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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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lock them up- be a responsible gun owner



A woman called 911 just after midnight to say her boyfriend was carrying a rifle and threatening to kill her. She said the couple had been arguing when the 45-year-old man pulled out an AK-47 style rifle and said he would "shoot up the house," according to police. The woman's children were home at the time. (...) After arresting the suspect and seizing the gun, police learned the rifle had been reported stolen in an April 8 burglary in the same neighborhood. Police also learned the suspect is a convicted felon and not legally allowed to possess a firearm.
He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of harassment, possession of a stolen firearm, and a weapons possession violation, according to police.
Stolen guns account for 10-15% of crime guns. Lock up your guns. Be a responsible gun owner. Why leave guns out unsecured and loaded anyway? I suppose that zombie is going to burst into your house so you have to be ready to shoot?
Here's a scary incident in Pennsylvania where a group of teen-agers found an abandoned house containing an arsenal of guns. The kids took some of the guns and actually played with them in the woods. Kids are curious. Teens know enough about guns to know they are interesting and not toys. As the officer in the story said, everyone was lucky that no one was injured or worse. But please check the video that goes with this news story. This was an irresponsible gun owner for sure. The 93 year old man who owns the house was in a hospital and obviously not in his home.
Questions need to be asked. Why were his guns out in plain sight where anyone could find them? A felon(s) for example could have done a lot of harm with those guns. Stolen guns get into the illegal gun market and then used in crimes that sometimes result in deaths of innocent people. Why did this man feel a need for so many guns? Listen to the officer describe them. They are certainly not needed for self defense or hunting. Just looking at these guns tells a story about gun ownership in America. Some in our country believe they will need guns to fight against their own government or to use in what, as I wrote in my last post, against nightmare scenarios of ISIS terrorists, hurricanes, zombies, a pack of roaming home invaders, etc.
Questions should also be asked about how our U.S. Capitol security secure their firearms when on duty? It seems as if some carelessness is occurring, particularly in bathrooms. And right there in the bathroom in House Speaker John Boehner's office? From the article:
When a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall, a CVC worker found the gun, according to a source familiar with the Jan. 29 incident and two other disturbing instances when Capitol Police left loaded firearms in problematic places.
A 7- or 8-year-old child visiting the Capitol with his parents found the next loaded Glock lost by a dignitary protection officer, according to the source. A member of the security detail for John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, allegedly left the firearm in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite on March 24.
A third Glock was found the night of April 16 by a janitor cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters building on D Street NE. The weapon was left in plain sight, sparking additional concern about the department charged with protecting one of the world’s most important and frequently visited complexes.
“This is the America Speaker Boehner envisions and promotes — where guns are accessible to everyone, everywhere without any concern whose hands they wind up in. Thanks in large part to gun lobby lap dogs like John Boehner, Congress has ignored the overwhelming will and safety of the American people, and done nothing to protect our children from the dangers of guns. Maybe at least this incident can serve as a reminder to the rest of us to do what we can to keep our kids safe by asking if there are unlocked guns where our children play, apparently whether it’s the house of a neighbor or The House of Representatives.”

