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.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Scary gun stories

I have been working on another post for my blog but several articles caught my attention that support my contention that more guns have not made us safer. First of all, please be careful when scaring friends with guns. Some gun folks are fearful and paranoid in the first place. That is why they have decided to have guns with them wherever they go and loaded and ready to shoot at home. This incident should be a reminder that perhaps a "trigger happy" friend should not be scared. An 18 year old girl is now dead because of a prank:
"Family members said Lal and Galley were best friends and Lal was hiding in a closet and jumped out to scare Galley and he shot her after being startled.
The closet opened and I think she jumped and screamed and he thought it was an intruder inside the closet, so that when he pulled the trigger,” Lal’s father Praveen Lal said.
Galley, from Utah, is currently being held in Boulder County Jail on several charges including reckless endangerment.
Lal was a high school track star. Her parents are heartbroken over the loss of their daughter.
My life ended so suddenly and I think it’s going to take a few more days for us to really, you know, comprehend she’s gone,” Praveen Lal said.
Despite his sadness Praveen Lal said he feels no anger towards Galley.
“We lost a daughter, so we don’t want anybody else to lose their son, you know, especially when it was accident,” he said."
Did the young man have his gun on him ready to shoot or did he have to run for it? What was he scared about in his house that he needed to be wearing his gun? When he was actually "scared" by someone who meant him no harm, he acted instantly. For goodness sakes, does one shoot first and ask questions later? Without the gun, the man would have been momentarily frightened but a young girl would be alive today and her parents would not be mourning the sudden and senseless loss of their daughter's life. And was this really an accident as the girl's parents said? Can there really be an accidental shooting? Guns are dangerous. There should be no or few accidents around lethal weapons designed to kill people. Yes, there are car accidents. There are drownings. There are falls. There are all kinds of accidents. That is why we have warning labels on products and signs all over our country to warn us to be careful of icy roads, or deer crossings on busy highways, or children playing in the neighborhood streets, or no lifeguards at a pool or lake swimming area, or second hand smoke dangers on cigarette packages, etc. But guns? We ought to be more careful about who has them and how they use them because of their inherent lethality and potential to injure or kill someone.

My second incident involves a little girl and access to a gun she shouldn't have had. Does anyone remember when Congress voted to allow permit holders to carry their guns into National Parks? I do. Things aren't working out quite the way the gun lobby said they would. For instance, a young child is dead now because she was handling a loaded handgun in her campsite at Yellowstone National Park:
A child died of a gunshot wound on Saturday at a popular campground in Yellowstone National Park, according to park officials, who said the girl's mother reported that her young daughter had shot herself with a handgun.
Emergency responders were unable to resuscitate the girl after her mother called emergency dispatchers from a campsite near Yellowstone Lake, park spokesman Al Nash said in a statement.
The names of the mother and girl in the incident, which is under investigation, were not released pending notification of extended family members, Nash said. The child's age was also not released.
A U.S. law that took effect in 2010 allowed people to carry guns into national parks as long as federal, state and local firearms laws were met, according to the National Park Service.
Although hunting is permitted at a handful of national parks, including Grand Teton in Wyoming, hunting or even firing a gun is unlawful in Yellowstone, according to park literature.
The forested campsite where the shooting occurred sits near a developed area in the Wyoming section of the park known as Grant Village, which features a ranger station, lodge, stores and other amenities.
Why did the girl have the gun? Whose was it? Why did her family, if the gun was theirs,  think a loaded gun was a good idea to bring along on a camping trip to a National Park? Well, because they now can after the 2009 law was passed. There is generally no hunting in National Parks now so guns are not needed for hunting.

