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 2, 2014

When pro gun rhetoric is a problem

When one of your own refuses to attend a rally protesting common sense gun laws, you've got a problem. A New York state NRA member and leader of the gun rights community says he just doesn't know what will happen at the rally and decides not to go, maybe the group should take a better look at what they are saying. From the article:
"The head of New York's largest firearms organization is skipping a planned Tuesday Capitol protest of the state's tougher gun control laws enacted last year, saying he fears the rhetoric at such gatherings is becoming more "contentious and threatening."
Thomas King, a national NRA board member and president of the state Rifle & Pistol Association, argues that the angry and inflammatory rhetoric only hurts the cause of gun lovers.
"Let all these other groups go out and do what they want to do, because they don't want to listen anyway," he told the Daily News. "I just don't want to be a party to anything that may happen.""
From another article:
“There are a lot of not so savvy people who have sprung up who are saying things that are just inappropriate,” King told Smith. “I’ve never been a fan of rhetoric.”
He said aggressive posturing and threats of violence can surface at these kinds of large rallies.
“I will not be a party to that at all,” King said. “Something said in a moment of political fervor may very well be used against us.”
His group is refusing to participate, saying they don’t need to preach to the choir. He added the goal is to win over the middle, not scare them away.
What did King think would happen? He seemed concerned about what would take place at this rally? I wonder why? We can look at the Insurrectionist Timeline as published by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence for some examples of what King is talking about. In fact, one can look in the comment section of blogs and articles written by people who support gun safety reform for some pretty ugly stuff. It's a minority of folks but they make a lot of noise and often while carrying their guns around.

So what happened at the rally? Here is an article describing the event:
"On top of everything, they give you the SAFE Act," Trump said. "I'm a big second amendment person; I'm a strong believer in it. You have the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and you have that right and they are taking it away, slowly, but surely, they're taking it away. And they're not taking it away from the bad guys." 
Trump, who said he holds a pistol permit, said the SAFE Act was one of the worst and fastest written bills he's ever seen signed into law. After he delivered his remarks, he quickly spoke to the media, posed for a few photographs and left in a black SUV.
Minutes later, a Sikorsky helicopter with "TRUMP" painted on the side buzzed over the crowd.

Here is another article:
You really saw this in Albany Tuesday: Rob Astorino, a Republican out of Westchester County who wants to be his party’s nominee for governor, clearly plans to make his side of the fight against Cuomo, if it is the two of them against each other in November, as dumb and lousy as the sight of the guy in Tea Party dressup — Melbourne Sann is the name — paddling the effigy of the governor of the state with a toy rifle.
Sann was quoted as saying he did what he did “before we have to come down here with regular weapons.” Another guy who thinks that a gun in his hands makes him tough. He is from Rome, N.Y., by the way. I grew up in Oneida, about 20 minutes away, and spent a lot of my growing-up years in Rome, where I had a lot of family. Clearly they lived on the smarter side of town. 
What does this mean? ..." before we have to come down here with regular weapons."? Threats to fight against your own government with your guns just does nothing for the side of gun rights. The SAFE Act is aptly named. People need to be safe from the violence that affects their families in communities all over New York and America. New York gun laws are strong laws. New York has fewer gun deaths than most other states. Laws matter. In the end, if we value safety and the lives of our loved ones and friends, strong gun laws need to be passed. Citizens have a right to be safe in their homes and communities. And passing gun safety laws does not interfere with constitutional rights to own guns.

While these folks are protesting gun safety measures, here is what is happening in America:

A grandmother is charged with a misdemeanor for leaving a loaded gun for her 4 year old grandchild to access shoot himself with it.

A Washington state 9th grader was arrested for making threats to shoot up a school. He showed his friends the website where he could get the gun.

A 14 year old Idaho boy shot and killed his father and brother in a brutal murder in his home.

A 2 year old Georgia toddler accidentally shot and injured his mother with a gun found in the home unsecured.

A Tennessee teen accidentally shot and killed a friend with a loaded gun they were handling.

