Blogging for gun safety reform and changing the conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in our communities. Common sense gun laws and gun safety reform and gun rights are not mutually exclusive.
Today is the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on America. We can never forget what happened on that day that changed so much in our country. Nearly 3000 people lost their lives that day. Those attacks had nothing to do with guns of course.
Since that day, we do flying differently. We take off our shoes, jackets and some jewelry. We put our purses and carry-ons through metal detectors. We are wanded. We put our 3 ounce liquids in a small plastic baggies. We don’t carry box cutters or knives or guns……
On May 3rd, the agency said, they found 26 firearms in carry-on bags, the most in a single day. The firearms were discovered at 15 different airports including one at Dallas Love Field, two at Dallas-Fort Worth International, one at Austin-Bergstrom and four at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport.
This is not normal. We have to keep saying this. The people who “forget” that they have guns in their carry-on bags are not terrorists. They are Americans who presumably have legal permits to carry their guns. But what are they thinking?
However, communication between the cockpit and the MSP control tower that was captured by the authoritative website Liveatc.net revealed that it was confirmed onboard fairly quickly that both men were federal air marshals, and one of them “actually showed our flight attendant his gun,” one of the pilots reported soon after landing.
“That is completely against SOP [standard operating procedure] for them to show their firearm,” the pilot added. “So that’s the reason we declared an emergency.”
The marshal was initially mistaken for a passenger and with the hyper awareness about terror attacks on planes and gun violence in general, who can blame the cabin attendant?
It’s pretty simple to follow this advice and if you are thinking before flying, you just know there are certain things you can’t take on board with you any more after 9/11 and guns are among them. There is a certain amount of common sense and the realization that carrying a gun in public (or having one at home) is a grave responsibility that should come with gun ownership. Unfortunately for the too many victims, that is not the case.
The consolidated federal terrorist watchlist had 800,000 people (mostly non-Americans) on it as of September 2014, including 64,000 on a subset referred to as the “no-fly” list, which bars air travel to, from or within the United States.
While inclusion on the list does not disqualify people from purchasing weapons, prospective gun buyers are screened against the terrorist watchlist, and matches are forwarded to F.B.I. agents, who can use the information to help with investigations. Last year, 244 background checks involved people on the list.
According to a study by the Government Accountability Office using data collected by the F.B.I., the vast majority of those on the watchlist who attempted to buy a gun from 2004 to 2015 were allowed to proceed, because they were not stopped by a disqualifying factor like a history of criminal or mental health problems.
This is called the “terror gap” in our gun laws.
And, as I always mention, it is not necessary to get a Brady background check when purchasing a gun because our loose gun laws allow private sellers to sell to anyone, no background check required. This was mentioned in the above linked article.
Every year on this tragic anniversary we say the names of the victims of the attacks and remember them. Their deaths are not ever forgotten by their families and friends. It’s always an emotional day as it was this year. I visited the site of the 9/11 memorial last fall and I was stunned at how beautifully and respectfully it is done to honor those victims.
Every day in America 90 people lose their lives to bullets. Since In one month in America more Americans die from gun violence than died in total in the 9/11 attack. That is not meant to take away from the memories of those victims but to put things in perspective. Mass shooting anniversaries happen regularly in America on many days of the year.
Today we remember. Today we reflect on our country and patriotism and terrorism and victims and on the firefighters and police officers who lost their lives trying to save the victims. We remember the awful scenes we saw on our T.V. screens. We remember the aftermath and the collapse of two tall skyscrapers changing the horizon in New York City. We remember the horror and the finding of live people in the wreckage. We remember the pile of rubble left behind of what was left of human bodies, artifacts, fire trucks, personal effects. The site is now a sacred burial site and the victims’ names of there to read. They are just people going about their daily lives.
Nothing is the same.
Let us remember all victims of violent and tragic deaths.
I have been wondering ,since I assume the gun lobby reaction might be this-would someone with a loaded gun, assuming they had not been on a flight because guns are not allowed for passengers traveling on planes, had stopped the shooter? Very doubtful. As we have seen now after watching many videos and hearing from travelers, panic and chaos ensued. People ran, abandoning their luggage, wherever they could to save themselves from being shot. They ended on the tarmac, parking areas, hiding behind cars or luggage. They grabbed their children, their mothers, their friends and ran. That is the first response to an active shooter. Keep yourself and your family from being shot.
Adding one more person with a gun to the mix of panic and chaos would have assured even more confusion and possibly more deaths and injuries.
5 people are dead and 8 injured by bullets. Others were injured in the rush to escape. More families are grieving. More families are worried at the sides of hospital beds. More people affected by gun violence in America.