What goes on in National Parks to scare people into thinking they need guns? Falling rocks? No. Pesky squirrels? No. Wrong footwear? No. Falling off of a cliff? No. Car accidents? From this article:
"People are looking at things other than the road," Gaumer said. "They're sightseeing. Even though the speed limits are lower in the parks, these are mostly two-lane roads."
"We have lots of traffic accidents every day," Miller said. She estimated that there are about three "life-flights" to transport a person out of the park to a hospital every day during the busy summer months. "They're mostly because of car accidents and medical problems, like heart attacks. Animal encounters are rare."
Indeed, medical problems rival car accidents as a cause of death in the parks. In Yellowstone, of the 61 fatalities that occurred in the park from 1998 to 2006, 23 were due to either heart attacks or diabetes.
Twenty deaths within Yellowstone during those years were due to motor vehicle accidents, but the park-reported numbers do not include people who transported out of the park after an accident who later died of their injuries once off-site, Miller said.
Although the total number of fatalities that occur every year in the parks is generally low, Gaumer said, suicides are another common cause of deaths.
"They are remote areas – no one will stop you," Gaumer said. In particular, Colorado National Monument seems to have had "more than their fair share" of suicides, but the number that have occurred there could be counted on one hand, he said.
One man died by suicide in Yellowstone earlier this summer, Miller said.
Bear attacks on people in the parks are very rare. For example, nearly 2 million people now annually visit Waterton-Glacier National Park, in Montana and Alberta, but only 10 bear-related fatalities have been reported in the park since Glacier opened in 1910.
So, are guns needed for any of these? Hardly. Someone needs to explain why it's a good idea to bring your guns to the Parks given that they really are not needed for self protection. The corporate gun lobby and its' minions who serve in Congress argued that it's way too inconvenient to have to case and/or disassemble guns when driving to or through the National Parks. It's also inconvenient when someone gets killed in a National Park or anywhere for that matter. National Parks are now "guns welcome here" zones. Are we safer? Remember when a Mount Ranier Park Ranger was shot in 2012? I do.

Guns are dangerous. Those who choose to own them or carry them are way too often careless with their guns. That is why we should be much more rigorous about where we allow loaded guns and who should have them. Too many people believe in the scary rhetoric promoted by the gun lobby. They should listen to common sense instead. There are way too many senseless shootings like the 2 I have described in this post. That is why we need to step up and make some changes in the name of public safety. Fewer guns should be allowed into public places where families and friends go to hang out and enjoy each other. We should do a better job of educating people about the risks of guns if they choose to have them in their homes or in public. We should make darned sure that people who shouldn't be able to get their hands on guns shouldn't be allowed to. Lives depend on it.


I knew I had seen this story somewhere and it just popped back up on the website of my home town newspaper. Swat teams in Arkansas had to shoot a 107 year old man who was threatening people with his handgun in the home:
A 107-year-old man was killed after SWAT officers shot back at him during a standoff at a home, police in the southeastern Arkansas city of Pine Bluff said Sunday.
Police were called to the home Saturday afternoon about a disturbance and say officers arrived to find Monroe Isadore had threatened two people by pointing a weapon at them.
Officers had the pair leave the home for their own safety and approached a bedroom looking for Isadore. When the officers announced who they were, Isadore shot through the door at them but missed hitting them, Pine Bluff Lt. David Price said in a news release.
The officers retreated to a safer area, and supervisors and additional help were called, Price said. Supervisors started negotiating with Isadore and continued after SWAT officers arrived at the home about 45 miles southeast of Little Rock.
The SWAT team inserted a camera into the room and confirmed Isadore was armed with a handgun, Price said.
When it was clear the negotiations weren't working, SWAT officers released gas into the room from outside a bedroom window, Price said.
SWAT officers entered the home, made their way to the bedroom and threw a “distraction device” into the room, Price said.
He said Isadore began to fire at the officers and they fired back, killing him.
Raise your hand if you think it's a good idea for senior citizens of this age to have guns in the home. I mean, I hope to live to a nice long age but I am also cognizant of the fact that I will lose some of my abilities to see, hear, have good judgement, react quickly and maybe even mobility if I get to be over 80 or so. Families often need to decide if the car keys should be taken from people of this age because it may not be safe for them or others to be driving. Guns should be the same. If families believe a gun is a danger to themselves or the elderly family member they should do something about it. Some people should not have guns.


