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.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

"Shooting oneself in the foot"

They just can't help themselves. They promote carrying guns everywhere thinking all will be safer. Well, they are wrong. If they were right, why do people keeping "shooting themselves in the foot" as this Idaho professor just did in class? They, the corporate gun lobby of course, are wrong. We are not safer when everyone has a gun. That is a deception that has been foisted on state legislators all over America. The worst part about this is that the legislators have bought it. What's wrong with them? Are they scaredy cats? There is no common sense to allowing students and/or professors to carry guns while in class. But Idaho has allowed it anyway. I would say that all were lucky here. If that bullet had flown in a different direction and a student or someone else was injured or killed, God forbid, there would be hell to pay. And pay the University would. It was just a matter of time before the inevitable happened. It's worth reading the comments in this article about the Idaho Professor. People with guns are not always responsible with them. When we push for everyone to carry guns and sometimes with no training whatsoever or no permit, this is what we can expect. Did those scaredy cat legislators think about things like this? Of course not. They drank the "NRA Kool-Aid".

Student safety be damned I guess. I wonder when the insurance industry is going to wise up and tell places that allow employees or students to carry guns that they won't insure them any more. For law suits will surely follow if someone is seriously injured or killed. They always do.

In looking at the Talking Points Memo site, I noticed this article about the self proclaimed Texas border agents (AKA the militia). Check it out:
The armed militia member who was shot at by a border patrol agent last week is a convicted felon.
Rio Grande Valley TV station KRGV reported Wednesday that records show the man, John Frederick Forester, has misdemeanor convictions for theft and trespassing and a felony conviction for burglary.
Forester was violating federal statutes, then, when a border patrol agent who was chasing a group of immigrants last Friday in Brownsville, Texas spotted him holding a gun.
Texas law, however, allows a felon to possess a gun after five years have elapsed since his or her release from prison. Forester was not in violation of state law, according to KRGV.
I have written before about these militia groups who have chosen to take matters into their own hands. They are a ragtag group of folks with guns who have decided on their own to become "border agents." I maintain that some of them are not necessarily "good guys" with guns. This is a potential dangerous situation waiting to happen.

I wrote in my last post about the Open Carry folks now promoting taking their guns to Kroger stores. The Moms Demand Action ( Everytown) group has a new ad out wondering why the store does not allow people with shirts and shoes in their store but does allow people with guns. Good question. Why not people without shirts and shoes? Are they a danger to anyone? Why then allow guns in your stores? There is no explaining this other than pandering to the corporate gun lobby and their minions who believe they must "educate" the public about how safe they are with their guns ( until they are not) and that the rest of us should just get used to seeing folks with holstered and strapped guns around everywhere we go in public places. The thing is, people who live in countries at war are used to that sight. We are not at war. This is not natural or normal. It is not necessary. It is actually ludicrous. Grown men showing off their lethal and potentially dangerous hardware to the public is simply a bad idea.

Another photo on Moms Demand Action Facebook page shows a little girl with an ice cream cone and a young man with a gun in a grocery store. Which one is not welcome at Kroger's stores? TAke a guess. We have rules and regulations on almost everything in our country. But on guns- not so much. Some on the side of gun rights would argue that they don't want or need more regulations. I would argue that we don't have the ones we need to keep us safe in our communities and practice common sense with guns.

This story is yet another very sad and tragic end to a young life full of promise. A simple stop at a recycling center with a loaded gun in the car truck ended with the accidental discharge of the gun, killing an 18 year old boy who loved hunting. He was what one could call a "good guy" with a gun.From the article:
Eisner’s family and friends created a Facebook page, Prayers for Austin Eisner, to celebrate the young man’s life. The page also offers an account of the fatal accident, stating Eisner’s hunting rifle accidently discharged and shot him in the head when he reached into his truck at the recycling center to retrieve an item. The LCSO report confirms witnesses told deputies the shooting was accidental.
The bird and deer hunting seasons are almost upon us in my neck of the woods. Every year during hunting season we read about unfortunate shooting accidents. They are mostly avoidable since carrying loaded guns around without a safety or in a safe manner can result in accidental discharges. Handling guns is an awesome responsibility and should be taken very seriously. Most gun owners are safe with their guns but accidents and shootings can happen in an instant. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill another human being or animal. And good folks with guns can have accidents, commit suicide with a gun or intentionally shoot someone in moments of rage, jealousy, depression, etc. When there are so many guns around, things like this will happen.

