I want to walk through a thought process here and don’t want you to jump to any conclusions by the first few paragraphs of this post. The end result of this post will probably surprise you so stay with it. I’ve tried to keep an open mind with this subject and will provide my input as a US citizen and then as a Christian.
Gun violence is all over the news. Murder rates are rising in many US cities. The right to own a gun is a polarizing subject and it usually comes up when there is unnecessary violence involving guns. The argument typically involves people who never want to own a gun vs. people who already own guns. Whenever there is a death of another person, particularly an innocent person, by the use of a gun… many will jump to want to eliminate guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens. “Guns kill,” they say. Somehow the thought is that if there were no guns in the hands of citizens, innocent lives would not perish.
In Chicago, where some of the strictest gun laws in US are, the gun laws have basically kept guns out of the hands of decent citizens who want to protect themselves. Meanwhile in 2015, Chicago’s homicide rate has climbed 19% and shooting incidents are up 21% so far (Madhani).
The thought process from people who don’t want others to own guns stem from a fear of guns being handed to the wrong people. Ok, I get it. Nobody wants that. But let’s apply that argument to driving in FL. You could easily say that cars should not be in the possession of seniors because they may get into an accident. You can’t let fear run your ideology because then innocent people get disenfranchised.
From a US citizens’ perspective, there is a lot of history for why people have the right to bear arms. The founding fathers knew this as they had a fresh memory of persecution by the State. Once a State removes the ability for its citizens to arm themselves, then what will follow is a government that will not be afraid to do whatever it wants to. All we have to do is look back on history and see that we cannot trust our government to be pure in thought. Some people have this fantasy of an idea that our country would never be evil in its intent. I would just ask you to open your history books and take a look for yourself.
Does that mean I think it is OK for my neighbor to own a rocket launcher? No. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a neighbor owning a semi-automatic rifle. To some people, having a gun provides a sense of power. To others, it provides a sense of protection. I think there has to be some reasonable control, but elimination of the right to bear arms is not an option from my US citizen perspective. In the news media, you typically hear the bad stories of people owning guns, but you will rarely see the stories of people protecting their families or stopping a very bad situation from getting worse. The reason is when an innocent person dies because of someone with a gun, it is more polarizing for the news media to report it and gets more attraction, therefore creating more advertising revenue for the media outlet.
Disclaimer: I used to own several guns. I do not own a gun anymore nor do I ever want to own a gun again. I don’t even feel comfortable around people with guns. I have my own reasons for this and in no way am I condemning other people’s rights as US citizens to own guns.
My Christian perspective
I understand I do not represent all Christians so I will speak for myself and what I believe. I do not want to seek protection from a gun. I want my protection and trust to be in God. Trusting in a gun to protect me is one step further away from trusting God to protect me.
There is a misperception that is often repeated that says, “God wants us to protect ourselves,” (or some variation of that statement) and this is often used as a backdrop to own guns and put trust in ourselves. It’s not even biblical. God didn’t make Adam and Eve with gun holsters. God asks us to put our trust in Him. “The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3
You say, “Look in the Old Testament and see God’s people with weapons against other tribes and nations.” True. But God never meant it to be that way. It was the people’s desire to be like the other nations around them and their lack of faith in God to protect them that fueled this mentality.
Look at the example with Gideon in Judges 7, where God kept telling him he had too many men for battle and then eventually God caused the Midianites to turn on themselves and they killed each other. God displayed to Gideon that He does not need His people to take up arms to protect themselves. God showed that He was their Protector, but over and over His people rejected Him as such.
Violence is because of the moral decay of society
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
The above passage is prophetic in that it depicts how our society will be in the last days. The problem with violence does not stem from guns being in the hands of the wrong people. It stems from a moral decline of our society and a lack of faith and trust in God. Just look around us and you will see it in focus. It is obvious that the moral decline and acceptance of what is not holy has numbed our minds as to what is right. It has created a vacuum that has us sucked into unthankfulness, disobedience without regret, and where self-control is lacking. The desires of the flesh are winning and whatever feels right, people are doing it.
Because of this, marriages are failing. Because of this, wickedness has increased. Because of this, life is not regarded as valuable and so people are killing others without regard to outcome. The tide of wickedness is taking over society, but this only shows that Jesus is coming soon.
The love of many has been growing cold for some time now. Gun violence is not about the guns, it’s more about the mentality and the state of this world. People don’t feel safe anymore and it has more to do with the moral decline of our society than it has to do with any apparatus that can kill. Sure, more guns on the street will increase gun violence – just like more people writing papers for school will increase misspelled words or more cars on the street will increase accidents.
But with gun violence, it is the violent nature of people that is the main problem. If we want less violence in general in our society, curbing guns will not solve the problem. Loving our neighbor will do more towards curbing violence than any law has ever accomplished. We need a change of heart that is filled with the best interest of our fellow man and woman. Then and only then will we see the change that is desired.
Madhani, Aamer. “Several Big U.S. Cities See Homicide Rates Surge.” USA Today. Gannett, 10 July 2015. Web. 1 Sept. 2015. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/09/us-cities-homicide-surge-2015/29879091/>.