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.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gun free zones?

Another one of the gun lobby myths is that shootings only happen in gun free zones. Of course that is because they must convince our elected leaders to allow them to carry their guns everywhere to protect people in all of those gun free zones from shooters. Shooters, as we know, stop to read the signs posted outside of schools, hospitals, malls and other places where some states allow signs banning guns inside. They read the signs, think to themselves that this place doesn't have anyone with a gun inside. And then surely no one will shoot back at him/her and he/she will be able to shoot up a bunch of people unimpeded. All of this in a split second's time. Except for when they don't read the signs or stop to think about what they are doing before they start shooting. This incident, for example, happened in a police station. I think we can all agree that police stations are not gun free zones. From the article:
A gunman opened fire in a Los Angeles police station on Monday night, shooting an officer seven times in the arms and torso as he returned fire, leaving both men badly wounded, Los Angeles Police Department spokesmen said.
The shooter walked into the lobby of the West Traffic Division at about 8 p.m. local time and told two officers at the desk that he had a complaint, then pulled a semi-automatic handgun and fired repeatedly at one of the officers, Los Angeles police officials said on Tuesday.
The officer, a seven-year veteran, fired back, as did his partner, a policewoman with four years on the force, striking the gunman multiple times, police Commander Andrew Smith said.
Yup. Maybe this guy should have thought about all of those armed people inside before entering a police station with his guns. The reality is that people bent on shooting someone don't stop to think whether there are guns inside or not. And, as my readers know, there have been shootings of police officers in communities all over America. They happen regularly. Officers of the law are armed in America. Don't shooters know that? Of course they do. Then why do they go ahead and shoot anyway? Why don't they go down the street to a gun free zone? Like maybe a home where people have guns to protect themselves.

Oh right. How will a shooter know whether a homeowner has a gun or not? They don't. But sometimes they enter homes anyway and sometimes someone gets shot. Sometimes. Most of the time, home intruders enter homes during the day when no one is home. Maybe that's because they don't want to confront someone, armed or not. I don't believe for one minute that whether there is a gun inside or not makes one bit of difference to a shooter.

The majority of homicides actually occur amongst people who know each other. And one of them is often armed so it is not a gun free zone. They happen often in a home where a gun is present. Not a gun free zone. Children shoot each other and themselves in homes armed with guns. Suicide by firearm often happens in an armed home- not a gun free zone.

So what is this myth that gets taken for reality? It's just that- a myth. The corporate gun lobby is fooling us into thinking we all must be armed and that no place should be a gun free zone. They are wrong. It is the guns allowed zones where many of the shootings happen. States all over the country are rushing to loosen gun laws to make sure there are few, if any, gun free zones. Kansas as just one of the most recent examples.

In the latest Gun Report by Joe Nocera of the New York Times, there is a forward to the list of the latest shootings about the new Kansas law. From the article:
With just one signature, it will be legal to openly carry firearms in Kansas, nullifying city and county gun regulations across the state.
The legislature voted on Saturday to send an open carry bill to Gov. Sam Brownback, and it’s a good bet he will sign it. The National Rifle Association considers the measure a nationwide model for stripping local officials of their power to enact restrictions on the sale of firearms and impose rules on how guns must be stored and transported. Existing ordinances would be erased, and tax dollars could not be used to finance gun buybacks.
“The gun lobby likes to prevent people who believe in sensible gun laws from having a say in protecting their own communities,” Jonathan Lowry, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told the Associated Press. “It’s cynical, and it’s dangerous public policy.”
And then the report goes on to list the latest shootings. By my count, 35 were injured, 17 killed, 6 children were victims of injuries or death in 19 states in just a few days. There was one stray bullet incident, a couple of accidental shootings, a couple of domestic shootings, some random shootings, and almost all in guns allowed zones. I say this because homes can be assumed to be guns allowed zones. Also cars in states that have conceal and carry laws. Yards? Not sure about that one but since it's legal to carry wherever you go in many states, yards and streets can be assumed to be guns allowed zones. The one man found dead near an elementary school? That could be a gun free zone.