Like clock work, yet another story hit the San Bernardino, CA media about a man who had been scared by a noise leaving his gun cocked and shooting himself. From the article:
A 22-year-old San Bernardino man’s fatal self-inflicted gunshot happened while he was carrying a revolver in his waistband with the hammer cocked, police say.
Davion Titus accidentally shot himself at 6:04 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, outside his apartment at 3025 North Golden Avenue.
“It must have dislodged,” Sgt. Gary Robertson said of the single-action Freedom Arms 454 Casull. “The only way that goes off is with the hammer cocked.”
Titus had been sitting outside the apartment with a woman when she heard a noise, prompting Titus to retrieve the gun from his apartment and search for the source of the noise, Robertson said. Apparently satisfied that there was no threat, Titus returned to the woman and sat back down with the large-caliber revolver in his waistband, said Robertson.
The couple chatted for a bit, then Titus moved to his right, accidentally causing the gun to fire, Robertson said.
Titus died at the scene.
Be careful out there. If you are scared enough of every noise in or near your house I advise that you don't actually get your gun out ready to shoot. It doesn't seem to be working out well.


  1. In 2010, a pair of hikers in Denali used a handgun to protect themselves from a charging grizzly bear. That is just one example, easily found, about a defensive use of a firearm in a national park.

    Nobody argues that there will be ZERO accidents with firearms (or cars, or pools, or boats, or any other potentially hazardous item). The argument is that the positive benefits of firearms outweigh the costs.

    President Obama ordered the CDC to investigate this subject and the CDC concluded this year:

    "Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence... Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008."

    The CDC WISQARS database shows that there are fewer than a thousand accidental gun deaths every year. While each accident is tragic, they are extremely rare.

    Are you willing to trade the death of the little girl -- which is tragic, due to the negligence of her guardians -- for the lives of the two hikers who escaped being mauled by a grizzly bear?

    Every policy has costs and benefits. It appears that national park carry has saved at least two lives and cost at least one life.

    I'd prefer to save as many innocent lives as possible. Wouldn't any sane person? If there was a policy choice that reduced innocent death to zero I'd gladly look into it. Such a policy does not really exist, though. Not in the real world. The best we can do is manage risk and achieve the best possible results. National park carry has apparently thus far saved more lives than it has cost.

    1. It's odd of you to think lives can be "traded". That is not the point. And the CDC report you claimed is not the final report. That won't be out for several years. What you cited was a preliminary look by some experts at what should be studied by the CDC. There is nothing conclusive yet. I've already gone around about this one with another of you guys. I hope you will stop spreading that around because the report is nowhere near done yet. And your last sentence is ridiculous.

      From an article about the bear shooting- " While a state law in Alaska allows the killing of wildlife in defense of life or property, there is no such federal law. It’s still against the law to actually fire a gun in the part of the park the bear was shot.
      But Fister said park officials determined “this was a legitimate defense of life” and decided not to press charges.
      According to the hikers’ account of the incident, they were talking as they hiked up Tattler Creek, which is located about halfway along the 92-mile Denali Park Road and is “known to be a pretty brushy, bear-friendly area,” Fister said.
      The hikers were 20 to 25 feet apart when the man heard a noise in the brush to his right. He turned and drew a .45-caliber, semi-automatic handgun from a holster on his waist seconds before a large grizzly bear emerged from the brush about 25 feet away.
      The bear charged the woman and the man fired seven to nine rounds at the right side of the bar. The bear stopped several feet from the woman and then moved back into the brush.
      The hikers retreated and walked 1 1/2 miles back to Denali Park Road, noting the location on a GPS they were carrying. They notified a park employee about the shooting.
      The dead bear was found the next day a short distance from the location provided by the hikers. The 434-pound bear was an older male with several pre-existing injuries, including a partly torn-off ear, Fister said.
      Neither hiker had much backcountry or Alaska experience, according to park officials, and neither carried bear spray. Both had watched the park’s backcountry and bear safety orientation video and had proper backcountry permits.
      Park officials aren’t worried that the shooting two months ago, combined with the new law that allows visitors to carry guns in the park, will lead to more bear shootings, Fister said.
      “We hope that it doesn’t happen again,” Fister said. “If it does, it will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”
      Park officials will still emphasize avoidance rather than the use of bear spray or firearms, Fister said.
      “You can’t depend on those,” she said. “We hope people are still going to realize the use of firearms or bear spray is only potentially appropriate in a very last-ditch effort, and they need to take precautions.”
      Using a gun against bears can also sometimes backfire, Fister noted.
      “If someone doesn’t how to use it well, you can tick an animal off and create a worse situation,” she said."

      Sounds like it is recommended to stay away from some places in the park, known for its' bears. And using a gun can work out badly, actually.