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.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Problems with gun lobby logic

This post has been updated since first posted.

Well another concealed carry permit holder has shot and killed someone. A Michigan man shot another in a road rage incident. What's the excuse from the gun rights folks about this one? I don't hear anything.......... Waiting........... From the article:
"A 69-year-old Marion Township man is charged with murder in connection to the road rage shooting which killed a 43-year-old man on Tuesday in Genoa Township.
Martin Zale was arraigned Thursday on an open murder charge and firearms charges. He is being held at the Livingston County Jail without bond. Prosecutor William Vailliencourt said Zale presented his concealed weapons permit to police.
Derek Flemming, 43, was shot and killed by the driver of a pickup truck at the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Chilson Road, about 1 mile east of downtown Howell. Vailliencourt said Flemming was killed by a single gunshot to his face while he was standing outside the shooter's vehicle on Grand River Avenue. The weapon used was a handgun, the prosecutor said."
I know I have asked this question before when writing about road rage incidents. Because someone isn't driving right or two people get into it while driving, does one of them deserve to be shot to death? Where is the logic in that kind of behavior? But when a gun is available that is what can happen. Two children will grow up without their father. Senseless loss of life.

There's more. Some "law abiding" gun owning militia members are going to make a serious mistake soon enough. They were lucky their trigger fingers weren't itching. "Wannabe" border agents in the form of militia groups are "patrolling" the Mexican border states with their guns. But there are problems with these gun wielding folks leading to some potential serious consequences. This one scared a few Arizona researchers who were in caves researching bats.:
An armed border militia group confronted three researchers in Arizona last month, mistaking them for undocumented immigrants or drug traffickers in an incident that drew criticism from local law enforcement officials.
Border militias, or "untrained, utterly anonymous gunmen with no accountability to anyone" who prowl the border on their own time and look for illegal activity, have become an increasing concern for law enforcement officials, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The recent incident with the researchers is the second time in the last few weeks the militias have caused an issue for U.S. border authorities.
On Aug. 23, three geologists were walking back toward their campsite in Sonoita, Arizona, after counting bats in a local cave, according to a police report filed on Aug. 24 with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office and shared with The Huffington Post. A group of men confronted them, shining a spotlight on them and yelling in Spanish, the report said.
This bears repeating: "Border militias, or "untrained, utterly anonymous gunmen with no accountability to anyone" who prowl the border on their own time and look for illegal activity, have become an increasing concern for law enforcement officials...."

And yes, pellet guns in the hands of children can cause a death as it did for this 4 year old Virginia girl. This one was ruled an "accident". Was it? Is it an accident that adults allow kids to play with even pellet guns inside of a home? From the article:
Richmond police said the death of a 4-year-old girl — fatally wounded Friday evening in her home by a pellet gun fired by another youngster — was an accident and no charges will be filed.
“After extensive interviews and in consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, detectives have determined this incident to be a tragic accident,” police spokesman Gene Lepley said Saturday of the death of Geonna Bradley. (...) 
Police did not release many details addressing the circumstances of the shooting except to say Geonna was shot in the chest by a juvenile.
Lepley said “extended family” were there when it happened, but he declined to say whether the girl was related to the shooter, and he did not provide the age of the shooter.
He called it “a family tragedy.”
Indeed. This was a "family tragedy". They happen every day in America. Families are devastated by the senseless shooting of a child. Way too often it involves another child who shouldn't have had a gun in the first place but did anyway. Even pellet guns deserve respect because they can cause injury and death. These are avoidable deaths. Most families understand that kids need to be in approved car seats until a certain age. Baby and children's toys have been vetted for their safety. Childproof cupboard locks and plastic inserts for electrical outlets are commonly used. Kids hopefully wear life jackets on boats and adults are present when small children are playing near the water. Pajamas are now "fireproofed" just in case. Parents are arrested for leaving kids unattended in closed up, locked cars during very hot weather. There are laws and regulations about most of these safety measures and they make common sense and are widely accepted as good ideas. As a society we have decided that we have to do everything we can to keep our children safe from accidents. But for guns? Not so much. The second amendment absolutists won't allow or tolerate common sense safety measures to keep people from being shot senselessly. Crazy and illogical.