So you see what I mean? Where's the logic behind saying that most shootings happen in gun free zones? I'm afraid there is none. So the next time you hear someone try this bit of "logic" please challenge them. They are not telling the truth. The truth is in the numbers. We are the most heavily civilian armed country not at war in the world. We also have the great distinction of having the most gun deaths per capita than any industrialized country not at war. Coincidence? I don't think so. In countries where most of the public ( and even private) spaces are gun free, the result is very few shootings.

It's time to change the conversation about guns and gun violence in America. What we have now is clearly not working. Are you ready to join me? Let's get to work and ask our leaders to stop listening to the deceptive "logic" coming from the corporate gun lobby. For once that happens, they will be free to support public health and safety measures that will save lives and keep our communities free from the gun violence that is so devastating. Common sense measures to keep us safe from gun violence can save lives. In the end, it doesn't matter whether shootings happen in gun free zones or guns allowed zones. That argument deflects from the main problem- that there are just plain too many shootings in America. And more guns will not solve that problem.

Thanks to One Million Moms and Dads Against Gun Violence for the image. And no, pro gun advocates, don't write and tell me that people without guns get shot. Sometimes they do. Sometimes people with guns get shot. Often people with guns shoot themselves. Far too often toddlers and small children with guns shoot themselves or others when they get their hands on unsecured guns. And often enough to be concerned, people with guns accidentally shoot themselves or others. But what we know for sure is that people with guns are the ones who shoot other people. Whether they are law abiding or not, they shoot people. That is the truth of the matter.

UPDATE:

Are gun shows and other places where NRA and other gun rights group members gather gun free zones? I'm just wondering. Personal guns are not allowed inside of gun shows. So that would make gun shows, oddly, gun free zones. What about NRA conventions? They are gun free zones as it turns out. Go figure. I thought these folks advocated for guns everywhere. Why not inside of their own convention? Aren't they worried that someone will know it's a gun free zone and start a shooting spree? I'm just asking. And then this NRA event where a man accidentally shot himself in the leg with his own gun:
Yesterday a man apparently accidentally shot himself at an NRA and police sponsored event outside Bethlehem Pa. Sarah M. Wojcik of The Express-Times in Easton reports that a “New Jersey man participating in a program at the Steel City Gun Club [in Bethlehem, Pa] was injured…when he accidentally shot his own leg.”  Even more interesting is the fact that The Express-Times says the man was there “as part of a program put on by the National Rifle Association and hosted in part by the Bethlehem Police.”
Ah. It was at a local gun club where guns are allowed. In fact, though, there have been a number of accidental shootings and even suicides at gun (shooting) clubs. I guess it doesn't matter if there are guns allowed or not. People get shot just about everywhere. And when guns are allowed, we can see that people are not necessarily safer.

14 comments:

  1. I zeroed in on this statement of yours: “That argument deflects from the main problem- that there are just plain too many shootings in America. And more guns will not solve that problem.”

    Baloney. By your reasoning, less guns (i.e. more restrictive gun laws) would result in fewer shootings. If that were the case, then cities such as Chicago and DC would have the lowest incidents of gun-crime in the nation. As you know, the exact opposite is true.

    Look, I understand where you’re coming from emotionally- I really do- and it’s maddening to see every time an unhinged lunatic committing mass murder. The recurring tactic though by the anti-gun lobby, couched in terms of “common sense gun laws” is to ultimately restrict and disarm sane, law-abiding individuals from being able to protect their own life- which is precisely what “gun free zones” do. They serve no purpose other than to make those who post the signs feel good about themselves… like, “oh look, we did something!”. There is nothing “common sense” about it: it’s purely an emotional response to a logical issue.

