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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Guns in schools and other bad news

I wonder how many incidents will take place in Utah before the legislature realizes that they made a big mistake when they decided that loaded guns were a good idea in schools? I wrote about another such "accidental discharge" by an Idaho teacher in a classroom in a previous post. Now I must write again because it's happened again. A teacher shot herself in the foot in an elementary school bathroom in Utah. You just can't make this stuff up. If it's such a good idea for teachers to carry guns to "protect" students from school shooters, why have we now seen 2 "accidental" gun discharges in education facilities? There have been others actually that I and others have written about previously. And the Idaho law was just passed. What's next? In both cases, students were not injured. But these incidents lend the lie to the idea that more guns make us safer and "the only thing to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" made famous by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

What say you now Mr. LaPierre? How is the false theory that "good guys" with guns will save students working out? I would say not well at all. But this is what the corporate gun lobby says and gets away with when our legislators and Congress do their bidding. We are not safer. Where is common sense? At least this latest incident in Utah has people talking about the law:
State law allows anyone with a concealed carry permit to carry a weapon, loaded or not, pretty much anywhere they go, and that includes of course to work without having to tell their employer. One legislator we spoke with said that’s putting gun rights over a parent’s right to know.
“I just wanted to have a discussion, I didn’t have any illusions about it passing but want to have a discussion because people were talking about it,” Utah State Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-District 37, said.
Yes. Gun rights often trump every other right for people to be safe from people carrying guns wherever they go. Why? More from the article:
The bill didn’t pass, and according to Bill Pedersen, who is the Director of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, it’s for the safety of everyone that concealed weapons remain a secret and on the person at all times.
“We did that specifically so they wouldn’t have to disarm, put their firearm in their vehicle if they had to, or not carry when they feel like they want to carry,” Pedersen said.
Right. It's so inconvenient to have take off your gun before going to work and store it in your car. What about the inconvenience of shooting yourself in the leg or foot or worse yet, shooting another innocent person? This false logic is going to kill us. And what's worse, too many people carry guns who are not properly trained-obviously. But the corporate gun lobby doesn't care about that either. In fact, they promote laws that allow people to carry with no training at all or even a permit. Great idea, right? But I digress. More from the above article:
Spackman Moss was a high school English teacher for 30 years. She said she can relate to a teacher’s desire to protect their students, but said that loaded guns should only be in the hands of the professionals.
“Given that our state only requires a 4-hour course to get a concealed carry permit, and that doesn’t include handling a gun, you don’t know the level of expertise,” she said.
Yup. Good idea to let people who have never handled a gun to carry one around in public and in schools where our precious children and grandchildren spend a lot of time. Good grief. This is ludicrous, stupid and dangerous.

And while I'm talking about common sense, why is it that so many teens have access to guns? Way too often stories like this one when teens are "playing" with guns and one is shot and killed make the news. What are teens doing with guns in the first place? They can't buy handguns legally in many states for obvious reasons. Where are the responsible law abiding adults here? I'm sure there will be an update to this case with information about where the gun came from in the first place. It should be noted that in Tennessee 19 year olds can purchase handguns legally. Good idea, right? You have to be 21 to drink alcohol legally. As a society we have decided that young adults under 21 shouldn't drink alcohol for many reasons. But guns? Nope. Lethal weapons are allowed.

And speaking of those who should not have guns, how many more times does George Zimmerman need to "shoot himself in the foot" with his continued bad behavior before he actually is held accountable for something? Yet one more alleged incident involving Zimmerman threatening to kill someone should be more than enough for us to understand that he is just not a "good guy" with a gun. One has to wonder when someone else will be shot and killed by George Zimmerman. From the article:
Apperson told the dispatcher that he pulled into a nearby gas station to use the phone since he didn't have his cellphone, and the truck followed him. Zimmerman drove the truck up to Apperson's car, blocking him in, Apperson said.
"He almost hit my car and he said he would shoot me then," said Apperson, who told the dispatcher that he never saw a gun in Zimmerman's truck. "Both of them were threatening to shoot me and kill me."
Apperson called police from the gas station, but the truck was gone by the time officers arrived. Apperson, who has a concealed-weapons license, was carrying a firearm at the time, according to the police report.
I would say all were lucky this did not end differently. Allegedly Zimmerman threatened to shoot the driver but the driver had a gun in his car. It doesn't take much imagination to think about the possibilities here. Zimmerman has a problem with guns and anger. They don't go together.

Again, a toddler has been shot and killed in Georgia with a gun accessed in the home of an aunt and uncle.  The aunt was arrested for possession of drugs and reckless behavior. These irresponsible and perhaps illegal gun owners allowed a 2 year old to access a loaded gun. This happens far too often in America. Senseless and avoidable loss of life.

I guess you shouldn't have boat trouble in Oregon as these 2 guys did. Watch out for that "law abiding gun owner" ready to shoot first and ask questions later. Luckily for all that didn't happen here. From the article:
Police arrested a man accused of firing a shotgun at boaters attempting to load up and leave after experiencing boat problems on the Siuslaw River. (...) 
Investigators said Elden Nordahl, 81, told the men not to leave. He then went into his home and came out with a shotgun, police said.
He’s accused of firing one shot that penetrated the boat’s hull. The men got in their vehicle and began driving away when Nordahl fired a second round that hit the boat’s engine, according to Oregon State Police.
Police arrested Nordahl on charges including menacing, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful use of a weapon and pointing a firearm at another person.
Officers seized a shotgun, a rifle and ammunition as evidence.
Be careful out there.