Two accidental shootings occurred in the Orlando area and are under investigation.

A 9 year old South Dakota boy accidentally shot and killed his 7 year old brother with an unsecured gun in the home.

A 16 year old South Carolina boy "accidentally" shot and injured his sister while handling a gun he had along on a walk in the woods.

A Tennessee teen was shot and killed while "playing army" in a home with another teen.

A Texas middle school student brought a loaded handgun to school.

A Tennessee teen dropped a handgun and shot himself in the leg.

A Pennsylvania 10 year old girl was shot through a door while sleeping by a stray bullet.

There are a lot more where these came from. Many of these shootings are "accidental" discharges of guns by children and teens. What does this mean? It means there are too many gun owners not being responsible with their guns. Why does this happen? Where is the outcry about this public safety problem? So the pro gun advocates can carry their guns around at rallies and complain about their rights when common sense measures are passed to prevent gun injuries and deaths but the real state of affairs is about the incidents I highlighted, above. If this isn't worthy of a protest rally, what is? If this isn't a public health and safety problem, what is? And why isn't Congress holding hearings about this? Oh right. They did hold hearings after the Sandy Hook shootings. And then.....?

Our Congress holds hearings about all kinds of public safety issues, as well they should. Yesterday and today Congress has been questioning the CEO of General Motors about the problems associated with the ignition in some of their cars which has led to the tragic accidental deaths of 13 people over almost 10 years of allowing this defect in their cars. Parents are holding photos of their lost children at the back of the hearing rooms.

I applaud Congress for getting to the bottom of this inexcusable flaw in the manufacture of cars. We have to hold industry accountable for causing harm to our citizens. When we are talking about human lives, no matter how many die, we need to take action.

So the big question is, why is Congress not taking action on an epidemic that takes the lives of 80 Americans a day- 32 by intentional homicide and the rest by suicide or accidental death? How do we explain a group of pro gun advocates making a public fuss about measures to save lives while the carnage is happening all around them? Their answer, apparently, is to have more guns in public and in homes to "solve" the problem. It is such total hypocrisy it's hard to know where to begin. And the people in the "middle" that they want to be with them have already decided they are on the side of gun safety measures. They always have been. But the pro gun advocates have managed to scare off politicians with their over the top and paranoid rhetoric. It's a shameful, uniquely American political problem. Other countries act when horrendous mass shootings like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Accent Signage, Tacoma coffee shop, Pittsburgh police shooting, Tucson mall, Aurora theater, Sandy Hook and Navy Yard shootings ( to name just a few of many more) occur?They act immediately and then they don't see any more mass shootings and the everyday carnage due to gun injuries is minimal compared to America. That is because they have some common sense and they don't have a pro gun group of advocates carrying guns in protests against reasonable gun safely measures.

What kind of country doesn't deal with a tragic problem staring its leaders in the face? When the "guys with the guns make the rules" this is what we get. Let's look at the video of this now famous rhetoric from Wayne LaPierre, Executive VP of the NRA.



Is this what we want? Should the guys with the guns make the rules? Ask the family members and friends of the shooting victims in the incidents I highlighted above. Just as the families of those killed in the GM cars that had defective parts went to Congress to let them know that they want others to be safe, so have families of shooting victims gone to Congress. And what did Congress do about it? Nothing.

I will be interested in what Congress does to make sure no more senseless and avoidable deaths occur from defective car parts. And then I hope they will see how ludicrous it is that they do nothing about the gun violence that devastates families all over our country. We are better than this. It's time for things to change. We need action, not rhetoric. We need Congress to Finish the Job and pass, at the least, a background check to stop some folks who shouldn't have guns from getting them anyway. Let's get to work.
UPDATE:

There has been another shooting at Fort Hood. ( I left the first Fort Hood shooting off of my list of high profile mass shootings above). Details still coming but the shooter appeared to be in uniform and is allegedly reported dead. The injured are reported to be from 8-14 injured, some very seriously. More to come.




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