Seriously. What gives with people taking off their guns while using the toilet? I guess they get in the way or they are heavy, or whatever. I support law enforcement officers wearing their weapons but really, it's crucial that they keep track of their guns. There are no excuses for this kind of carelessness with deadly weapons. The incident in the above article could have lead to a tragedy or another stolen gun. This is all about the gun culture. When people wear guns, and yes, even law enforcement, it is an onerous responsibility. Too many things can and do go wrong.
But this case also points out what seems to be the truth about gun ownership in America. We know from several recent surveys that the number of homes with guns has decreased in the last 20 years or so, but the number of guns owned has not- except for Republicans. Curious. But that's for another day. Some gun owners own lots of guns and keep buying them because, because, because.... rights....fear.....paranoia.....the government confiscation program President Obama started the day he took office.... Hillary Clinton coming for your guns.........
Sigh. Meanwhile, when gun owners don't safely secure their guns, felons, teens, and others who should not have guns have easy access to them. The gun lobby usually resists efforts to pass mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns. From this informative article by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, we find that 500,000 guns are stolen annually from residences and yet only 173,000 of these are reported stolen. Where do we think the rest of the guns are? Passing stronger gun laws to require reporting of lost and stolen guns can prevent some of the gun trafficking in our country. Why would we not want to do that? From the article above:
The public overwhelmingly supports laws requiring the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. A nationwide poll in 2011 found that 94% of Americans surveyed favor laws to require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.6
Seems like the right and popular thing to do.
One of ATF’s core functions is to oversee the firearms industry, which includes gun manufacturers, importers, and retail dealers. ATF’s primary tool to ensure that gun dealers comply with federal laws and regulations is through regular inspections, during which investigators review the dealer’s records and required paperwork, inspect the inventory, and look for other irregularities that may indicate illegal diversion of guns to criminals.
Federal law restricts ATF from conducting more than one such compliance inspection of a gun dealer each year, but current resource limitations make it impossible for the agency to conduct an annual or even biannual inspection of the roughly 60,000 gun dealers in the United States. With only around 600 inspectors available to conduct these inspections—inspectors who must divide their time between prospective dealers, explosives retailers, and active gun dealers—ATF is currently only able to inspect  licensed gun dealers an average of once every five years. An Office of the Inspector General, or OIG, investigation of ATF’s federal firearms licensee inspection program found that between 2007 and 2012 more than 58 percent of licensees had not been inspected for more than five years.
One way to fill the gap in the infrequent inspections is to require gun dealers to regularly check their inventory against their sales records to ensure that all guns are accounted for. Because federal law requires licensed gun dealers to report lost or stolen guns to ATF, keeping an inventory would be an effective way of ensuring that missing guns are promptly identified and reported to law enforcement. Taking a regular inventory would also help law-abiding gun dealers quickly identify any security breaches compromising their stock.
Despite the common-sense appeal of requiring gun dealers to conduct a periodic inventory reconciliation, the law prevents ATF from doing so. In 2004, citing the burdens that inventory inspections might impose on gun dealers, the NRA and others in the gun lobby shut down efforts to rein in the problem of gun dealers failing to maintain control of their inventories by adding a rider to the annual appropriations bill—one of the so-called Tiahrt Amendments—that specifically prohibits ATF from requiring dealers to conduct an annual inventory.
This ban on mandatory inventory reconciliation by gun dealers is unique among retailers of potentially dangerous consumer products. ATF requires explosives dealers, for example, to take a physical inventory at least once a year and keep a record of the inventory on file and available for inspection. Likewise, retail pharmacies are required under federal law to take an inventory of controlled substances every two years. Yet in the context of one of the most dangerous consumer products, the federal government is prohibited from requiring this common-sense business practice.
Sigh. The corporate gun lobby at your service, protecting you and your family from gun deaths and injuries. Note in the article the now infamous cases of "lost" guns that have been used to kill innocent Americans. The most famous of these is the D.C. Sniper case ( from the linked article above):

Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply, Tacoma, Washington

In 2002 John Allen Muhammad, the “Beltway sniper,” terrorized the Washington, D.C., metro area when he and his teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, gunned down 10 people over the course of several weeks. The Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle used in the attacks was one of 238 guns that disappeared from the inventory of Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply over a three-year period.
Where is common sense when you need it? Why are we allowing the corporate gun lobby to dictate gun laws that actually lead to more deaths and injuries? The question has to be asked and answered.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, safely securing your guns. Gun safes are readily available. Or how about trigger locks?  You can order them on-line easily and for a small price compared to that of a shot person. Or how about smart guns? A reminder to my readers- the corporate gun lobby opposes smart gun technology. Remember just about a year ago when a Maryland gun shop owner got himself into hot water with the gun rights extremists for trying to sell smart guns? Go figure. Lunacy abounds.
These folks love to complain about felons and evil folks out and about with their guns so they can get people to the gun shops to buy lots of guns. But when technology becomes available or current safety measures are encouraged to keep those very people from stealing guns or accessing them and then using them in a crime or worse, a shooting- not so much.
Here's a great website that talks about safe firearms storage. Note that it is the national crime prevention council so obviously this organization understands that guns that are not safely stored can get used in crime.
We can talk about yet one more case of children accessing guns they shouldn't have. Two Kentucky brothers aged 6 and 7 brought two handguns to school- one of them loaded. What is going on in our country? How many more of these before gun owners realize that they have a responsibility with that lethal weapon(s)? Don't you just love the pink pistol? It's meant to be attractive to women and kids. And attractive it is. These little boys liked it enough to bring it to their school.

I am updating this post to add one more place where some parents think their guns are "safely" secured from kids. An Arizona father was storing his guns rolled up in the bed sheets when, naturally, his curious 2 year old found the gun and shot himself in the face. Naturally, because more and more gun owners are showing us that too many guns means too many irresponsible gun owners.
In my previous post I referred to the ASK campaign encouraging parents and care givers to ask if there are guns where their children play or hang-out. This is very important for changing the conversation and saving lives. When will we get down to the business of saving the lives of our children and everyone else? Well, I guess when the majority makes a bigger noise than the gun lobby. And when our legislators get the back bone to stand up to the ferocious gun lobby whose primary industry is profits. And that's the bottom line.

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