What about the Missouri high school student whose backpack had a loaded gun it? The backpack was dropped and the gun did what guns do when they are jarred and a bullet is in the chamber. It fired. Luckily no one was injured. From the article:
"A handgun that was located in a students handbag, excuse me backpack, inadvertently discharged," said Justin Herrell, Springfield Public Schools Associate Superintendent For Secondary Education.
School officials say the gunshot went off in the commons area- a section of the cafeteria.
According to an incident report by Springfield Police, a student brought a small caliber handgun to school-- in an attempt to hand-off the gun to a second party, the gun was dropped and discharged. No injuries have been reported. 
"I heard at lunch that this kid brought a gun to school and it dropped from the second floor and it went off in his bag. Supposedly people are saying it was an accident. But I'm not sure it was," said Suntken.
All guns, with very few exceptions, start out as legal purchases. So then, given that a 17 year old cannot legally purchase a handgun, where did this 17 year old get this gun? "Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult." As is often the case, it could have been another "law abiding" gun owner who left a gun around for this teen to access or maybe he took it from someone else- in other words, stolen. Several adults have been questioned in this case. At the end of the article someone was quoted as wondering what were this boy's intentions? If he was passing it to another student, what were that student's intentions? Nothing good for sure. And then people wonder how guns make it to the illegal market or how people who shouldn't have guns get them anyway. We make it far too easy in America. Our cavalier attitude towards guns are leading to people like this boy and many other underage kids accessing guns. Once they have the guns, bad things almost always happen.

And do be careful when asking for more soy sauce with your Chinese food. Someone may try to shoot you as actually happened in an Ohio restaurant. The thing is, the gun rights folks keep insisting that the guns they carry are for the self defense of themselves and their families. They mean no harm. And for most of them that happens to be true. Given that, is it necessary to use a gun for "self defense" when confronted by an unarmed customer who may be annoying and insistent? Did the man who shot another in a road rage incident start out the day believing he would actually shoot and kill someone with that gun he had in his car? And did the man working at the Chinese restaurant plan to threaten a customer with the gun he happened to have with him at work that day? And did those militia members actually believe they could do the job of trained border agents? Things happen in an instant and a gun can make the consequence deadly.

The answer is that there are way too many people who carry guns who shouldn't. They are encouraged to do so by the corporate gun lobby "logic" that your gun will keep you safe. Training requirements are slim to none in some states. All it takes is one angry moment and everything changes. When a gun is available, common sense too often goes out the window. This is the gun culture promoted by the corporate gun lobby. Profits come before anything else so safety doesn't seem to matter. And state legislators and our Congress members have been sold a bill of goods. Shame on them all. Senseless shootings are happening way too frequently. Incidents involving guns and close calls are also happening too frequently. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill another human being. Owning and carrying one should come with great respect, responsibility, training and accountability. That is not what's happening in real life in spite of what the corporate gun lobby would have us believe. Yes most gun owners are safe with their guns, until suddenly they may not be. Admitting that there are risks to owning guns would go a long way to changing the culture. Changing the conversation to include language about responsibilities that come with that right to own a gun could actually save lives. It's time for a change to the gun culture and serious discussion about the role of guns and gun violence in our every day lives. Let's get to work.


Of course we don't yet know whether this Missouri freeway shooter was a legal or illegal gun owner but it's pretty darned scary to think you can be driving your car on a freeway and be shot to death by an idiot with a gun:
Police say a man in his 50s suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A second victim suffered a gunshot wound to the torso. He is conscious and was taken to the hospital.
The overpass at Adelaide and Hall is being closed to vehicle traffic as of now.
Witnesses told police the gunman was waiting for a car to come over the hill. The victims that were shot were not the intended target.
So if there was an "intended" target why was there one and why shoot said target from a freeway if you have no idea what kind of car you are looking for? Further, why shoot someone at all from a freeway overpass? And further, why shoot another human being at all?


Clearly these 2 Texas boys deserved to have some adult supervision and responsibility before they went out "hunting" in an area near their home. An 11 year old boy drove a car with his 5 year old boy in it after the 5 year old shot himself in the face with a hunting gun. From the article:
“It was just an accident, an accident that should have never happened,” she told KHOU.
The 5-year-old was taken by life flight helicopter to Memorial Herman Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.
Harris County Sheriff’s deputies were investigating why the boys had access to guns and a car while their father was at work.
Was this an accident? It was avoidable for sure but adults with guns can be cavalier and careless with guns around kids. If kids are not shown respect and responsibility for guns, things like this will ( and do) happen. Kids and guns don't go together and particularly without adult supervision. But sometimes the adults encourage small kids to have guns and shoot them without thinking through the possible consequences. Guns are a part of our culture but guns can also do serious harm or kill others. Having them around can be a risk to those in the home. It's up to the adults to figure that out.


This blog post could practically write itself. The incidents just keep coming. When people are encouraged to have guns with them everywhere they go, that is what happens. And then they get careless and forget where they put their guns. For example, an Oregon woman was luckily only grazed by a bullet that discharged from her boyfriend's pants pocket at a laundromat. Why did her boyfriend not keep track of his gun? It is totally irresponsible and careless to leave a loaded gun in your pants pocket. But in America people are so cavalier with their guns and their gun rights that anything goes. Where is common sense?

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