    Here’s the bottom line: it is about personal liberty. No one is ultimately responsible for protecting my life but ME, and that right is inalienable- not to be compromised or weighed against a collective mindset of those who simply ‘feel’ differently, no matter how sincere their intentions.

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    1. Actually DC gun murder rates are lower than several other large cities though Chicago's gun murder rate is very high, as you said. http://nation.time.com/2014/01/02/murders-in-u-s-cities-again-at-record-lows/
      As we all know, guns come into states with strong gun laws from neighboring states with weaker laws. So the guns are not all purchased in Chicago or even in Illinois. They are coming in from outside of the city and the state. You can check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/29/us/where-50000-guns-in-chicago-came-from.html?_r=0

      I am not "anti-gun" as you claim, I ( my husband) own guns. There is no tactic to disarm "sane law-abiding individuals" as you claim. Where is your proof of that. You should check out the facts and not be so emotional about this issue. It is about my liberty to be free from gun violence in my community. Your personal liberty to own guns is not under attack here. You have that right. With that right comes responsibilities. That's all this is about. You can protect your life with your gun if that is what you choose to do. It's not necessarily working out that well in America. We have more gun deaths than any other democratized country not at war. We also have more guns by far. I wonder how all of those folks in those other countries protect themselves and their liberties? Curious isn't it?

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  2. "As we all know, guns come into states with strong gun laws from neighboring states with weaker laws."

    And from where may I ask do drugs come? Readily available everywhere yet illegal in all 50 states. Your logic is flawed. Legislation and the resulting enforcement can never stop consumption of goods or services for which there is a demand. It simply sends them underground to the black market and the least law abiding prior asking us become the sole consumers. While many illegal guns may very well come from neighboring states, it is a fallicy to believe they would not come if only all states enacted the same tougher laws. This is undeniably true.

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    1. such nonsense is hardly worth the reply. There is no question in my mind and most others that if we pass a federal law requiring background checks on all gun sales, including private sales at gun shows and on the Internet, we could stop some of the illegal and even "legal" gun sales that lead to crime and gun deaths and injuries. Why would we not try just aw we have done with drugs and other consumer products considered to be a health and safety risk. Guns don't fall out of the sky. They all start out as legal sales, unlike drugs. They get into the wrong hands through private sales, through straw purchases and through "lost" and stolen guns. Then they are trafficked and lead to what we have now- way too many gun deaths and injuries.

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  3. There is no denying a large number of mass shootings have taken place in "gun free zones"; schools, malls, theaters, military bases, government buildings, etc. And it's ridiculous to imply these are "split second" decisions made by the madmen that carry out the shootings.

    Nobody would believe that criminals and those intent on causing harm would be deterred by a sign declaring a "gun free zone". The only thing a "gun free zone" accomplishes is to ensure all law-abiding citizens are disarmed... they abide by the law afterall. It is logical to assume that a shooter would target these areas if their intent is to inflict a maximum amount of damage. This is so obvious that even those that came up with this flawed concept had to know this. Why would they create zones ideal for killing?

    Can you please explain the logic behind gun free zones? And we are to assume that even more "common sense" laws like this are needed?

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    1. Dear Kurt, the latest shooting in Las Vegas did not happen in a gun free zone. There were 2 armed police officers who couldn't defend themselves from the ambush. Following that, the shooters went to a Walmart, not a gun free zone, where a concealed carry permit holder pulled out his gun, ostensibly to be a hero, an was promptly shot. Your theory is absolutely false and you have been misinformed. At Columbine there was an armed security guard. At the Navy Yard, there were armed security guards. Shootings happen in homes where guns are allowed or owned- not gun free. Shootings happen on our streets where in most states, people are allowed to carry their guns. They happen in bars and public places where guns are allowed. I suggest you stop believing in this particular "flawed concept."

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  4. Yes, shootings do occur in places that are not gun free zones. No one denies that. Continuing to cite these to bolster your argument is a fallacy of logic fooling only yourself. It also doesn't address my point, which is that gun free zones are absurd in that they practically advertise themselves to be ideal killing zones. My question was asked in earnest... can you please explain the logic behind gun free zones?

