Yes, I know people pull the trigger, that most gun owners handle their guns safely, that guns can be a source of enjoyment, hunting and target shooting, that guns can be used for protection, that the Second Amendment allows for use and purchase, that many people of faith own guns, and that trying to outlaw guns is a non-starter.

I also know that 33,000 people die of gun violence in the USA each year, that 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides, that in Minnesota over 80% of gun deaths are suicides and 90% of those are by white people. In short, guns are also a tragic problem solver. We have yielded to guns the authority to be the ultimate ibuprofen, Tylenol and opiate. We have given guns the power of life and death, the final judge over life’s value. I would assign Jesus’ “I am” statements in the Gospel of John as descriptors of this lethal life arbiter.

And the gun says, “I am…”
The bread that came down from heaven ((6.41)
The bread of life (6.48)
The living bread (6.51)
The light of the world (8.12)
The gate for the sheep (10.7)
The good shepherd (10.11)
The resurrection and the life (11.25-26)
The way, the truth and the life (14.6)
The true vine (15.1)
The vine and you are the branches (15.5)

I am convinced that a major part of the gun violence solution is to de-deify guns and acknowledge what they are: potential life shattering machines, created for sport, protection, profit and killing.

Let’s acknowledge the positivity of sport and hunting and the necessity of protection. The problems are the profit and killing of self and others. Our response to these will save lives. We allow guns to play god. Common sense gun laws will save lives, perhaps our own. Stay tuned.

Ron Letnes