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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Will you vote for common gun sense?

Source: Tampa Bay Times
Tomorrow America votes. What is important to you? Taxes, education, health care, women's issues, reproductive rights, cost of tuition, gun rights, jobs, the economy, or many others? Sadly, America has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the world. I thought we were the country of exceptional ism and the model of democracy. But we have politicians and organizations who actually don't want you to vote. There are voter suppression laws in many states that want voters who have voted for 70 or 80 years to suddenly have to find an ID to prove they are who they say they are. There are states that have curbed the hours for early voting. There are states and politicians that don't want the polls to be open more hours because some folks may actually get out to vote. In some states, you can use your permit to carry a gun ID to vote but you can't use your student ID. What kind of country are we?

Fear and paranoia are ways to get people to the polls. The facts and a reasoned national discussion seem unimportant in today's world of corporate influence on American elections. Corporations are now people, according to the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling on campaign finance. Right. And guns don't kill people. Until they do, of course. But I digress.

Take the time to find out if your candidates support the issues of importance to you. The Brady Campaign has made it easy for you to check on your leaders views on gun violence prevention at their new Lapdog scorecard site. I have posted the video once before but I'll post it again because it's so good.

The nasty ads from the corporate gun lobby are trying to make voters believe that any reasonable measure to prevent and reduce shootings will lead to gun confiscation and taking away the rights of law abiding gun owners. They are wrong. But if you say something often enough, it becomes a quasi fact and part of the culture. Below is the video of the NRA ad running against Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who voted in favor of a watered down bill after the Sandy Hook shootings, to require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows and on the Internet.

Here are the facts about the NRA's ad from USA Today fact checking:
The ad targeting Landrieu has the weakest backing. There are three legs to the NRA's case that "Mary Landrieu voted to take away your gun rights" — and none of them hold any weight with regard to the implied claim that Landrieu would limit the ability of the woman in the ad to defend herself with a gun against an intruder. (...) 
Arulanandam said people need to consider the totality of Landrieu's record on gun control. But the only other votes cited by the NRA were ones Landrieu cast in 1999 and 2004 for amendments to close the "gun show loophole" by requiring background checks on firearm transactions at gun shows. Expanded background checks "make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to obtain a firearm," Arulanandam said.
"As the ad said, Mary Landrieu votes to take away your gun rights," Arulanandam insisted.
But the ad does more than that. It shows frightening images of an intruder breaking into a mother's home at night. We're not going to wade into the debate about the inconvenience of background checks at gun shows, but it's a long stretch from there to the implication that Landrieu would prevent the woman in the ad — and anyone else like her –from obtaining a gun for self-defense. (...) In other words, Landrieu has been an advocate for people like those featured in the NRA ad being able to keep a firearm in their home for protection.
The NRA and others in the corporate gun lobby are trying to deceive us. They will not succeed over time because the majority of Americans, even their own members, don't believe in their trumped up fear and hyperbole. Gun rights and gun safety reform are not mutually exclusive. Public safety requires that we prevent people who shouldn't have guns from having them. I guess the gun lobby doesn't want to prevent those who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Their extremism is obvious and getting more so. They even attack those who often side with them. Go figure.

And if you don't believe me, check out an article about the new NRA special election "magazine" complete with crazy and extreme rhetoric from the NRA's own Wayne LaPierre:
A paranoid column from National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre appearing in the gun group's magazine fearmongered about terrorist attacks and "angry mobs" rioting "just for the sheer hell of it" in the United States before calling on supporters to "vote our guns" on Election Day.
As part of a "special two-cover election issue," the NRA's magazine, America's 1st Freedom, depicted a flag and gun-toting ISIS fighter along with the headline, "Chaos At Our Door?"
And more, from the article:
In addition to ISIS being at our door, or more specifically at your door, right now, or possibly in the pantry or in the spare room if you haven't hung garlic and crosses in all the right places, the Vote Your Guns issue's primary editorial seems to list every far-right militia theory, every ammo-hoarding survivalist mantra, every xenophobic conspiracy theory, and so on.
Any possible way for America to be destroyed is listed, so long as it can be used as guiding scenario for why you may someday need to murder large numbers of other human beings and why government should get out of your way as you steadfastly prepare for that eventual day.
You just can't make this stuff up. There's more from LaPierre- read the linked article ( above).

But gun violence prevention groups are getting into the business of ads as well and supporting candidates. This has not happened much before. But groups with money are now joining the gun lobby with ads of their own. Everytown for Gun Safety ( Moms Demand Action for Gunsense) has 1 million pledges to vote for people who will support common sense gun measures. Everytown has also endorsed candidates in this election.  In addition, Americans for Responsible Solutions had endorsed candidates. Their PAC has produced this ad against Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst:

According to Open Secrets, an organization keeping track of PAC money in elections, the NRA has spent money to elect Ernst. Other gun rights groups have done the same. The NRA has spent over $750,000 to far in the 2014 federal elections. They are serious about getting people elected who will do their bidding. If Ernst is elected what will they get in return? A NO vote on anything that is perceived to take away gun rights even if it doesn't. She has already made some interesting statements regarding her gun rights and the government.

Mother Jones is keeping track of spending by gun rights and gun safety groups. This is the first election cycle that gun safety groups have spent major money in campaigns. It should put some gun rights folks on notice that we are not going away or ceding the conversation about this important issue to those who benefit from the sale and manufacture of lethal weapons. There is no reason to be opposed to gun safety reform. 33,000 Americans are dying every year from gunshot injuries. What is the solution by the corporate gun lobby for this public safety epidemic? More guns, of course, and scaring the public and elected leaders into believing their lies.

This election cycle, I hope you will think about who is standing up for the victims. Who is standing up for doing the right thing to stop the shootings? This issue should be discussed much more openly in the political debate but is pushed aside out of fear that it's too controversial. What's controversial about keeping guns away from felons, domestic abusers and people who are dangerously mentally ill? What's controversial about trying to stop school shootings by keeping guns away from the shooters? What's controversial about not wanting little kids to access guns and shoot themselves or a family member? What's controversial about keeping domestic stalkers from having guns? What's controversial about not wanting loaded openly carried guns in the places where families go to shop or eat?

It's time for a change. The state of Washington has a chance to show that when the people decide, public safety is important enough to them to let the politicians know that enough is enough with their inaction. From the article:
The 594 measure is a reasonable step to close a loophole and bring better scrutiny to those who are buying guns, the kind of common-sense compromise that still raises visceral opposition from hard-line gun-lovers. The gun-rights folks have trotted out the usual argument that requiring background checks won’t keep criminals from getting guns, an argument that is akin to questioning laws against robbing banks, since those who would rob will rob anyway. 
Enough IS Enough- time to go with common sense. Think about it. Think about who will get your vote. Lives could depend on it.

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