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.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Your wallet or your gun- you decide

What will it take before we realize collectively that the carrying of guns in public is a really bad idea? Will it take more shootings of innocent people? Will it take more "accidents"? Will it take the shooters themselves literally "shooting themselves in the foot"? I don't know about you but it's just plain ridiculous that legal gun permit holders have continued to discharge their guns in public places. Take this one, for example. If you carry your gun around in a holster and it's close to your wallet, you should make darned sure that you reach for the right thing:
WHMI-FM reports the 32-year-old man from the Livingston County community of Green Oak Township was shot in the buttocks Thursday evening at the Home Depot in Brighton. Police say it appears he was reaching for his wallet when he inadvertently grabbed the pistol and a shot fired.
And believe it or not, there is another stupid and potentially dangerous incident of a Georgia man reaching for his money in a cafe and ending up with the trigger of his gun, shooting himself. You just can't make this stuff up. From the article:
Police say that when he reached into his pocket to get money for his meal, one of his fingers got caught in the trigger guard of the .45-caliber pistol.
The Athens Banner-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/KmLyik) that after shooting through the seat and bouncing off the floor, the bullet was found on top of a chair. No injuries were reported.

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2014/01/03/3208962/georgia-man-misfires-gun-in-cafe.html#storylink=cpy
He had a permit to carry his gun around in public.

There has been an increase in these types of incidents and it is inevitable that after states passed looser conceal and carry laws, we would begin to see more gun permit holders making mistakes. When you are careless with your loaded gun, or even if you are careful, bad things can and do happen. Guns are dangerous. In the incidents above, both permit holders were lucky not to have injured or killed an innocent person or two. If these things keep happening, many stores will have to re-think their policies to allow guns inside.

My friend at the Walmart Shootings blog has issued a year end report about the shootings in and around Walmart stores in the past year. From his blog post:
In 2013, Walmart stores had 81 shootingssurpassing the previous year by last October!  That's 27 more shootings, or a 50% increase over 2012!  Those shootings left 24 people dead and 40 injured on Walmart properties nationwide.  See a full listing HERE.

But the shocking figures don't stop at shootings.  Armed robberies using guns at Walmart stores were also up substantially.  In 2012 there were a mere 21 that I could find.  In 2013, that number jumped to 75!  That's a whopping three and a half times more armed robberies with guns in 2013!
And more from the blog post:
The NRA wants us to believe that arming people more would solve the problem, but the facts contradict that philosophy.  In 2013, people with conceal carry permits were RESPONSIBLE for twelve incidents of gun crimes and accidental shootings!  And the only self-defense shootings that happened on Walmart properties were by law enforcement and an armored car security guard.  In fact, three separate illegal shootings were committed by active Walmart employees!  Walmart currently allows conceal carry in its stores.  You would think that 12 incidents by permit holders would get them to rethink that policy! 
I have written many times before on this blog about "accidental" gun discharges in stores, hospitals, restaurants and other public places. I have also written about "accidental" gun discharges in homes causing tragic deaths mostly to children, some as young as 2 months old. This is unacceptable. Clearly guns have not made us safer. The opposite is true. There are risks both to gun owners and the public when more loaded guns are in homes and public places. That is why we need to work very hard to strengthen our gun laws, not loosen them as has happened in some states and mentioned in my last post.

Common sense is just not in play when it comes to gun reform. Instead, our leaders lack the courage to pass strong laws that would help prevent the daily carnage in our country. They have been listening to the corporate gun lobby whose main mission is to sell more guns. That's what fills the wallets of the gun industry and the campaign coffers of politicians. Money supersedes saving lives. We need a serious national discussion about the role guns play in our daily lives. It's not just about laws. It's about a gun culture, uniquely American, that has allowed for the highest rate of gun deaths in the developed countries of the world. What we have now is just not working. So let's get to work to make the changes we deserve to prevent the devastation to our families and communities caused by gun violence.


  1. I know you will likely not post this since it doesn't fit your agenda. That is unfortunate since your title is 'A thoughtful discussion.'

    Let's use rational thought and facts and admit gun violence is down 49% since 1993 - this is fact. There are far, far more guns now then there were in the 90s and people are buying more and more as they become afraid of basic firearms being restricted and banned.

