We are tired of waiting

WebTime has run out for the latest victims of gun violence. It ran out for my sister 23 years ago. We are waiting for common sense. We are waiting for our family members to be honored with action by our elected leaders. When? How many more must die?

Isn’t it way past time for action? Millions of gun violence victims later, has the time come for action at long last?

I wasn’t planning to write a blog post today but I got so sick of reading about all of those “law abiding” gun owners making mistakes- deadly and otherwise- that I just couldn’t help myself. When all of the conceal (open) carry laws passed the proponents said there would not be blood running in the streets. They were wrong. There is- it’s all over. Here are a few examples of “mistakes” by gun owners:

This Indiana guy really had an itch to carry his gun around with him while shopping. Too bad he scratched it. From the article:

A 24-year-old man had a loaded Glock 27 pistol in his pocket when he accidentally fired it inside CVS Pharmacy on Tuesday afternoon. A representative from CVS Pharmacy declined to comment.

The man had a license to carry a gun, said Kerry Atwood, a spokesman for the Franklin Police Department.

When the man was walking up to the cash registers at the front of the store, he went to scratch his leg and accidentally pulled the trigger of his gun, Atwood said. The man told police he thought part of the pocket caught on the trigger, which caused it to fire, according to the police report.

The bullet shot through the man’s pants and into the carpet at the store, Atwood said. The bullet did not hit anyone and shattered on impact with the floor, he said.

“When this happened, he then made the weapon safe,” Atwood said.

The man immediately ejected the magazine from the gun and cocked the gun’s slide open so no more bullets could be fired, Atwood said. The gun was unloaded and on the front counter of the pharmacy when officers arrived, he said.

“He was so rattled by this that he had a hard time getting his license and concealed carry (permit), which he did have, out of his wallet,” Atwood said.

The man told officers he typically keeps his gun in a holster but didn’t use it Tuesday. He told officers he plans to take gun safety and shooting lessons soon, according to the police report.

And then he said he was going to take a training class? Duh. Good thing for him that the bullet did not hit another person or himself. Do remember, however, that the gun lobby is so confident in the skills of gun carriers that every year they either succeed or try to succeed in getting all training requirements banned in states all over the union. Good idea? You decide. I, for one, don’t want to be standing near untrained gun carriers- or really trained carriers either. Why? Because this could happen:

A Minnesota legal gun permit holder shot and killed another man last night at a popular North Shore resort:

A man was shot to death after a confrontation early Wednesday at a small North Shore town’s popular resort, where a holiday party for employees was being held, authorities said.

A 61-year-old man from nearby Finland, Minn., who works at the resort, was quickly arrested in a guest room of the Bluefin Bay resort in Tofte, Minn., and jailed on suspicion of second-degree murder, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. He has been a Bluefin employee for seven years, said resort owner Dennis Rysdahl.

The victim was a 35-year-old man who worked for a casino gambling rental service, which was hired for the Christmas party, according to Sheriff Pat Eliasen. (…)

Eliasen said the gunman had a government-issued permit to carry a firearm.

Authorities have not revealed any more about what motivated the shooting. The suspect, who delivered firewood to guest rooms, was well-liked among the staff, Rysdahl said, and “has never been known to say an angry word or get into conflict with anyone.”

In a statement Wednesday evening, Rysdahl said that the annual holiday party is a long-standing tradition at the resort, where precautions are taken to make sure no one drinks and drives. Party guests must relinquish their car keys before being admitted to the event in exchange for a key to a complimentary room. Car keys are returned only after breakfast the following morning — a policy that has prevented incidents in the past, he said.

Too bad they didn’t ask people to relinquish their guns. But God forbid, no one can ever tell people their guns are not welcome. And now a young man is dead.

It’s possible that alcohol was involved given the party. It’s probable that anger was involved. Neither of these go together well with guns.

Where is common sense?

