The two prime arguments for opposing gun laws are: 1) I have a Constitutional RIGHT to purchase, possess and use a gun; 2) I need to PROTECT myself, family and others from a threatening person and the government. Let’s talk.
Yes, you do have a Constitutional RIGHT to purchase, possess and use a weapon. But with these caveats: IF you are not a felon, been convicted of domestic violence, you are a responsible adult and are not mentally ill. IF you go through a criminal background check. IF you are licensed and your weapon is registered, and IF you pass a gun safety course. NONE, I repeat NONE of these requirements will prevent a mature and responsible adult from purchasing, possessing and using a gun. I would also argue the statistics to support these “IFs”. (See: www.protectmn.org, www.engageelca.org, www.thetrace.org, www.everytown.org, www.giffords.org)
Furthermore, IF our nation needs a Constitution and a Bill of Rights to function, IF the Church and Jewish brothers and sisters honor the Ten Commandments, and IF the nonviolent ethics of Jesus are relevant, why is it unreasonable to require safe and protective gun laws? How about football, basketball and baseball without rules of the game? Anyone for anarchy? Sandlot ball?
PROTECTION. Yes, there are times when a gun in the hands of a civilian is used to protect family, parishioners and the public. Yet, there are ample statistics that declare a gun in the home or in general public open carry use is more dangerous than the fewer times it is used for personal protection. A gun in the home, if used, is 22 times more likely to be used against a family member or oneself than against an intruder, and a woman is five times at greater risk of homicide. (See: above cited web sites)
PROTECTION against the government? Fear not! Politicians are so afraid of losing your vote they wouldn’t allow any law that would prevent your purchasing, possessing and using a weapon. Also, how effective would your shotgun, rifle or handgun be against an Abrams Tank, a battle trained soldier, SEAL Team 7, a 50 caliber machine gun, Apache helicopter and trained snipers, to name a few military assets. Toss in the CIA and FBI for good measure. Good luck!
Blind focus on RIGHTS and PROTECTION means surrendering to FEAR. Fear leads to defensiveness. Defensiveness leads to hostility. Hostility leads to tragedy. Gun violence is tragedy. I John 4:18 says “. . .perfect love casts out fear.” 40,000 gun deaths a year begs us to plea for a better value other than fear and protection. Call it love for one another.
In gun violence prevention language this means asking questions like: What can save lives? What is preventive of gun violence? What laws will allow for purchase, possession and usage by responsible persons and keep guns out of the hands of those who are not responsible? For starters, I suggest Universal and Criminal Background Checks and Red Flag Laws. (See www.protectmn.org/resources for descriptions) RIGHTS and PROTECTION are not enough reasons for preventing gun safety laws. SAFETY and PREVENTION are the best mantras for gun usage. They are LOVE values.
Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)