Posted by: morgan1965 | March 7, 2013

Gun Safety & The Idolatry of Guns

In recent weeks and months, there has been considerable public conversation about the matter of guns, gun violence, and gun safety. In these conversations there is always a robust defense of each citizen’s second amendment rights. The second amendment says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It is clear that American citizens have the right to own guns. The amendment, however, does not offer any guidance with regard to the matter of gun violence and gun safety. We no longer live in a rural America. Congress and state legislatures, of course, have enumerated a variety of laws and guidelines to maintain a certain level of gun control and to curb gun violence.

In light of the preponderance of gun violence in this nation, I am an advocate for gun safety. There were no guns in the home where I grew up. My father did not own a gun, nor did he engage in any hunting. It was a long time before I began to understand why my father did not own any guns.

In his senior years, my father told me the story of what had happened in his family while he was a teenager. One morning he and his brothers were “handling” a rife that belonged to my father. The rifle discharged and his brother who was hit by a bullet soon died of his wound. They apparently were “horsing around,” and the tragic accident occurred in their home. I can understand why he did not have any involvement with any kind of guns, whether for hunting or for protection.

Perhaps my father’s lack of interest in guns fueled my noninterest in guns. I would not, however, deny the right of legitimately licensed people to own a gun. Ownership of a gun, however, requires responsibility on the part of the gun owner. Gun ownership necessitates gun safety. I cannot see any reasonable justification, however, for owning any kind of assault rife or high capacity magazine.

Is it possible that there is an idolatry of guns in America? What is there in the very fabric of our culture that fosters the proliferation of gun violence across this nation? Our Congress seems reluctant to enact common-sense gun laws that would enable greater gun safety. Dangerous people should not have assault weapons readily available to them. Surely there ought to be a background check initiated for every gun purchase in America.

As a nation, we embrace violence in our culture, as manifested in such activities like violent sports, violent movies and violent video games. Violent video games seem to say that killing people is somehow okay. Gun violence in some form erupts daily all across America. The death toll among our citizens continues to rise. In the wake of the Newtown massacre, gun sales have soared.

In the midst of this raging gun violence, we are reminded of two biblical teachings.
God gave us the Ten Commandments. First, let us note here that the first commandment says: “You shall have no other gods before me.” The fifth commandment says: “You shall not murder.” [Exodus 20:1-17] It is human beings who utilize guns to kill other people.

Second, Jesus said: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” [Matthew 5:44]. Instead of resorting to violence when we have differences, we have the option of treating other folk as human beings. We can use peaceful means to resolve our conflicts.

If we are to tackle the idolatry of guns in a meaningful way we can work on two legal challenges at the local, state and federal levels. There needs to be a ban on the sale of assault rifles and large capacity magazines. Second, there is a need for all purchasers of a gun to submit to a thorough background check. In addition, our society must provide adequate help for the mentally ill. This is a must.

Most of all, we as Christians, can turn to the moral high ground where we love our neighbor.

Think about it?

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