Do you think this Minnesota gun owner had any common sense when he “loaned” his gun to a friend? First of all, do people loan out their guns? Seems like a terrible idea to me but then, some gun owners just don’t seem to get that guns are dangerous in the wrong hands. Check it out:

A search of the car revealed three painkillers in pill form, hypodermic needles and three rounds of ammunition for a .38 caliber gun. Two additional needles were found on Jarmer.

In an interview Tuesday with Virginia Police Chief Nicole Mattson, Jarmer said he’d borrowed the gun and intended to scare one of the witnesses, who he said owed him money. He said the gun went off during the witness’ attempt to disarm him.

Jarmer did not have a permit to carry the gun, and the complaint said he admitted to police he’d been drinking.

Not law abiding. Was the gun owner law abiding? I’m sure we will find that out.

The Milwaukee Police Chief spoke recently about the problems with “law abiding” gun permit holders contributing to crime on the streets:

Flynn does not oppose concealed carry for law abiding citizens. “I’m in favor of it. There are neighborhoods in this town where people should be able to carry a gun lawfully,” he says. But he adamantly opposes a law without some restrictions and pleaded with Walker to be the “adult” and use his power to make sure the law’s language gets amended. Walker declined.

The result is a huge increase in guns and violent crime in Milwaukee, Flynn contends, and a situation where police safety is in jeopardy. Under the current law, he says, “we are doing everything we can to make sure our criminals have unfettered access to high-quality firearms and get to carry them in record numbers. There are more guns out there every year.”

Flynn notes several problems with the law that could have been avoided if it had been more judiciously crafted.

First, the statute only prohibits convicted felons from carrying guns. “There are a lot of bad people out there who don’t get a felony conviction,” he notes. Indeed, state law has a “habitual offender” statute — in essence defining a “career criminal,” Flynn says — whose definition includes someone with three or more misdemeanor convictions. Yet they are allowed a CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) permit.

Thank you gun lobby for getting those amendments into laws to make sure the laws don’t work. And then you can say that we should just enforce the laws on the books and complain that the laws don’t work because felons and others get guns anyway.  Hypocrisy as far as the eye can see….

And more:

Second, when criminals are nabbed for carrying a gun Illegally, he notes, it’s a misdemeanor, “no matter how many times you are arrested for this.” So why should any gang member stop carrying a gun illegally?

Third, the law bars the police from learning anything about concealed carry’s impact. “The law prohibits the police from sorting, accessing, analyzing or publishing any data regarding their experience with concealed carry,” Flynn notes. At a time when all these best police departments in America are data-driven, why tie their hands this way?

Fourth, the new law has put police at a disadvantage in dealing with criminals. “For years we’ve taught police officers the visual clues and behaviors that make it likely this person is armed.” That could lead to police nabbing a criminal before a crime is committed.

But under the CCW law, “the new language says when the police see someone carrying a gun we are to assume they are carrying legally, even in a high-crime neighborhood where there are hundreds of crimes that happen,” Flynn notes.

Sigh.

Then add other, long-standing loopholes regarding guns. Those who purchase guns legally can sell them on the street to criminals, because no background checks are required for secondary sales. And friends or relatives of criminals can simply make straw purchases of guns for them, and if the police trace the gun to the straw purchasers they can simply claim they lost the gun or it was stolen. “And there’s no legal requirement to report a lost or stolen gun,” Flynn notes.

The police were able to prevent a likely shootout on the near North Side where one criminal was armed with several guns and tons of ammunition supplied by his brother, who had a CCW permit. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Police Department.

In a recent example, the police were able to prevent a likely shootout on the near North Side where one criminal was armed with several guns and tons of ammunition supplied by his brother, who had a CCW permit. (See photo taken by police.)

The result in Milwaukee, says Flynn: “there’s a robust industry of buying guns legally and selling them on the street.” The number of guns recovered by Milwaukee police has risen every year since CCW was passed, rising from 1,972 in 2011 to 2,329 in 2012. “And so far this year we’ve already seized more than 2,400 guns,” Flynn notes. That’s an increase of at least 22 percent.