Minnesotans were affected by this shooting. Names of the victims have not been released yet. But we have heard from Minnesotans who were on the Delta flight that began in Anchorage, Alaska. They witnessed the shooting and the death and the chaos. Some were going on a cruise to take advantage of warmer weather during this frigid Minnesota January. Their cruise will now be different than they intended. Why?
Gun violence has a ripple effect. Those who were at that baggage claim area witnessed people dying after being shot in the head point blank. One man said he smelled the smoke from the bullets fired and thought the shooter was just behind him. He will never forget that. Some passengers spent hours on the tarmac or sheltered in place. Some passengers spent hours on planes parked on the tarmac.
Those at the baggage claim most likely thought that gun violence would never affect them. But in America, mass shootings happen at least every week and shootings happen every day. 90 Americans a day die from gunshot injuries from homicides, suicides and “accidental” gun discharges.
Gun violence affects more than those directly hit by a bullet and their loved ones and friends. As it turns out, it affects all of us. We watch, horrified, on a regular basis as mass shooting after mass shooting takes place on live TV. The coverage is 24/7. We are all traumatized. Some suffer from PTSD after every one of these events, thinking of their own loved one who was shot in the head or torso and died from the injuries.
Is this the new normal?
Let’s talk about guns at airports. Guns can be packed in checked luggage at U.S. airports. If you intend to do this you must declare that you have a gun packed in your checked luggage. It must be in a hard sided locked case without ammunition which must be separate. The shooter appeared to have grabbed his luggage off the carousel and gone into a bathroom where he unpacked the gun, loaded it and started randomly shooting- reloading twice.
Yes, someone could have walked into that baggage claim area with a loaded gun having parked a car or arrived by taxi and done the same thing. Guns everywhere is the norm in America and people are carrying guns everywhere. That is what the corporate gun lobby has imposed on Americans with the help of the lapdog politicians who believed in the lies and deceptions that more guns make us safer. And what we have is mass shootings in every public place in our country and also, actually more frequently, in private homes all over the country. They occur most often in guns allowed zones as it turns out.
The gun lobby yells that these shootings only happen in gun free zones. In the case of this particular shooting, they are right. But in most cases, they are wrong. Don’t believe them.
On a personal level, my sister’s shooting death happened in a guns allowed zone- a private home where most shootings occur actually.
Because gun carrying has increased with almost every state having passed laws to allow ordinary citizens to carry guns, people do carry their guns around. If they are responsible, they will know where that gun is at all times and make sure it does not fall out of their pants or their purse, etc. That is why it is so ludicrous that so many airline passengers say they “forgot” they had a gun in their carry-on luggage. I urge you to read this TSA blog for more information.
The TSA reports that in the week between Christmas and Jan. 4th alone, they found 53 guns in carry-ons. In 2015, according to the linked blog above:
Also significant, 2,653 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than seven firearms per day. Of those, 2,198 (83 percent)were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 236 airports; 12 more airports than last year. There was a 20 percent increase in firearm discoveries from 2014’s total of2,212. Pictured are just some of the firearms discovered in 2015.
Wow. They have found many guns with rounds chambered and ready to go. Check out the photos provided on the blog. Grenades? Yes. Why not?
Where is common sense?
If you are a responsible gun owner, you will know where your gun is and you will also know that there are many things that cannot be brought on board airplanes. I travel enough to be very careful about what I take in my carry-ons because I don’t want to be stopped and frisked or have my carry-on luggage searched. It is annoying to me as a traveler when someone takes something they shouldn’t in their carry-ons because it slows the TSA line down and adds to the stress of traveling.
All of this is the result of our unique and deadly gun culture. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can actually prevent and reduce gun violence by enacting stronger laws about the people who buy and carry guns. I saw a recent meme using the gun lobby’s claim that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Yes they do. That is why we need to keep some people from getting their hands on guns.
The shooter had domestic problems with his girlfriend in Alaska where he had lived and was a security guard. There were some misdemeanors on his record.
There has been a report that the shooter was a permit to carry holder. Some of the gun rights folks on Twitter feeds have disputed that. Alaska does not require a permit as such to carry a gun for anyone over 21 who can legally possess a firearm so most likely the shooter could carry that gun, permit or not. No training requirements or classes required. Just carry a gun if you over 21.
Does this shooter look like someone who should be able to buy and carry a gun?
We can do something about this. The shooter’s family knew about his difficulties and mental health problems. There is a life saving measure that is called Gun Violence Restraining Order or Gun Violence Protective Order. Several states have passed such laws. In Minnesota it has been proposed but the legislature refused to hear it and take a vote.
The shooter’s guns could have been removed from his possession temporarily under a law like this and his name could have been placed on the list of prohibited purchasers through our FBI’s national instant check system. Of course, we also need to require that every gun purchase go through a Brady background check in order to fully save lives. Why? Because the NICS list is only for federally licensed firearms dealers. Private sellers do not have to require life saving background checks.
