Note from Jake: It’s been 10 days since the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Out of respect for the victims and their family, we haven’t posted anything about the shooting until now. But given the significance of this event in the life of our nation, we need to speak about it, but I hope that our continued discussion of it will show the same respect for the victims that our silence did. On that note, here is Bernard Howard making his Mere O debut:

On February 16th, Jeb Bush tweeted the single word, “America,” accompanied by a picture of a handgun with his name inscribed on the barrel. The tweet has been retweeted more than 29,000 times, probably by a combination of the admiring and the appalled. It led, as one might have guessed, to a multitude of copycat tweets featuring a place name and an emblematic picture.

It wasn’t surprising that a Republican candidate should seek to associate his campaign with guns. Guns have long been an inviolable part of the GOP platform. But now that a significant portion of Republican voters have pledged #never to support their party’s presumptive nominee, there’s an unprecedented opportunity to create new alignments and policies. And whatever rises from the post-Trump Republican ashes will, one hopes, have a fresh openness to alternative ways of thinking about conservatism—even when it comes to guns.

With that prospect in mind, and with the horror of Orlando still spurring debate (and Senate votes) on guns, here are four propositions on gun control.

Proposition #1: There is a connection between loose gun laws and murder

This proposition is based on two premises: First, that US gun laws are relatively lax; and, second, that America suffers a disproportionately high rate of firearm homicide. The former is hard to dispute. Anti-gun control lobbyists often harm their own cause by favorably citing Switzerland and Israel (nations with high gun ownership and low homicide rates), because their gun control laws are in fact significantly tighter than America’s.

The latter premise can be established by comparison with five other English-speaking countries: Britain, Canada, Australia, the Republic of Ireland, and New Zealand. These are the countries most similar to America not only linguistically, but also economically, legally, and culturally. One of them shares a 5,500-mile border with America. Yes, America looks better when compared with Honduras, Lesotho, and Jamaica, but it’s reasonable to suggest that America’s aspiration should be to protect its people as effectively as the nations it most closely resembles. Their firearm homicide rates per 100,000 people are, in the order in which they’re listed above, 0.06, 0.38, 0.14, 0.25, and 0.18. America’s is 3.4. These figures are taken from the website gunpolicy.org, which is run by the University of Sydney. I welcome their correction, if they’re wrong.

Of course, it’s important to take other means of killing into account. Perhaps murderers simply switch methods in nations where guns are harder to obtain? The overall murder rates are, in the same order: 1.0, 1.5, 1.0, 1.1, 1.9, and 5.0. When the two lists of figures are placed side by side, America’s firearm homicide rate provides a clear outlying factor for explaining its higher overall murder rate. Without that outlier, America’s overall homicide rate would fall in one swoop to the other five nations’ much lower level.

Let us assume that the statistics above, and the conclusion drawn from them, are accurate. How many lives are at stake? A US murder rate below 2.0, instead of the current 5.0, would mean 10,000 fewer murdered Americans per year. So, after ten years, it would put 100,000 Americans on their feet instead of below ground—enough to fill a medium-sized town. A fifty-year period would resurrect enough otherwise-murdered Americans to populate a city the size of Miami. Christians should pause to consider this. When God says, in the Book of Genesis, “From each man … I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man,” he also gives this reason: “For in the image of God has God made man” (9:5-6). This is the gravity of preventable murder. The weight of each murder victim is the weight of God’s own image.

Proposition #2: Gun control has proved effective on a national scale

Later in this post, I’ll look at the question of how gun control relates to the Second Amendment. But that discussion is only worth having if gun control might actually make a difference. Since the mid-1990s, two of the countries listed above—Britain and Australia—have passed a series of laws designed to place limits on firearm ownership, without making it illegal to possess a gun. The changes include wait periods prior to gun purchases, mental health checks, a gun licensing system, restrictions on the kinds of guns that can be owned, and compulsory home gun cabinets for firearm owners. These measures aim to prevent guns falling into the wrong hands by using a variety of tactics, so that where one fails, another may succeed—rather like fighting cancer with a combination of treatments.

One way to measure the effect of these regulations is by considering mass shootings—the component of the homicide total that is most relevant in the wake of Orlando. A mass shooting is defined by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) as the murder of four or more people by firearm in one incident. From 1981-1996 in Australia there were fourteen mass shootings, with a total of 111 people murdered. Stricter gun controls were introduced in 1996, and there has since been just one mass shooting, with four victims. In Britain there has also been just one mass shooting, with twelve killed, since its own gun control legislation was introduced, in 1997.

