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, November 6, 2013

Support for common sense gun laws in elections matters

Yes. Elections matter. Virginia Governor elect Terry McAuliffe, stood up to the NRA lobbyists and said he didn't care about their "F" rating. And he won anyway. This should be a lesson to politicians but so far the noise of the NRA is still muting the obvious conclusions. Common sense measures to save lives are more important than giving in to the fear and paranoia of the corporate gun lobby. There have been a number of articles written about what happened in last night's election. But until the conversation changes on a national level we will still see our candidates and politicians running away from the issue of gun violence prevention under the mistaken impression that they can't win if they are in favor or protecting our communities from the violence that devastates way too many people. From one article in The New Republic:
"Did you hear about the big bellwether election for gun control politics on Tuesday? A candidate with an F rating from the NRA who was bold enough to openly support universal background checks and limits on ammunition magazines won in a purple state with a strong gun culture, the home of the NRA. Pundits everywhere are ready to make grand proclamations about what the result will mean for the gun issue nationwide, just as they did when two Colorado state senators who supported tougher gun restrictions were recalled in a September election that involved vastly fewer voters.
Actually, only one part of that paragraph is accurate. Terry McAuliffe is the next governor of Virginia. But very few pundits have been framing the race as having anything to say about the state of the gun control cause, despite McAuliffe’s remarkably forthright support for tighter gun restrictions, which included proudly touting his F rating in a debate with Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Most summaries of the race make zero mention of the gun issue at all, despite the fact that both sides of the issue have engaged heavily in the race, with the NRA spending $500,000 against McAuliffe and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group, and Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions spending roughly $2 million combined."
Elections matter. Virginia is a red to turning purple or even blue state. There are a lot of gun owners in Virginia. The NRA headquarters is located in the state of Virginia. But polling shows that most Virginians are in favor of stronger gun laws. From this New York Times article about the election and polling:
Surveys show a mixed picture. A Quinnipiac University poll of Virginians this year found that 66 percent supported placing armed police officers in every school, and 50 percent believed that gun ownership helps protect people from crime. Only 41 percent believed that owning a gun puts them at risk.
But the poll also found big margins of support for requiring background checks on purchasers at gun shows (92 percent), banning assault weapons (58 percent), prohibiting high-capacity magazines (59 percent) and reinstating the one-gun-a-month limit (60 percent).
This bears repeating. "... margins of support for requiring background checks on purchasers at gun shows (92 percent), banning assault weapons (58 percent), prohibiting high-capacity magazines (59 percent) and reinstating the one-gun-a-month limit (60 percent)" So Governor elect McAuliffe will be doing the bidding of the majority of voters and citizens and not of the minority of gun rights extremists who oppose any gun law just to oppose it. Gun violence prevention organizations got involved in the Virginia Governor's race and some down ballot races as well. The Brady Campaign endorsed McAuliffe and others who ran on common sense gun measures:
Statement of Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
“The election of Terry McAuliffe as Governor of Virginia in a race with a high turnout, and high stakes is yet another demonstration of the changing tide on the gun violence issue.
In a swing state that is home to the NRA, Governor-elect McAuliffe campaigned on his strong support for sensible gun violence solutions like extending Brady Background Checks to all gun sales.  He wore his "F" rating from the NRA like a badge of honor, demonstrating the overwhelming support that Virginians, like all Americans, have for sensible solutions to gun violence.  Make no mistake this was a voting issue for Virginians. The Brady Campaign was proud to endorse Governor-elect  McAuliffe, and we look forward to working with him to help make Virginia safer for its citizens."
Americans for Responsible Solutions also got involved in the election, spending more money than the NRA on the Virginia election. This is a first. From their website:
“The extraordinary thing we were able to do in Virginia – in the backyard of the gun lobby – was to hold candidates accountable directly on their positions of gun violence prevention rather than broader campaign themes in the race,” said Pia Carusone, executive director, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. “This was a multipronged program where we were able to predict and validate a voter’s support on gun issues and the voters’ movement toward our candidates.” (...)  
A survey released this week by Public Policy Polling of 870 likely Virginia voters from November 2-3 found that messaging on gun violence prevention issues was helpful in the race for McAuliffe. “Asked how Cuccinelli’s opposition to expanded background checks factors into their vote, 47 percent said that position makes them less likely to vote for him, as opposed to 18 percent who said it made them more likely to do so,” reported Politico. [http://politi.co/1ff5s8S] “When asked whether they had seen or received any advertising on the gun issue, just under half of all those surveyed — 47 percent — said they had, compared with 40 percent who hadn’t.”
Candidates can win without the support of the NRA lobbyists. And this PPP polling (above) shows that actually, a position supportive of common sense gun laws wins votes. There is nothing to fear for candidates. It's time for a change in campaign talk about guns and gun violence in order to protect our communities from the devastation of gun violence. Other candidates should pay attention to what happened in Virginia going forward to 2014 and 2016.