If we can save lives, why would we not? Do we really want those who are dangerously mentally ill carrying guns around in public places and shooting innocent Americans? If not, why do legislators refuse to hear bills that could prevent this?
We have a choice. Insanity or sanity. I know what I choose.
Ask your elected leaders to save lives. If they refuse to vote on this life saving measure, ask them why? They must be held accountable for refusing to consider options that could potentially save innocent lives.
What is normal shouldn’t be. In this year when a President who is turning everything upside down under the guise of shaking things up, we are experiencing abnormal behavior. We can’t normalize it because it could be dangerous for our democracy. Just as we can’t normalize gun violence and pretend we can’t do a thing about it.
Ask President-elect Trump if he has more than thoughts and prayers after mass shootings. He will be faced with as many, if not more, than President Obama faced during his 8 years in office. That is reality, not fiction. Tweeting about it is not enough Mr. Trump. Do something and stop tweeting.
“We’re heartbroken for families who have been affected,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.
The president commented on the frequency of mass shootings in the US saying, “These tragedies have happened too often during the eight years that I’ve been president.
In an interview published by the BBC in 2015, Obama called the rise in mass shootings during his presidency his biggest frustration.
And yes, those of us working on gun violence prevention comment after tragedies such as the Ft. Lauderdale shooting and take criticism for “using” a tragedy to further our agenda. What? There is not a day when we don’t have gun violence. Mass shootings are so frequent that if we wait until a different time we will never be able to talk about gun violence. And that is the agenda of the gun lobby and it’s minions. They don’t want us to talk about gun tragedies and gun deaths. This does not fit into their own scenario that guns make us safer. And so they try to stop us.
We will not be stopped.
My agenda is saving lives and living in a sane country. What’s yours?
So we will write and talk about the inconvenience of gun deaths, mass shootings, suicides, domestic homicides, toddlers killing people in increasing numbers, guns found in carry-on bags, irresponsible gun owners, the effects of weak gun laws and whatever it takes to save lives. For if even one life is saved by our “agenda” we will have accomplished something important.
What we want is action- not thoughts and prayers. Check out the images below that were posted on Twitter feeds and Facebook yesterday.
Really, you can’t make this stuff up. The week before my friends and I traveled home from our trip to Italy, the TSA posted this blog post. Read it and tell me that we are a sane country. Let’s consider this ( from the post):
TSAdiscovered 75 firearms this week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the75 firearms discovered, 66 were loaded and 25 had a round chambered. All of the firearms pictured were discovered in the last week
OK. Having just traveled abroad and carefully packed my checked luggage and my carry-ons knowing the “rules of the road”, I know that this is not just carelessness. It is insanity and stupidity. Everyone knows how carefully all bags are checked and re-checked. Everyone knows that liquids have to be 3 ounces or less and placed in a small plastic baggie. No knives. No guns. No sharp objects. Knowingly packing a loaded gun with a round in the chamber is sheer irresponsibility. Where are those “law abiding gun owners” who got their legal permits to carry?
Does anyone remember September 11, 2001 after which everything changed about traveling on planes?
Simply put- our laws are too loose and too many people who shouldn’t have guns in public places get them anyway thanks to our loose gun laws that the corporate gun lobby is trying, and succeeding in some states, to make them even looser- because…. rights.
In America all of this is allowed and legal.
Where is common sense anyway?
Remember in my last post when I mentioned the Italian tour guide who thought our country was crazy for not passing stronger gun laws? He is right. I doubt that the check points at Italian and European airports find guns in carry-on bags. The laws are strong and don’t allow anyone who does not have a very good reason to carry a gun in public to carry one. Therefore, the chances that someone would try to check a loaded gun onto a plane are slim.
In my opinion one of the worst things to happen in America is the passage of laws that allow any idiot to carry loaded guns around with them in their pockets, purses, carry-ons, backpacks, on their shoulders or holsters on their waistbands or on their legs or even in their bras. I have written many times about intentional and unintentional shootings of guns in public when they drop out of pockets, when purses are dropped to the ground, when a toddler finds a loaded gun in his mother’s purse and kills her with it, when a woman with a gun in her bra “accidentally” shoots and kills herself with said gun…. The list goes on and on.
This is the American gun culture we have. It is not the American gun culture we need to accept. Until our elected leaders stop listening to the false claims of the corporate gun lobby that more guns will make us safer, we will be stuck with the current situation. Guns were not found in carry-in luggage previous to the passage of gun carry laws. Anyone who thinks they can get away with carrying a gun onto a plane shouldn’t be traveling with the rest of us. And anyone who claims it was a mistake or that they forgot shouldn’t get a permit to carry a deadly weapon around with them.
