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.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Things are getting crazier in gun world

Most gun owners are perfectly rational and law abiding citizens who agree with the idea that we can pass laws to keep guns away from those who shouldn't have them. Gun safety reform does not threaten them or their rights because they understand that gun rights and gun safety reform/stronger gun laws are not mutually exclusive. But the minority of gun owners, many of them extremists, lobby elected leaders to vote against public safety and common sense. Why does this happen? Fear mostly. But either willful failure to understand the facts or denial of the facts seems to drive the debate about gun safety all over the country.

Is it my imagination? Are there more crazy ideas and crazy and tragic incidents that actually prove that more guns have not made us safer? The answer is yes. While legislators are considering bills to weaken gun laws the violence and crazy stuff is all around them. I doubt that most legislators pay attention to what is happening in the real world while they are in their legislative cocoons. If they did, perhaps they would reconsider some of their positions.

The thing is, rights come with responsibilities. Gun rights advocates deny that or don't seem to care or have a version of the truth that doesn't fit with reality. Too many of their own are irresponsible with guns and too often, this results in avoidable and preventable gun deaths and injuries. Legislators who only listen to one side are complicit in this gun culture. Their responsibilities are to all of their constituents who have been shown to be in favor of reasonable gun laws. The fact that they cowtow to the extreme minority shirks their own responsibilities in the area of public safety. We didn't elect them to make things worse. But that is what we've got. Just because the concerns of people who want stronger gun laws doesn't fit with their reality or that foisted upon them by the noisy gun lobby, doesn't mean the concerns are less real. In fact, often constituents who have been victimized and are survivors of gun violence come before elected leaders and they are not taken seriously. Indeed, they are sometimes mocked and belittled. And while all of this is happening, 80 Americans a day die from firearms injuries. The problem stares them in the face and many choose to ignore it.

Some of these folks must think that bad things will never happen to them or their families. If they live their lives through without a tragic incident, they will be lucky. But too many of us have had opposite experiences that deserve to be heard and taken seriously. Hiding behind the second amendment is not a good way to make public policy. The constitution allows for stronger gun laws. See Justice Scalia in the Heller Supreme Court case.

