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.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What kind of country do we want?

Isn't there a time when the citizens of a country need to decide what kind of country they want? Of course. It happens every day in legislation passed by Congress, legislatures and local government bodies. People put their heads together and discuss issues of concern that affect the environment, safety, and well being of their communities. Thus, laws are passed for the purpose of regulating behavior or consumer products for the overall public health and safety. That being the case, why do we not do more to protect our citizens from the gun violence that is so pervasive in our country?

The open carrying of guns is receiving a lot of attention of late. The laws that allow for people to carry their guns openly passed without the scrutiny they deserved and now the consequences are scaring people all over the country. Below is a video of what Kansas citizens thought about a man openly carrying his gun into a Walmart.

How do people know if this man intended harm given the mass shootings in our country? If these folks start carrying their guns around in public trying to normalize this behavior why wouldn't someone who has bad intentions with his/her gun not do the same thing with different results? I don't believe this is the kind of country we want.

Oh, and then there's this latest lunatic talk from the NRA about requiring kids to learn to shoot guns, even if they don''t want to, before advancing to the next grade! You really can't make this stuff up. If this isn't one of the most pathetic attempts to commandeer the conversation from the sublime to the ridiculous, I don't know what to call it. From the article:
In a July 21 NRA News video titled "Everyone Gets A Gun," NRA News commentator Billy Johnson said, "We don't have a U.S. gun policy. We have a U.S. anti-gun policy" that is based on "the assumption that we need to protect people from guns" and "that guns are bad or dangerous."
Instead Johnson wondered what gun policies the United States would have "if we designed gun policy from the assumption that people need guns -- that guns make people's lives better." Johnson then made the following recommendations that would "encourage" and might "reward" people "to keep and bear arms at all times."
Johnson wondered, "What if instead of gun free-zones we had gun-required zones?"
He imagined a compulsory education system that would require children to become proficient with firearms, just like "reading and writing," even "if they didn't want to learn" in order to advance in school: "Gun policy driven by our need for guns would insist that we introduce young people to guns early and that we'd give them the skills to use firearms safely. Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency. It wouldn't matter if a child's parents weren't good at it. We'd find them a mentor. It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade."
Like "education, healthcare, food, [and] retirement," Johnson suggested that gun ownership be subject to a government subsidies, either through "government ranges where you could shoot for free or a yearly allotment of free ammunition."
Right. Great plan, this. There's more for you to enjoy in the linked article. Has the NRA come unglued? What kind of nonsensical world is this anyway? This is really not the country we want. The fact that someone came up with such a ridiculous idea says mountains about the agenda of the corporate gun lobby. "Everybody Gets A Gun." Yup. Why not? We already have more guns per capita than any other democratized country not at war and also more gun deaths and injuries. Let's just add to the numbers of the dead by providing our children with guns in schools and make them get gun training, like it or not and even get government subsidies for ammunition? Really? I thought these were the anti-government folks. I guess when they want the government to be involved in their cockamamie schemes, it's OK by them.

And then there are these fine members of the Come and Take it Dallas group rallying at Dealy Plaza in Dallas where, in case you forgot, President Kennedy was assassinated. Take a look at this lunacy:

Is this what we want for our country? I don't think so. Remember now, this is a small group of gun extremists but they are loud and obnoxious and they are carrying guns around making incendiary comments while trying to justify their reasons for carrying assault weapons in public places where they don't belong. What does this say to the children who may be fascinated with guns? Remember, 8 children a day die from gun injuries every day in America. Many of them are curious children who find a loaded gun lying around at home ending in tragedy. An alarming number of children die from accidental shootings. And many child and teen gun deaths are suicides. So the NRA's new plan makes a lot of common sense, right?

And finally, there is a push by the corporate gun lobby to arm women. If women are convinced that only a gun will make them safer in domestic abuse situations, they will go to gun stores to buy one, right? This wrong headed approach will turn deadly for women. The proof is in the numbers. But never mind the facts. The Kentucky legislature wants more women to be armed against abusers instead of trying to get guns away from the abusers. I know that a gun would not have saved my sister's life. When women are attacked or abused, it is often a surprise attack with no time to react. Guns can be easily taken from a woman by a stronger man. This backwards thinking is dangerous for women. From the article:
This week, a Kentucky law kicks in that aims to protect domestic violence victims—not by taking away guns from their abusers, but by making it easier for victims to carry guns.
Kentucky has some of the most lax gun restrictions for domestic violence perps in the nation, and between 2003 and 2012, a greater percentage of intimate-partner homicides in Kentucky were committed with guns than anywhere else in the country. A number of states prohibit certain domestic abusers from possessing guns with laws that bar convicted stalkers, people subject to temporary restraining orders, or dating partners convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. Kentucky does none of that. For the chart above, Mother Jones looked at eight gun restrictions related to domestic violence that states have enacted; Kentucky had zero. (In the chart, Kentucky is in the upper right-hand corner.)
To prevent domestic shootings, guns should be taken from the abusers/stalkers/subjects of protective and restraining orders rather than providing guns to those who are abused. This is just not the kind of country we want. Arming more people will not solve the problem of gun violence.