This is insanity. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s past time to pressure our leaders to make changes to our laws to keep us all safe from stupid and dangerous people with guns. Guns are not needed everywhere. Guns are dangerous on planes for obvious reasons.
One of the excuses given by the gun lobby while resisting common sense attempts to expand and strengthen gun laws, is to insist that we are not enforcing the laws already on the books. Let’s take a look at this excuse. A CNN article about President Obama’s January town hall on guns talks about the enforcement of laws like this:
The President expressed frustration at the “Guns in America” forum hosted by CNN on Thursday night at his opponents telling him to enforce existing laws, saying those same opponents are trying to undermine them.
“One of the most frustrating things that I hear is when people say — who are opposed to any further laws — ‘Why don’t you just enforce the laws that are on the books?'” Obama said. “And those very same members of Congress then cut (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) budgets to make it impossible to enforce the law.”
Obama said some of his new proposals are designed to get at the issue of resources and the difficulties using existing law, including adding ATF agents and clarifying statutes to make them more usable. (…)
Pro-gun-control experts and some former law enforcement officials say that a lack of resources combined with vague and toothless laws make federal gun prosecutions difficult. And they accuse gun lobbies of intentionally watering down legislation and hamstringing agencies so the laws are useless, a point lobbyists contacted by CNN declined to address.
Further into the article, it is revealed that there are, indeed, laws that are not enforced as they should be. Why is that? Does that happen with other things? Are speeding laws always enforced? Are littering laws always enforced? Are penalties for underage smoking or driving while drunk always enforced? And if they aren’t does that mean we shouldn’t pass new laws? I don’t think so. But further, from the article:
One is simply a resource problem: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, which investigates licensed gun dealers, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System are woefully understaffed and replete with red tape, gun control supporters say.
The groups also say the federal laws themselves have such high standards to meet in court that it’s a disincentive for resource-strapped federal prosecutor offices to bring cases, as they don’t want to waste their time on cases they are not likely to win.
“It is true that gun laws are vastly under-enforced, but the reason that they’re under-enforced is not because the administration or law enforcement has failed: It’s because they’re written in a way that makes them impossible to enforce — intentionally,” Trumble said. “They’re too vague to prosecute, the standards are too high to meet, the penalties are too low to be a deterrent and there’s too little evidence to prosecute.”
The Gun Control Act requires those “engaged in the business” of selling firearms to obtain a license from ATF, and licensed dealers are required to run background checks and follow federal laws on dealing weapons. But what constitutes “engaged in the business” has been unclear, and prosecutors say it can be tough to prove unlicensed individuals who sell multiple weapons online and at gun shows have broken the law.
Who writes our gun laws? Why are they vague and the standards too high and penalties too low? We know the answer. The NRA is busy helping legislators write the laws and it’s true that the wording is often vague and difficult to enforce. If you don’t want laws to be enforced because of an ideological position on gun rights, this is what happens. I have long thought that passing laws also changes the cultural norms as it has with drinking while driving and smoking inside of public places. It goes both ways, changing the cultural norms can also lead to changes of hearts and minds amongst our legislators so they get brave enough to pass strong gun laws just as they passed strong traffic laws, strong drunk driving laws, strong laws banning smoking inside, strong laws for safety of our food and water. We expect that most people will follow the laws for the benefit of public safety.
So this comment, also from the above article, reflects the truth:
“So much about law is about setting cultural norms,” Alcorn said. “Just like the reasons you stop at red lights and don’t speed isn’t because there’s a traffic cop behind every corner.”
Instead, he said, it’s “the sense that a law is legitimate, that it enforces public safety that we all share and all appreciate, and a sense of ownership and mutual responsibility are sort of ultimately self-fulfilling.”
Traffic laws are not just in place to punish “law abiding” drivers. They are there to keep us safe and keep others safe from people who could be dangerous and stupid while driving. Most people follow those laws as it turns out. These laws save lives and also cut down on litigation, insurance and health care costs. The same is true of current gun laws. They are there for all to follow and if a gun owner is law abiding, then there will not be problems. But for those who could be stupid and dangerous with their guns and their rights, the rest of us need some public safety measures to keep us all safe. And that is all this is about in spite of what the gun rights extremists like to claim about the agenda of passing stronger gun laws.
Submitting false information on a background check is a felony under federal law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. But as many as 160,000 people are denied a gun purchase each year because they failed a check. Few are ever apprehended, much less prosecuted. Available federal and state data suggest that the percentage of arrests as a proportion of denied sales is extremely low — likely in the single digits.
