Yesterday I posted on my Facebook Page an article titled: ”‘Lots More People’ Would’ve Been Killed if Texas Had Stricter Gun Laws – The local sheriff credited the “hero” of the massacre in Texas, noting that “lots more people” could’ve been killed if he did grab a gun and stop him”. It gave rise to a lively debate with most of my friends declaring there should be greater gun control and a number of these were Christians who expressed a view that carrying guns is incompatible with authentic Christianity.
It seems every time there is a gun related massacre there is an outcry by some that carrying of guns should be restricted or banned altogether, for in the eyes of many, restricting the availability of guns will prevent such occurrences. In the past I have also reflected on the rights and wrongs of allowing people to carry guns and have sometimes pondered why the “right” including conservative leaning Christians should be so insistent on their Second Amendment rights “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. As far as the UK is concerned, I am of the view carrying guns should continue to be disallowed and that the country is better because of it, even though we do have a bigger problem when it comes to how we deal with escalating knife crime.
But as for the USA, I am undecided, because I fear by stopping people owning / carrying guns we play into the hands of the bad guys who will find a way round any prohibition to use guns for evil purpose. I suspect it would be a lot more difficult to stop guns ending up in the the wrong hands in the USA than the UK. As for the above article, we will never know for sure if the gunman would have killed more people if he hadn’t been shot by the “hero” but it is likely he would have. That may not have been possible if guns had been banned or if the authorities had done their job, when it comes to vetting, preventing the gunman from having a gun in the first place because of his unsuitability. It strikes me a similar argument may apply in the case of the Las Vegas shooting that preceded it, given the security man that confronted the identified shooter was not allowed to carry a gun because such is the American system laws in this regard can be made locally as well as nationally.
Regarding arguments for or against gun control, these are well rehearsed (click here for one of a number of articles – here giving 10 of the main for or against arguments) and too often this leads to polarized positions, usually by the left and right, including sadly in Christian circles. While there is little doubt in my mind there should be controls on gun ownership to reduce the risk of misuse, I am undecided to what extent and what the measures should be. Our world is full of wickedness and it is not unreasonable for people to carry arms to protect themselves, their family, their community etc. While I used to be bemused finding that some US Christians were so pro gun, I see no inconsistency in Christians owning guns if for the right reasons, although I quite get why some Christians would find the idea repellent. I wonder too if there is an element of “false flag” in these two attacks mentioned above, where the intent is to disarm the populace ahead of a take over of the country by subterfuge by a tiny minority – but then that is a “no no” as it is a conspiracy theory. I also feel it is ironic that in a city like Chicago which has more gun related murders than other US cities, guns are banned.
I have no doubt that the debate around whether and to what extent gun ownership will continue to rage for a while yet and so will people holding strong opinions on either side of the argument, often being critical of those holding a different opinion. I would like the debate to continue in a rational and respectful way and it should be opened up to those who do not hold entrenched positions, who seem to monopolize the debate with a resultant impasse. I can’t help feeling though that when gunman open fire on innocent crowds, as took place in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, the issue was not so much on the weapons they chose to use, which admittedly they were able to get hold of with relative ease, but the wickedness of the human heart that would want to contemplate such an action, and if it is not guns it would be something else. The final thought has to go with victims and those who mourn their death.