JOHN 3:16 is frequently seen on signs at athletic competitions. The Gospel in visual sound bite. The emphasis appears to be on individual faith in Jesus leading to everlasting life. Yet in full context, there is a balance between faith and love for all. Beginning at verse 19, we read “…the light has come into the world….all who do evil hate the light, and do not come to the light.” Faith is united with love of God and of others. Community responsibility is the character of faith.

Assault weapons like the AR-15, qualify as an “evil” in the Spirit of John’s Gospel. Assault weapons are weapons of war designed for the battlefield. But the AR-15 has become the weapon of choice in gun massacres in Parkland, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown and more. The school, the church, the community have become the battlefields.

It is important that we limit the availability of assault weapons. Why? PROTECT MINNESOTA’S Rev. Nancy Nord Bence lists the reasons: 1) Young adults with highly lethal firearms are a dangerous combination. 18-20 year olds commit gun homicides at a rate nearly four times higher than adults age 21 and older; 2) Impulse control is still developing after age 18; 3) Because they were specifically designed as weapons of war, semiautomatic weapons have a far greater potential for lethality; 4) These weapons are far more powerful than other firearms; 5 These weapons can also puncture body armor used by police.

SF-2959, the Latz/Becker-Finn Assault Weapon 21-Year Old Age Requirement Bill is being introduced in the Minnesota Legislature. 1) The bill raises the minimum age requirement to purchase or possess a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon in Minnesota from 18 to 21 years old. Exceptions are provided if a person is a member of the armed forces, a peace officer, has been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or is under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian; 2) The bill defines and expands what is meant by a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon…as well as conversion kits that can be used to assemble a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon; 3) The bill excludes any weapon from the new age minimum that is “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” and provides a list of features that classify a firearm as a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon; 4) The bill criminalizes the transfer of semiautomatic military-style weapons to underage persons. Nancy says “…we will help protect the public from all too common tragedies without preventing young adults from hunting or sport shooting.”

The bill needs to have a hearing in both Senate and House Committees. It will take pressure from we the people to stir leadership to give it a hearing. Your help is needed to provide support for a hearing. Contact: Senator Paul E. Gazelka, Majority Leader at, and Rep. Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House, at

Our faith and love in the Spirit of John 3 can make the difference.


Ron Letnes