Other groups supported the election of Terry McAuliffe as well. From the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence: 
“The prevailing view among pundits after the Colorado recall elections was that no candidate would ever dare campaign on the issue of common-sense gun reform again,” said Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) executive director Josh Horwitz.  “Maybe they should have waited a couple of months before carving that dubious theory in stone.” (...) 
 “Coming off the 2012 elections, this is just further confirmation that the NRA is a paper tiger,” said Lori Haas, CSGV’s Virginia Director and the head of Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws, a project of CSGV’s sister organization, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. “For all their supposed political power, the gun violence prevention movement outspent them in this election and out-organized them on the ground where it counts the most. And this is just the beginning.”
Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America also weighed in on the Virginia election:
Last month, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America announced its endorsement of Terry McAuliffe following the final gubernatorial debate in Blacksburg when McAuliffe professed boldly, “I don’t care what grade I get from the NRA. I never want to see a Newtown or Aurora or VA Tech happen again.” (...)  
“Moms Demand Action applauds Governor-elect McAuliffe’s victory as a win for all Virginia families, and we know this win will give other candidates the courage to support common-sense gun reform legislation without feeling threatened by the gun lobby. Clearly, the NRA’s power is waning.”
This, of course, is not the first election cycle where the money and influence of the NRA hasn't worked out. Check out what happened in 2012. And even before that, the myth has persisted that the NRA lobbying efforts have affected elections but when that common misperception is examined more thoroughly, as this series of articles by Paul Waldman forThink Progress( here, here and here) did, we learn that the myth is just that- a myth.

Congratulations to Governor elect Terry McAuliffe. And we know we can be better than the failure of our elected leaders to challenge the prevailing view that you can't stand up to the NRA and win elections. You can. Enough is enough of the myths about the influence of the corporate gun lobby in American politics. It's time for the change Americans want and deserve. Let's get to work.


  1. I am disappointed in Guns & Ammo for firing Dick Metcalf, who wrote a column endorsing some gun control .measures

    1. I didn't know he was fired. What a shame. I guess you can't speak up for common sense and be a gun owner in the eyes of some.

    2. Metcalf was fired and the Editor resigned. Don't mess with the gun rights extremists. Too bad these guys couldn't stand up to them. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/guns-ammo-editor-resigns-gun-control-jim-bequette_n_4234015.html?ref=topbar

  2. Magazines are no different that any other media, as in its entertainment. You tick off your audience, you'll be looking for a new job. There are many entertainers who have suffered a similar fate.

    1. Really? What about Ted Nugent and his offensive gun talk? He still gets hired and he's still on the board of the NRA. The gun lobby tolerates most anything from their own crowd, including the hysterical rants of Wayne LaPierre who should have been gone a long time ago. But if one person veers slightly in favor of what the majority of even NRA members favor, they get the boot. I would say that this crowd is particularly intolerant of differences of opinion.

  3. Dear Joseph Ruiz from New Jersey. Please don't send any more of your totally offensive, rude, obnoxious and false comments to my blog. They won't be published.

  4. Governor Elect McAuliffe did not run on a anti IIA platform. With the exception of his website, little, if any was said about VA gun laws. For any gun laws to pass, McAuliffe will have a long row to hoe to make any meaningful change. The VA legislature is not likely to risk a CO style recall by endorsing or passing gun laws that are in line with anti IIA activists.

    His votes came from Northern VA and the growing hispanic voters who care very little for or against VA Gun laws. And, by the campaigns own admission, it was the ACA (Obamacare) *not* VA gun rights that was the deciding factor.

    1. McAuliffe made a very clear statement in favor of background checks. Second Amendment activisis happen to be in the minority.Polling in Virginia shows that passing gun violence prevention laws is actually a majority opinion- http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/virigina-terry-mcauliffe-guns-99324.html?hp=rh_b1 and also here: http://hamptonroads.com/2013/01/poll-virginians-favor-stricter-gun-control and this one in the 2nd district which is represented by a Republican- http://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/shad-plank-blog/dp-gun-control-group-says-poll-shows-most-voters-in-va-2nd-congressional-dist-favor-mandatory-backgroun-20130305,0,6799338.post
      85% polled were in favor of stronger background checks. You are wrong.

  5. From the linked poll:
    24. As you may know, high-capacity magazines or clips can hold many rounds of ammunition, so a shooter can fire more rounds without manually reloading. Would you favor or oppose a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines that hold many rounds of ammunition?

    This question is so open to interpretation that it is rendered statistically weak, at best. What # constitutes "many rounds"? It also is not a VA pol as it specifically asks if the responder has an opinion on a nationwide ban.

    Standard magazines for a M-4 type, semi auto carbine, hold 30 rounds. 30 rounds is a standard magazine. Anything more is high capacity. So, is 30 "many rounds"? If a shotgun hold more than 3, does that constitute "many rounds"? A ruger 22 rifle holds 10 rounds. Is a magazine fro that same rifle that holds 15 or 20 "many rounds"? As you can see, in order for the question to have merit, it must 1st ask the responder to respond as to how many rounds is too many. I doubt one could get a standard quantifiable answer.