Flynn says the result is more fatal and non-fatal shootings. “81 percent of our homicides are committed with firearms. And 40 percent of all homicides are the result of fights and disputes and retaliation between criminals.”

But we can’t stop criminals from getting guns, right?

We have been told by folks in the community of color in Minneapolis that some “law abiding” folks get their permits to carry and then use them to buy guns for friends. Illegal of course. But legal in the first place. Guns transfer hands in many ways and can end up being used in shootings.

The gun lobby nonsense is beyond reproach and belief. They have succeeded in getting as many guns in the hands of as many people as possible. It is inevitable that when you are awash in guns, you will also be awash in gun crimes, gun deaths and gun injuries on the increase.  It’s a public health and safety epidemic of grand proportion.

So back to public health and safety, President Obama is considering executive action at long last to require Brady background checks on all gun sales. Wait for it… fear, paranoia, hysteria, false claims, hair torn out, anger…. We are all tired of waiting. I’m sure this news will be greeted with delight by the gun lobby. We will wait for Mr. Wayne LaPierre to weigh in. It should be interesting and predictable. The gun grabbers are out to get law abiding gun owners’ rights and guns. This will surely lead to registration and confiscation. The government will be coming for your guns.  Blah, blah, blah.

And Connecticut Governor Malloy is also tired of waiting for elected leaders to do the right thing. He is going to issue an executive order to ake sure known terrorists can’t buy guns legally.

Gun violence prevention groups and faith communities are holding at least 350 vigils or events this week all over our country to raise their voices to our leaders. Monday, December 14th will be the 3rd anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting and the 3rd anniversary of our country turning its’ back on the victims. For even the massacre of 20 small children was not enough. Their families have had enough. They are all tired of waiting.

No more waiting.

No more shootings.

No more gun deaths.

No more names on lists.

No more weak kneed politicians pledging allegiance to the United States., er, ah, gun lobby.

We are tired of waiting. We are acting.

We are better than this.

 

 

My daughter was killed…..welcome to the club

handshakeFill in the blank. My sister was killed in a domestic shooting. But thousands of Americans could say :”My daughter was killed in a shooting.” “My brother was killed in a shooting.” “My son was killed in a shooting.” “My boyfriend was killed in a shooting.” “My mother was killed in a shooing.” “My father was killed in a shooting.” “My girlfriend was killed in a shooting.” “My friend was killed in a shooting.”

My sister was killed 23 years ago. The passage of time doesn’t make it any easier. It just makes it less fresh. But I can still cry at odd moments when something reminds me of her or I think about what she has missed or what her family has missed after her shooting death. And when we learn about and see the media coverage of yet another tragic shooting, we have flashbacks. We are a club. Californian Amanda Wilcox experienced what many of us went through last week. We relive the day we got our own news that someone we loved was shot. From the article:

When she watched the video of Alison Parker gunned down on live TV, the 2001 murder of her own daughter played out in her mind as if it just happened.

“We relive it in our mind all the time about being shot and never thought about whether she screamed or not,” she said.

Her 19-year-old daughter Laura was also shot and killed at work by a man she didn’t even know who had no history of violence.

This is Amanda’s story. We all have stories to tell, as club members. It’s part of the dues. I communicated with many last Wednesday as the tragedy unfolded. We all had the same awful feeling in the pits of our stomachs.

Since my sister’s shooting death I have been working to change gun laws, change the mind of politicians, change the conversation and change hearts and minds. I believe some of this has happened since my sister was shot. Some hasn’t. Hearts and minds are changed for sure. Gun laws in some places are weaker than ever and in others stronger. The gun culture hasn’t changed. And the politicians are largely ignoring the issue of gun safety reform. Shame on them.

