Ah. If only someone in that Newtown elementary school had had a gun. He/she would have absolutely stopped the shooter. Of course. Those permit holders are always accurate with their weapons. They have as much training as police officers. Their guns would always be accessible at just the right moment. They wouldn't panic and try to save themselves instead of facing down a shooter with an assault rifle bent on killing everyone who moved. That person wouldn't think to get themselves and the children to a safe place to keep the shooter from shooting more of them? That permit holder would "save the day" and go down fighting while leaving more people vulnerable to the shooter. So far, permit holders have not managed to stop mass shooters in public places when there was one who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. But if every adult carried a gun, perhaps that could actually happen. But then, how we would know who was the "good guy" with a gun and who was the "bad guy" with the gun? I'm just asking. And just think of the increased sale of guns if the gun lobby convinced us all we just MUST carry a gun around to be safe from the bad guys. But I digress."Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows attributes last year's increase to a combination of factors, including the November 2012 presidential election. It is not unusual to see a bump in applications in the months leading up to and following a presidential election, he said."We noticed that there was spike back in 2008-09, and we saw the same spike this time to a much greater extent," he said. "I think that was part of it. And I'm not trying to be political about this, but it seems like with the election and re-election of the president, there seems to have been a response to that."Rothman believes the sharp increase in 2013 was caused by two things: the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 first-graders and six adults, and the calls that followed for tighter restrictions on guns in Minnesota and across the nation.During last year's legislative session in Minnesota, gun-rights advocates fought off measures to tighten gun laws, including bans on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines as well as expansion of background checks.Lawmakers filled holes in Minnesota's criminal background check system by speeding transfers of certain records in the database used to determine whether a person can own a gun.Karl Seidel of St. Paul got his permit to carry for the first time last year. He'd done target shooting on private property or a gun range in the past, which doesn't require a permit to carry.Last year, Seidel said, "there seemed to be a lot more action going on (at the Legislature) to curtail certain aspects of our gun-ownership rights," and he was spurred to apply for a carry permit. He hasn't started carrying a gun but said it was important to exercise his right to get a permit so he can carry a gun if he chooses.The Sandy Hook Elementary School murders in 2012 influenced people's interest in arming themselves for self-defense, Rothman said."It made them realize that to a large extent, in the moment, you're on your own," he said. "Police officers almost always arrive only in time to draw the chalk lines."Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota, a gun-violence prevention organization, said studies have shown that having a gun in a home "raises the risk, especially in situations of domestic violence, that someone is going to be killed."A recent survey conducted by the University of Minnesota Center for Survey Research found 43.5 percent of Minnesota households surveyed reported having a firearm in the home, compared with 48 percent in 2008, Martens said."What I see happening is the firearms industry has a challenge," she said. "Overall, fewer people own guns, hunting is on the decline. They have a problem. In order to continue to profit, they have to market their product in a different way. They market handguns as a way to be safe. ... The cost of that is that people are bringing a gun into the home or taking these classes, believing that a gun will make them safe.""
The truth of the matter is that the danger is more likely to come from themselves as the gun bought and carried ostensibly for self defense is used in an accidental shooting or discharge, a suicide or a domestic homicide. The actual danger has nothing to do with the election and re-election of President Obama even if the gun lobby wants us to believe that nonsense. Remember that most mass shooters obtained their guns from their own family members ( obtained legally) or from legal purchases.
The Daily Kos is keeping track of shootings and this week wrote about all of the "accidental" discharges of guns, some resulting in injuries to others. Here is a look at what they found:
It was a wild week, and we're back in the normal expected range of 40-50 stories this time around, after a few quiet weeks. Twenty people were found to have accidentally shot themselves; seven people made the news cleaning loaded guns; six law enforcement officers were involved in gun whoopsies; five selfless patriots made their fellow citizens safer by accidentally discharging their weapons while shopping, dining or running other routine errands (and four of them were licensed concealed carriers, supposedly "specially trained" to avoid these things); and five more decided to share their freedom missiles with neighbors. Four others had gun accidents while fiddling with and/or showing off their guns for no particular reason, four practicing at the range accidentally shot themselves or others (in one case, someone half a mile away), two accidentally shot humans while hunting, and two more accidentally shot themselves while producing weapons for what they said was defensive use.You can read the rest for yourself. It is not a pretty picture. And please note that the incidents written about here are almost all incidents of shootings by "law abiding" gun owners. One is law abiding until one isn't. It happens in a few seconds of carelessness, anger, jealousy, depression, irresponsibility. Senseless. These incidents belie the corporate gun lobby's mantra that more "more guns make us safer", that "guns don't kill people, people do" and that "an armed society is a polite society". Common sense tells us that these things just can't be true. And the articles I linked back that up.
