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, December 22, 2014

Police officer shootings and machine guns- the American gun culture

Is this the America we want? Where young children can shoot machine guns for fun at a Florida attraction? Seriously? This is the model we want for our children and families? It's insanity and should be called out for what it is. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill. In this case, they are clearly weapons of war and should not be treated so cavalierly. 30,000 people a year are killed by guns. 8 children a day die from gunshot injuries due to homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. Does that fact allude the owner of this new business designed to expose even more children to guns? That is what we should be thinking about when it comes to guns. Gun safety means not exposing small children to weapons of war. This is what we see in third world countries where small children are inculcated with ideology and forced to join militia groups whose ends are to control other people with weapons. This is not just about fun. The corporate gun lobby wants children to grow up to be gun owners and love guns to keep sales growing. Shooting machine guns is not what most people do in their every day lives. We are not at war- or are we?

And what about cop killers who have grown up hating the government and police officers? Yes, some police officers make serious and deadly mistakes as we know from Ferguson, Cleveland and New York City. So the man who executed 2 police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday used those as his excuse for killing people he hates. The man was a criminal with a long record and known "mental instability" and yet was able to access guns. He hated the government and police officers. Where did his gun come from? That is the crucial question here that should be answered. And that is the gun culture in which we live and in which police officers do their jobs. If anyone thinks this horrendous and brutal incident is going to lead to better relationships between officers and their communities, think again.

Another shooting of a Florida officer by a man who shouldn't have guns has taken the life of a father of 6 just before the holidays. The shooter was a criminal and clearly also mentally ill. But he had guns anyway because in America we make it easy for people like this to get guns. From the article:
At a press conference Sunday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Parilla has an extensive criminal record including nearly 30 felony arrests, and 15 misdemeanor arrests. Parilla was released from prison in March.
"His reasoning was because he said he felt like a caged rat," said Gualtieri. "He should never have been on the streets to begin with."(...)
At the same time, one of the residents from the apartment complex, Jareem Roach, fired his 9mm handgun at Parilla as he tries to flee.
Gualtieri said Roach, who also has a warrant out for his arrest, believed Parilla was at the complex to get him.
"We've got a triangle of people thinking they are each out to get each other, and they all have guns," said Gualtieri.
"....and they all have guns" Happy holidays everyone. This is the America we have. Is this the America we want?

We simply can't talk about the killings in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York and cities all over America without talking about our culture of violence and most particularly, gun violence. We can't talk about cop killings like the one in New York, the recent killing in Florida, the one in Las Vegas, Nevada, the one in Tacoma, Washington or Pittsburgh, without addressing the overall gun culture in America. Police are targets for some who have guns. Police target some folks who are unarmed and don't deserve to be targeted. This is a national conversation that we must have but it must include the role of guns in our communities and the role of the corporate gun lobby in stopping all common sense measures to stop some of the shootings. It must include the need for justice and a conversation about institutional racism that is now clearly on the radar of the nation. The tension about all of this is literally killing us. It's time for change to happen.

The Christian Christmas holiday is upon us. Hanukkah is almost over. Can we have some peace with no gun violence over the holidays? I wrote about the heinous shootings occurring around the Christmas holiday in a previous post.

We all hope for an end to the string of shootings that are ramping up even more violence and misunderstandings. For just a few days, can we have peace and a vacation from shootings? Let's have some common sense when it comes to the discussion about our country's problem with violence and gun violence. It is possible if we stop the strident and extreme voices who don't want to address the problem because profits matter more than lives.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone. Stay safe and remember to be safe with your guns if you have them. And please don't let holiday angst or anger over a family problem end in tragedy.


Others are wondering where the gun came from in the New York officer shooting? From this article:
As a felon, Brinsley was barred under federal law from buying a gun. Had he undergone a background check, he would have failed it and authorities could be notified. Yet the National Rifle Association argues that bad guys will get their hands on guns regardless of the law. The lobby points to violence in states with strong gun laws as evidence of gun control's ineffectiveness.
In fact, it's weak gun laws that enable felons, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill to arm themselves. Whereas licensed gun sellers must conduct background checks, unlicensed secondary market sellers face no such requirement in more laissez-faire states. 
Police know that background checks make their jobs easierand safer. New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton and his predecessor Raymond Kelly have supported stricter regulations. Last year Bratton said the most successful focus for cutting gun violence "is going to be on the licensing and background checks. Because that's the heart of the problemwho gets access to the guns?" In a New York Daily News op-ed, Kelly pointed to the staggering number of guns used in New York City crimes that come from states with weaker gun laws.
Why are not all asking the question. And then why are we not answering it by strengthening our gun laws and changing our gun culture? Lives could be saved.


I am going to provide two more examples of how the American gun culture has led to more gun deaths and injuries and how strengthening our laws can change things.

People carrying guns around in public while shopping are endangering themselves and potentially others. What is it about guys sitting in cars playing around with their guns? Don't they have anything better to do? There were 2 incidents of "accidental" or should we say negligent gun discharges in North Carolina over the week-end. Clearly guns are not making anyone safer. This is insane. Read it for yourself.

The new Washington state expanded background check law is already working to stop people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Check it out ( from the article):
The organizer of a Spokane County gun show says Washington's new law requiring expanded background checks for firearms transfers blocked the sale of a rifle to a wanted man.
The Northwest News Network reports that the man attempted to buy the weapon at the Lewis Clark Trader Gun Show at the Spokane County Fair and Expo on Dec. 6.
Gun show organizer Paul Snider said he recruited three federally licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks, in compliance with newly passed Initiative 594. The law requires background checks on all sales and transfers, including private transactions and many loans and gifts. There are some exceptions, including transfers between family members.
Snider said the would-be buyer had a warrant out for his arrest.
Snider said he considers the law an unnecessary burden on responsible gun owners. But, he says, it "did work in this case."
A wanted man was stopped from buying a gun and a little "unnecessary burden" on responsible gun owners is worth stopping someone who might have gone out and shot up police officers or his spouse/partner. This is what we are talking about. Common sense is happening and will be extended to even more states soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment