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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

More stupid and dangerous gun incidents

As you may remember there has been a recent discussion about guns in my own state Capitol in Minnesota. So the following "stupid and dangerous" incident hit home. If we allow more people to carry their guns into more public places, inevitably we will see more incidents of people leaving their loaded guns sitting around somewhere as this one was in the Missouri state legislative building:
"A Missouri House staffer reportedly left his loaded 9mm pistol on top of the toilet paper dispenser in a men's restroom in the state Capitol basement Friday, according to a police report obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch."
I guess having a gun on your person all the time is just inconvenient when performing certain every day bodily functions and even everyday work and pleasure related tasks. Why have it then? This one was loaded with one bullet in the chamber, ready to go. What in the heck was this guy so afraid of while going about his daily business? You just can't forget your loaded gun. It's too potentially dangerous and absolutely stupid. Who might find it? This is a case of irresponsible and careless gun ownership. Do we really want loaded guns in our state Capitols? I don't think so.

But people do seem to "forget" their loaded guns. That's what happens when you have them with you wherever you go. There are places where those guns are not welcome. For example, at the 9-11 memorial in New York City where a Wisconsin woman "forgot" that she had her gun in her bag and got caught:
Well, it turns out Jerry does have a Wisconsin carry permit, according to another New York report, from The Gothamist. But in New York CIty, you need a special New York City carry permit, as the city does not reciprocate with the 49 states that issue concealed weapon permits, including New York.
The Wall Street Journal report doesn't make the distinction. But as the Gothamist points out, Jerry is far from the first out-of-town tourist to carry her weapon in NYC, or even from trying to carry into the 9/11 Memorial.
Wisconsin's records of concealed carry permits are secret, so no one here can legally look up whether Ursula does indeed have a valid permit here.
We should know whether this woman was a legal gun permit holder. If too many of them start violating laws and doing stupid and dangerous things, we should re-look at the conceal and carry laws. But the corporate gun lobby has made darned sure that we don't get to know this information. Why? Because it just doesn't look good for all of those permit holders to making mistakes like these. Common sense tells us that loaded guns in public are just not a good idea. More mistakes are made than actual "self defense." So why do you "need" your gun when you travel? Sure, there are some situations that you might find to be unsafe. But really, in all my travels in the U.S. and abroad, I have never felt myself to be in danger of my life. I try hard to stay away from places that could be dangerous and stay in safe neighborhoods. Precaution is usually a good idea. Yes, people are killed when visiting other places. But people are also killed in their homes by someone they know more often. And kids are shot in accidental shootings with guns in the home more often. Which is more dangerous? Let's make guns less accessible and more difficult to get in the first place. Let's think again about loosening our laws to allow more people to carry more guns into more public places. It's not working out too well. Let's talk about leaving loaded guns around where others can find them.

On to the next incident. A teen apparently shot himself unintentionally in Arkansas thinking the gun was unloaded when he put it under his chin and pulled the trigger. Thanks to my friend at Ohh Shoot for posting this article. It again points out the stupid and dangerous things that happen when loaded guns are around. And the kicker here is that the local Open Carry folks had been planning a rally to show the public just how law abiding and safe folks with guns in public are. Communities are treated to these nonsensical "open carry" rallies on a regular basis. The "good guys with guns" just love displaying them as if they are some sort of appendage of their bodies. Oh wait.....

Needless to say, they cancelled their rally "out of respect for the family." No, they cancelled the rally because they would look pretty darned stupid parading around with loaded guns when a teen-aged boy just shot himself accidentally with a loaded gun in public. Guns are dangerous. They are not for flaunting. This was an unspeakable tragedy for the family and friends of this boy. One could question whether charges should be filed against the grandfather who owned the gun used to kill this teen. This is what comes of irresponsible and careless gun ownership. It appears now that the gun was already in the truck and the gun belonged to the grandfather of one of the kids.

And further, as to the "open carry" group, we don't need people whose egos seem to be fed by some sort of false power when they are carrying their guns. Stay home with your guns. The example set when adults walk around in public with their guns is starting to affect young people. The thing is, the guns get used against them or someone they know instead of preventing a shooting or a criminal act.