Andy Parker just joined the exclusive club of those affected by gun violence in America. The dues to the club is a lost loved one. He is speaking out in the name of his daughter, Alison and Adam Ward, the two journalists who were gunned down last week on live TV. Their friends and family also belong to this club and are mourning their deaths.

Andy Parker, the father of Alison Parker is now entering the fray and joining the club to which no one really wants to belong. Welcome Andy. And good luck. The parents of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims joined the club almost 3 years ago. I can’t list the members. There are far too many. But Andy Parker’s voice is going to be heard. Here is just some of what he said in the linked article:

I plan to devote all of my strength and resources to seeing that some good comes from this evil. I am entering this arena with open eyes. I realize the magnitude of the force that opposes sensible and reasonable safeguards on the purchase of devices that have a single purpose: to kill.

That means we must focus our attention on the legislators who are responsible for America’s criminally weak gun laws; laws that facilitate the access dangerous individuals have to firearms on a daily basis.

(The above photo was included in the Washington Post article I have linked here.)

It’s the legislators at the state and federal level who pass or reject the bills that can lead to safer communities. I like that Parker named them. We don’t want to name the killers- the shooters. But we should be naming those who refuse to stand with the victims who have names and families and unrealized potential.

So what do we want- the members of the club? We want stronger gun laws that will make it harder for those who just can’t be responsible with guns to be able to get them legally. Laws like expanded Brady background checks that would require a background check on all gun sales- whether at a licensed dealer ( where they are now required), a private seller at a gun show, flea market or at on-line sites like Armslist.com. We need to finish the job started in 1993 with the passage of the Brady law. The only way any other laws make sense is for this one to happen. It makes absolutely no common sense that every gun sale does not require a background check.

Just like it makes no common sense that every passenger departing from our airports does not go through the same screening process before boarding a plane. Just like it makes no common sense that all drivers don’t go through driver’s training and pass a behind the wheel test before taking to our streets. Just like it makes no common sense that all physicians and other health care providers don’t get the training necessary to treat patients.

You know what I mean. Our gun laws don’t make sense.

What makes sense are laws similar to the Gun Violence Restraining Order that passed in California recently. 

Also strengthening and fixing our background check so that people slip through the cracks as in the Charleston church shooting and the Lafayette theater shooting.

Also since many crime guns are stolen, mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns and strengthening the gun trafficking and straw purchasing laws.

What about only allowing the purchase of one gun a month? Realistically does anyone NEED that many guns?

Or requiring guns to come with trigger locks and pushing forward with the technology for Smart Guns or other such technology to make sure a gun can only be shot by its’ owner in case of a child getting a gun or a stolen gun.

The Brady Campaign is working to hold “bad apple” gun dealers accountable. Seems like a good idea. If just a few are letting a majority of crime guns get into the hands of people who shouldn’t have guns, they should be held accountable. Makes common sense.

Making sure all gun permit holders get background checks and training before venturing out onto the streets and other public places with their guns. The gun lobby is pushing for the opposite as if it makes sense. Insane.

Child Access Prevention laws? Yes. Good idea.

There are others. It’s the slippery slope to the corporate gun lobby. But they will need to explain how these laws would affect their members and law abiding gun owners. They can’t do that and they don’t and they won’t. Why? Because perhaps gun purchases will decline? Or are they already? Walmart is discontinuing the sale of AR-15s. Hmmm… The largest gun retailer in the world won’t be selling AR-15s.

I could go on and on with other things that could change the way we view guns and gun ownership like the risks to owning a gun. And the ASK campaign and others like it to make sure there are not unlocked guns in the homes where your children play. Those are conversation and culture changes.

Welcome Andy Parker. We are ready for your voice and your resolve and we will support you in your efforts. We hear you. We know your anguish and your grief. We’ve been there. And just maybe your voice will make a difference that others have not. In Alison’s name, we will work with you to do what it takes to get this done.

The club is getting larger. The voices are getting louder. When your daughter is killed in such a public way, the public is paying attention.

Are our leaders paying attention?