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    1. Given the facts and what actually happens you should explain why guns should be allowed everywhere. We live in a civilized country not at war. Guns should not be allowed to be carried in all public places. There is no proof that guns in public places have made us safer. Indeed, the opposite is true. In not other country not at war do citizens carry guns around in public. Those countries are ALL gun free zones. And the fact is that gun deaths are extremely rare compared to America. We know that gun free zones work. We know that strong gun laws work. The bottom line is that lives are lost in very large numbers daily in America. More guns have not made us safer. And your flawed notion that gun free zones invite shooters to make them killing zones is ludicrous. Killers don't look at signs before they enter or seek out gun free zones to do their shootings. The evidence does not show that to be true. Shootings happen in "gun free zones" and guns allowed zones in the same numbers. Can you explain the "logic" behind "guns allowed" zones given the facts. And please provide me facts to back up what you say.

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  5. Dear dmt73- I will not be harassed by you into publishing a comment.

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  6. You continue to avoid answering my question, which leads me to believe you cannot explain the logic behind gun free zones. "We know that gun free zones work." Really, how so? How well did they work at the theater in Aurora? Virginia Tech? Sandy Hook? Columbine? Fed Ex in Georgia? Ft. Hood? The Washington Navy Yard? Libby's in Killeen TX? Westroads Mall in Omaha? Clackamas Town Center? I could go on and on. Yes, there were armed guards present near some of these shootings, but as is tragically too often the case not near enough. First you say gun free zones work, then you say "Shootings happen in gun free zones and guns allowed zones in the same numbers." And you say it's my flawed notion? Clearly, gun free zones are meaningless at best, and at worst increase the danger rather than lessen it as they render everyone within them utterly defenseless.

    You conveniently omit citing any instances where firearms have made a difference and saved lives. It happens thousands of times year, often without a shot being fired. Facts? Look at the actions taken by Jeanne Assam at the New Life Church shooting in Colorado; Joel Myrick at the Luke Woodham shootings in Pearl, Miss; the off-duty officer at the church shooting
    in Aurora, Colorado; Carolyn Grudger at Sullivan Central, Tenn. Again, I could go on, but here's the point: it's a fact there are those that mean to do us harm. Very simply we must be allowed the choice of having the means to defend ourselves. You may decide it's not for you, and if you find yourself in that situation you will likely be injured or killed. I on the other hand would like to at least have a choice in the matter.

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    1. You have that choice Kurt. Defensive gun uses?-http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-27/how-often-do-we-use-guns-in-self-defense Most credible sources say 100,000 or so uses of guns in "self defense". These are not actually incidents where someone shoots someone but perhaps brandishes a weapon and usually based on self assessment in any surveys done on the issue. Your examples mean that those shootings actually happened in guns allowed zones because an armed citizen was allowed to have a gun inside. I have found no reports of an off duty officer stopping the shooter at Aurora. Armed officers finally stopped him. And then you have forgotten about the Florida man who shot and killed another man in a movie theater over an argument about popcorn- http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/05/justice/florida-movie-theater-shooting/- not a DGU and not a gun free zone apparently. This article is worth a read- http://www.texaschllicense.com/concealed-carry-saves-lives-gun-advocates-say/ Or this one: http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/sanantonio.asp
      Apparently you missed my point. The whole of the rest of the civilized world not at war , with a few exceptions are gun free zones as they don't allow people to carry in public unless there is a very good reason. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_of_gun_laws_by_nation) And gun deaths are very rare. That's how we know it can work and does work. No one is telling you you don't have that choice, Kurt, but that choice comes with a lot of risk to yourself and others and it may not save your life as you obviously believe it does. I don't happen to agree.

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  7. Just a couple comments to clarify before I bow out...