But never mind. The gun lobby and their pocketed elected leaders continue on their path of pandering and craziness. You can decide for yourself if this is the kind of world we want for ourselves, our kids and our grandchildren after reading these examples of our crazy gun world:
  • The now well-known "good guy with a gun" C J Grisham of Open Carry Texas has made it clear in a Facebook post that he is ready for anything. Here is what he said in response to the spree shooting in Missouri ( more on this to follow):"If you're going to just kill yourself after murdering innocent people ( assuming they were innocent), just do it. Don't take others with you. This, however, is why I carry a gun virtually everywhere in my house or at least within reach. You never know when some gun control nazi is going to charge through your door and start spraying bullets." No words except to say that one should NEVER use the word nazi when referring to people you don't like. It's a really #badidea.  
  • Another toddler found a gun and shot himself. This is becoming a regular news story in our country. Why is it so often Texas and Florida? I'm just asking. From this article: " "I know those parents are going through a difficult time obviously right now, but my first thought is how does a 3-year-old get his hands on a gun?" one resident told KPRC 2 News." Good question. It deserves an answer.    
  • I added this one after posting. In Texas, again, one man shot and killed another over a salary dispute. The thing is, people shouldn't die over salary disputes. But when guns are at the ready, it happens too often. And note, from the article, that they were both carrying guns. Guns escalate ordinary every day disagreements into deadly events. It's crazy stuff. Now one man is dead and another will never be the same. The whirlpool gets wider and wider as more and more people are affected by violence. Why are we letting it happen?
  • In Pennsylvania, a gun rights lawyer is trying to intimidate people on the side of gun safety reform by requesting names of those who have contributed to a fund to fight against a lawsuit brought by gun rights advocates. "A gun-rights attorney wants to know who's given money to Lancaster's legal defense fund set up to fight the National Rifle Association's lawsuit against the city. ...Prince wants donor names, addresses and how much they've given to commonsenselancaster.com. He also wants contracts and communications with law firms the city is using related to the NRA's suit and "any other record in any way relating to the current litigation..."Prince also acknowledged, as posted on his blog, that he wants donors prosecuted on grounds that they are conspiring with the city to violate state laws by contributing to the city's defense.Gray, an attorney, was perplexed by that."That whole concept is beyond the fathom of any lawyer I talked to," Gray said. "No one could understand what he's talking about." (...) Gray said donors were exercising their right to free speech by supporting the city's fight, just as gun rights' groups such as the NRA have the right to collect from donors. Former Lancaster mayor Art Morris, who's donated to Lancaster's fund, said Prince's request was an attempt to scare donors." Crazy and intimidating as well as bullying. See my last post. Anything goes, apparently. This is the insane gun culture that the gun lobby and its' followers, a clear minority in America, has fomented. 
  • In Nebraska, a hearing was held in a legislative committee about a Stand Your Ground bill. It was pretty calm compared to those in other states but the lead sponsor of the bill posted on his Facebook page that 4 hysterical women testified against the bill. I have seen a video of the 4 "hysterical" women testifying. No hysteria noticeable- just reasoned testimony opposed to the bill. This article makes no mention of hysterical women. I get that both sides can be upset by testimony opposed to bills they support. But why demean and belittle testimony and even make things up? Bullying and intimidation continue in the crazy world of gun rights advocates. Name calling isn't a valid response to your opposition. You can see the video of the "hysterical" women in this article. Better yet, watch it below and decide for yourself how hysterical the women were-or was it the legislator who was hysterical? 
  • Arkansas legislators are set to force college campuses to allow loaded weapons in spite of recent domestic shooting involving a prominent Arkansas college professor. From the first linked article: "Collins successfully sponsored legislation in 2013 allowing staff members to carry concealed handguns on college and university campuses. But to gain passage, he was forced to amend the legislation and give schools the choice of opting out and banning handguns. All 33 public higher education institutions passed anti-gun policies." So let me get this straight. All of the public colleges opted out of the forced policy but the sponsor isn't satisfied with that. He wants to force something that the colleges and students don't want. Crazy and dangerous. We already know that those armed professors are not necessarily safe with their guns and shoot others in moments of anger, despair, depression or for whatever reason as shown by the awful murder/suicide committed by Professor Wilbanks (above article). What makes these legislators so sure that other incidents like this won't take place on campuses once more people are armed? Owning and carrying guns is risky. Should we be reassured that the gun lobby doesn't care about that?
  • 3-D printers are allowing people to make guns and gun parts at home. But Fed-Ex and UPS won't ship the machine needed to make them. Good for them. A little common sense is coming from businesses. Why abet the making of potential crime guns? They would be shipped presumably with no background checks.   
  • I don't want to end before referring to the always crazy NRA's own Wayne LaPierre speaking at the annual CPAC conference. It's always a good show. You can watch the video for yourself but here are a few choice quotes from the ever entertaining gun lobbyist:  
  • "We as Americans are wary, we’re despairing, we’re sad."
  • "The threats are all around us."
  • "I’m for bullets for Jihad butchers."
  • "Hackers, identity thieves and genuine monsters are just a click away."
  • "We fear for our moms, for our sisters and daughters."
  • "We are Charlton Heston vowing, 'From my cold dead hands.'"
Right then. Moving right along. There are just a few more. Bear with me. There's a new crazy guy in town. He might just be as bad as the also ever offensive NRA Board member Ted Nugent. His name is "Kid Rock". Here is an interview with him:
“You have to get these pre-1985 with a silencer. I bought it when Obummer came into office, because I’m thinking, ‘What if he f*ckin’ bans guns?’ ,” he explained.
There's more, but you get the picture.

And then there's the Sheriff in charge of the most extreme amongst them- Constitutional Sheriffs. He made some interesting and crazy statements:
Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, who now heads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, told Steve Deace yesterday that although he is a “pacifist,” states and counties need to enforce their “sovereignty” in areas like marriage equality and gun control, or else “we will lose liberty in America, and we will not get it back unless there’s bloodshed.” (...) 
Later in the interview, Deace compared the Obama administration to Nazi Germany, saying that the National Parks employees who shut down monuments during the federal government shutdown in 2013 were “not too many steps” from “other people throughout history who have said similar things and committed far greater acts of man’s inhumanity to man and said ‘I’m just following orders.’”
“It is so scary how many similarities there are between Nazi Germany and the Obama administration,” Mack agreed.
Mack also agreed with Deace that Obama is a communist, saying, “You’d have be stupid not to know that he’s a Marxist.”
Oops. The nazi and communist thing again- really a #badidea.

And these are just a few. Is it me? Is it getting crazier out there? Remember that these are mostly "good guys with guns" who are supposed to be dealing with the "bad guys with guns." It's just not happening is it? The fear, anger, hyperbole and paranoia are concerning.

If these are the "poster boys" for gun rights, we are in for some very crazy times. What we need is gun safety reform. Most Americans want gun safety reform. The gun rights extremists represent about 10% of adults, if that. A recent poll proved that even most in Texas want common sense and not what Open Carry Texas wants. But they intend to push this on the public anyway. It's past time to get to work on changing the conversation, changing the gun culture and working towards strengthening our gun laws. We are better than this.

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