Brace yourself for the equivalent US figures. A CRS report identified 317 mass shootings in the US from 1999-2013, with 1,554 killed. Those totals rise to 365 and 1,847 when brought up-to-date. This represents an extraordinary contrast with Britain and Australia’s figures, which can’t be explained away by America’s larger population size. The combined population of Britain and Australia amounts to 27 percent of the total number of Americans. So if those two countries’ mass shootings had the same frequency and deadliness as American mass shootings, they would together have had 99 incidents from 1999-2016, with 499 killed. Let me remind you: Britain and Australia have together had just two mass shootings in that time period, with only sixteen victims.

The knee-jerk response from opponents of gun control is to say that it has been tried in major American cities such as Chicago, where it has failed. But it’s hardly fair to compare state regulations to national regulations, because trafficking checks at the national level are so much more rigorous than those between US states (where they are essentially non-existent).

When people are already displaying warning signs of troubled mental health or sympathy for terrorist causes, Christianity supplies multiple reasons to keep them away from guns. It is loving to our neighbor (both the potential offender and their possible victims) to intervene. Temptation—as the final petition of the Lord’s Prayer reminds us—is dangerous.

Proposition #3: The barriers to gun control in America are overstated

Resistance to gun control is sometimes presented as fidelity to the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which declares, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” But it’s often forgotten that the Second Amendment is already limited. Anyone convicted of a felony, for example, or anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order, is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Background checks are legally required to ensure those limits to the Second Amendment are properly enforced, which means the proposal before the Senate this week to close a loophole allowing guns to be sold without background checks was entirely in keeping with the Constitution.

Similarly, the assault weapons ban introduced in 1994 survived all constitutional challenges before lapsing in 2004 due to its sunset clause. So gun control advocates do not need to argue that the original meaning of the Second Amendment is no longer fit for purpose. It has already been established that the right enshrined in the Second Amendment is one that can be withheld in certain circumstances, and with regard to certain weapons.

Another frequently-cited barrier to gun control in America is the existing presence of hundreds of millions of guns. Surely a gun-saturated society cannot be remedied? Yet here, again, the obstacle is overstated. Britain and Australia reduced the number of firearms through amnesties. Those people who preferred to hand in guns rather than comply with new regulations, or who owned guns belonging to newly-illegal categories, brought in their firearms to collection points. This procedure is not impossible to envisage in America. Most gun control advocates do not propose that regular Americans should be banned from possessing all firearms, so any program to reduce the amount of guns would by definition be limited in its scope. And yet the Bible reassures us that slow, limited progress can ultimately produce remarkable outcomes. Who could confidently say that British and Australian-style legislation would have no impact on the US gun homicide total even in the third, fourth, or fifth decade from now?

One conceptual barrier to gun control that American Christians have cited is the importance of the availability of guns for protecting one’s family. It’s said that we have a duty to be our “brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:9). But there’s nothing in Scripture to suggest that keeping your brother means obtaining military-grade weaponry to protect him from every possible threat. What’s more, the New Testament teaches that a Christian’s ties to other believers are just as strong, if not stronger, than to family members (Mark 3:31-35). Keeping your brother must therefore include seeking the welfare of fellow Christians in the inner city areas where the threat of gun death is greatest. Maintaining permissive gun laws does nothing to protect those brothers and sisters. In any case, the measures being proposed by most gun control advocates would not prevent Americans from keeping firearms in their own home, where they could be used for self-defense.

At a time when American Christians are understandably concerned about the threats posed by federal overreach, the prospect of any kind of firearm handover seems hard to swallow. But if the first proposition in this post is correct, America has a problem with guns that needs to be addressed. There is no reason why dealing with that specific problem should inevitably open a Pandora’s box of wider federal interference. And while there’s understandable anxiety among Christians about the process by which people are placed on federal watchlists, it seems overly suspicious to argue that no legal framework could provide satisfactory redress if wrongful inclusion on such lists occurred.

Proposition #4: Christians should endure inconvenience for the sake of others

As always with increased regulation, gun control would prove burdensome to ordinary citizens seeking to buy and keep firearms. But Christians have an example in Jesus of someone willing to endure burdens and inconvenience for the sake of others. Forty-nine people lie slain in Orlando. Nothing can restore them to their loved ones, but Britain and Australia show that gun control could prevent similar massacres in the future. The time has come for American Christians and their leaders to acknowledge the evidence, and to speak out boldly for greater restrictions on the easiest means of murder.

