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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Domestic abusers, stalkers, lapdogs and guns

From bradycampaign.org
Yesterday I met with Gabby Giffords on her 9 state tour to encourage women leaders to get involved in pushing laws to make sure domestic abusers and stalkers do not have guns. It was a great meeting of 16 women leaders from various organizations sharing ideas about the problem and then the solutions to this national public safety problem. Below are some of the articles about the event:

Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"At the meeting, Heather Martens, founder of Protect Minnesota, an anti-gun-violence group, insisted that steps must be taken to “make sure a gun doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in the first place.”
This would include eliminating so-called trade show loopholes that allow people to purchase firearms without a background check.
Giffords insists that women, particularly those who have survived abuse, can make the most compelling case for changing the laws.
“We stand for common sense,” she said. “We stand for responsibility. Together, we can change our laws. Together, we can win elections.”"
CBS Minnesota 

Minnesota News Service:
Among those in attendance was Heather Martens, the executive director of Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence. "Gabby Giffords spoke about how we need to work together to push for better policy at the state and federal level in order to keep guns away from people who are dangerous or have a criminal background," said Martens. Last year in Minnesota, 25 women were killed by a current or former husband, boyfriend, or intimate male partner. According to research published in the American Journal of Health, abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm. Martens notes that while more needs to be done, the state did take some action on the issue during the past legislative session. A new law went into effect on August 1st which covers those who have committed domestic abuse or are under a restraining order for domestic abuse. "It provides a mechanism for them to surrender their guns so they don't pose a danger to their immediate families or others," says Martens. "That also includes people who have committed stalking. It's a big step forward for preventing gun violence, particularly in domestic-violence situations." 

And I am quoted and interviewed in this local KSTP station report about the Giffords visit:
"Most gun owners really believe in reasonable gun laws. Polling after polling shows us that. So, I think that we are on our way to actually being able to pass some laws that will protect women," Peterson said.
But then read what a Minnesota gun rights activist  ( from the above article) thought was most important about the visit of Gabby Giffords to Minneapolis:
Giffords' stop in Minneapolis wasn't open to the public or publicized ahead of time, something gun-rights advocates criticize. We spoke with Andrew Rothman, President of Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance. Rothman wasn't invited to the meeting.
"They do this because Minnesotans overwhelmingly oppose gun control. When they announce in advance, the gun rights supporters outnumber the gun controllers twenty to one," Rothman said.
Really? Women are being killed by abusers and stalkers and this is all he could think of by way of a complaint? That he and his group weren't invited? Are all of the gun lobby meetings publicized ahead of time or open to the public?  Where are their arguments against stalkers and abusers being able to get guns? We just have to ask if they are against common sense measures to keep guns away from domestic abusers and stalkers?

Meanwhile, today is the anniversary of the shooting of Zina Daniels in Wisconsin. This horrendous domestic shooting involved the abuser who was a prohibited purchaser but was able to get a gun anyway from Armslist.com with no background check. He killed 3 people and injured 4 and then shot himself. This is exactly why we need to expand background checks to all gun sales. We can actually prevent senseless and tragic shootings. But we don't. Why? Because many of our elected leaders are "lapdogs" for the corporate gun lobby.

The Brady Campaign has launched a new video explaining more about the lapdogs for the gun lobby. You can see it below:

Brady is also keeping a "lapdog scorecard" so you can check to see if your member of Congress is doing the bidding of the corporate gun lobby. It's about time gun violence prevention organizations are doing things to influence elected leaders. And the corporate gun lobby minions have noticed. They are calling out any politician who is in favor of common sense and verbally attacking them in campaign ads all over the country.  From this article about the NRA campaign ads:
As always, the NRA suggests it is some kind of grassroots organization that arose out of a common concern. That masquerade has long facilitated its efforts on behalf of the gun companies to manipulate the fears of decent working people, seeking to convince them that gun regulation is a government scheme to strip away their precious freedoms. Never mind that the government in fact is attempting to find some way to end the carnage that calls into question whether we are a civilized nation.
But do not confuse despicable with dumb. The NRA knows what it is doing. It is aware that the fear on which it ultimately thrives is that of politicians who quake at its supposed influence and money.
The problem at the moment for the NRA is that horrors such as the Sandy Hook school massacre of 20 youngsters and six adults have threatened to make the organization’s stamp of approval a liability and its disapproval a badge of honor. Billionaire former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has long bankrolled an effort to take on the NRA and now Bill Gates has joined him.
Their denial and specious claims that any gun safety law will lead to gun confiscation and/or registration is being challenged and debunked because it's simply not true. Their claims, as they often make, that we already have universal background checks so why pass a new law is absolutely false. Do they think we're stupid? 80 Americans a day are dying every day from gunshot injuries. What does the gun lobby propose to do about that? Clearly more guns has not been the answer. Their lies are being exposed. Fewer people believe them. A friend told me yesterday that a volunteer for the NRA endorsed candidate for Congress in my district came to her house to try to persuade her to vote for his candidate. The thing is, she wasn't buying his nonsense. She told him that her husband, a hunter, gave up his NRA membership after the NRA's response to the Sandy Hook shooting. She argued with the young man about the NRA's positions and their support for this candidate until the young man apologized and left. Needless to say, she did not buy his specious claims.

There are new kids on the block now. And we are more organized and better funded than ever before. If that makes them nervous, so be it. It's about time the voice of the people is heard and heard loudly. 92% of Americans, including gun owners, are in favor of background checks on all gun sales. But our leaders are afraid to listen to us. That is changing.  We know we are better than what we have now. Let's get to work. Lives depend on it.


As always, it never takes long before an actual incident representing the problem I am addressing in my blog comes to my attention. This awful domestic shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. illustrates why guns in the hands of domestic abusers is a terrible idea. From the article:
Police were called to the same address late last night on a report of domestic violence, Derenda confirmed.
“The suspect was gone at the time,” Derenda said. “He apparently returned this morning after being told the female was going back to Florida. We believe he killed her and then himself. It appears they moved up here a short time ago.”
“It appears the officers did everything they needed to do,” Derenda said. “This was a long-standing relationship with a long history of domestic violence. It appears she stayed with him for whatever reason. I believe there's an order of protection on him out of Tennessee.”
If a law like the one that passed in Minnesota had been in place, officers could have the abuser surrender his guns. There was an order for protection. There had been many domestic calls. The woman was about to leave which is the most dangerous time for a woman. These incidents are preventable if we change the culture, change the conversation about guns and change our laws.

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