    Some of my examples did occur in "gun free zones". For example, Mr. Myrick ran to his truck in the school parking lot to
    retrieve his firearm and stopped the shooter as he was leaving to continue his rampage at the Jr High. Could he have saved more at the Senior High had he had his firearm with him? Maybe.

    The Aurora shooting I referred to occured at a church just prior to the infamous theater shooting. I understand your not
    being aware of it; mainstream media rarely covers events where firearms are used to stop bad guys.

    I'm well aware of the Florida txting/popcorn shooting. The man is a flaming gaping idiot and should spend the rest of his
    sorry life in prison.

    I understood your point about "the rest of the civilized world not at war...", however I don't believe it is gun free zones
    that truly make the differences. We have gun free zones here and they obviously don't work.

    You say I have that choice. Perhaps you're missing my point, which is that gun free zones take away that choice. Unless of
    course I choose to break the law and carry anyways, at which time I become a criminal. See how that works?

    If given the option of facing a rampaging shooter armed or unarmed, I'll pick armed every time even knowing it may not save
    me or a loved one. And honestly I can't understand why anyone would choose otherwise because the only other option is try and dodge the bullets. I hope that works out for you.

    Finally a suggestion: if you're looking for credibility avoid citing Bloomberg Business Week of all things.

    Thanks for the links.

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    1. Again Kurt, you have provided no proof of your assertions. They are just that- assertions. I have provided examples of shootings occurring in "gun free" and guns allowed zones. There is really no difference when looking at the myriad of every day shootings and mass shootings. Examples abound of shootings where people are armed and where they are not. You apparently though don't believe in the facts about most of the rest of the civilized world where most of their public spaces are gun free and their very low rates of gun deaths and injuries. This is not a coincidence. Facts matter. If you feel so fearful about someone shooting you wherever you go, I feel sorry for you. In point of fact, many of the shootings that occur in public are committed by law abiding gun owners. Some are committed by people who have obtained their guns through private sellers, straw purchases or stolen guns who shouldn't have guns and are prohibited from buying guns through licensed dealers. And very few shootings are stopped by law abiding gun permit holders in public places. The latest in Las Vegas, as I already pointed out, was a gun permit holder who took his gun out and got shot. That's pretty clear to me. Just because you don't understand why the majority of people choose not to carry guns in public or even own them doesn't mean we are wrong and you are right. And, by the way, my husband and I own guns- they are for hunting.Somehow we have made it for a fair number of years without needing to carry wherever we go or use a gun to stop a burglar. My sister, however, was not so lucky. She was taken by surprise as is so often the case in many shootings, and got shot by her estranged husband during a difficult divorce. She didn't have a chance. That is how most shootings happen- in gun free or guns allowed zones. If police officers can't stop mass shooters with their guns, it's pretty ridiculous to assume that you could do better. Where will you find your credible articles, by the way, if you bothered to provide me with any? And lastly, you can deflect all you want about the Florida ccw holder who shot a man over popcorn but he was one of you. He was a law abiding permit holder who carried his gun into a movie theater because he, like you, was apparently fearful of others in public places. And what happened? He shot another human being over popcorn. Without the gun, there would not have been a senseless death. But this one just flies in the face of your arguments so you try to deny that it makes a point.

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  8. I offer this article about whether or not the CCW permit holder at the Las Vegas Walmart was a hero or a victim. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Vegas-conceal-carry-permit-holder-Hero-or-victim-5545824.php
    We know what happened when the man drew his gun. He was shot by the crazed couple who had already shot 2 armed police officers. They didn't care whether someone was armed or not. We could imagine, for a minute, that if the man had not confronted them with his gun, he could possibly still be alive. Asserting that is just as viable as asserting that the CCW permit holder may have delayed the shooters by 20-30 seconds. There is no way of knowing. All we know is that that gun carrier was no safer with his gun than without it. And the others in the store were clearly not protected or more safe because this man pulled his gun on the shooters. His death was senseless as are all gun deaths.

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