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, September 18, 2014

Playing around with guns

I didn't intend to write this post today but I just can't help calling attention, once again, to something that I have written about before on this blog. What is it about guns that some people don't get? Why does someone with a gun believe he can just play around with it and not have something happen as a result? I have a feeling that some gun owners think nothing bad could ever happen to them because of course, the guns are for their own defense or for recreation. But happen they do. This Florida man thought he could do a "Tombstone" stunt with his gun. Now his sister is dead leaving behind a young child. You can't make this stuff up. But when guns are everywhere and everyone has one with not enough training and is actually encouraged to have guns, this is going to happen. Until we have a serious conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in our every day lives, I expect to be writing about more of these incidents.

But more from this article:
Eric Stayton attempted the same stunt Saturday night at his home in Chaires, where about a dozen friends and relatives were celebrating the birthdays of his sister, 39-year-old Renee Chaires, and her 23-year-old daughter, reported the Tallahassee Democrat.
Chaires, a hair stylist who would have turned 40 this week, was standing next to her daughter in the home’s carport when the 50-year-old Stayton began twirling his gun in the air. 
As he attempted to holster the weapon, it slipped from his hand, struck the concrete floor, and fired. 
A single shot struck Chaires in the neck, and she later died.
This man was very likely a "law abiding" gun owner by the way. It only took seconds before he wasn't but apparently he will not be charged with this stupid "accidental" death. There should be no "accidental" gun discharges. People need to be very responsible with their right to own and carry guns. Why even have a holstered gun at a family party? What's to be afraid of? Leave your gun at home or safely stored when others are around. The fear and paranoia promoted by the corporate gun lobby leads people to think they must have their guns wherever they go. And if you choose to wear your gun around even at family events, keep it in the holster. What's so difficult about that?

So what's the answer? Obviously laws won't help. It a culture thing. It's a gun thing. It's an American thing. Something needs to change in the way we talk about the risks of guns in homes. Common sense needs to happen, actually. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill another human being. They are not toys or play things and shouldn't be used as entertainment at a family party. Too many people are dying in senseless deaths. What we are doing now is just not working. Let's get to work and make the changes we deserve to keep families and communities safe from devastating gun deaths and injuries.


  1. Most firearm owners are smarter than that, that is asking for trouble. Ever see someone twirling a knife around and have it get away? Ever see someone playing with a butterfly knife and throw it across the room not meaning to? These people are idiots and fortunately they are not that many.

  2. Try this again...

    Laws don't stop people from speeding, texting while driving, talking on the phone while driving, drinking and driving, committing murder, assault, rape... the list goes on. Laws only work as well as they are enforce, otherwise the average person will take them as a suggestion.

    Yes what this person did was stupid and irresponsible. And tragically it took someone close to him to pay for his stupidity. But passing more laws will not solve the problem, just as though it has not solved the myriad of other problems we face as a society.

    What needs to happen is firearms training and safety needs to be put back in the school system as it was just 50 years ago with the Eddie Eagle program sponsored by the "evil" NRA. Training and safety instruction needs to happen in the home as well. But even with all the training, laws and good intentions there will always be a small subset that will ignore it and do something illegal or stupid.

    1. More than you would think which is why I write about these things on my blog.

  3. Just a couple of questions in relation to your thoughtful article.

    I agree that stupid people should not be allowed to possess dangerous objects ... which includes automobiles and chain saws, for example. Can you suggest an objective metric which identifies stupid people?

    Why do you use the terminology "Accidental gun discharges"? A much more accurate description of the incident you reported would be "negligent discharge". I teach a safety class for people who are interested in entering a competition where people literally run with loaded guns in their hands. We have a number of "forbidden actions" (such as moving with your finger on the trigger), the violation of which results in the immediate ejection from the match. There are safe environments for shooting, and the people who qualify for inclusion are trained and closely monitored by experienced, responsible safety officers, But in the normal course of events, most people do not elect to enter a discipline which trains and monitors their participants. Are you aware that these venues are available, where people literally "play with guns" ... but are taught to do so safely?

    A final comment, which is probably not necessary: this jerk-with-a-gun probably should have some sort of punishment imposed on him, as a consequence of his irresponsible actions. Most people would be appalled by the story. Not only by the direct consequences of his actions, but also by the decision that he would not be prosecuted. A minimum charge should be "Negligent Homicide".

    1. Yes indeed. It is a negligent discharge and should result in some sort of punishment. Why do you suppose it does not? That is a question that needs to be asked. The gun lobby has worked very hard to make sure that people's "rights" are not violated and sometimes that interferes with cases like this. My point here is that this is not an isolated case. These are happening with what I believe is increasing frequency. If you visit the Ohh Shoot blog you will see many more like this. I just wrote about one on my latest post. People should be trained before they even walk out of the store with a gun. But they are not. That is not a requirement for purchase. And many people purchase from private sellers where they don't even need to have a background check. Our laws are too loose. Our culture is too cavalier. Guns are dangerous weapons. They needed to be treated as such. Thanks for saying my post was thoughtful. I accept that as a compliment and I don't get many from folks like you who read my blog.