Coda: Geneva County, AL

In November 2015, I was in Geneva County, Alabama, for Thanksgiving. After lunch, a group of us took cases filled with guns and ammunition into the woods, where we spent a couple of hours shooting at targets in a makeshift range. We had an excellent time, and it was one of the highlights of my Thanksgiving break.

The same county in Alabama came to national attention in March 2009, when it was the scene of one of the 365 mass shootings in America since 1999. Among Michael McLendon’s ten victims were Sonya Smith, 43, killed at a gas station; Bruce Malloy, 51, murdered in his car; and James Starling, 24, who was shot dead while trying to run away.

Data from around the world shows that societies are not condemned to experience the firearm homicide rate found in the US. The example of other nations holds out the hope that America could preserve the kind of shooting activity enjoyed by my family over Thanksgiving, while simultaneously drastically reducing firearm homicides like those in Geneva County in March 2009. May God give us wisdom and courage to know and do what is best.

Bernard N. Howard lives in New York with his wife, Betsy, where they are seeking to plant a new Anglican church, God willing. Now and again Bernard blogs at sixtyguilders.org. You can follow him on Twitter.

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  • Maggie Sierdsma

    How would you respond to the idea that the level of gun ownership in the U.S. keeps us safe from foreign invasion or higher incidence of terror attacks? It is an argument I’ve been hearing on conservative talk radio lately.

  • Will

    I would like too see much more demographic breakdown done and I don’t find comparison to other countries to be particularly compelling. What I would like to see that I have not seen is a break down in mass shootings into those committed as part of gang warfare and drug traffic, those committed by the mentally unbalanced, and those committed for ideology. The reason I would like to see this is because the first category would then need to be broken down further to look at the effectiveness of local forms of gun control. Better policing methods here may be much more effective than more laws. The second is less a matter of needing gun control as much as it is a matter of rethinking how we handle mental illnesses. The third category doesn’t matter in gun control. We can’t easily stop terrorist attacks. There are many much more effective weapons than guns and they have already been used (jet liners, for instance). Shootings are simply favored by the decentralized and independent nature of modern terrorism. Guns can easily be replaced by homemade bombs (Boston). Orlando really has every appearance of falling into this third category.
    This is not an easy to solve issue. To be blunt, America has more legal and demographic diversity than any other country you compared us too. We have yet to examine how these diverse factors really work together. We can pretty much say that Chicago, with tight gun control, has a higher gun homicide rate than, say, my state of Kansas with few restrictions and where concealed carry without a license is a reality. Is it the different gun control laws that account for the differences? Is it the different culture? What set of national laws will work in both places and should gun control laws that actually work in Chicago be imposed on Kansas? Lets face it, here guns are used to get groceries and kill rattle snakes. In Chicago, they are primarily used to kill people, or threaten to kill people. I often get the feeling that political thinking essentially works to solve urban problems and then inflicts those solutions on everyone. There may be some measures we may all agree on (what hunter would want to carry the weight of a forty pound clip, anyway?) but I don’t believe in any one size fits all solutions.

  • John

    I’m sorry, but this article is just misinformed. Statistics are not arguments, and yet you’ve tried to present them as such. Just one quick example of your misinformed analysis is that you look at the decrease in the murder rate after the passage of gun laws like the one in Australia, but what you fail to notice is that the murder rate had already been going down far before the passage of the law. To attribute that decrease to the law is at best misinformed and at worst deceptive.

    That’s just one example of the many issues in this piece.

  • I think it’s hard to look at static, one-point-in-time murder statistics in the United States and other countries and draw meaningful conclusions. One hears that murder rates in the USA are around 5/100,000, whereas our peer countries (with less guns) have rates around 1-2, and gun control seems a likely solution. However, the picture becomes complicated when one considers that the number of guns per person in the USA rose from .94 to 1.45 between 1993 and 2013, that gun violence has fallen 12% in the past 20 years, and that between 1993 and 2013 the gun homicide rate fell from about 7/100,000 to about 3.6/100,000. In other words, you were twice as likely to be killed by a gun in American in 1993 as you were in 2013. Cast in that light, one could conclude an increase of guns yields a more peaceful America (if correlation were causation), or at least that there are other cultural factors that exert a much stronger influence on the incidence of violence than guns do (personally, I think this is more plausible conclusion). All that to say, I don’t find the statistics used here that persuasive, but I appreciate your theological reflections on what it could mean to love our neighbor.

