In light of the great tragedies involving gun violence, I believe it is essential for believers to take an honest and biblical look at the issue of gun control. This is a heated debate and one that will not be settled any time soon, at least to the satisfaction of all involved in the discussion. The gross mischaracterizations present in the current debate are unfortunate. Regardless of what you hear on the evening news, observe on Facebook pages and read in Twitter feeds, President Obama is not attempting to disarm American citizens in order to set up a military state (think Hitler) and the NRA is not in support of passing out guns like candy on the street corner. Here are some things we as believers need to keep in mind in this discussion:
1. We should champion life. We should never mindlessly bypass the tragedies that have occurred simply to jump into the debate concerning gun control. It should break our hearts that human beings created in God’s image have been senselessly murdered. We should grieve along with the families and long for the day that sin is done away with once and for all. If we want to fight, we should fight for life.
2. Murder happened long before guns were around. Genesis 4 details the first murder that occurred on this planet. It was a senseless murder. It was one committed out of pride and rage. It was sin. In fact, God’s words to Cain emphasized this: “The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it’” (Genesis 4:6-7). Our primary problem is not a gun control problem but a sin problem. This world needs Jesus. If we want to fight, we should fight to make Jesus known.
3. Requiring stringent background checks makes sense. As believers, we of all people should desire good to prevail and evil to be defeated. In Luke 12:48, Jesus said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” I have no problem with requiring much from one to whom we are giving much (ie. a weapon that could be used for evil purposes). In fact, I think this makes perfect sense. If we want to fight, we should fight and pray for wisdom for our lawmakers as they seek to enact laws that will promote good and discourage evil.
4. The 2nd Amendment is good but we must put it into context. Here is what the 2nd Amendment says: “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.” I want to be brief on this point but I also want to admit that I recognize that this amendment has been dissected and debated for years. When our Constitution was written and the Bill of Rights adopted, our founding fathers recognized the need for each state to have a well-armed militia (after all they were about to enter into battle with the British Empire). At this point in history, we have no need for militias since local, state and the federal governments offer protection through our armed forces and police officers. I do see the need to have personal protection but to imply that a person’s arsenal would stand any chance against the government’s resources would be beyond absurd! The ultimate goal of the 2nd Amendment was peace; freedom from the tyranny of the British Empire. The same should be true today. If we want to fight, we should fight for peace.