And then there is the man in San Antonio, Texas who walked into a hotel with his AR-15 while drunk. He also had a silencer for that gun. What was going on there? What makes people who own guns think they can walk into a public place with an assault style rifle and silencer? He knew, of course, that he would be arrested. He surrendered his gun to police. From an article:
According to his arrest affidavit, Michael Mihalski was highly intoxicated, could barely stand, and reeked of beer . He told the officer he didn't feel safe carrying the weapon then accused the officer of taking his gun and demanded it back. 
Whatever. The rifle was not loaded but tell that to the people who were terrorized by this man who clearly was not in control of his senses, let alone his gun. When so many guns are out there and so many people think they should be able to carry in public, this is what we will see and what we are seeing. This is not the country the majority of Americans want or deserve. People should not have to fear someone walking around in a hotel with an assault rifle given that we have just experienced yet another mass shooting. We are better than this and it's time for a change. Let's get to work.


Well, it didn't take long before another story came along about stupid and dangerous behavior with a gun. This time it was someone who had not handled a gun before but could have presumably passed a background check as a law abiding person. This Colorado man tried to hide his involvement in accidentally shooting and killing a man when he picked up a loaded gun he found under a couch. From the article:
Brown told police he had found a handgun under the couch cushion he was sitting on and when he tried to set it on a table, he fumbled the weapon.
"Brown said as he went to catch the gun in his hand, the gun unintentionally discharged and struck Logan Treguier," the affidavit said. "Brown said he then ran to his vehicle and hid the handgun underneath a seat."
Brown told police he smoked marijuana upon arriving at Treguier's home and that he had never had firearm training, handled a gun, or shot a gun before Friday's shooting, the affidavit said. Brown was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, a class-four felony. Colorado law defines it as reckless killing.
Good grief. Guns are dangerous. People who have not had training or have ever shot a gun before shouldn't handle a gun, and most particularly when smoking marijuana. But these things happen in America, tragically.


It's sad that I have to add another stupid and dangerous gun owning individual who shot first and asked questions later. From my friend at the Ohh Shoot blog:
A Lawton, Oklahoma man saw a shadowy figure standing in his bedroom so he grabbed his 30 caliber rifle and fired. The intruder turned out to be his wife who was returning from going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. 
The woman was shot in the shoulder. She was taken to a nearby medical center for treatment

The writer of the Ohh Shoot blog has been busy. Here is the latest irresponsible act committed by a "law abiding" gun owner. She posted about this Ohio incident where a man was senselessly killed by a bullet that came through the wall of his apartment when an irresponsible gun owner shot off his gun:
They are wondering how the accidental shooting even happened just before 1 p.m. Sunday at the Wexford Lakes apartment complex off Burnham Drive in West Columbus.
At least one neighbor now says he’s scared for the safety of his family. (...) 
The detective told 10TV the shot went through a wall, right into Gardner's apartment, striking him in the chest.
Garnder was rushed to the hospital, where he later died. 
"Honestly, after it happened, it scared the crap out of us, and we honestly went online and looked for other apartments, because we didn't want our kid being brought up where guns would be going off," Simpkins said.
Police have identified the person who fired the gun. That person has not been charged yet, but that could change as the investigation continues.
But we do live in neighborhoods where guns are going off. That is the problem. We are better than this. This should be normal. It's time for a change. And thank goodness people are keeping track of shootings and what "law abiding" gun owners are up to. Otherwise, the corporate gun lobby would be able to get away with their denial that guns don't kill people, people do. Their problem is that there are too many people with guns and they are killing innocent people on a regular basis.


I can't decide if I should start a new post at this point but I found another stupid and dangerous incident. A man accidentally shot his wife in the legs while others were in the home:
Roger Clark accidentally fired a 40 caliber pistol and struck his wife Tammy. She was one of four people, including a child, in the house at the time.
"It wasn't life threatening injuries, but she was taken to Memorial Hospital in Martinsville Henry County and subsequently transferred to Carillion in Roanoke," said Captain Winn.
A neighbor, who did not want to appear on camera, says the Clarks are good neighbors and it's sad this happened in their home.
But Captain Winn says it actually happens all too often.
"People who have handled all their life can accidentally fire a gun," said Winn.
Winn cites a viral YouTube video as a perfect example. It shows a DEA agent teaching a gun safety class accidentally shoots himself in the foot.
Winn says even the most experienced professional can never use too much caution when handling a gun.
"Always check and recheck to ensure that the gun is unloaded, always have it pointing in a safe direction."
Winn says he's glad this case didn't end in tragedy.
"The bullet could've stuck her in the head or the chest. It very easily could've turned fatal."
Clark is facing one count of reckless handling of a firearm and one count of unlawfully discharging a firearm, which is a felony. He is currently out on bond.

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