    Even here in MN, since 2003, more than 159,000 people have their concealed carry licenses and most carry their pistol. Using your flawed 'common sense' viewpoint, it would surely mean blood pooling in the streets from all the concealed guns.

    It is not happening. Instead, gun violence is down. People have the natural right to protect their family and their children from evil.

    Let us use rational thought and logic, based in facts instead of calling for emotional responses under the guise of commons sense.

    1. And thank God gun deaths have gone down since the 90s, right around the time my sister was murdered. I'm shocked that you would "settle" for 30,000 gun deaths per year in American and about 1 per day in Minnesota. That is unacceptable. Actually more people have been killed by guns in America since 1968 than all of our wars since the country was founded. That's stunning. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jan/18/mark-shields/pbs-commentator-mark-shields-says-more-killed-guns/

      I would say that amounts to blood running in the streets. It's running in our homes, on our streets, in our schools and businesses. It's sick. And that is a fact. I'm not making it up. I would say I have a right to be emotional about something that is killing so many Americans. In some states, gun deaths are now surpassing automobile accidents as a cause of death.http://www.ibtimes.com/guns-kill-more-people-car-accidents-14-us-states-1119072 It seems to me we are trying everything we can to prevent deaths from auto accidents including government regulations. And all of those gun deaths are not blood running in our streets and in our communities? Do you even read my blog? Do you care about the "accidental" shootings by "law abiding" gun owners? Do you care that little children are finding guns in their homes and shooting themselves? Do you care that teens are using guns to commit suicides iwth guns found around the house? Do you care that the Adam Lanza's and James Holmes of America can easily access guns and mow little children and theater goers down? Common sense tells us that this is not acceptable. And the fact that you think it is tells me all I need to know about you.

    2. Oh, and Compking- have you seen the latest entry on the Kid Shootings blog? http://kidshootings.blogspot.com/2014/01/17-year-old-louisiana-boy-shoots-and.html
      A 17 year old boy shot his mother and took care of his siblings for 2 days while his mother's body lay in the bathtub. That's downright disturbing. Where did he get the gun? Those are the facts. I don't make them up. It should be enough to make a grown man cry and then want to do something to prevent these shootings from happening.

  2. Thank you for posting and responding. Once again, rather than look at the facts and use logical thinking, you are attacking me with an emotional argument instead of discussing the facts with a logical view. There is great evil in this world and only good, mentally stable men and women can stop it, and usually need to be armed to do so. There are men, women and children dying every day by various means, and fists, knives, and blunt instruments are used in the majority of violent crimes committed. You are focusing on a small part of a big picture.

    In the late 80s and 90s, I remember clearly the gang and mafia violence in Florida. It was so bad and massacres occurred daily, so bad that unless more than 4 people died (gun, bombs, bats, etc) it didn't even make the news. This is awful, but things are actually better now that people can defend themselves. Rationally and logically, the facts support that armed citizens reduce crime.

    20/20 Segment in 2008. http://youtu.be/682JLrsUmEM

    I understand your argument, but it is not logical or rational, it is emotional and only acknowledges some of the facts.

    According to the SCOTUS ruling, police do not have to protect us. And if evil comes to my home or attacks my family, it is my natural right to defend myself and others. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/28scotus.html?_r=0

    Remember, I am not trying to take away your natural rights that are enumerated in our Bill of Rights, you are trying to take my rights away from me. There is where the problem lies. It will not abide with rational, logical and free men. We will not stand for it.

    1. Good grief Compking. There is nothing about what I said that was not rational. I don't buy the "natural rights" stuff by the way so save your argument about that one. It makes no sense. What will you not stand for? That sounds a bit ominous to me. Talk about emotional arguments. Police do protect us. That argument has been tried before by people who read my blog. It's bunk. What you are citing is a narrow ruling. If you ask your local police chief ( which I have) and officers, they will tell you that they are there to protect their communities and the citizens who live there. And by the way, guns kill far more people than knives, fists and blunt instruments. Get your facts. It's not even rational to try to bring that ridiculous argument to my blog. I think you had better start reading different information. And what makes you think anything is better now that people can "defend" themselves? How many cases of actual and justifiable cases of self defense are there compared to the number of people who lose their lives to guns? Very few, in fact. Have you had to use your gun in self defense? I doubt it. And don't tell me that you "showed" it to someone who walked away. Check this out- http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/defensive-gun-use/?_r=0
      This is not emotion. This is factual. Things are better for many reasons regarding crime and guns. The Brady Bill passed into law and has stopped a whole lot of people who shouldn't have guns from getting them in the first place. Law enforcement have new practices for fighting crime. Check this out- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-dimond/crime-reduction_b_2878003.html or this: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/07/economist-explains-16
      And if crime is down, why do you need a gun for self protection? Guns are more likely to be used to kill or injure you or someone you know or love than to be used in justifiable self defense.