Pennsylvania is one of eight states where lawmakers and police have sought to boost arrests and prosecutions by passing laws and implementing so-called “lie and try” policies requiring local law enforcement agencies to be notified whenever someone fails a background check. The goal is to give police a tool they can use to arrest dangerous individuals before they can secure a gun and possibly harm someone. In 32 states, a person who is blocked from buying a firearm at a licensed dealer can turn to a private seller who is not required to run a background check. One 2009 study found a strong proclivity towards further illegal behavior by denied gun purchasers, determining that a third of convicted criminals rejected when attempting to buy a gun are caught breaking another law during the next five years.
So it appears that some laws have not been enforced. The thing is, many in the gun rights community say that the denied background checks are false positives and not actual prohibited purchasers who try to buy the guns. This new effort may just prove that wrong. If people are arrested immediately, they will know that continuing to try this route to getting a gun won’t work and we can save lives. More from the article:
Pennsylvania state police have investigated at least some denied gun purchases for over a decade, but until recent years, it was only a small percentage of the overall number. Then in late 2013, police there decided to investigate every failed background check, says Scott Price, a state police major. If a purchaser is denied because of an outstanding warrant, state police now immediately dispatch local officers to arrest the individual at the gun dealer, Price says.
Before the new policy was implemented, Price says, only blocked sales that raised the biggest red flags — like those for mental health commitments — were pursued. “But that left a whole body of denials that weren’t investigated,” he says. “So, we didn’t feel that that was the best public safety policy.” (…)
By acting quickly on notifications of denied sales, Price says, officers are often able to nab “lie-and-try” offenders before they get very far. “We’ve had a great deal of success in actually making these arrests at the point of attempted purchase.” He adds that his officers have encountered people disqualified from firearms ownership for the gamut of reasons. “Anything from a minor offense — a DUI warrant or a failure to appear in court — up through armed robbery.”
Most states with laws or policies for clamping down on “lie and try” buyers require only that law enforcement is notified about a rejected purchaser — there’s no mandate that police act on that information. But Virginia and Oregon join Pennsylvania in compelling police to investigate every denied sale. Last year in Virginia, police arrested 1,265 denied purchasers. Oregonpolice arrested 40 buyers on the spot, and referred hundreds more cases to local departments for investigation.
So what does the gun lobby have to say about enforcing the laws already on the books? From the article:
The National Rifle Association has never officially endorsed a “lie and try” policy, though in the past, the gun group has called on the federal government to address the low prosecution rate for prohibited persons who attempt to buy firearms. Shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, the gun lobby’s representatives asked the White House’s gun violence prevention task force to enforce federal laws that make it illegal to lie on a gun background check form.
“This is a program that I believe is largely something people on both sides of the aisle support,” says Scott Price, the Pennsylvania State Police major. “Even the NRA has always been a proponent of enforcing the laws that are on the books.”
Time will tell if this is true. The gun lobby opposes pretty much any measure that would make it very difficult for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them anyway. It’s hard to know what to make of that inconsistency in thought. Unless it’s more about profit than about saving lives.
Unfortunately, sending these cases to the ATF for further action is difficult, according to the article. Not many cases get prosecuted. But if we remember that, at the behest of the NRA and the corporate gun lobby, Congress has denied funding to hire more ATF agents so they can do their jobs properly and efficiently then we can understand what is happening
“I had to pay a fine,” the Rev. Alvin “Dobie” Weasel said. “I had to meet with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and do an interview with two officers. I had to do an interview with a Transportation Security Administration officer.”
Weasel, who has a concealed-carry permit, said he told authorities it was an honest mistake when he showed up at the airport with it in his bag, saying he thought his gun was at home in a safe.
“It’s about 40 pounds and it’s stuffed with everything,” Weasel said. “(I) think what happened was the gun fell in between two of the larger books.”
The slip-up on New Year’s Eve wasn’t the first time Weasel has made the mistake; in 2014, the same bag was found to contain a different gun.
“When it occurs twice with the same individual, it warrants prosecution,” Omaha interim city prosecutor Tom Mumgaard said.
So it looks like he will be prosecuted and they expect it could be a misdemeanor. And then what? Here’s a law that clearly needs enforcement. The TSA is finding more and more loaded guns in carry-on luggage now than ever before? Why? Because more people are carrying guns around and therefore there are more potentially dangerous and stupid people with guns around in public. Given that, let’s hope that offenders and repeat offenders like the Pastor in the article are prosecuted and held responsible for violating the law.
Two months earlier, according to local authorities, he had surrendered at least 10 guns under a judge’s order issued after Tordil’s wife accused him of physically and sexually abusing his family.
But Tordil, a Federal Protective Service officer, kept at least one weapon when he handed in the rest of his arsenal: a .40-caliber Glock he allegedly used to carry out the shootings on May 4 and 5.
Tordil bought the gun legally in Las Vegas in 2014, said State’s Attorney John McCarthy at a hearing on Monday where Tordil was denied bond.
