This is the first and more than likely the last time I will dive into politics with this blog. I typically steer clear of any political discourse with most things I do, I have my opinions and my affiliations, but I find that any discussion I get into regarding politics, is not productive. However, we must have an open and honest discussion into the debate on guns.
This is not an attack on the second amendment, this is not an attack on the NRA, and its not an attack on your rights to own a gun(s). But as a strong, devout Christian, I struggle with the idea of owning guns for the sake of owning guns. They are weapons and tools that allow someone the potential to take another life. Now, considering the constitution, specifically our 2nd amendment rights, I do believe each American Citizen has the right to own a gun, and even defend themselves with said gun, should the opportunity arise. I don’t agree with a total confiscation of all guns from American Citizens, as some are demanding.
It’s unfortunate and sickening what happened this week in Las Vegas, my heart breaks as I read the stories of the 58 innocent people who lost their lives in this senseless tragedy. Like most Americans, I’m horrified, as I watch the media footage of this carnage, hearing the rapid gun fire, seemingly from out of nowhere, as the concert goers try desperately to get away. I’m equally appalled at the lack of answers, I’m scouring the news, hoping to make some kind of sense of why this happened. I will be the first to admit, when I woke up Monday morning and saw the news of the shooting, that my own prejudices kicked in. Great! Another mass shooting, more than likely a crazy lone wolf Islamic terrorist. I couldn’t have been more wrong, this shooter, obviously mentally disturbed, was one of us, an American citizen.
There are no easy answers on gun control, there will always be a side that is not happy with whatever law is passed. Whether it be, universal background checks or less restrictions; there will be a side that feels alienated and left out. Granted, bump stock, like the shooter had installed on his weapon, should be outlawed. Just because a certain law is passed does not mean that we will see an end to the horrific violence that we saw in Las Vegas, in fact the statistics prove otherwise. More people were killed in the violence in Nice, France than Las Vegas, no guns involved. Instead, we saw a deranged lunatic mow over a crowd of people with a box truck. And let’s not forget that the terrorists on 9/11 committed mass murder with commercial airlines. Should we ban all vehicles?
This is not say, because of my ridiculous question above, that there shouldn’t be any laws regarding gun control. I hope by now that our politicians are getting sick and tired of waking up to another horrible tragedy related to gun violence, and this springs them into action. Unfortunately, the trend is to be vigilant the first few weeks after an incident like Las Vegas, and after enough time has passed it is quickly forgotten, until another mass shooting takes place, and we revisit the debate. The laws aren’t good enough to stop the criminals but what about the average non-criminal American Citizen. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, passed criminal back ground checks, purchased his weapons legally, was a quiet, retired accountant, who even worked as a government employee for a time in his life. Any law, outside of total confiscation, and probably even that, would not have stopped him from committing this heinous act. In fact, based on the statistics of major mass shootings in the United States from 1982-2017, 73% of all guns used were bought legally, according to MotherJones.com (1). So this goes to say that a majority of the murderers, in these mass shootings, were able to commit their crimes using weapons obtained legally.
We shouldn’t limit the debate to only mass shootings, but gun violence as a whole. It’s a shame that this only gets nation wide attention when we have a Las Vegas, San Bernardino, or Orlando type incident. The troubling facts so far this year, are shocking. There have been 11,715 gun related deaths, only 273 of those was a mass shooting, that is only 2% of all gun deaths for 2017 (2). Why are the media not talking about this? Why does it take a mass shooting for this debate to get any attention? I’m not an expert on gun law, and I’m not going to pretend that I have the solution. Evil is evil, the Bible tells us that we have an enemy, and this enemy is like a roaring lion seeking anyone he might devour.(3) This is a powerful analogy that Peter uses to describe our adversary, Satan, who is hell-bent (pun intended) on wreaking carnage on all of Gods creation. So he will accomplish his goals with or without gun laws.
Another gun law is not the answer and government is not our answer, for that matter. One thing that I’ve always felt about our country, and I think this is where us Christians get politics wrong from the onset, is we try to make change from the top down. We pray earnestly and vote for a presidential candidate that is going to align to our believes and hope that the change we desperately want will happen. It doesn’t, and we are disappointed for the next four years. This isn’t related to gun violence, but it proves my point; take abortion for instance, This is a law that has been on the books for quite awhile and most conservative Christians are ashamed of it. The problem is when we get a candidate that we think could make any real change to the abortion laws, they can’t get anything accomplished with it. This is a cycle that we keep repeating and repeating. What is it going to take to make any real change in this country? Well, I believe it will take Bible studies, praying (in person) for our neighbors and friends, inviting them to church, witnessing to others about our faith, winning non-believers to God, it’s going to take a grass-roots movement from the bottom up to make any real change in this country.
Facts are facts, I don’t like them and I may not hold a popular opinion on this, but I can’t argue with the numbers. We don’t have a gun problem in America in the sense of the gun itself, we have an apathetic Christian problem in America. Think with me if you will, what if a Christian neighbor had reached out to Stephen, led him through a Bible study. I’m not saying this could have prevented Mr. Paddock from doing what he did, but at the same time it could have. How many of our family members, neighbors, coworkers, friends, and casual acquaintances do we have that still can be reached for the LORD? How many people do we pass by, everyday, that we just ignore? Could any of these people be contemplating using a weapon to either harm themselves or others?
Were not going to stop all gun violence, but we could make this world a much better place if Christians, myself included, would be what Jesus demanded us to be. That is a loving and compassionate people. Our response to incidents like Las Vegas shouldn’t be a worrisome concern that the government is going to take away more of my freedoms, but rather, us Christians should respond with prayer, fasting, reaching out to a lost and dying world with the hope that is in Jesus Christ.
3: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8 KJV