With the latest mass shooting, there has been a renewed interest in gun control. I distinctly remember sitting in my middle-school history class; and while my teacher’s name currently escapes me, I can picture how he looked: best described as military. After we learned about the revolutionary war, he emphasized the right to bear arms in the constitution, and looking each one of us in the eye, he exclaimed, “You do NOT want the government to be the only one with guns!” I understood his point. Could Hitler have killed so many of the Jewish people if they could have defended themselves? So, I was against the government regulating guns thereafter. Did I want one? No! I really didn’t and still don’t. But, did I think it was bad that my grandfather, uncles, and dad used to own guns to hunt? Nope! I remember my aunt making some pretty good venison.
However, with the recent mass shootings in schools, my husband and I have discussed this issue at length. He said that not every person in America needs an assault rifle that doesn’t need to be re-loaded between shots that are aimed at little ones. The purpose of these types of guns is not to hunt, it is to kill… and kill masses. Should we have some sort of regulations on these types of guns? My husband is wise, patient, and ridiculously kind. He cares about kids. He cares about people in general. He strongly advocates for background checks and limiting assault rifle access. And, as we talked about the government not being the only ones with guns, we both came to the conclusion that wars are not really won with these types of weapons anymore. Guns might be the “show” tactic for the front, but a real war between nations will be in the form of chemical weapons, disabling the electric grid, or using information technology advantages.
So, after our debate, I decided to go back to the foundation of my beliefs. Specifically, the Bible. I see so many folks who are pro-guns also claiming that the issue is sin. Sure, undoubtedly. But, I have yet to find in the Bible where it says, “thou shalt make an assault rife available to all who wish to fire one.” Instead, I see “thou shalt not murder.” I know that not every gun owner is a murderer, by any means, so I thought back to my study on the book of Matthew recently. When Jesus was arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).
As much as I’ve heard the argument, “you need good guys with guns to fight bad guys with guns,” it simply isn’t Biblical that I have found. In 2 Kings 6, as enemies were approaching Elisha and his servant, God struck the army with blindness. He didn’t need a gun to save the day! David fought Goliath with a simple stone. We do not need a majority of Americans to have access to assault rifles. Should people in Alaska have access to guns to hunt animals and protect themselves? I think yes, that’s reasonable. Should everyone in America have access to nuclear weapons that can kill masses of people? No, our right to “bear arms” is not a license to kill in mass. If people want a handgun such as a pistol or a larger shotgun or hunting rifle to protect themselves from an intruder, I don’t really have a problem with that. But, to have a heavily loaded gun with a magazine that means reloading isn’t necessary right away – what is the average person’s use for a gun like that? If limiting access meant even one person’s life was saved, would it be worth it? If one less gun was manufactured in this country, would that be such a bad thing? Does an 18-year-old, whose brain is not fully developed with regard to risk, really need a weapon like this? Should the average person be able to purchase one, giving manufacturers a reason to create one and potentially giving access to others to steal it? Really think about those questions.
While it goes against what I was taught in school, my conclusion after opening God’s Word is that some limits on weaponry is not immoral or wrong. In fact, it may be wise for leaders to set boundaries and limitations on actions that could harm others, which is what happens when traffic lights are installed or laws are created. I have a good friend who retired from being a police officer who typically carries; I think it’s great that he has a gun, as he is well-trained and mentally stable. I am not opposed to some folks carrying certain types of guns in situations where it makes sense. But, I do think that having boundaries on guns used for mass shootings could protect innocent children and others who could be victims of hate crimes. And personally, I have no need for guns in my own life. I will be on this earth for as long as God has a purpose for me here, under His protection and authority. He is my Shepherd, I have all that I need (Psalm 23:1).