Tordil kept the weapon by exploiting a weakness in state and federal laws designed to keep domestic abusers from using weapons: Local law enforcement had no way of knowing he owned it.
A “weakness if state and federal laws” has left a senseless tragedy that devastated several families. When it comes to deadly weapons owned by people who shouldn’t have them, there should be no weaknesses in the law. Why was there a weakness in the law? From the article:
Maryland has a handgun registry. But Nevada, where Tordil purchased the Glock, does not. Nor is there a federal registry of firearms, the spectre of which the National Rifle Association and its allies have used to knock down a range of legislation.
David Cheplak is a spokesman for the Baltimore Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which traced the gun, found in Tordil’s car, to a federally licensed dealer in Las Vegas. He said that if Tordil had bought the weapon in Maryland, he would have been required to register it there with state police.
Ah- registration of guns would have saved lives. And before you gun rights folks wet your pants about the mere suggestion of gun registration, maybe you ought to think about why it might be important for saving lives. It has nothing to do with the government taking YOUR guns away. It is to make sure we know if dangerous people have guns so we can save lives. I am raising it because we may need to have this conversation given cases like the one in Maryland. It is doubtful that anything like that can happen given the fears of gun rights advocates. But it could be helpful to talk about the fears and the implications in a civil manner. I’m just saying….
More from the article about the laws:
Maryland has a relatively robust law aimed at alleged domestic abusers. The authority to require suspects to give up guns has “enormous benefits for victims of domestic violence,” Taylor says, but is limited by the lack of a totally effective gun registry.
If Gladys Tordil or other family members had known of the extra gun Tordil kept, or if a record existed, then the sheriff’s office could have obtained a warrant from the judge and confiscated it as long as the protective order was still in effect.
But authorities had to rely on the word of a man accused of threatening to kill his wife that he was giving up his means to do so. That left Tordil free to stay armed and murder Gladys Tordil and two others.
So our laws rely on the abuser or the offender to be honest and say how many guns they have? Or to check on a form when purchasing a firearm that you are not adjudicated mentally ill, a felon or a domestic abuser? That is why we need to do background checks on all gun sales so that can be checked out by authorities. Lives depend on our getting guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Stronger laws can do that.
Uber’s explosive growth has been met with concern about safety in many places where it has disrupted the existing order of transportation services, especially as incidents involving passengers being assaulted by drivers have been publicized. In 2014, Uber unilaterally decided to increase scrutiny in background checks for drivers, requiring all new and existing partners to undergo federal and county background checks. But those checks are not always effective. That was at least true in the case of John Dalton: an Uber driver in Kalamazoo, Michigan, who went on a killing spree in February while on the job. Dalton passed a background check because he had no criminal record. Uber does not collect fingerprints for drivers, or even require any face-to-face meeting before they are permitted to start accepting fares with its app.
Public safety is too important to let some people slip through the cracks. Lives depend on our getting this right.
I’m sure I don’t have to mention the irony of requiring universal background checks on Uber drivers but not on all gun sales.
So let’s enforce the laws on the books and make sure we are funding the efforts to do so. And then let’s pass stronger gun laws that are simple and direct so that it’s very clear what’s in the law. When that happens everyone will understand what the law means and what can be done to stop some from getting guns and make us all safer. In the end, that is the bottom line. Laws can change our dangerous gun culture. Changing the gun culture can lead to better laws to prevent gun injuries and deaths. That should be supported by everyone who cares about saving lives.
I wrote in a previous post about gun lobby myths and I have written about them many times before. But it bears repeating that much of the gun lobby’s rhetoric is based on fear, paranoia and just plain deception without accompanying facts. While it is true that all sides of issues tend to exaggerate to make their point and catch the attention of the media, the public and our elected leaders, the corporate gun lobby is notorious for its’ mythical rhetoric.
It’s an argument we hear frequently from gun rights activists and conservative lawmakers: Mass shooters select places to attack where citizens are banned from carrying firearms—so-called “gun-free zones.” All the available data shows that this claim is just plain wrong. As I reported in an investigation into nearly 70 mass shootings in the United States over three decades, there has never been any known evidence of gun laws influencing a mass shooter’s strategic thinking. In fact, the vast majority of the perpetrators have indicated other specific motivationsfor striking their targets, such as employment grievances or their connection to a school.
The article contains images of the shooter’s notes made before the heinous mass shooting. The shooter took some time to think out how he could do the most harm and shoot the most people which he made possible with his weapon and ammunition choices. More from the article:
Nowhere in any of this extensive planning did Holmes make reference to gun regulations at the theater or the potential for moviegoers to be armed. Moreover, he had every expectation that he would not get away with his crime. In one sketch, he drew two other locations not far from the theater: the Aurora Police Department and a Colorado National Guard facility. “ETA response [approximately] 3 mins,” he noted. In his list of possible methods of attack, where he checked off mass murder using firearms as his choice, he also wrote “being caught 99% certain.”