Closer to home, a senseless and irresponsible shooting by an allegedly "law abiding gun owner" took place the other day.  When a gun is available and carried around, this happens more often than gun extremists want us to know. From the article:
The teen told authorities she had gone outside to tie up her barking dog when she saw the shadow of someone crouching in the yard. She said she heard three gunshots and felt bullets striking her. The teen said she fell on the deck and had to pull herself into the house, because she could not walk, to call 911.
Investigators said they found three spent .45-caliber shells in the grass near the deck. Authorities also found an area about 75 to 100 feet south of the home where someone apparently had been lying in the grass beneath a pine tree.
According to the complaint, the girl told investigators that a man who lived nearby had been riding his mower through her yard and that he routinely carried a pistol in his holster. She said she had spoken to him about trespassing and that he denied trespassing on her property.
Officers searched Pickering's home and found a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol with a holster in an air vent, the complaint said. Pickering was arrested and told investigators he had not seen the gun in a week or so. When officers noticed a fresh grass strain on the front of Pickering's jeans, he said he may have gotten the stain kneeling down to hook the trailer to his mower, the complaint said.
When authorities pointed out inconsistencies in his statement, Pickering said he had taken his children for a ride with the mower and that after he returned home a girl came to the front door and confronted him about trespassing, the complaint said. Pickering told investigators he went to her house, knelt by a pine tree and shot her twice after she came out the front door, according to the complaint.
Pickering said he returned home after the shooting and put the gun and holster in the vent, the complaint said.
People should be able to complain to a neighbor about driving through their yard with a lawn mower without fear of being shot for daring to complain. Raise your hand if your first impulse when a neighbor asks you not to drive on her lawn is to shoot her. There are clearly people who should not have guns. Anger, vengeance and guns do not go together.

The gun lobby is in denial over the shooting incidents and demonstrations of gun carrying that are happening every day in our country. The proof is in the numbers of gun deaths and injuries. The notion that carrying guns in public will make us safer is an attempt by the gun extremists to foist their own values on the rest of us, who consist of the majority when it comes to gun violence prevention. If we care about public health and safety, common sense will lead us to a different solution to the problem of the devastation of gun violence on our families and communities. The corporate gun lobby is working very hard to get more Americans to own and carry guns. Their motives to appeal to children need to be questioned.

Sales of guns are now going down again since it is clear that President Obama is actually not coming for their guns. Note, from the linked article, that sales of small concealable hand guns are up. Creating new markets for guns is the ultimate goal here. But the cynical attempts to do so by openly displaying guns in sensitive places and places where families hang out is just plain a bad idea. And suggesting that children should all be trained to shoot guns as part of a school curriculum and show mastery before passing to the next grade is so out of touch with reality that it makes one wonder how desperate the gun lobby is for gun sales.

Most Americans want the right to be safe in their homes and their communities from being shot. Even Texans, where the Open Carry demonstrations are happening regularly, want, at the least, background checks on all gun sales. The bottom line is that the risks are great when loaded guns are around where we live, play, work, eat and do business. The kind of country we want is one where people are not being shot to death every day in senseless and avoidable shootings. We want our elected leaders to do the right thing and pass laws to prevent at least some of the shootings. Not doing anything about this national public health and safety epidemic is not an option. Do we want a country that values the lives of our families enough to protect them from senseless gun violence? I know what kind of country I want. I hope you will join me to make it happen. Let's get to work.


You've just got to love the NRA trying to walk back their stupid idea that kids should have mandatory gun training before advancing to the next grade in school. They are blaming the fuss on gun violence prevention folks who they insist on calling "anti-gunners" which is actually a polite name for us these days. But I digress. From the article:
Johnson appeared on the July 24 edition of NRA News' Cam & Company on The Sportsman Channel to defend his video. Host Cam Edwards started the conversation by saying, "One of the things that specifically the anti-gunners are flipping out about is [Johnson's] suggestion that if we had a national gun policy, that again, embraced our right to keep and bear arms, one of the things we might be talking about is educating kids about how to be safe and responsible with a firearm, regardless of whether or not their parents were gun owners. That thought ... has really got people on the anti-gun side of the equation freaked out. They're saying that you're demanding compulsory education of firearms training for kids, they are wondering why on earth any child would need to know how to be safe and responsible with a firearm and I find it fascinating because they're ignoring the fact that there are already hundreds of thousands of kids across this country who are safely and responsibly learning about firearms."
But critics of the NRA video were saying that it promoted the idea of mandatory firearms training because in the video Johnson says, "We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade."
Johnson also offered misleading commentary on his video, suggesting that he was being called "radical" for talking about teaching kids "what they should do if they do find a gun":
Make no mistake about it. This was a radical and totally insane idea offered up by an NRA leader. Getting push back should have been expected. Or do these folks actually believe what they are saying or saying what they believe? It's hard to know. Any way you look at this one, it was a really really bad idea to even suggest it. But it does have the affect of revealing the true agenda of the NRA lobbyists and leaders. They don't care that children are being shot to death in alarming numbers every day. Some of the kids know how to handle guns. Their parents taught them. And they still manage to shoot themselves or others because guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill people. They don't belong in the hands of young children, period. I know this is a way of life for some but if folks don't recognize the risk of guns in homes, then they aren't being responsible gun owners.

Also lying and deception is not a good idea. More from the article:
Edwards ended the segment by showing "a portion of this commentary clip so you know what it is that the anti-gun folks are actually freaking out about."
Unfortunately NRA News cut the video just before the most controversial part of his commentary, where Johnson said: "Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency. It wouldn't matter if a child's parents weren't good at it. We'd find them a mentor. It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade."
You just can't make this stuff up.


  1. "there a time when the citizens of a country need to decide what kind of country they want?" - good question. Now, for me it is a place where individuals are responsible for their own protection (SCOTUS Castle Rock) and that where the only people not allowed tools for that protection are protected by police due to a special relationship, like Secret Service Detail or locked up in prison.
    We have perfect examples in prohibition and "the drug war" as to the results of government attempting to be involved in things that they should not be involved in.

    1. This would be a world where no lawful authority exists and anarchy would result. This is a dangerous world for sure and not what most Americans want.