Among the standouts were one of our two patriots who somehow forgot their constant companions and lifelines to freedom, and left them behind. In this case, a Colorado state legislator who left his loaded pistol behind in a canvas bag, underneath the table where he'd been seated for a hearing on expanding concealed carry laws, since concealed carriers are so awesome and safe and stuff.There were a number of stories originally picked up as accidental shootings last week, but that on further examination were called into some question. Included among them, this episode from River Hills, WI, in which a man was said to have accidentally shot himself. Later, it was reported more ambiguously as a case of a man who was cleaning a gun, and then began “handling it in a careless manner,” How so? "River Hills police say Gifford placed one round in the gun, and 'made random and reckless statements about the weapon and its use.'" This resulted in a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled this death a suicide. So, how do you count that one? Intentional? Russian Roulette? Accident? I don't know, so I left it out of the count.
As my readers know, I often quote Joe Nocera's The Gun Report in my posts. Here is from his latest post:
This bears repeating: "...in support of radical gun control measures..." So now, being in favor of public safety is radical? Will the gun rights extremists ( radicals themselves- see my recent post about this) get away with this nonsensical rhetoric? Will lawmakers call them out for saying that people who support reasonable measures to keep guns away from those who shouldn't have them is radical? We can hope. So now, according to the common "wisdom" of the gun rights extremists, a Physician, interested in keeping his/her patients safe from accidents and disease, is radical for talking about the risks of guns in the home? I call this folly. And what happened to not wanting the government to interfere in these types of decisions? I call that hypocrisy. But I digress.With a bill allowing students and staff to carry guns on Idaho’scollege campuses making its way through the state legislature, Greg Hampikian, a professor of biology and criminal justice at Boise State University, asks today in a Times Op-Ed, “When may I shoot a student?” The column, styled as a letter to the state legislature, continued, “Now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement. … If I am working out a long equation on the board and several students try to correct me using their laser sights, am I allowed to fire a warning shot?”At a public hearing on the bill, Boise’s police chief, who expressed grave concerns over the legislation, was not allowed to testify—but an N.R.A. spokesperson was allowed to speak for 40 minutes. More than 200 people protested against the bill on the Capitol steps yesterday.• The N.R.A. sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to rejectDr. Vivek Murthy, the president’s nominee for Surgeon General, over his belief that gun violence presents a major public health threat. The N.R.A. specifically criticized Murthy’s stance that doctors should ask patients about gun ownership and discuss gun safety procedures, his belief that more federal funding should be allocated for gun violence research, and his support for universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.“Dr. Murthy’s record of political activism in support of radical gun control measures raises significant concerns about his ability to objectively examine issues pertinent to America’s 100 million firearm owners and the likelihood that he would use the office of the Surgeon General to further his preexisting campaign against gun ownership,” the letter read. Most major doctors’ groups treat gun violence as a public health concern.
I recommend reading the entire opinion piece written by Idaho Professor Hampikian in opposition to the ubiquitous push for guns on college campuses. From his piece:
This artfully written editorial has caught the attention of a lot of people as well it should have. The agenda of the "radical" gun rights extremists is on plain view in states all over America. But in their zeal to weaken our gun laws, they forget that their own are causing an awful lot of carnage and potential danger to public safety. They forget that we can see through their flawed arguments. The evidence is in plain sight. Check out this recent incident in Ohio:I am a biology professor, not a lawyer, and I had never considered bringing a gun to work until now. But since many of my students are likely to be armed, I thought it would be a good idea to even the playing field.I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement. (...)In terms of the campus murder rate — zero at present — I think that we can all agree that guns don’t kill people, people with guns do. Which is why encouraging guns on campus makes so much sense. Bad guys go where there are no guns, so by adding guns to campus more bad guys will spend their year abroad in London. Britain has incredibly restrictive laws — their cops don’t even have guns! — and gun deaths there are a tiny fraction of what they are in America. It’s a perfect place for bad guys.Some of my colleagues are concerned that you are encouraging firearms within a densely packed concentration of young people who are away from home for the first time, and are coincidentally the age associated with alcohol and drug experimentation, and the commission of felonies.Once again, this reflects outdated thinking about students. My current students have grown up learning responsible weapon use through virtual training available on the Xbox and PlayStation. Far from being enamored of violence, many studies have shown, they are numb to it. These creative young minds will certainly be stimulated by access to more technology at the university, items like autoloaders, silencers and hollow points. I am sure that it has not escaped your attention that the library would make an excellent shooting range, and the bookstore could do with fewer books and more ammo choices.