    1. 30 rounds are considered to be high capacity magazines.

  6. 25. Would you favor or oppose a nationwide ban on assault weapons?
    29. Do you think allowing citizens to own assault weapons makes the country safer or more dangerous?
    33. Which of the following approaches do you think would be the most effective way to prevent mass shootings at schools, like the one that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut: *banning assault weapons*, or increasing police presence at schools, or decreasing gun violence on television, in movies, and video games, or increasing government spending on mental health screening and treatment?

    Before we can give any weight to these questions, we MUST define what constitutes an "Assualt Weapon". Until both sides can agree, the above questions about "assualt weapons" are meaningless. What is your "assault weapon" is my target or varmint rifle.

    1. Assault weapon is a term first used by the gun industry to describe what had been military style rifles not commonly used by private citizens. When the industry realized that that term was a turn-off to the public, they re-branded them to be sporting rifles which they are not. They are not commonly used for hunting. They are not good for hunting deer and large game for example. This is a ploy to sell expensive guns and get them into the hands of as many citizens as possible. They shouldn't be commonly owned. They aren't good for hunting or self defense. For what other purpose do people need guns? I believe the answer is obvious.

    2. Assault Weapon was a term coined by VPC in an attempt to steer this debate quite some time ago. It was not originated by the firearms industry. The first use as applies to civilian firearms was in a 1985 gun control bill proposed in California, but it was Josh Sugarmann's 1988 publication "Assault Weapons and Accessories in America" that really put the term into common use.

      It was *not* driven by the firearms industry.

    3. Wrong Bryan. Check the facts. Here they are: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/02/06/what-right-wing-media-wont-tell-you-about-assau/192553 " 1963: Colt, after acquiring the design for the AR-15 from ArmaLite, begins to sell a semi-automatic AR-15 assault weapon on the civilian market."

      " 1980s: Semi-automatic assault weapons become widely available on the civilian market. According to the Violence Policy Center, gun manufacturers began to heavily market these weapons to make up for declining handgun sales.

      1982: Guns & Ammo magazine publishes a guide to semi-automatic assault weapons simply titled, Assault Rifles.

      1984: A Heckler & Koch advertisement for the "HK 91 Semi-Automatic Assault Rifle" depicts the common survivalist theme seen in assault weapon advertisements. The ad notes that the rifle pictured for sale is "derived directly from the G3" and adds, "Leading military operations and law enforcement agencies rely on firearms that bear the H&K name. Your choice is equally clear. You can carry an ordinary weapon. Or own the most uncompromising firearm in the world." The H&K G3 is an assault rifle used by numerous militaries since its invention in 1959. Also in 1984, the H&K 94 Carbine, a rifle with a shorter barrel, is described by its manufacturer as "a direct offspring of HK's renowned family of MP5 submachine guns.""

      There is much more in this article that researches the terminology. It was not made up by the VPC. They were just using the terms already used by the gun industry as they started selling these kinds of weapons.

  7. TREND: Do you think the laws covering the sale of guns in Virginia should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?
    Jan 10 Aug 08
    2013 2012

    More strict 49 44
    Less strict 6 9
    Kept the same 42 44
    DK/NA 4 4
    So, 48% of the respondents responded less strict/kept the same. How this correlates to 98% wanting NICS checks at gun shows...? I don't know. But I am a gun loving mouth breathing knuckle dragger so stats like that might be beyond my ken.

    1. Looks to me like 49% said more strict. That looks like a majority to me.

  8. No, 30 round magazines are standard for the M16 type and AK type platform. IOW, these magazines, 30 round, are the common provided magazine. That makes makes them standard, like standard features on a car.
    if you want them to be "High Capacity', then you need to work at changing the standard.

    1. More than 10 rounds are generally considered to be high capacity by most normal people. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0039.htm

  9. They may be standard for your type but hardly any hunters I know in my neck of the woods use either assault type rifles or magazines of more than about 10 rounds. They don't need them for hunting so they don't use them. 30 rounds are high capacity. There is no use for 30 rounds unless you are planning to kill a lot of people at one time in one place.

  10. MN does not have a magazine capacity law that I can find for hunting, other than a restriction for shotguns of no more than 3 shells for bird hunting.

    The only reason I would have a large capacity magazine is to protect my family from multiple people invading my property. I am responsible for protecting myself and my family. Any law enforcement would arrive too late.

    The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 2005 that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect someone. I am sure that most would do their best to protect and serve, but they will arrive after an event, too late to help.

    SCOTUS ruling from the NY Times, 2005

    Joan, the common sense thing to do is to require enforcement of existing laws and take on the criminals. All you are doing is trying to make criminals out of law abiding citizens.

    Let's work together and take on crime and enforce the thousands of existing laws. It is the common sense approach.