The thing is, as I said in my last post, there is too often a price to pay for irresponsibility with guns. Guns are the only product on the market specifically designed to kill someone. That being the case, much more care has to be taken than we have been exhibiting with all of the examples I continue to provide. And the latest shooting at a gun range by a 9 year old girl of a gun instructor has brought us to a point of reflection that could just change a few things. An Arizona legislator is supporting legislation to change the age of children who can use guns at gun practice ranges. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Other reflections are also being made about the whole culture thing surrounding guns in America. This one from Al Jazeera gets right to the problem. When guns are seen as the ultimate entertainment and combined with other seemingly unrelated pleasures, it confuses people into forgetting about the fact that guns are very dangerous weapons. From the article:
His death, which the Mohave County Sherriff’s Office views as an “industrial accident,” ought to deepen our private reflections about guns in the United States and inform our wider public discussion of gun policy. To date, two themes dominate that discussion: the proper interpretation of the Second Amendment and the alleged existence of two distinct gun cultures, one utterly opposed to firearms and the other in favor of unfettered access to all firearms.
The U.S. Supreme Court has recently settled some of the constitutional questions. However, any strict dichotomy between being pro-gun and anti-gun overstates disagreement among Americans at the cost of ignoring points of agreement. And it does no good to gloss the dichotomy in terms of a rural-urban divide. For it is not the case that all rural residents would identify as pro-gun, nor would all residents of urban areas identify as anti-gun. The dichotomy itself is problematic, for Americans’ superficially different attitudes about firearms are, ironically, grounded in our mutual commitment to a more fundamental, unifying myth about individualism and personal liberty. That Americans have significant individual rights and liberties that protect them against interference from the government and from each other is no myth. But when this truth is conjoined with the lie that we are individually capable of fully determining our fate, a reasonable desire to defend our rights is transformed into a desire for absolute control over others. (...)  
It is true that gun ownership is more prevalent in rural than in urban and suburban areas. In remote areas firearms are needed to protect against wild animals and packs of abandoned dogs that have become feral, to euthanize dying or injured animals and sometimes to hunt for food. (...) 
The primary function of businesses like Bullets and Burgers is not the mere assuaging of curiosity. It is, rather, the provision of a very particular experience. And despite what Bullets and Burgers advertises as its “unique Desert Storm atmosphere,” a customer’s experience there is utterly different from that of a soldier deployed in real battle. Customers at such ranges do not pay to experience being shot at by others. Nor are they there to learn about firearm safety or to develop their marksmanship. They are there to satisfy, albeit briefly (an Uzi is capable of firing 600 rounds a minute), the fantasy of wielding the power of life and death.
Apologists for the existence of companies that offer packaged firearm “adventures” are correct to note that people seek out and pay to have all manner of similarly risky and intense experiences — for example, bungee jumping and parachuting. But when one jumps out of a plane or off a bridge, one is exploring the emotional edges of one’s own mortality, not concretely experiencing what it is like to determine another’s fate. (...) 
U.S. law prohibits minors from engaging in all manner of activities in public, even when accompanied by their permissive parents. Children are not permitted to drink alcohol, drive a car or have sex, and serious penalties attach to adults who help minors break the law in these ways. But there is no legal barrier to parents’ taking their young daughter to fire an Uzi in automatic mode and eating a hamburger with her afterward.
Such is the genius and tragedy of the Bullets and Burgers adventure: A New Jersey family only wanted to be ultimately all-American — just for one day.
We have some fundamental problems with easy access go guns and too much gun violence in America as well as the experience of shooting guns for pleasure and entertainment. It's time to separate those from each other and do something about the violence that is so devastating to so many people. I believe it can be done. Let's get to work.

UPDATE:

I must add this piece about the NRA's media arm reaction to the 9 year old girl shooting the gun instructor. This is so predictable. From the article:
The NRA does not like it when high-profile incidents of gun violence make national headlines. The group recently warned supporters of the media "trick" of using the word "shooting" to describe mass shooting incidents, following a mass killing in Isla Vista, California. After a 2013 incident where a 2-year-old girl was accidentally killed by her 5-year-old brother with a child-sized rifle made national headlines, Edwards criticized the "mass media," claiming they were covering the story as part of a "campaign of shame" and "wanted to make a point that this is what happens in Bumpkinville."
During his commentary on the Uzi accident, Edwards also sought to highlight "the rarity of these types of incidents," pointing out that it has been six years since media coverage has focused on an accident involving a child and an Uzi. Indeed, in 2008 an eight-year-old boy fatally shot himself after losing control of the automatic Uzi he was firing.
But accidents involving guns and children are far from uncommon, and are much more likely to occur in the United States compared to other high-income nations. According to a Mother Jones investigation, in the year following the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, at least 84 children aged 12 and younger died in gun accidents. In 72 of those cases a child or teenager fired the fatal round. According to a 2014 study in Pediatrics, 662 children aged 14 and under visited emergency rooms in 2009 after being accidentally shot.
Edwards also used a straw man argument to attack those who say we should "draw a larger lesson" from the accident, claiming that gun safety advocates and members of the media are using the incident to say "this is why no child should ever be allowed any access to a firearm" and "this demonstrates why no child should ever learn anything at all about firearms." By contrast Edwards praised "some very thoughtful columns" that "cautioned against drawing the sort of overbroad conclusions that we have seen here."
Overboard conclusions? What other conclusions can reasonable people come to? Good grief. These guys are in denial and afraid to admit the truth. That's really sad and despicable actually. The NRA is "shooting itself in the foot" with this type of rhetoric.This is why no progress is ever made towards common sense measures to keep us all safer.

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