  3. You have good points, but Police cannot protect me in my home, they can only be a first responder. Which will be too late.

    Regarding natural rights, do you not believe in self preservation? I have a right to live and defend my family and property from evil. That is above all else.

    My story:
    In the early 90s, a gang banger in Phoenix, AZ had a rifle that he decided to unload on his rivals at a convenience store. He likely either stole it or bought it illicitly, since criminals just don't bother following laws. I've watched videos of felons that scoff at gun control laws, why should they care? What they do fear is armed civilians, and they mention this specifically in the videos I digress, anyway, my brother and I happened to have stopped in the McDonalds to use the restroom - which was next to the convenience store.

    My brother was in the bathroom and I watched a line of holes stitch across the windows and through the tiles, on both sides of me. needless to say, i was on the floor in an instant, luckily unhurt. I had no idea if I was the target or if someone was coming in the building to kill everyone. What I wanted in that instant more than any was a gun, an armed LEO, or any armed civilian to help. There was no help, and the feeling of utter helplessness is not describable. Luckily he was done doing his deed and left.

    Being downrange with bullets flying near your head from a hopped up hoodlum that has no regard for any type of law or restriction makes you realize you either carry or be a victim. They are not going to stop because you say please, they will only stop when they are done with their evil, or a good man with a gun stops them. There is no argument to this case.

    80 seconds and a potential mass school shooting ends. Why? An armed deputy was in the school. I guess the NRA is on to something. That is common sense. Protect our kids!


    Our Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen have armed guards but not our children? Bloomberg hires 17 heavily armed detectives as his personal army but we can't put an armed guard in schools for our most precious resources, our children? Something stinks in gun control land, sorry. It's not about saving lives, it's just about control.

    Remove the heaviest gun controlled states and cities from our statistics (Chicago, CA, DC, etc) and interesting things occur to the data, somehow all the problems seem to be in places where people cannot protect themselves from evil, and the evil knows it. More victims, more crime, more rape, more violence. Add armed civilians and things turn out ok.

    This former CA law officer, now police chief in Detroit agrees.


    1. Dear Compking- We will simply not agree. That's pretty obvious. There is no proof and really very few incidents where an armed citizen could have changed what happened in your situation. Even armed officers don't hit their targets with great accuracy.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/weekinreview/09baker.html?pagewanted=all
      But if you think you can make a difference, that's your choice. Just be careful. That loaded gun could be more likely to be used against you than your using it in self defense. Most home invasions occur when people are not at home.
      Senators and Representatives don't have armed guards. I have been in many meetings in DC and in Minnesota and not once did my Senator or Rep. bring an armed guard along. At the Capitol in DC, there are metal detectors as there are at the entrances to all of their office buildings. I wonder why? They understand that an armed citizen is a bad idea in their place of business.

    2. Your assertion that if remove the "heaviest gun controlled states" from the equation produces a different result is totally false. The most dangerous states for gun deaths are the states that have the loosest gun laws. So you are wrong about that one. http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/04/03/1811311/study-states-with-loose-gun-laws-have-higher-rates-of-gun-violence/

      As to the Detroit Police Chief's controversial statement, he also favors common sense gun laws- those you don't favor-" Although Craig said more responsible gun owners would likely lower crime, in the past he also has called for a ban on assault weapons, regulating high-capacity magazines, tighter restrictions on Internet ammunition sales and more stringent background checks for merchants who sell firearms at gun shows." From-http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140103/METRO01/301030038#ixzz2pMXMQgcs