  • James McClain

    The right to bear arms arises organically from the right to one’s own person, including stewardship of property and other persons. The defense of such is ultimately not due to the collective will of the state but of the individual. Any policy that interferes with this basic right to defend one’s person or property runs afoul of this postulation. As to the assertions and anecdotes presented here, it’s more of the same complicity to the erosion of individual liberty that assumes the law abiding ought be treated as criminal in their adherence to the simple proposition that to defend the just by use of firearms is a sometimes necessary in a fallen world.

    • C. Elliot

      “The right to [procure an abortion] arises organically from the right to one’s own person, including stewardship of property and other persons. The defense of such is ultimately not due to the collective will of the state but of the individual. Any policy that interferes with this basic right to [procure an abortion] runs afoul of this postulation. As to the assertions and anecdotes presented here, it’s more of the same complicity to the erosion of individual liberty that assumes the [lawfully-abortion-procuring] ought to be treated as criminal in their adherence to the simple proposition that to defend [their preferred lifestyles] by [procuring abortions] is sometimes necessary in a fallen world.”

      Libertarianism, man.

      (Of course, there are certain capacities that *are* properly best left to particular citizens more than to the state, and it isn’t absurd to think that many citizens should be able to bear arms as a dimension of their personal stewardship. But insofar as the common good is served by some citizens having more constrained firearm access than others, one can’t claim an equal universal *right* to bear arms unless one prioritizes individualism over the common good, thereby undercutting any prospect of legal constraint on abortion, for example.)

      • James McClain

        I’m sorry, that abortion bit just doesn’t follow. The second amendment stems logically from the belief among those who propagated it that there is a necessary connection between the right to property and the right to defend it when endangered. You might re-consider calling out the likes of James Madison as “libertarian”, at least in the contemporary use of that term; tough case to advance. What any of that has to do with abortion – the taking of an innocent who has no ability to defend himself – escapes me. Indeed, that is the denial of rights at the most basic level.

        As to the polity and its advancement of the public good, we can always debate the merits of any given policy with the recognition that some will be happy with it and others will not. So it goes with the democratic process. But one need make a better argument than the author of this piece to suggest that the denial of basic Constitutional liberties is a proper prescription. If one wants to suggest valid reasons as to why a Constitutional amendment should be adopted, then let’s have the debate. In the meantime, ineffective policy solutions won’t do.

        • C. Elliot

          About invoking the second amendment: the Constitution is not holy writ – as I think you move to acknowledge near the end of your second paragraph – and we should not shy away from manifesting our dissent if we discern errors. Yes, it’s crucial to clearly acknowledge changes as we undertake them and to undertake them carefully (see Alan Jacobs’ piece, linked-to below, about ‘disciplinary originalism’), but we should not let the Constitution unduly constrain our vision of justice.

          People’s proper stewardship should be protected, and (in keeping with subsidiarity) in many cases that protection will most properly be left to citizens rather than to any state entity. It does not follow, though, that the common good is best served by every last citizen being able to defend his or her personal stewardship through absolutely whatever means he or she most prefers. There are too many cases wherein the *possible* protective good of personal firearm ownership – defending one’s home against intrusion, heroically taking down a ‘bad guy’ in an emergency situation – is outweighed, for any of various reasons, by the more likely harms: children being harmed by inadequately-secured firearms in homes, negative impacts of firearm ownership on personal psychology (see “Americans may be more violent precisely because we have guns” in the second piece linked below), and the fact that ‘good guys with guns’ very naturally tend to not constructively intervene in emergency situations (see the third piece linked below).

          Insofar as some people won’t be adequately conscientious in owning certain types of weaponry, state constraint on the ownership of such weaponry (in this context, gun control) serves the common good. Will some people charge that they would’ve prevented [X tragedy] is the state had not forbidden them certain types of weaponry? Almost certainly. And will the state perfectly discern adequate conscientiousness in all cases? Almost certainly not. But foreseeable errors of state judgment do not render gun control invalid as an endeavor in service to the common good. If the second amendment in fact directs that absolutely every citizen has a right to own a firearm – the sentiment that (for what I can tell) you very clearly stated at the very beginning of your first comment on this post – I can’t help but find it unjust.

