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.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Is this a good time to talk about gun violence prevention measures?

We've had yet another mass shooting. Two actually. Last week 12 people were shot dead at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Also last week, 13 people were shot and injured in Chicago in a shooting that also injured a 3 year old. That's two in a week. Now what? When should we be able to talk about how we can stem the tide of gun violence? In two weeks? After we wait for the corporate gun lobby to debunk everything about our most recent mass shooting? After we let the American collective memory forget about that last mass shooting? After Wayne LaPierre comes out and says things like, "Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun"? He said it again after the Navy Yard shooting as if it was the truth. But I digress. Can we talk about prevention of the next mass shooting maybe only after 100 people are shot in the next mass shooting instead of just 12? How can these shootings keep happening? When should we talk about our nation's gun culture and our nation's gun laws? Time is not on the side of the victims of gun violence. For when the next time comes, someone else's family will get the awful phone call telling them that a loved one was one of the victims of a mass shooting at work, school, or in a shopping mall. Why don't we talk about it right now? Why don't we discuss how the latest mass shooter slipped through so many cracks that we have failed to fix or address?

Jon Stewart from the Daily Show is wondering the same thing.

Others are also wondering what it will take and what will happen if we continue to do nothing? Should there be an intervention in America? As the most powerful nation in the world, or one of the most powerful, we often talk about intervening in the violence that decimates the citizens of other countries. But our own violence? Not so much. So  Henry Porter of the Guardian, wrote an interesting article about the idea that it's time for an intervention from others if we refuse to do anything ourselves. From the article:
That's America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks – last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC's navy yard – and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe. (...) 
That 212,994 more Americans lost their lives from firearms in the last 45 years than in all wars involving the US is a staggering fact, particularly when you place it in the context of the safety-conscious, "secondary smoke" obsessions that characterise so much of American life.
Everywhere you look in America, people are trying to make life safer. On roads, for example, there has been a huge effort in the past 50 years to enforce speed limits, crack down on drink/drug driving and build safety features into highways, as well as vehicles. The result is a steadily improving record; by 2015, forecasters predict that for first time road deaths will be fewer than those caused by firearms (32,036 to 32,929).
Plainly, there's no equivalent effort in the area of privately owned firearms. Indeed, most politicians do everything they can to make the country less safe. Recently, a Democrat senator from Arkansas named Mark Pryor ran a TV ad against the gun-control campaign funded by NY mayor Michael Bloomberg – one of the few politicians to stand up to the NRA lobby – explaining why he was against enhanced background checks on gun owners yet was committed to "finding real solutions to violence".
Porter raises some great points about the staggering numbers of gun violence victims in America and is mystified, as is much of the world, as to why we don't act immediately after all of these mass shootings. He is right to ask. We need an answer. The Navy Yard shooting has tipped the nation closer to a place where more questions are being asked and more people have had enough. One would have thought the Sandy Hook shooting was that point but apparently the massacre of 20 little children was not even enough to move us to action. Those of us working to prevent gun violence thought we were at a tipping point after Columbine. Then after Virginia Tech. Surely after the Northern Illinois shooting. Then after the Tucson shooting that almost took the life of sitting U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Then after Aurora. After the Sikh Temple shooting? Accent Signage? What will it take? Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post is wondering: From his opinion piece he concludes:
Americans aren’t going to cede their right to own guns for sport and self-defense. But policies that focus on reducing the dangers of accidental shootings, gun suicides, crimes of passion and mass shootings — over time, with a public health focus, I think they have a chance.
And that is the other lesson: over time. Sometimes reform takes years or decades of slogging, seemingly hopeless effort. At an unpredictable moment, public sentiment teeters and then tips. What everyone knew was impossible is seen as having been, all along, inevitable.
So we have been slogging along, cajoling our elected leaders after each mass shooting to do something to stem the tide of the violence. Some have tried to make change. Change is difficult but it can happen and it will happen.

And of course, after the nation's most recent mass shooting, there was a remembrance service. President Obama spoke once again about the senseless loss of life. From the linked article:
“We cannot accept this,” Obama said of the Sept. 16 attack that killed a dozen people at the Navy Yard. “As Americans bound in grief and love, we must insist here today there’s nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work.” (...) “By now . . . it should be clear that the change we need will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington,” he said at Sunday’s service on the barracks parade grounds. “Change will come the only way it ever has come, and that’s from the American people.”
I say the time is now. It is past time for the common sense solutions to our nation's public health and safety crisis. But it will take resolve. It will take changing the conversation and it will take a lot of raised voices to demand the changes that we need and deserve. Your voice matters. Please use it to "sign" this petition with your voice at Voices Against Violence. Lives depend on those who want to prevent the carnage that affects and devastates our communities every day on your raising your voice. Lives depend on the change that will come from your raising your voice. Join me and let's get to work.


  1. Many thanks for your continued efforts to inject common sense into the problem with lax American gun laws. I also appreciate your remembering the shooting at Northern Illinois University (which is so rarely referenced when people tick off the litany of mass shootings that shocked the nation).

  2. Japete can you explain how any new laws that have been proposed could have prevented this shooting? Keep in mind the laws he broke to commit this. If you want to include other mass shootings in your response that's great. I honestly can not see how any gun control measure that's been proposed will help curb gun violence. Please for my own sanity include a link to facts!!

    All of our gun problems would be solved if we could keep guns out of the hands of criminals and prevent the mentally unstable from having access to guns. Short of total or near total confiscation I don't see how this is possible, and even after we take all the guns we would have to contend with mass stabbings and/or bombings. Universal background checks might be the nearest thing to a step in the direction of lessening gun violence that's been proposed to date, but I can't figure out a way to implement it without requiring registration of all weapons. Even still, I would support UBCs in exchange for reducing the NFA to only apply to fully automatic weapons.

    1. Guns are not registered now when people purchase from FFLs. There will be no difference- same checks.