Near the conclusion of the movie “The American President”, the President, portrayed by Michael Douglas, briefly discusses gun control legislation. One of his statements relative to this topic is, “I’m gonna to get the guns”. Given the recent school shootings, this attitude is spreading across the country. I’m sure there are many well-meaning folks who are expressing this view. However, it is the wrong approach to the problem we are facing, wrong for multiple reasons.
First, the right of Americans to possess such weapons is guaranteed by our Constitution. You will never eliminate that amendment apart from another civil war in this nation. Take away my right to own a gun and I have no means of defending myself when the criminal shows up with a gun. You surely do not believe criminals will give up their guns if we merely eliminate the Second Amendment!
Second, you can’t eliminate all guns. It is an impossibility. Someone will always have a gun or equivalent weapon. I’m certain you want the police and military armed. You want guards with guns protecting certain individuals. Someone will have guns. The right was added to the Constitution to ensure the public could arm itself against a tyrannical government. Therefore, some citizens should possess weapons, or we are exposed to the whims of any tyrant. And, IF ANYONE HAS A GUN, someone must manufacture such a weapon. In other words, they will be available and anyone who owns one may commit such a crime.
Third, gun regulations and gun buy-back programs do not work. Check out Chicago which has the strictest gun laws in the nation. Look at their murder rate. St. Louis holds gun buy-back days. But, those who sell their guns back to the authorities are the law-abiding citizens, not the ones committing the gun crimes. Yes, guns are taken off the street, however, the result is a more unprotected populace, not a reduced criminal element.
Fourth, if you outlaw certain types of firearms, do you really believe the criminal will stop using them? Even if you could banish all guns, it would not deter the individual desiring to kill. They will find another weapon. Already, we have witnessed mass murder by knife, by plane, and by vehicle.
Fifth, the gun is not the problem. The problem is the person using the gun. Each of us have the capability of pulling the trigger. We must recognize the root cause of such shootings is our depraved, evil, sinful nature. To commit such an act, is to commit rebellion against our Creator and our Judge. Jesus understood this quite well. When, at his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter used his sword to cut off the servant’s ear. Jesus told him to put away the sword. He did not tell him to get rid of his sword. In that situation, Jesus recognized the problem was not the sword; it was Peter’s heart!
So, is there anything we can do to make schools safer? Yes, if we use some common sense. I offer up a few suggestions.
1. “See something, say something”. This saying has been with us since 9/11. Much of the time, however, we see things but never say anything. But, in the recent Florida shooting, someone saw something, someone said something, and the agencies involved DID NOTHING. Let’s call on our government to be as diligent in their pursuit of potential killers as they are in their exhortation for us to be in reporting the same.
2. LOCK THE SCHOOL DOORS. Make certain those admitted to a school are not armed.
3. Allow some of the educational staff to conceal and carry. Not every teacher has to be armed and you don’t have to force every teacher to own a gun. But, I suspect every school in the nation has a few individuals who own weapons. Provide them whatever training they need to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon and, then let them do so at the school. No one need know who it is. But, if a killer knows there may be armed personnel in his targeted location, he may think twice about attacking it.
4. Owning a gun is a right granted in our Constitution. However, as certain rights are restricted or removed due to prior offenses, so should the right to own a gun. Let’s appoint justices to our courts who take such crimes seriously. If you are armed during any type of criminal action, you automatically serve time in prison and lose the right to own a gun in the future.
5. Let us recognize that “but by the grace of God I am what I am”. Apart from His grace, we could be the one committing the crime. Man’s nature and not man’s weapon is the problem. Until our nature is changed, there is always the risk of such acts of evil: planes as bombs, gassing thousands to death in showers, running over individuals with a truck, blowing up an office building in an Oklahoma town, shooting individuals in a church or a school, or killing a woman’s unborn child.
For decades, our nation has been on a steady decline from following God. Many believe that is a good thing, a sign we are emerging from a “dark, superstitious age”. We do our best to remove God from every part of our society. By doing so, we think we will become better people. Perhaps, it is time for our nation to reconsider this view. You see, it is here the Bible speaks to us. Without the regenerating work of God’s Spirit upon our heart, evil will continue to dominate and rule. And that evil WILL manifest itself from time to time in such tragic events as took place last week in Florida.
The ultimate answer is found not in gun control but in Jesus Christ. He alone changes lives. He alone has overcome evil. He alone can make the difference.
SOLUS CHRISTUS and SOLI DEO GLORIA