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.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gun owners speak out

As I write often, reasonable gun owners favor reasonable gun laws. And why not? What does a law abiding gun owner have to fear about stronger gun laws? Nothing, of course. But the banter and the hyperbole continue unabated. Take this article written by TV host John Walsh for example. From the article:
"While discussing his new CNN show at a recent press luncheon in New York, iconic crime show host John Walsh positioned himself as an opponent of the Tea Party and National Rifle Association all while throwing support behind universal background checks, The Wrap reports.
“I am the guy that has seen both sides of the issue. I own guns. I’m the father of a murdered child. I’ve done nothing but track violence in America since my son was murdered,” Walsh said. “We have a serious problem with guns in this country. And we refuse to address it. And the NRA’s solution to arm every grammar-school 80-year-old teacher with a gun is absolutely ludicrous.”"
This is not an unreasonable statement. Walsh is just one of the majority of gun owners who favor background checks on all gun sales. From this article:
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, released the following statement on the July 3 Quinnipiac University Poll that found 92 percent of American voters, including 92 percent of gun owners, support requiring background checks on all gun purchases. The poll also showed 86 percent of Republicans support background checks.
“As a hunter, gun owner and supporter of the Second Amendment, I am proud to count myself among the 92 percent of American gun owners who support background checks for gun sales,” said Thompson. “I’ve authored bipartisan legislation to expand background checks to all commercial gun sales, and the only thing standing in the way of it passing is the Republican Majority in the House. It’s time they listen to the 92 percent of American gun owners who support background checks and bring our bill up for a vote -- because if the Republican Majority would allow a vote, my bill would pass.”
Never mind the facts. Fiction and hyperbole rule the day. Ignoring the influence of the corporate gun lobby would go a long way to changing the conversation about guns and gun violence in America. Congress is scared of this small group of angry and ruthless people who have managed to upend any reasonable discussion that would prevent some of the daily carnage in our country. And it is a small group. But they make a lot of trouble with their threats and accusations. Just look at the comment section in the above article about John Walsh from the gun trolls. You would have thought Walsh had gone on a tirade suggesting that we ban every gun in America. What is wrong with these folks anyway? Why the hatred? Why the ugliness and offensive remarks? Why the calls for retribution? As my readers know, I have stopped publishing a lot of comments here because of the same sort of comments. Personal attacks against me, my dead sister, other victims, threats, offensive remarks, sexual innuendos, etc. are the modus operandi of some on the gun rights community. They make all gun owners look bad. I think that is why more of them are coming out publicly in favor of common sense.

And, then, of course, comes the intimidation by the people who want to openly carry their guns in public. I ran across this great article about this new American phenomenon:
Meditate for a moment on the notion of making people comfortable with the sight of guns in public via habituating them to the instinctual terror of seeing one, and two issues immediately arise: firstly, it resembles other illogical forms of activism in which the goal is wholly incompatible with the means, such as murdering abortion providers to achieve a culture of life; secondly, it is, above all else, an effort at achieving control.
After all, it isn’t as though the advocates of openly carrying guns in public are unaware of the effect they have on the public; they are usually met with resistance precisely because they terrify innocent bystanders, while their constitutional concerns – such as they are – tend to be swallowed up by the technique of their “protest.” It is rather the case that they claim the period of fear they deliberately inspire is one they intend to force the public to endure until they are no longer met with resistance. If their narrative is to be thought genuine, then their intention is literally to forcibly habituate the public to the idea that they are constantly in danger, and that there is little that can be done about it. Or, as Open Carry Texas puts it, the goal is to: “condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry [guns].” Of course, the fact that they are willing to inflict terror to achieve, bizarrely, a sense of safety demonstrates that people feeling safe isn’t really a goal here; otherwise pictures of guns or speech campaigns would surely suffice. The fear is, in other words, intentional. (...)  
That is, the open carry lobby is about an assertion of power: With the backing of their firearms, they will either change how you think and behave by conditioning or by fear, but in either circumstance the attempt is to manage the surrounding population in some way or another. This is precisely the sort of response you would expect from a culture that lives on the fear-mongering techniques of right-wing media; after all, one response to living in a state of perpetual fear of persecution or attack is to claim the mantle of fearsomeness for oneself. But this is a self-perpetuating cycle of fear and the infliction of fear, and the prize at stake is control. With luck these theatrical demonstrations of power will die down, but each motion of the state to contain them is interpreted as persecution, fueling the spiral.
This is a great analysis of the situation now presenting itself in some areas of the country. Watching gun extremists strut around with openly carried guns in public to make a point is amusing. But it's also concerning. Why are they doing it? So we will just get used to seeing these guns everywhere we go? So because there are these armed folks everywhere, we, too, should be armed to protect ourselves from them or maybe from the same fearful imaginative perils lurking around every corner that these folks see? And then- voila- increased gun sales. That is the nature of this beast. Loosening carry laws so more people can carry guns in more places has the intent of getting folks to the gun stores to buy those nice small concealable guns. Further, having gun nuts strutting around with AR-15s might just give some other folks the idea that they, too, should rush out to buy one. I mean, it looks so manly and so attractive to be carrying one of those around in grocery stores and restaurants. And the idea that mass shootings with guns like the Bushmaster AR-15  leads more people to want to buy one is so ludicrous it begs credulity. That is the world created by the fear and paranoia of the corporate gun lobby. But I digress.

These extremists are also making it difficult for reasonable gun owners who want nothing to do with them. And, for the rest of the real world, getting used to folks carrying loaded guns around in public is like all of the photos we see of armed insurrectionists, soldiers and terrorists in third world uncivilized countries or countries at war. Is this who we are? Are we at war? Or do some want us to be at war?

The image of Americans strutting around in public with loaded guns has become ludicrous and embarrassing but also potentially dangerous. I don't have to list again all of the accidental discharges by law abiding gun owners do I, to make the point that more guns are not making us safer? Do I have to keep saying that unsecured guns in homes can lead not only to accidents and suicide but to stolen guns that get into the illegal market? I don't have to provide yet another list of the daily homicides ( 32) to get to an understanding that more guns have not made us safer.  Do I have to mention again that gun suicides take more lives than gun homicides and that, in total, about 80 Americans a day die from gun injuries?

The thing is, we can do something about all of this if we but stop listening to the extremists amongst us and stand up for victims and what's right. If we expect to live in peaceful communities without fear of being shot, we have to raise our voices for common sense. Reasonable gun owners are doing just that and should be listened to since they represent the majority. What do we value more in America? Preventing senseless loss of life or unreasonable adherence to and love of guns and gun rights? Let's get to work.


I just ran across this letter to the editor in the Star Tribune from a reader:

"Mature owners aren’t the face of ‘open carry’

Steve Sack’s July 3 editorial cartoon, on Open Carry Texas, appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It shows a middle-aged, fat lout with an AR-15 and a hat labeled “NRA.”

As a competitive rifle marksman and hunter, I am one of many who have been puzzled by the “open carry” movement. The practice of carrying a loaded gun in public is certainly at odds with my NRA experiences in safety training and basic gun manners, which at this point go back more than half a century. I can tell you that most of the real professionals in the shooting sports hobby are not in agreement with the practices exhibited by “open carry” advocates.

Even the NRA has gently admonished this group. You will note that the majority of participants in their demonstrations have flat bellies and appear to be under 30, like so many others out advocating this or that “new freedom.” This is a lot more of a youth movement than a “gun” movement."

Griffin T. Murphey, Fort Worth, Texas

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