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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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Excuses are not OK when it comes to shootings

From "Parents Against Gun Violence"
So there is always a push back from the pro gun extremists about how dangerous "gun free" zones are. That is because they and the corporate gun lobby are pushing to have guns everywhere in America forcing the idea that if only there are loaded guns wherever we go, we would all be safer. The facts, of course, do not support this idea. But nonetheless, gun show organizers insist that there should be no loaded guns allowed inside. There has to be a reason for this. Is it that thousands of people walking around with loaded guns in the same place is actually dangerous? I mean, accidents happen. I write about them all the time on this blog. Take this incident at a recent gun show in Pennsylvania:
" A vendor accidentally shot a woman in the leg while demonstrating a gun and holster at a central Pennsylvania gun show, police said.
The Columbia County district attorney's office will determine whether the vendor, Geoffrey Hawk, will face criminal charges stemming from the shooting Saturday at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds, Officer Brad Sharrow said.
Hawk, 44, of Warminster, didn't immediately return calls Sunday to his cellphone and business, In Case of Emergency Enterprises. He was manning a booth for his business at the Eagle Arms Gun show at the time of the shooting.
Hawk told police he thought the gun was unloaded when he demonstrated a concealed-carry wallet holster to the woman, Krista Gearhart, 25, of Orangeville. Gearhart was treated and released for a thigh wound at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
Hawk told police he had done the same demonstration about 20 times without incident before the shooting, "racking" the gun's slide to clear it of bullets each time, Sharrow said. Somehow, the gun was loaded when Gearhart was shot.
Police said Hawk told them he had left the gun on display when he completed background checks on some customers and believes it's possible someone loaded the gun when he was busy."
Really? It wasn't his fault of course. I mean, gun sellers don't make mistakes like this. Until they do. The pro gun side doesn't want loaded guns where they hang out to buy guns. But it's OK for people to carry loaded guns into restaurants, Target stores, shopping malls, movies, etc. where the rest of us don't want them. Makes sense right? I would say the gun seller, above, was lucky. And how could someone else with a loaded gun inside of this gun show had stopped this incident from happening? I'm just asking.

Gun shows were dangerous over the past week-end. A Texas man allegedly "accidentally" shot his father-in-law while in a car outside of a gun show. From the article:
In what Cedar Park Police believe to be an unintentional shooting, a man shot and killed his father-in-law Saturday at a gun show in Cedar Park.
Stephen Sheftall is a frequent gun show attendee.  On Saturday he went to the Austin Premiere Gun Show at Cedar Park Center.
"It was pretty uneventful, I mean everybody was calm going in and professional handling the weapons that I saw.  So I'm not entirely sure how it even happened," he said.
He's referring to a shooting that happened hours after he left.
When Cedar Park Police got to the scene Saturday around 5, they found 59-year-old John Glover Warden injured from a single gun shot wound.  Police say the man from Jarrell, Texas later died at St. David's in Round Rock.  The department tells us the shooting happened in a car in the parking lot.  Warden's son-in-law, Jared Priddy from Eulless was quote 'manipulating' the firearm after reloading it.
"If guns made you safer, no one would ever get shot accidentally. And that's exactly what happened here yesterday," said democratic consultant Jason Stanford.
Stanford says he supports expanded background checks and even background checks to enter a gun show.
"Some people say that guns don't kill people, the person pulling the trigger does.  They can kill you a lot easier with a gun.  And what we need is for gun owners to take it upon themselves to work with us to be safer on this.  Because right now the status quo sure ain't working," he said.
Michael Cargill is the owner of Central Texas Gunworks and a licensed handgun instructor.  He realizes gun control advocates are speaking out on this.
"I know all the nay-sayers are gonna come out and they're gonna say 'I told you so.'  This is not 'I told you so' this is not 'I gotcha.'  This is no different than this little incident we saw a day or so ago where two kids were ejected from a vehicle because they weren't wearing a seat belt.  We don't blame the vehicle for that incident so we're not gonna blame the guns for this incident," he said.
Cargill says the shooter obviously didn't follow basic gun safety rules.  He gave us a demonstration.
This is the quote from the article that highlights the problem for folks like Michael Cargill ( above): " "If guns made you safer, no one would ever get shot accidentally....." Enough said. People like me are not "nay-sayers". We are just writing and talking about the truth. Guns are dangerous. They are one of the only, if not the only product in the market place actually designed to kill people. They are also not regulated for safety by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Cargill's excuse is sad and pathetic. People who buy and own guns should not be so careless with them and there should be more training required before anyone walks away from a gun show or a gun shop with a lethal weapon.