    3. And in reply to your comments about arming teachers, I disagree strongly as do most people actually. A teacher's job is to keep the children safe. In school shootings, things happen so fast that the first job of a teacher is to get the kids to a safe place. Read the accounts of the Colorado school shooting and you will see that is what the teachers did. I have been an educator and been through lock-down drills. I know how they work and what my job was. It was certainly not to leave the children in a room by themselves while I went out to the hall to face down a shooter. Where would my gun be? Do I walk around with a holstered gun while teaching? Ridiculous. And dangerous considering accidental discharges and the potential for a student to grab a gun. These scenarios come from people who have little idea about what the job of a teacher entails. "Good guys" with guns get killed often. Police officers, obviously armed, get shot every day- sometimes in ambushes that even they can't stop. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakewood,_Washington_police_officer_shooting

    4. So I suggest that you stay safe today inside of your house given the arctic temperatures in Minnesota. You could be more at risk going outside today than from armed gangsters who you seem to think are lurking around every corner to get you. And rest easy. I am not coming for your guns or your rights. I am just about keeping people who shouldn't have guns from getting them and preventing senseless shootings. That may involve some stronger gun laws. If you are responsible and law abiding, they won't affect you. Just be careful with your gun(s). They may or may not protect you from what you think is going to happen to you or from what has already happened to you. I speak from someone who has lost a loved one to bullets. I know it can happen. It can happen to anyone if it happened in my family. But I have taken a different route than you to do something about it. Have a nice day.

  4. Common sense would be looking at the whole picture instead of just the negative parts. All of the accidents and negligence are a tiny speck when compared to the annual 2.5 million defensive gun uses in this country.
    Yes, when a thing happens more often, more mistakes are made. Mistakes are made with every single tool mankind has ever invented. We don't ban bathtubs because of how many kids drown in them. We don't ban automobiles, or dictate that they cannot leave their owner's property because of how many traffic accidents there are. Doing such a thing would fly in the face of common sense, just like banning guns, or the carrying of them in public would, because the negatives are a tiny speck in the whole picture.

    1. Apparently you haven't really read my post or my blog Mr. Pearce. There is no credible evidence for your assertion. I have provided information about that many times on this blog. Mistakes with guns are deadly. Bathtubs are not designed to kill people. There are unfortunate and accidental drownings. Parents are educated about that but mistakes happen. Most people can take baths without fear of being killed by one. As for cars, did you read my comments and my post? We heavily regulate the manufacture of cars for safety. The government mandates the safety features. The government determines speed limits as well. People have to get a license. Cars are registered. The same cannot be said about guns which are actually designed to kill people. Cars are not.

  5. Good conversation. Yes, we will not agree on everything, especially registration and banning black 'scary' rifles. And i didn't mention arming teachers, just that an armed LEO onsite is a great idea that is already proven effective. And Detroit, he supported 'in the past', I think most of his views have changed, but if not, he's at least admitted he was wrong. I'm sure we can both find skewed stats that support either side, it's the nature of statistics, just phrase your questions or data and you'll get whatever you are looking for.

    Feinstein, the biggest proponent of gun control is on record saying she wants to take all guns. And, it's now proven in CA, DC and NYC that gun registration becomes confiscation. Feinstein also has armed guards and her own concealed carry permit. I find this perfectly fine. However, she and Bloomberg are hypocrites for having their rich elite personal armies while trying to disarm all of us. They are no more important or elite than us.

    How about thoughts on Bloomberg? It's ok for him to early retire 17 NYC detectives and walk around with a small, heavily armed platoon? Is he so elite and better than us? i would dare say those living in north Minneapolis have more of a need for a firearm than Bloomberg, as where they live is far more dangerous than Bloomberg's perceived enemies from his years in Politics and walking around in his elitist circles.

    Finally, the conspiracy theorists fear of tyranny. Considering Feinstein also is on video trying to change the 1st amendment definition, in the name of protecting the press, to make it so only 'approved press' can use this 'privilege', the NSA completely destroying the 4th with everything they are doing, the same politicians and people infringing on the 2nd, the NSA now putting rootkits on laptops and phones could also be infringing on the 5th... yes, we really do need to worry about tyranny, it's happening right in front of us in the guise of Progressivism. Our Bill of Rights is being ripped out from under us.

    Feinstein, changing definition of 1st Amendment by calling it protection of the press. Chilling. http://youtu.be/9zjZo-U21mU

  6. OK. Compking. I am not going to keep this going all day. I have other things to do and I hope you do, too, But let's look at what you said. First of all, banning or regulating "scary" looking guns is done in almost every country bout ours, I don't know how all of those folks manage to live without them. But for sure, they don't have regular massacres in schools and businesses so something must be working. They are scary actually because of what they are capable of doing- the mass shooting of human beings. They are not meant for nor needed for hunting or self defense. The fact that you guys think so is what should be scary to the rest of us who don't need or own any of these kinds of guns.

