The St. Paul Area Synod passed a GVP (gun violence prevention) resolution with over 300 YES votes and only four NO votes. If time would have allowed in the tight assembly, here is the speech I would have given.
Gun lethality must be restrained. Weapons used by police and our military are subject to strict rules of engagement. Weapons used by we the people need a similar set of laws to protect and defend each other from lethal tragedies.
Regrettably, laws are being proposed in the Minnesota Legislature that increase the possibility of lethal tragedy amongst we the people. The laws come in names like STAND YOUR GROUND, CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY AND PERMITLESS CARRY. The common threads are more guns being easier to purchase, easier to carry in public and easier to kill another person.
It is important to note that Minnesota already has laws that allow a person to defend their home and family, a permit to carry law that allows a person to carry a weapon only after a background check and taking a gun safety course, and a law that requires a person to first try to retreat from a potential violent encounter. In short, we do not need these dangerous new laws. These laws open the floodgates for gun violence.
As much as this resolution urges our opposition to unnecessary and dangerous lethal laws, as the Church we also recognize theological laws. The Ten Commandments comprise a core of Old Testament witness, with the Fifth Commandment trumpeting “Do not kill OR do not murder”. The ethics of Jesus Christ consistently bend towards love, peace and reconciliation. Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” “Enough!” “No more of this!” This resolution calls for us to yield to the truth of Biblical witness and oppose unnecessary and dangerous gun laws that violate the sanctity of life. I urge the assembly to enthusiastically support this resolution.
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes