why push the envelope?”
Whatever. Minnesota writer Nick Coleman loved this story as well and couldn't resist the obvious nonsense in the whole thing. From his column:
The gun-slinging flashers who threatened to bring their guns to town and parade them around openly in Minneapolis and St. Paul have put their warm guns back in their happy pockets and backed down, running away at the first signs of gun-control Mommas and urban bicycling activists.
As someone said on my Facebook page: “Buncha candy asses!”
The story started Monday when a gun-owners group used its Facebook page to invite members to attend the first of this summer’s “Open Streets” events this coming Sunday in South Minneapolis. Although “attend” doesn’t quite cover it: The gun owners specifically were encouraged to bring their weapons and to flash them in public, carrying them openly for the benefit of all those in attendance at “Open Streets,” an ongoing series of good-humored street fairs promoting bicycling and pedestrian rights.This Sunday’s kickoff event is scheduled for a 20-block stretch of Lyndale Ave. South, one of the south side’s gun-plagued corridors. For some reason, the promise/threat of suburban gun flashers brandishing their weapons along the avenue did not have a reassuring effect on the benighted city dwellers who prefer fewer guns, not more, on their streets.
A quick look at the city’s “shot spotter” maps, in addition to showing an alarming number of recorded gun shots on the city’s North Side (dozens each week), shows that there have been a couple dozen shots fired on the streets in the Lyndale-Hennepin area in the past two months.
The state’s gun permit law, often mistakenly referred to as a “concealed carry” law, does not, in fact, require a licensed gun owner to conceal his or her weapons. It is perfectly legal, if rude and provocative, to carry your hogleg conspicuously on your hip. Or in a visible holster. Nor are you limited to a pistol, revolver or sidearm. It is legal to openly carry a long gun, rifle or shotgun. Imagine how reassured you would feel when hundreds of bearded guys from Andover and Elko show up in North Minneapolis or the Summit-University area of St Paul (“Open Streets” events will take place in both of those communities later this summer) with Bushmasters and Brownings slung over their shoulders or Glocks and Rugers hanging from their paunches.
Here’s a neat mental exercise: Try to imagine hundreds of inner-city residents carrying weapons at the Andover Family Fun Fest, July 13. Just because they can. (...) They wavered. Then they cracked. Finally, they called off the whole thing when the Gun Control Mommas stood up to them.
Jane Kay, the head of the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America came out with both barrels blazing:
“People bring potato salad to family neighborhood celebrations, not guns,” she said in a statement Wednesday. “I am outraged that this organization is encouraging its members to openly carry firearms at our community celebrations this weekend. Open Streets organizers have said that the focus of these events is promoting active play for children, and I don’t know one single parent in Minnesota that thinks it’s a good idea to promote active play for children with visible guns. I call on every Mom in Minnesota to stand up to those that want to bring guns into our neighborhoods celebrations.”
The Gun Flashers ran for cover. By Thursday, the skedaddling gunsters canceled their Gun Wiggle, blaming the liberal media, bicycle punks and the “intolerance” of the mamas who opposed the plan they had clearly hoped would get them some media time and notoriety. Their plan worked, but not the way they hoped. The guns blew up in their faces.
Here’s how the Flashers climbed it down on Facebook:
“All apologies, but out of concern for the safety of the members of this page,
in good conscience this meet up is being canceled.
The anti-gun zealots have proven their intolerance and their propensity to violent thought and wanting harm to come to us, and based on comments made by them on this page and elsewhere it’s the only responsible thing to do.
We must continue on our mission of moving forward in a positive direction,
and that would be hampered by proceeding with this meet up.
I’m sure some of you may disagree, but let’s save our energy for things that matter.
Thanks for understanding. ”
Candy asses.
"Things that matter". What would those be I wonder? Bring your families. Bring your Brats and your potato salad and other picnic fixings. But leave your guns at home. Thanks to my friend Jane Kay of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in Minnesota for being on top of this situation. Guns aren't needed or wanted at a family event unless, of course, you have been tricked into believing there is someone lurking in every nook and cranny waiting to get you. Sometimes sarcasm and humor is the only way to get to the point of the matter. Gun toting "law abiding" gun owners won't protect the rest of us from the thugs out there. That is a job for law enforcement. These folks are not carrying just to be nice and friendly to their neighbors, though, as Coleman points out, they would be coming in from the suburbs for these neighborly events. They would be carrying to intimidate Minnesotans into supporting their agenda to have their guns everywhere. There is no common sense in any of this. These extremists intend to have their way and they are going to use their guns to get their way. But my friends in the gun violence control movement are taking charge and calling out the deceptions and bad behavior of the gun rights extremists. I value them all for their dedication, for their boldness and for their genuine efforts to curb gun violence in our communities.

But I digress. What could possibly go wrong when a "law abiding" gun owner carries a loaded gun around in public?A show of guns is not just a trick. Read the Ohh Shoot blog. There are no tricks here. The latest post is about a married couple who were fighting over their loaded gun and ended up shooting and killing their baby. You just can't make this stuff up.