The proof is in the evidence. Guns are not making us safer. When just about anyone can get one, there are going to be problems. Read the Ohh Shoot blog for much more evidence about why having loaded guns everywhere is just not a good idea.

But I digress. Let's look at a real life tragedy involving a loaded gun, a suicide and a child. How did this 12 year old Boy Scout get a gun and shoot and kill himself at a camp over the week-end? The camp, apparently, does not have a firearms program. More will be known about this case I'm sure. In this article, the obvious question is asked:
Investigators spent Monday interviewing those at the scene to try to determine how the event unfolded and how the 12-year-old was able to gain access to a gun. Forensics was called to the scene as well to process evidence.
And the public is alarmed, as well they should be. From the above article:
And of course, the news about what happened was alarming for parents and grandparents who sent their kids to camp.
"I'm worried about his safety," Sylvia, a mom from Chula Vista, said. "I don't know that there are any measures here that actually give us peace of mind as for what kids are bringing in."
So now we have to check the bags of Boy Scouts when they enter a camp? Why not? Let's set up TSA-like check points at children's camps to make sure they aren't bringing in loaded guns. Or better yet, let's make sure the parents of these kids don't allow access to guns for their children. We don't know yet where the gun came from. But we do know that in America, there is far too easy access to guns for kids and adults who shouldn't be able to get their hands on them. Practicing common sense can save lives. There are no excuses. Just look at what people said about the gun incidents in the last month in the image in this post created by Parents Against Gun Violence. 

Suicide by gun accounts for the majority of gun deaths in America. Easy access to guns make it easy for someone having a bad day, a kid with problems, an elderly person with depression, or anyone who thinks life is not worth living to take their own life. The impulse to kill oneself, according to the above linked research article is much more fatal when a gun is accessible. There are far too many senseless and avoidable gun incidents every day in America. When the corporate gun lobby encourages everyone to have a gun around their home ( or guns, as the case often is) for self defense or to actually fight their own government, this is how it goes. This is not OK. It is also something we can prevent. The fact that we aren't working as a country on this national public health and safety epidemic is a shameful picture of a gun culture gone wrong. Surely we are better than this. There are no excuses for the daily carnage due to gun injuries.

UPDATE:

Sadly, another shooting of a child by a child has just been brought to my attention. This 13 year old Ohio teen shot a friend with a stolen gun. From the article:
The teenager accused of killing his friend on Monday with a stolen handgun appeared in a Hamilton County juvenile court Tuesday morning.
Standing before a magistrate, the 13-year-old boy was arraigned on a charge of reckless homicide, violation of curfew, carrying a concealed weapon and theft.
Police say the teenager shot Hawken Hemmerle, 13, in the head as the two played with a loaded .357 revolver he brought to Hemmerle's house shortly after 2 p.m. Monday.
"I'm just now finding out that a friend brought in the weapon and they were playing with it ...," said Constance Smart shortly after the shooting. "He didn't know that he … they didn't know the gun was loaded."
A woman in the house on Marie Avenue who identified herself as a nurse could be heard pleading with Hawken to stay with her in a 911 call released by Hamilton County emergency dispatch as she performed CPR. (...) 
Green Township police say the teen suspect, who is not identified because he is a juvenile, took the revolver from the apartment of another friend's grandfather.
The theft occurred on Sunday night when the teen stayed at the home located on Herme Road , according to a Green Township police report.
The grandfather told police he kept the Taurus .357 magnum revolver under his mattress.
It wasn't until he heard reports of Hawken's shooting that the 67-year-old man thought to look for the gun and realized it was missing.
The police report goes on to say when asked the teenager admitted to taking the revolver.
"It's hard to say if it could have been prevented," Sgt. Chris House said. "Anytime you talk about gun safety you can't be safe enough. When you think you're being safe enough with your gun, you just need to make sure you're getting it locked up and you keep it out of the reach of anyone who may be able to get their hands on it, especially teenage kids."
The advise given by the police sergeant is good advise but too late for these families. Guns are dangerous. Hiding them under a mattress is a really bad idea. And now two families will never be the same.

Senseless.

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