          As to abortion: I agree that abortion in pretty much every case violates the good, and I suppose it’s possible to construct a libertarianism that believes in a fetal right to life – although for what I can tell contemporary libertarianism in America hugely disdains that idea. My point in swapping abortion-rights language into your initial comment was to demonstrate how easily your sentiment about personal autonomy (certainly at least as you articulated it there) translates into support for total abortion license.

          http://www.theamericanconservative.com/jacobs/scalia-and-disciplinary-originalism/

          http://theweek.com/articles/573932/conservative-case-reforming-americas-sick-gun-culture

          http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/a-good-guy-with-a-gun-runs-too/

          • James McClain

            1. Holy writ, no – and I am not arguing as such. The Bill of Rights frames a basic understanding of the kinds of goods inherently due free persons in this society. Certainly we can argue about what those should be, but in our political system, denial of those rights requires either a creative workaround to the basic meaning inherent in the language and understanding of those who delivered them (another discussion), or one may work with the tools they created to make changes – read here Constitutional amendment.
            2. We can swap anecdotes on this issue till the cows come home; having seen the dizzying array from all quarters, the back and forth is tiresome. At the end of the day one must decide either to give deference to the state to make laws that will deny certain rights inherent in our political structure, or, allow the citizen his due, while taking into account the fact that he cannot violate the rights of others while he exercises his. I know of no one who argues that every person has an unmitigated right to firearm ownership, or any other for that matter. By committing certain acts one may forfeit certain rights. The problem with many proposed “gun control” solutions is that, invariably, the greatest burden will be borne by those whose actions constitute no reasonable forfeiture of those rights while those who wish to commit crimes will often tend find access to firearms – especially in a nation awash with them.
            3. I would challenge the notion that because certain bad things can happen, the law should hollow out liberties. Because some people are careless, stupid, etc. does not necessarily translate into relinquishing them. If one wants to defer to statistics maybe he could compare the # of deaths/injuries to children and adolescents caused by accidental shooting with an unsecured firearm vs., let’s say, the # of deaths/injuries caused by auto accidents at the hands of the same demographic. While I’m aware of weaknesses with this analogy, it works in both directions. So maybe we should, as a rule, dispense with them?
            4. “The common good”. It is precisely the outworking of this notion that divides us. You trust the state to make the right choices as to control access to guns. I have reservations about political authorities who seem all to willing to quash civil liberty in the name of another cause, albeit the surface issue may be reasonable. On balance, in which scenario are we better off – more guns, fewer guns? Ultimately, who can tell? But it seems to me that it was wise for the designers of this political system to put the brake on arbitrary policies hatched in the heat of the moment to deny basic goods to the citizenry.
            5. I’m at a loss as to what is “unjust” about the right to own a firearm. Let me repeat: the right to manage one’s person and property is the central feature here. Lest we forget, that is the point not only to the Bill of Rights, but is the heart beating at the center of the Constitution. This means that as one who possesses a responsibility to his fellow man, expediency requires that, when necessary, force be used on behalf of the innocent, whether a or not a gun is used.
            6. I’m not a libertarian. How anything I have stated is interpreted as such, apart from the referent of liberty, strikes me as odd. The libertarian gives allegiance to autonomous self; I do not. Just because there may be agreement on this issue or that, the basic understanding as to where we are ultimately headed is in a different universe. I believe my position on this issue ultimately better serves not only oneself but his fellow citizenry as well.

            Lengthy – sorry – maybe food for thought here.

          • C. Elliot

            I appreciate the length! And I appreciate this conversation. Thanks for your thorough reply. :-) (Also, my apologies for my delay with this reply.) For brevity, I’ll try to draw on some common themes from your sub-sections rather than going piece-for-piece.

            You speak of the contents listed in the Bill of Rights as “inherently due” to upstanding citizens, as “rights inherent in our political system,” and as “basic goods.” I simply don’t think that a right (in the sense that I take you to mean by that term) to bear arms is crucial to societal function, and I hope for some established clause – whether through the judiciary or an amendment – that establishes gun ownership more as a privilege than as a right.

            The comparison with vehicular operation is instructive here, even aside from issues of statistics. Insofar as American citizens have a ‘right to drive,’ it is an *earned* right – earned through study and practical formation and demonstrated skill. Unless one is properly skilled, one is likely to actualize the latent dangers in driving, which is why we’re glad for drivers’ tests and for the state’s ability to retract one’s ‘right to drive’ if one loses or declines to exercise the necessary skill.