Lastly, I want to write about more "trickery" and slight of hand behavior by gun bullies. If the Minnesota Open Carry folks were "intimidated" by "anti-gun zealots" it's nothing compared to what the gun rights extremists do every day. By the way, they love to call us "anti-gun"-another trick. How can you turn wanting a background check on all gun sales into being "anti-gun"? But I digress. Check out Joe Nocera's Gun Report in which he writes about my friend Heidi Yewman and her experience carrying a gun in public. Check out how the gun rights extremists went on the attack and "tricked" Ms. magazine into halting the series written by Heidi because of the hate and vitriol in the comments section of Heidi's article:
Yewman, a freelance writer, had written a three-part blog post for Ms. about buying a gun and carrying it everywhere she went. Yewman was clearly on the gun control side of the debate, and it’s fair to say that her posts were intended to show that it was far too easy for just about anybody to carry a gun just about anywhere. But, Kort went on to say, the comments Ms. Magazine had received were almost entirely from pro-gun advocates, and she and the small staff at Ms. were overwhelmed. Instead of leading to a high-minded debate about guns, her blog post had instead attracted insults and vituperation, and a clearly stated desire for “payback.” Other gun blogs had picked up Yewman’s post to mock it or insult it, with many commenters suggesting that the police in her hometown be called about what she was doing. Inevitably, somebody discovered—and posted—Yewman’s address.
What was Kort’s solution to this dilemma? Incredibly, it was to kill the rest of Yewman’s series. “I don’t think I should post the next two installments of this—they’ll only fire up the troops again, and we’re just not equipped to handle this on our blog,” Kort wrote. When I reached out to Kort, suggesting that Ms. had allowed itself to be censored by Second Amendment absolutists, she would not respond on the record. Suffice it to say that Ms. disagrees with this assessment. But I don’t see how you could view it in any other way. Ms. published something the N.R.A.-types didn’t like; they responded by bullying Ms. online, and Ms. folded.
This is not uncommon. Thanks to Heidi for writing about how easy it is to get a gun and a gun permit with no training required. Her tireless efforts working to prevent gun violence should be lauded, not demeaned and insulted. If I didn't moderate comments on this blog, it would be taken over by the "gun guys". That is their trick. The intimidation and bullying is common practice. I wrote about some recent incidents in my blog "Stop the Bullying" in case you didn't read it. If this is how gun policy is made in America, shame on us all for being tricked into backing down to this group of bullies. But mostly, shame on our policy makers for letting themselves be tricked. They know better. They know that this is a major public health and safety issue that has been left largely unaddressed. Most particularly they know that after 12/14 the country is demanding action so that we won't experience another mass shooting of little children in their school. Maybe they don't yet understand that 32 Americans a day die from gun homicides alone, not including the accidental shootings and suicides. Why are they ignoring the inconvenient facts? Of all of the important issues before our Congress- the Farm Bill, Immigration, NSA leaks, IRS, and others, this one deserves the focused attention of Congress because of the daily loss of lives. Guns are dangerous. The Moms of the country are speaking out. The public is speaking out. Don't be tricked into doing nothing about gun policy because of the bullies. Everyone should be speaking out against the obvious deception and tricks of the gun extremists and the corporate gun lobby. We are better than this.


  1. I find it very interesting that you have a comment like " The corporate gun lobby is very skilled at false arguments and deception hoping that we won't notice their slight of hand." and you speak of the pro-gun lobby misleading people and then segue in Heidi Yewman's article.

    Heidi lives in Vancouver, Washington. Her article while possibly factually accurate is still deceptive. How so? Well she mentions that she was able to walk out with a gun in 7 minutes. The only way that would be possible is if she had already obtained her pistol permit, otherwise there would be a delay of 5 days for the waiting period.

    She also states that she was able to get her pistol permit in less time than getting her dog a license. The only place that she could get her permit in less than 30 and usually 60 days would be in Seattle, a distance of 165 miles from Vancouver.

    So, she obviously did a lot of research about how to make the most impact with her article but couldn't be bothered to read the owners manual that came with her handgun?

    Typical gun banner deception and slight of hand.

    Incidentally, your article is deceptive as well because you state that you only want background checks, you don't want to ban guns. If that was indeed true you could have supported the Coburn amendment and you would have universal background checks already. Because it didn't cause enough pain to gun owners and because it didn't raise the cost of owning firearms you wouldn't support it.

    1. Everything in Heidi's article is factually accurate. You seem to know where she lives. Why do you guys always have to know where we live? I have spoken with Heidi about her experience. She is, of course, doing what you guys hate. She is telling her readers how easy it is to get a gun with no training and to get a permit with no training. No one bothered to tell her anything about how to use a gun. Have you forgotten that guns are the only consumer product designed to kill? They should be come with careful instructions and people should have to have a lot of training to use them and even to buy them in the first place. We are sending untrained people out into homes and public places with nary an explanation for how to use the lethal weapon they have just purchased.

      Sure, Robin. That's exactly right. We want to cause pain to gun owners!! Are you serious? Good grief. Get a grip. Such paranoia is exactly what I am writing about on my blog all the time. You fit the mold. A paranoid gun owner who is against even common sense measures that won't even affect him. Nice try though.

      And Robin, I don't intend to have a back and forth about who is telling the truth. That is obvious. Have a nice day.

    2. Dear Robin- Since you are so sure you are right, I need to let you know some facts. I have communicated with Heidi. She got her permit from a Sheriff in her area. She lives outside of the city limits of Vancouver. It took 27 days which is shorter than it would have taken in Vancouver. proper It would behoove you to either say nothing or try to figure out the facts before "shooting off "your mouth.