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.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Swimming with guns

Yesterday I wrote about the hazards at golf courses, one of them being hit by a bullet instead of a golf ball. So what are the hazards at swimming pools in the summer time? Drowning, of course, is the obvious one. According to the CDC, drownings are the second leading cause of accidental deaths for children 5 and under. And then there is this awful case of a little Minnesota girl whose intestine was sucked out of her body when she sat on a pool drain. She later died. Awful. Since then, and because of this case, pool drains have more safety features to prevent this from happening. Of course, we do as much as we can to prevent drownings- life guards at pools, warning signs, swimming lessons, adult supervision, float devices for little children, etc. Private pools at homes must, by law, be fenced in so that children can't wander into a yard and fall into the pool. This is all good stuff. But what are we doing about safety from gun injuries and deaths? Very little as it turns out. Why? Because the corporate gun lobby keeps our government entities from passing laws to keep children safe from gun violence.


The school summer vacation is about to begin. That means that kids will be hanging out at home, going to camps, swimming, playing tennis, and doing all the things kids get to do while on a hiatus from school. One thing kids should not be doing is playing with guns or hanging out in homes or places where guns are present. Far too often, kids are shooting themselves or others when they find a loaded gun. The number of accidental firearms deaths among children are fewer than child drownings but enough to be of great concern. If you don't believe this, please read the Kid Shootings blog. As we repeatedly write at the end of the articles- "every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult." The most recent entry from this blog is this:
A 13-year-old girl died after an accidental shooting Tuesday afternoon in the southern valley.
Metro Police were investigating the shooting, which occurred about 3:25 p.m. in the 1600 block of Littlecrow Avenue, near West Pebble Road and Spencer Street. Sgt. John Sheahan, a Metro spokesman, said the shooting involved two 13-year-olds.


So let's talk about what the corporate gun lobby has been doing to increase the chances that children might find a gun this summer. Do you think it's a good idea for people to be able to carry their loaded guns with them at a public swimming pool? The gun lobby in West Virginia does. Read this story:
Since the 1980s, the National Rifle Association and other groups have led a successful campaign to get state legislatures to limit local control over gun regulations. These "preemption" laws block cities from enacting their own gun policies, effectively requiring cities with higher rates of gun violence to have the same gun regulations as smaller towns.
Before 1981, when an Illinois town banned the possession of handguns, just a handful of states had preemption laws on the books. Today, 42 states block cities from making gun laws, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Even Illinois, which has long allowed its cities to pass gun control measures, is about to invalidate local restrictions on concealed handguns and ban any future local regulation of assault weapons.
Gun rights advocates argue that allowing cities to have their own gun laws creates an impossible situation for law-abiding gun owners, who cannot be expected to read ordinances for every town they might pass through.
The preemption campaign has racked up so many victories nationwide, it's now focusing on holdouts like Charleston, population 51,000.
Charleston's current gun restrictions include a three-day waiting period to buy a handgun, and a limit of one handgun purchase per month, as well as bans on guns on publicly owned property, such as parks and pools.
West Virginia Delegate Patrick Lane crafted an amendment to an unrelated state bill, now passed, that will likely force Charleston to erase those restrictions.
"Crime could happen anyplace. You obviously want to be able to defend yourself and your family if something happens," Lane said, when asked why anyone would want to bring a gun to a public pool.
The NRA did not respond to requests for comment, but its website calls Charleston's restrictions "misguided" and "unreasonable." Its site has closely tracked the progress of the repeal of the ordinances, which it states "would have no negative impact whatsoever on Charleston." The site has repeatedly criticized Charleston's Republican mayor for "speaking out publicly against this pro-gun reform."
It's not clear what effect the spread of preemption has had on public safety. "It's very hard to determine what causes crime to go up and down, because there are so many variables," said Laura Cutilletta, a senior attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
But in Charleston, Police Chief Brent Webster says he's worried about losing the city's current restrictions, in particular the law banning guns at city pools, concerts and sporting events.
"You will have some citizens say, 'I can do that now, so I'm going to do that,'" Webster said. "I am greatly concerned."
"When they're diving off the diving board, is that [gun] going to be in a book bag? Is that going to be lying under their towel and an eight-year-old kid is walking through the pool area and picks it up?"
Two of the city's former police chiefs also say they're worried about losing the ban on guns in public places that attract kids.
"That has nothing to do with the Second Amendment right. It has to do with public safety," former Chief Dallas Staples said.
People should be safe from people carrying guns into public places where children and families gather. It's just not necessary to have guns at a public swimming pool. Are there a lot of shootings or crime at swimming pools? There should be more fear and paranoia about drownings and pool drains, neither of which can be prevented by a gun carrying citizen or parent. This paranoia is leading to more gun deaths, not fewer. And this measure could be coming to a pool near you because the gun lobbyists continue to push for weakening our gun laws. I urge you to check out the Ohh Shoot blog if you want to know why more guns around children is a very bad idea. The most recent entry from the blog is this one:
A 3-year-old Bossier Parish, Louisiana boy is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound. 
The boy was at his home Monday when another child knocked over a .22 caliber rifle. The rifle was propped, loaded and unlocked, against a sliding glass door. When the child attempted to open the door, the gun fell over and discharged. The 3-year-old was shot in the left side, near the chest cavity. 
He was airlifted to a hospital in Shreveport and listed in stable condition. 
The sheriff has ruled the shooting an accident and no charges will be filed.
Stupid and dangerous.