Additional evidence from the trial underscores that Holmes clearly was not planning to avoid getting shot, killed, or apprehended. On an AdultFriendFinder.com profile he filled out shortly before the shooting, he wrote: “Will you visit me in prison?”
The idea that people are less safe in gun free zones than in guns allowed zones makes no sense. Since most shootings happen in homes which can be guns allowed and of course, domestic shootings occur in homes with guns, how does the myth hold up? It doesn’t. Accidental shootings of course occur in places where guns are allowed. And what about the recent biker gang shoot-out in Waco, Texas? Clearly that shooting occurred where guns were allowed. 6 were killed. The same is true of intentional shootings of police officers such as the ones in Tacoma, Washington and Pittsburgh, PA. Officers are far too frequently shot by those who know they are about to threaten or shoot an armed individual. And isn’t a shooting range a guns allowed venue? I guess having all of those guns around didn’t protect this guy from getting shot at one. There are many other incidents about shootings at gun ranges.
The thing is, the gun lobby should be embarrassed about all of these shootings which disprove their myths. Maybe they aren’t paying any attention to the media stories because their agenda is all about driving up profits. Never mind the facts or that people are dying from gunshot injuries.
Common sense tells us that the problem is not that we have gun free zones in our country. It’s that we have too many guns in our country which are too easily accessed by those who shouldn’t have them in zones that include guns and zones that don’t. Most civilized, democratized countries not at war don’t allow people to carry guns in public and have many more restrictions on gun ownership in general with fewer guns per capita. What is the result? Mostly gun free zones, strong gun regulations on the weapons and the owners, and far fewer gun deaths and injuries than in America.
The stats, of course, don’t lie, as much as discredited, sham researchers like the infamous John Lott try and tell you your nose is not in front of your face. This is why, on the same day as the first national Wear Orange Day, in which celebrities, policymakers, and regular Joes and Janes all across the country are sporting orange to honor victims of gun violence and say enough already, the U.S. House of Representatives is holding hearings on “Domestic Violence and Guns: An Epidemic for Women and Families.”
For an epidemic it is. Over half of all women killed by partners between 2003 and 2012 were murdered with guns. A gun’s presence makes a woman seven times more likely to be murdered by her abuser.
Much like the guy screaming about the end of the world on the street corner, when it doesn’t happen, the NRA just pushes back the timeline a bit, rinses and repeats.
And, of course, the simple stat that belies what the NRA and all those Twitter trolls posing with their AK-girlfriends spew out. You know, the ones suffering from Gunorrhea, who like to hock out one canard after another—more guns means less crime, good guys with guns are like Iron Man, and other assorted delirium and detritus—women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than in other high-income countries.
At this point, investigators believe Rick, while on a visit to Fargo, used a handgun to shoot his wife once in her body and once in her head before firing a shot into his head, Reitan said.
The husband and wife were both well-educated professionals who, before they separated, lived together in a newer development with ample houses and lush yards in southwest West Fargo.
As far as police know, the couple did not have a history of domestic violence, Reitan said. In the past three years, there were only two police calls to the home: both from neighbors concerned about the couple’s dog being left outside, police records show.
Rick had a business called Rick Professional Services that specialized in human resources and workplace safety, according to his resume on Indeed.com. In something of a twist, he gave a presentation last year in Fargo titled “Workplace Violence and Preparedness” on how to deal with active shooters, armed intruders and threats to employees, according to The Forum’s archive.
Did you get the irony here? “….he gave a presentation last year in Fargo titled “Workplace Violence and Preparedness” on how to deal with active shooters, armed intruders and threats to employees….” Really? What about threats in homes and active shooters in homes where guns are allowed. This is the myth of the corporate gun lobby and gun extremists playing out in every day life. Actual people are dying. Does it matter to the gun lobby?
Jim Cooley carried his assault weapon with a 100-round drum attached to it while accompanied by his wife as they dropped their daughter off, alerting the press later after he was stopped multiple times by authorities.
In an interview with WSB-TV, Cooley explained that he knew it was legal to carry the weapon into the airport as long as he didn’t approach any TSA checkpoints, explaining “You can carry in unsecured areas of the airport. Past TSA, never.”
While in the airport, Cooley was approached by a fire marshal asking him why he was carrying the gun, an Atlanta police officer who asked him if he had a carry permit, and then multiple officers who followed him to his car while taking pictures.
Asked why he carried the weapon, pausing to pose with it for a picture he later posted to his Facebook page, Cooley explained, “It shouldn’t matter what I carry, just that I choose to carry. You never know where something might happen.”
