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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who is standing their ground?

As much as the gun rights advocates like to argue that the Florida Stand Your Ground law did not enter into the verdict of the George Zimmerman case, they are wrong. It is now clear, according to juror B37 that Stand Your Ground did, indeed, influence the outcome of the trial.

This bears repeating from what this juror told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview: "Right. Because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground. He had a right to defend himself. If he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right."

As I and many others have written, the Florida law made a difference, not only in the outcome of the trial but likely also in the mind set of George Zimmerman. I wrote about that yesterday.This statement from Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign represents the views of those who have opposed the Stand Your Ground laws where ever they have been proposed and passed into law:
The Brady Campaign has been one of the leaders in fighting against “Stand Your Ground” or so called, “shoot first” laws like the one in Florida.  As evidenced by the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin, these laws have deadly consequences.  They promote a dangerous mentality and misperception about weapons, by overemphasizing their value in self-defense relative to the other dangers that they pose. 
In the end, George Zimmerman's mentality, and what emboldened him to approach Trayvon, may be debatable.  What is not debatable, though, is the fact that Trayvon Martin is dead because Zimmerman had a gun.  Zimmerman was given a concealed carry permit by the state of Florida despite an arrest record and a history of violence, as a direct result of the influence of the gun lobby, and if it weren’t for that, this tragedy never would have happened.  
Exactly. The SYG laws promote a mentality in the folks carrying those loaded guns in public that makes them feel differently than they would without the gun or the law. Conceal and carry laws promote the granting of permits to people who should not be carrying guns in public. Never mind. These are the people who carry their guns in public and sometimes get away with murder. That is because, for the gun lobby and its' minions, carrying guns is not enough. They want to protect perpetrators from responsibility for killing another human being under the guise of "self defense." That is the way the laws are written, on purpose. We are seeing the results of the corporate gun lobby's agenda every day and we are not safer as a result.

The NRA lobbyists who come into every state where the laws are being considered, help to write the laws to their specifications. Why not? Since they represent the gun industry which benefits from the sale of the guns and the folks who get paid for "training" permit holders it's a win for them and a loss for the rest of us.

Back to the verdict in the George Zimmerman case, it turns out that the jury instructions came into play in the verdict. In Florida, the Stand Your Ground law is written so that instructions to the jury go like this (thanks to Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Facebook page for this comparison):

Laws matter. The jurors, of course, are standing their ground and must do so, about their verdict of not guilty for George Zimmerman. Zimmerman's lawyers are standing their ground after the verdict in maintaining that Zimmerman was, indeed, not guilty. Much of the rest of the country is wondering whether the Florida Stand Your Ground law is a good idea after this verdict. Serious questions need to be asked about standing your ground when it comes to self defense considering the difference the law made in juror instructions in the George Zimmerman case. Stand Your Ground and Shoot First laws have been written purposely to make sure the perpetrator has the advantage over the victim. In many cases, shown in some of my links in my post yesterday, the perpetrator becomes the victim and then not held responsible for the death of another human being.  Something needs to change. Lives are senselessly lost every day. We have it all backwards. When common sense is put aside because of political and corporate agendas and lives are lost as a result, who benefits? As a country, we are better than this. Saving lives must be the bottom line.


There is really no humor in anything that has happened since George Zimmerman was found to be not guilty by a jury. But sometimes the use of sarcasm to describe the hypocrisy of the situation gets to the nub of it. So here, then, is the first Daily Show since a summer hiatus. John Oliver catches his audience up with the news:


  1. Since he had no opportunity to retreat Stand Your Ground does not apply. How was he supposed to retreat with Trayvon on top of him beating him?

    1. You have conveniently missed my point, Robin.