  7. Next-Mayor Bloomberg and armed guards? There are no credible reports or evidence that this is so. They are all from right wing extremist publications including one that's called "impeachobama." Provide me with evidence of your assertion. I have never seen any evidence of what you claim. What I think Mayor Bloomberg is going to actually do n his retirement is to go around knocking on the doors of gun owners and confiscate their guns. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. He is going to make sure that gun laws that will prevent people who shouldn't have guns from getting them anyway, will pass. That's a great goal. I hope he succeeds.

  8. Further, if you took the time to read the federal bill, gun registration was ruled out. Now some states have passed laws requiring gun registration. Horrors!!!! What is happening? The folks who own the guns are lining up on the streets to register their guns so they can be in compliance. If they are not in compliance, they may have their guns taken from them. Didn't you read my posts about this? There is no random confiscation of guns going on by the government if that is what you want to believe. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

  9. And more, if we want to talk about public officials walking around with "armed platoons", shall we talk about Mr. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA who was seen walking to his press conference after the Sandy Hook shooting with an armed contingent who pushed reporters out of the way? What's that all about? Security at his press conference was tight- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2012/12/21/nra-press-conference-newtown-gun-control/1783227/
    " USA TODAY's Jackie Kucinich reports that security is tight at the Willard Hotel, site of the NRA news conference.About a dozen security guards in black suits wearing red and blue pins stood in and around the ballroom where the press conference would later take place. Just before 9:30 a.m. the NRA's David Keene came to the podium and asked for the reporters and staff milling around the room to join him in observing a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting in Newtown."

    Why does LaPierre need such tight security? Isn't he the guy who thinks that more guns will make us safer? What's he afraid of?

  10. Now on to Diane Feinstein- a wonderful opponent of gun violence prevention. She herself was witness to the slaughter of the Mayor of San Francisco and Harvey Milk, city supervisor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianne_Feinstein
    As to the assault weapons ban- yes she has pushed for one. Is that a crime or something? Did everyone have a break down during the last assault weapons ban? How did people like you manage? Did it ruin your life? Did it make you less safe? Did it keep you from hunting? Seriously, get a grip. The world would not end if there was another one. But 20 first graders would now be alive. I say that would be a good trade-off wouldn't you? If you were the parent of one of those kids? I wonder what you would do?

  11. So let's talk about the first amendment issue. I didn't find the remarks in the video you linked to be what you said they were. What's chilling is that you came to a wrong conclusion about what Senator Feinstein said. She was saying that the media shield in the amendment should be applied to those who are legitimate media sources. In fact a large group of the media endorsed what Senator Feinstein and others suggested and what passed out of the committee. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-calderone/newspaper-association-america-media-shield-law_b_3915192.html
    Apparently they didn't find what she said so chilling. Better check on this before you make those comments.

  12. And now, finally, regarding tyranny. What we have in the U.S. is as far from tyranny as we can get. Just because you don't like President Obama and his policies doesn't mean he is a tyrant. If you want to live in a country where tyranny actually exists. You won't like it. You might want to read this article on the subject- http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/anson-kaye/2013/01/24/guns-and-the-false-threat-of-tyranny-in-america
    You are in the minority. And you are wrong. But if that's the paranoid world in which you live, it must be pretty interesting and exciting. Me, I will continue to enjoy my freedoms as an American when I think about how things are for some unfortunate folks. Right now, you have freedoms that some would only dream of. And regulating things does not mean taking away your freedoms. It just means making us safer and free from the gun violence that devastates our communities. Where are the rights and freedoms of people who just wish to be free of the violence? Many of the folks in North Minneapolis are working with my organization to get the guns off the streets rather than put more on. More guns have definitely not made that area safer.

  13. Dear readers,

    Many of you have missed my point- purposefully I am guessing. I am all about preventing the shootings in the first place. I know we can do this because most other developed countries have managed it with strong gun laws and a totally different gun culture. I am not about doing this by putting more guns on the streets or arming more citizens. So please don't send me any more of your comments about why this will work better. It doesn't and it hasn't.