#691 – Dick Bernard: Towards a Rational Conversation About Guns, continued

UPDATE Feb. 24, 2012: Brief comments and photos from today at State Capitol at the end of this post.
February 3 I published a post about Guns. You can find it here, with an important update on February 11. An additional update was published on February 23, here.
Last night came an e-mail announcing hearings at the Minnesota State Capitol Room 15 February 21 and 22. Here are details.
Earlier last evening I had been at a community meeting in St. Paul’s Frogtown (the issue was simple school-community relationships, not guns). Most of us there were strangers to each other. One older man and I struck up a conversation. He had been at the earlier House hearings on Guns, and he was struck by how many angry men were in the room. He felt intimidated. But the experience made him ever more committed to make a difference on this most critical issue. (Frogtown has its own reputation relating to violence, and our meeting was multi-cultural and multi-racial. But the issues that came up were all about building better relationships generally, and not guns at all. I found that interesting.)
Guns in our society do not make for a simple rational conversation. Indeed, after the Feb 3 post, someone named Alex wrote an on-line comment suggesting I wasn’t capable of a rational conversation. I have no idea who “Alex” is – on-line comments are anonymous – so I can’t even engage in conversation with him – or her. I know nothing more than the comment.
So be it.
But I did decide after the post to try to get an idea of what people I know think about the gun issue, and I drafted a brief questionaire to try to find out. Half of the 46 people who received the questions answered the survey – a high percentage return. I bill myself as a “moderate pragmatic Democrat” so that can be a clue as to the people surveyed might be.
The results are at the aforementioned blogpost.
Before you look, I’d suggest you answer, for yourself, the same questions I asked my friends. The questions are below.
And then, get into more conversations with people you know.
We don’t need gun policy to be made by angry men sitting in a hearing room. But that is how it will be if we do not get into action.
The survey questions:
1. Do you (and/or someone else in your own home or dwelling) own a firearm(s) (“guns”)? Yes or No
A. If you answered “Yes”
1. How many firearms are in your home or dwelling?
a. What kind(s)?
b. Where are weapons kept?
c. If you needed the gun for defense right now, how accessible and/or useful would it be to you?
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU PERSONALLY USED A FIREARM?
a. For what purpose?
2. For everyone:
If you could decide, what would “reasonable regulation” of firearms look like?
3. Have you ever used a gun for self-defense (against a person), and in what manner? Or do you personally know of someone who has (other than in war – or one of those stories heard from your cousin about his neighbor’s dentist’s brother or the like)? Versus, how many people have you been personally acquainted with who were killed by guns (except for war); how many were due to domestic violence?

The group answers are in the Update, accessible here.
They are just opinions of good people.
What is your opinion?
UPDATE February 21, 2013
My visit to the Capitol today was quite brief. The Hearing Room was limited to 40 people, with tickets. There were large numbers of people waiting in line for the overflow areas. In the end, I chatted with some nice people, took a few photos, and came home. Joan Peterson of Duluth is the lady in the photograph below. Her card gives a website of commongunsense.com which looks like a very informative site. She had the ticket to the proceedings, and she’s active in assorted ways, including Domestic Abuse Intervention, the Brady Campaign and Protect Minnesota.
The battle was between the buttons, today. “Minnesotans Against Being Shot” versus “Self-Defense is a Human Right”. At least one guy in line was packing heat. I picked up and am sporting a Minnesotans Against Being Shot, the button of ProtectMn.Org, “working to end gun violence”.
If you favor better regulation of firearms, now is the time to be very active with your elected officials at every level. Good things will come out of activism this year. The issue is on the table, and the NRA can’t control the conversation as they would like.
(click to enlarge photos)

In line.  Note the holstered handgun

In line. Note the holstered handgun


IMG_0556
Joan

Joan


Two-sided sign

Two-sided sign


IMG_0555

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