            Can we agree that guns, like cars, bear certain latent dangers, and that guns’ potential goods will only outweigh their likely harms through certain personal practices and formation? If you’ll agree to that similarity, why not grant that ‘the right to bear arms’ should logically be dispensed in the same way as ‘the right to drive,’ rather than on the presumption that someone owns his or her gun(s) well until he or she demonstrates otherwise?

            Certainly, guns serve different possible ends than cars, in ways that make difficult any prospect of overturning the ‘conservative’ conception of the second amendment. For example, I can understand someone insisting on an absolute right to firearm-ownership if he or she truly believes that the state is likely to violently tyrannize the nation’s citizens; however, that belief would compel absolute opposition to *any* legal constraint on ownership of *any* weapon, since the citizenry must own firepower enough to face down the state.

            Given the time-lapse since our last comments, I’ve probably dropped some threads of the conversation that I’d meant to address, but I should set about other things for at least while today. Please let me know about any significant points where you think I’ve really failed to reply to your argument. :-)

  • Megan

    With the recent tragedy in Orlando and the 365 such incidences since 1999, much of the gun control debate focuses on the issue of homicide–and rightfully and necessarily so as the taking of other lives is horrific. However, while you mentioned homicide statistics in the US (which, absolutely, is ~10,000 homicides by gun every year), an issue that is often left out of the debate is the ~20,000 suicides that occur by gun every year (statistic can also be found at gunpolicy.org and elsewhere). While some might say that suicide is a different issue because it is committed against oneself and a personal choice, etc. But I think that as Christians, when we talk about gun control and aspects like caring for others, loving our neighbors, being responsible to protect our brothers and sisters in Christ, and generally the effects that guns have on the lives and well-being of, well, everyone, we cannot minimize the importance of that number. When we talk about mental illness and gun control, we need to talk about this too. We can talk about all the hypotheticals of defending against attacks from intruders or terrorists or our own government or even the likelihood of being killed in a mass shooting, but the truth is that a person is twice as likely to be shot with a gun at their own hand than by someone else’s. Will stricter gun control prevent suicide? No. But it will change the nature of firearm acquisition, and if Australia and the UK are any indication, it will reduce the number of guns available for killing not only others but also oneself.

    • Cdun

      As seen in australia it will not reduce suicides in a significant matter or even enough to show there is a coralation.

  • Kenneth Conklin

    Given the timing of this post after the Orlando tragedy, and lopsidinged, unbalanced treatment of the subject, it’s disappointing. Did Mr. Howard even consult or glance at pro-gun sources, before regurgitating standard anti-gun talking points? I’d recommend the works of Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a devout conservative Presbyterian. Larry is used to (pardon the pun) shooting holes in the cases various folks make for gun control.
    I’ll propose a different title for his proposition #1: There is a connection between sin, and depraved hearts, and murder. How fascinating that other implements of violence such as baseball bats, knives, etc., don’t merit the same attention and vitriol.
    I would also ask Mr. Howard: please show us successful examples of gun control here in the U.S. Britain and Australia are cop-outs. Chicago as knee-jerk answer is adorable. D.C. not being mentioned is rather telling. He has no explanation for how gun control actually is effective, when it isn’t. Here’s an easier question: describe how gun-free zones keep us safe, since so many of them are the sites of violence by depraved individuals who feel no compunction to obey the laws. I find it astonishing that Mr. Howard has what seems to be an obsession with the misuse of guns, but avoids contemplation of the sin that lies at the core of the person.
    Even the Scripture passages cited leave much, much to be desired. Perhaps they were chosen for emotional impact; indeed, murder is a grace offense before our holy God. Self-defense is throughout Scripture, and Jesus addresses this in the Gospels. But you will not find it here. Only the misuse of guns, instead of the advocacy of the proper usage of them. I can only wonder how Mr. Howard will treat the rest of the Bill of Rights, if this is his attitude toward the 2nd.

  • Cdun

    The unmentioned moral issues of the US i think should be brought up. The fact that even at australia’s preban homicide rates they were not even half of americas. Gun control is a bandaid to a completely different issue. If gun owners are worried about government overreach why would we think any better of a system in place to be removed from a watch list?

  • Kenneth

    Unhelpful. Misinformed. Zero meaningful interaction with opposing views.

  • And if I decline, your argument includes SWAT raids by men with guns to enforce your “Christian” argument.

    Join the enforcement class. Perhaps you’ll get an indulgence for killing the disobedient.