Legislating Gun Violence Won't End Gun Violence
20 Mar 2018
On February 14, 2018, a lone gunman entered Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and killed 17 students. Despite the mistakes by local police and the FBI prior to that day, it is gun control that has been on everyone’s mind. Why is there so little blame being placed on the gunman? Do you remember his name?
Disconnect Between the Person and the Weapon
I find it interesting, and sad, that people seem to have forgotten the name of the man who killed 17 students. While I’m certainly not into memorializing people for these types of actions, I do think it’s a little too soon to have forgotten. I admit, I had to look it up, but we’ve been so focused on guns, forgetting wasn’t tough to do. Unfortunately, we’ve been so focused on guns, I can’t help wonder, why is that man in jail if the gun is at fault?
People who are overly interested in gun control seem to have this disconnect between the person and the tool used. Taking away the tool isn’t, or wasn’t, going to change that man’s mind. He was most likely in a state that he was looking for the most efficient way, but if he didn’t have the tool, he could easily have killed just as many or more by building a homemade bomb, or driving his vehicle through the parking as classes are letting out.
The “Assault Rifle” Phobia
The word phobia gets tossed around a lot, but I think that it’s actually fitting in this case. It seems that the “assault rifle” is kind of like a boogeyman. It’s scary, but the truth is much less frightening than reality.
It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do1.
There are millions of these things in the hands of private law-abiding citizens, yet it’s only used a fraction of what they could be. Even when they are, the numbers aren’t as scary as other types of murder weapons: handguns, knives, blunt objects such as hammers, or even personal objects such as fists and feet2!
I liken the anti-assault rifle movement to someone afraid to fly in an airplane because the number of people that die all at once is traumatic; and it is! But it doesn’t change the fact that airplanes are safe. While guns may not be safe, the reaction is ironically very similar: irrational.
Violence Will Exist Regardless of Weapon Legislation
People don’t take into account the way that human beings are wired: we’re evil! Obviously, there are varying degrees of how our evil plays out in society, but we’re all evil to a certain extent.
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone (Luke 18:19 ESV).
I understand that the non-Christian would have trouble following this line of thinking, but this is grade school catechism for most Christians. Simply reading through your Bible front to back once in your life should be enough to gain this perspective, but even Christians seem more willing to blame guns than individuals.
So, it’s time to treat this with a little common sense, particularly from those who call themselves Christians. We need to see gun violence for what it is: another symptom of a fallen world that won’t be fixed by taking away a tool. Legislating gun control isn’t going to make gun violence go away. Evil will still exist in the world, just as it has since Cain killed Abel. We’ve been legislating violence in various forms for ages, and it’s failed miserably.
That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be punishment for individuals that commit such acts, but we should be focused on the individual and not the tool. The fact of the matter is, we already have laws against killing other human beings, and it doesn’t stop people. Gun control won’t stop people. Our best course of action is to bring God back into the discussion, as well as the dignity of human beings.
Apparently, the man who killed 17 people in Parkland, FL had no friends. No one talked to him. I wonder, were there no Christians in his life?
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