More concealed carry permit holders are causing more trouble on our streets. They weren't supposed to but they do. This Ohio man thought he was going to shoot someone in a road rage incident but he missed and hit someone else. That's bad all the way around. From the article:
A Ford Focus was traveling on West 116th Street when the car ahead made an abrupt turn without using a turn signal and backed into his home's driveway.
The Focus stopped and the three people inside -- a 19-year-old man, a 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman behind the wheel -- argued with the offending driver, a CCW permit holder.
The trio in the Focus left after the argument, but soon returned.
The 22-year-old passenger got out of the Focus and hurled a bottle at the permit holder's car, cracking the windshield. The permit holder shot at the man as he sprinted away. The shooter missed his target and struck the 19-year-old man sitting in the Focus' passenger seat.
Oops. Don't mess with those "law abiding" concealed carry permit holders. They carry their guns to "protect themselves and their families". And supposedly they know what they are doing and can shoot someone in self defense. Until they can't. They aren't supposed to "miss their target" as this guy did. And if the shooter had hit his "target", what then? Self defense?

Another "oops" with a gun occurred in a Colorado neighborhood when a woman threatened a young boy who was practicing his Clarinet outside:
A western Colorado woman is accused of pointing a rifle at several children in a neighboring back yard because she was upset that an 11-year-old boy was playing his clarinet outside.
Mesa County sheriff's deputies believe 60-year-old Cheryl Ann Pifer of Clifton had been drinking before allegedly threatening the children Wednesday afternoon.
The Daily Sentinel reports that the boy told Pifer that he was practicing the clarinet as part of his homework and couldn't go back inside his grandmother's house because a baby was sleeping.
The gun was not loaded. That doesn't excuse this woman's irresponsible behavior. Guns and alcohol do not go together. Some people shouldn't have guns.

So, to summarize- guns carried by teachers in schools meant to protect students from school shooters are now "accidentally" discharging. Concealed carry permit holders are missing their targets and threatening others with their guns. Toddlers continue to access guns they shouldn't have access to killing themselves or others. "Law abiding" gun owners shoot at innocent people who are doing nothing wrong. They also sometimes threaten children with guns when they are annoyed. I would say that the corporate gun lobby has deceived us all. Guns have not made us safer and more of them are being used in senseless shootings and accidents. Lives are lost. Lives are changed forever. Guns are deadly weapons designed to kill another human being and owning and/or carrying one is a heavy responsibility. They are a risk to those who choose to own them but that risk is too often swept under the rug in the hyperbolic discussion of gun rights. It's too late to say "oops" after someone is killed or injured or someone is needlessly and stupidly threatened. We just can't afford these "oops" moments with guns. Our legislators need to look carefully at how many "oops" moments there are and change what they are doing. Lives depend on it.

With rights come responsibilities. It's time for that serious national discussion to happen about the role of guns and gun violence in our everyday lives. Let's get to work. What we are doing now is clearly not working.


It's hard to know what to say about this Ohio incident involving a gun permit holder and a pregnant woman. When stray bullets flying in our streets hit and severely injure two women inside of a store, we have a problem. Among those in the shooting was a concealed carry permit holder. From the article:
Two women were shot inside the store while they were checking out.
Christine McCoy, 24, suffered a gunshot wound to the side of her face. McCoy is currently nine months pregnant. A 28-year-old woman was also found with a gunshot wound to her arm. 
Both women were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center. McCoy is in critical condition, and the condition of her unborn child is unknown. 
A store employee, who witnessed the incident says that both women are regular customers at the store.
"She turned around and I hear a gunshot," he said. "There was so much chaos. There's no thinking. The only thing I was thinking of was helping her, that was it."
"I laid her on her back and I put a towel on her bullet wound," he continued. 
That store employee handed his surveillance video over to Cleveland Police. 
Preliminary investigation reveals that a 28-year-old man and another unidentified man were talking in the parking lot when a gray Ford Focus drove by and the occupants opened fire. 
The two men returned fire at the car, which was driving south on E. 79. They then fled the scene, but the 28-year-old man returned when he saw police arrive. 
He told police what happened, and provided officers with his weapon and CCW permit. He is being held pending the investigation but he is not charged. 
Was this self defense? Was it an accident? What was this? I say it was a tragedy and a ludicrous display of the American gun culture gone wrong.


  1. japete writes: "It should be noted that in Tennessee 19 year olds can purchase handguns legally."

    Federal law prohibits the sale of a handgun from a federal firearms license holder (a dealer) to individuals under the age of 21, regardless of state law.

    Private sales can be conducted at different ages based on state law. Minnesota, for example, only states that one has to be eighteen to purchase a firearm of any type (shotgun, long gun/rifle, or handgun) in a private sale.

    1. Good enough reason to require background checks for private sales. How do you tell the difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old. I, for one, think it's a really bad idea for 18 year olds to purchase handguns.

    2. If an 18 year old is old enough to enlist in the military and possibly die for their country then they should be able to purchase a gun for hunting or sport, go to a casino, buy cigarettes, buy alcohol or do anything else that an "adult" can do. Or maybe we need to raise the age for enlistment to 21.

    3. Yes, Maybe. We'd have a pretty small armed forces then I would think. Should we let them drink as well at 18? Many do but not legally. Worth a discussion, right?