Guns do not make us safer. But the corporate gun lobby continues with their lobbying efforts to insert guns into every nook and cranny of our communities and try to convince our lawmakers that having more guns is a good idea. There is more than enough evidence to prove that myth wrong. And further, the gun lobbyists and extremists themselves are not exactly models of safety and responsibility. Check out this article about a Utah gun bully who has been ordered to give up his guns:
Utah gun lobbyist Clark Aposhian appeared briefly in court Tuesday and was ordered to surrender all of his guns within 24 hours.
Aposhian, 48, has been charged with domestic violence in the presence a child, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and threats of violence, all class B misdemeanors, in connection with a May 27 incident involving his ex-wife. Aposhian pleaded not guilty to all of the charges before Holladay Justice Court Judge Augustus Chin.
"There is a provision that would prohibit you … from possessing any firearms at all" while the case is pending, Chin said.
Aposhian was arrested and booked into Salt Lake County Jail on Memorial Day after police said he drove his "deuce and a half" military surplus truck to the neighborhood where he used to live and backed the vehicle into his ex-wife's driveway before leaving, according to a probable cause statement.
Aposhian's 11-year-old daughter told police she was worried her father was going to crash into the other cars in his big truck, the report states.
Police were called and were waiting at the house when Aposhian returned in a Dodge Magnum. He returned after the woman's husband called to tell him not to come onto the property, and Aposhian allegedly threatened the man, according to the report. 
Because of an ongoing custody dispute between Aposhian and the woman, she told police she considered the behavior to be harassment, the report states.
Where is common sense? Our country is swimming in guns with more than 300 million of them owned by legal and illegal Americans. This is unique to America and so is the unacceptably high number of gun deaths and injuries. Enough is enough. Let's do something about this public health and safety epidemic. The pool of illegal guns needs to be drained and the flow of guns into the pool needs to be reduced and prevented. I will be writing a future post about how parents can act to find out if there are guns where their children hang out.


  1. As long as you think you're fighting a "corporate gun lobby," you will continue to lose. You're fighting millions of your fellow Americans, who oppose you because they value freedom.

    1. Considering that you are a part of the corporate gun lobby, of course you would say that. Unfortunately, you are wrong. 74% and in some polls, more, NRA members are in favor of universal background checks. The corporate gun lobby is ignoring its' own members. This has everything to do with freedom from gun violence in our communities. The use of the word freedom by the corporate gun lobby is disingenuous and deceptive.

  2. Up until this year, West Virginia had a preemption law that exempted laws passed before 1999 which allowed Charleston's laws to remain in effect. Mr. Lane was able to close this gap in the preemption law by sticking an amendment into another law that everyone wanted to be passed. I personally think that this tactic is an underhanded way to pass a law, but so goes politics. Minnesota at least requires amendments to be somewhat germain to whatever law it's being attached to. A law should be able to stand on its figurative own two feet.
    Keep in mind that it has been suggested that such a tactic might be used on a federal level with various gun control bills.

    1. Pre-emption laws are only meant to keep local communities from doing what they need to do to keep their communities safe. They are pushed by the corporate gun lobby to keep local communities quiet about common sense gun laws. This sort of ban and suppression is a bad idea and hypocritical, to say the least.

  3. japete writes: "Pre-emption laws are only meant to keep local communities from doing what they need to do to keep their communities safe. "

    Why should a law abiding citizen have to read, understand, and fully comply with hundreds of individual jurisdiction's firearm laws as they drive across their own state?

    I drive across four counties and 15 different cities traveling from home to work each day. Keeping laws at a state level at least allows a citizen to understand and follow *one* set of laws.

    1. That's nonsense Bryan. No one believes that is why these laws were passed. You are carrying lethal weapon. I would hope that you take the time to follow the laws. A little inconvenience on your part is much less than the inconvenience of burying your child or loved one. And wow, where the heck do you live? Those 4 counties are most likely within the Twin Cities and suburban areas. Why do you need to worry about having your gun at the ready traveling on the freeway while driving through one town to another from St. Paul to whatever suburb you inhabit. Not too much crime happens along I 94 and 35/694/100/169 with mostly non-stop traffic. Hopefully you won't need your gun in a road rage situation.