Could there be an "upside" to this carelessness? Why was the woman carrying a gun belonging to someone else with a permit to carry that gun? Is that legal? Why was she even thinking she could carry a gun into a courthouse, one of the few places we have decided guns are not desired? More from the article:A Lucas County sheriff’s deputy who has been disciplined in the past for inattention to his job could face additional sanctions for allowing a handgun to get through security screening at Toledo Municipal Court.Deputy Barry Disalle, 68, was working the screening area at the court entrance Feb. 10 when he apparently became distracted and did not see a small semiautomatic handgun at the bottom of a woman’s purse, said Rob Sarahman, an investigator with the sheriff’s internal-affairs unit.According to an incident report, the deputy noticed an image of the gun in the purse later on the X-ray machine about 2:30 p.m. and located the woman carrying it in the lobby area outside the city prosecutor’s office. A man with her said the gun was his and that he had a concealed carry permit, according to the report.“If there is an upside, nobody got shot. Nobody got hurt,” Sheriff John Tharp said. “They were extremely cooperative when we confronted them about the weapon.”
While neither the man nor the woman was charged in the incident, the matter has been turned over to the city prosecutor’s office. Sheriff Tharp said weapons — even legal ones — are not permitted in the courthouse, and it also is illegal to allow someone else to carry your gun.Ah. Will the permit holder and the gun carrier be charged with a crime or will they get a slap on the hand? Will the permit be suspended for the man who held it? Time will tell. Allowing guns carried in public is just not working out as the gun lobby predicted. People who carry guns don't like the inconvenience of having to lock up their guns in their cars or not carry them when they go into a place where guns are not allowed. What about the inconvenience of an accidental gun discharge or an intentional shooting? For that is what is actually happening in real life. The proof is before our very eyes.
Pushing the carrying of guns in public places is a bad idea for many obvious reasons. In the face of the daily shootings, it makes absolutely no sense. Just look at what the Daily Kos and The Gun Report are reporting on a regular basis. How will a gun for self defense in public protect us from permit holders' irresponsibility? How will a gun for self defense in the home protect a child from getting access to said gun and shooting him/herself or someone else? How will a gun for self defense be used to protect women from domestic abusers? The evidence is clear that the opposite is true:
The gun lobby does not want us to know the truth about the risks of guns in public and in the home. But the truth is being told anyway.A recent meta-analysis concluded what many people already knew: the availability of firearms is a strong risk factor for both homicide and suicide. But the study came to another conclusion that is rarely mentioned in the gun control debate: females are uniquely impacted by the availability of a firearm. Indeed, the study found that women with access to firearms become homicide victims at significantly higher rates than men.It has long been recognized that higher rates of gun availability correlate with higher rates of female homicide. Women in the United States account for 84 percent of all female firearm victims in the developed world, even though they make up only a third of the developed world’s female population. And within American borders, women die at higher rates from suicide, homicide, and accidental firearm deaths in states where guns are more widely available. This is true even after controlling for factors such as urbanization, alcohol use, education, poverty, and divorce rates.
We got numbed after Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after a series of mass shootings over the past years. But after Sandy Hook things are different. If we can't pass sensible gun laws after the heinous massacre of 20 small children, there is something very wrong. And what's wrong is the mythical but powerful influence of a gun lobby fighting for what they believe is a way of life, their freedoms and an industry that sells the very weapons of mass destruction causing the problems. Meanwhile, the rest of us are less safe in our homes and in public. We are better than this. It's time for a change to our gun policies and our gun culture. Let's get to work.