Yes. Something might happen all right and it won’t be what this guy expects. How do we know a “good guy” with a gun from a “bad guy” with a gun? Why couldn’t anyone carry an assault rifle into an airport unsecured area with bad intent? This is insane and crazy. There is no other word for it. And the Georgia legislature should be ashamed and thinking twice after this stupid and potentially dangerous stunt. Will they? No. Because they are spineless in dealing with the corporate gun lobby. They are the guys with the guns that get to make the rules. Right Wayne?
In one case, an alarm sounded, but even during a pat-down, the screening officer failed to detect a fake plastic explosive taped to an undercover agent’s back. In all, so-called “Red Teams” of Homeland Security agents posing as passengers were able get weapons past TSA agents in 67 out of 70 tests — a 95 percent failure rate, according to agency officials.
“The numbers in these reports never look good out of context, but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security,” Homeland Security officials said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time TSA officers have failed to detect fake terrorists and their weapons. “Red Teams” have been probing TSA checkpoints for 13 years, oftentimes successfully getting weapons past airport screeners.
However, this time, TSA agents failed to detect almost every single test bomb and gun, aviation experts said.
So one Georgia man is strutting around outside of the secured area of the Atlanta airport as if it’s his right to scare people because, well, because, ….. rights. On the other side, over 2000 guns were found on passengers at security check points in 2014 alone. This is insane and all a part of the crazed gun culture sponsored by the corporate gun lobby and its’ bought and paid for elected leaders. Raise your hand it you actually believe seeing someone with a loaded AR-15 at an airport makes you feel safer. Do we want guns at airports or not? We know that the gun extremists do but as to the rest of the country, I’m guessing the answer is a pretty definitive NO. Airports need to remain gun free zones for obvious reasons. So far there have been few, if any shootings at airports. People understand that guns are not allowed and will be taken away. The idea that this guy with his AR-15 in Atlanta will “save the day” is ridiculous and part of the many gun lobby myths that promotes this kind of behavior.
The other myth about gun free zones that is so insane is the number of kids who are getting their hands on loaded guns in homes that are clearly not gun free zones and shooting themselves, siblings, sometimes parents and acquaintances with those guns. Check out this article about this deadly phenomenon:
Nor is this an especially new state of affairs. American kids have been shooting themselves and each other for years now, but as the Second Amendment enthusiasts who crowd the comments sections will tell you ad nauseum, more U.S. children die in swimming pool accidents each year than by gunfire. The problem lies in discerning whether that data point is even accurate: after years of lobbying by the NRA and other gun rights groups, reliable federal numbers don’t exist on how many toddler shooting deaths are even happening each year, as The Washington Postreported last fall.
So we find ourselves at an impasse. American toddlers are getting their hands on guns at an alarming rate, and the government’s “hands are tied” to track the phenomenon. On top of that, few local or state governments seem to have the appetite to prosecute negligent parents or caretakers for leaving loaded guns lying around for their toddlers to find. Even activists in relatively liberal New York State are finding it an uphill battle to pass common-sense laws around safe gun storage.
The NRA’s singing Eddie Eagle mascot, which recently got a digital upgrade, tells children that if they see a gun, they should “Stop! Don’t touch. Run away. Tell a grown up.” Given how the NRA has lobbied against gun safety legislation across the country, this feels pretty disingenuous. The message the group seems to really be sending to kids is: “Stop! Lock and load. Ready aim, open fire!”
In all seriousness, it’s hard to say at this point what it will take to get a critical mass of Americans and their elected representatives to acknowledge that something’s gone deeply wrong here, and to do something about it. Our toddlers are regularly shooting themselves, their friends and their family members. How many bloodbaths will we all have to watch on the news, or live through personally?
The longer we drag our heels debating this issue, the more kids will reach for the gun in their parent’s glove compartment, with no singing eagle on the scene to warn them away.
No more words necessary.
And I remind my readers that the people who are pushing the myths are taking extreme positions and represent an increasingly small group of Americans. It’s time to base gun policy on what works best for the majority and what will protect public health and safety. The gun lobby’s tactics, myths and policy ideas are making us less safe. People are scared into buying guns without the least notion of how to be safe with them or keep their own families safe from intentional or unintentional shootings.
While high rates of gun ownership are associated with higher homicide rates, theevidence around suicide is particularly strong. For example, a recent meta-analysis, which collated studies comparing suicide and homicide victimization rates for people with and without gun access, “found strong evidence for increased odds of suicide among persons with access to firearms compared with those without access and moderate evidence for an attenuated increased odds of homicide victimization when persons with and without access to firearms were compared.”
Gun free zones actually according to all data and actual incidents, do actually make people safer in contrast to the gun lobby myth. We don’t need more guns in gun free zones. The gun lobby just wants to sell more guns and using this myth helps with that agenda.