If You Give A Man an Assault Rifle…

…he will use it.

Last week (late December, 2012) 26 people were mercilessly gunned down in a Newtown Connecticut elementary school by a 20-year old “man” whose name will not be mentioned in this blog (lest we gift him the recognition he undoubtedly wanted). Of these 26 victims, 6 were adults (mostly educators), and the remaining 20 were kindergarten children and 1st graders. The aggressor was wielding a LEGAL, semi-automatic assault rifle and multiple, high-capacity magazines.

This is perhaps the most gruesome and spineless mass-shooting our nation has encountered, but it is not the only one, not by far. Nor will it be the last. In fact, over the past 30 years, there have been 62 such murderers. And as troubling as this is, perhaps what is equally disturbing is that just shy of 75% of the guns used in these killings were LEGAL. I think that fact says something about people who fight to make (or keep) these types of weapons, modifications and magazine-capacities available to the public. It also says something about people who lobby and vote to remove all restrictions on possessing weapons in places like schools, hospitals, churches, movie theaters and other public spaces and government buildings. This is so offensive that I cannot help but to view such people as unwitting accessories to murder every time one of these semi-automatic, high-capacity guns is used for a shooting spree.

Nevertheless, I know that mine is not the only opinion on the matter, so I am briefly going to consider the most predominant arguments I have heard for unrestricted access to these murder weapons, and I will address each of them.

1) “Guns don’t kill people.” 

2) “If everyone had guns, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.”

3) “If we outlaw guns, then only outlaws (criminals) will have guns.”

The first statement, that “guns don’t kill people,” is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, not because it isn’t technically true, but because the people that say it are either delusional or oblivious to the relationship between guns and death (which I seriously doubt), or because they want to try and bypass the obvious truth that guns have a direct relationship with body counts. What is doubly ironic about people who chant this mantra is that, at some point, most of them will also lean on the argument of self-defense to try and justify their possession of guns and ammo. But when they do so, they tacitly admit that guns DO in fact kill people and that this killing is exactly what they intend should an intruder inspire them to open fire. Would these gun-toting “self defenders” have us believe that they only intend to wound or scare intruders? Are they really going to aim for a leg? Are they of the mindset that a gun is merely designed to “scare” someone apart from the threat of death? Again, I am not sure who we are kidding here.  I suppose that if we wanted to get technical about the situation, it is the bullets that do the killing, so if we can’t muster the moral will or political power to rid ourselves of military-type guns, then I suppose that banning their respective bullets would be just as good. Even on my best days, every time I hear someone repeat the pithy political propaganda that “guns don’t kill people,” it inspires contempt and an eye-roll. I honestly don’t know who they are trying to convince, other people, or themselves.

I have the same type of criticism for the militia-type wannabes and ex-military conspiracy theorists who just “know” that the commies (or even worse, the Liberals) are going to invade their town, round everybody up for re-education camps and/ or kill everyone. Well, everyone except the washed-out, overweight, gun-toting Chuck Norris fan who is itching to go Red Dawn on the Russians (Oh wait, now it’s the Chinese who we’ve been taught to fear), and single-handedly start a resistance movement with his AR-15 semi-auto rifle and Rambo knife. Please. And once again this demonstrates that the only reason such wannabes have these types of weapons is because those guns do, in fact, kill people.

2. “If everyone had guns, this sort of thing (mass-shooting) wouldn’t happen.”

This sort of argument is almost as ridiculous as claiming that “guns don’t kill people.” Perhaps the strongest argument against this line of reasoning comes in the form of an argument reductio ad absurdum which my friend, David Manning, succinctly penned on the issue:

“I’ve totally figured out how to accomplish world peace. Instead of nuclear non-proliferation, let’s have nuclear ubiquity! Give nuclear weapons to every country, tribe and militia that wants them. When everyone has nuclear weapons, everyone will be safer. Any country that goes crazy and tries to start something will promptly be taken out by its nuclear-armed neighbors. It’ll be much better this way. Trust me.” 

David went on to suggest that, to maximize safety, we could require an application process and waiting period or even nuclear weapon safety-training courses for those who want to obtain such an armament. Personally, I can’t think of a more frightening world. Knowing that every hot-headed and easily incited idiot I have ever met is packing heat is almost as scary. I am embarrassed that many people have a driver’s license, and now we want to arm them? Dear God!!!

Drawing a parallel with nuclear weapons ought to point out the silliness of arguing that everyone ought to be armed, but I would also like to consider a few other things. First, I would like to remind everyone that 20 of the 26 recent school-shooting victims were between the ages of 6 and 7. Are we honestly going to assert that these children should have been packing heat, and that if all children (and everyone else) did this, that there would be LESS gun violence in our nation? I am going to assume that people who argue that “everyone” should have guns are not completely insane and don’t mean to include children (or the mentally unstable) when they say “everyone,” but as soon as they allow for the caveat, then their initial argument falls apart. If everyone else has guns, then any single class of restricted people (like children) have become easy targets, and this is precisely why the recent school shooter picked an elementary school in the first place. Arm everyone? Fail.

Any good gun-defender will surely then shift to argue that it is the teachers in the classrooms who ought to be armed. This is also stupid, for it assumes first, that teachers will never go insane (a poor assumption), and second, that students will not get access to the weapon (either by force or by teacher negligence). I can’t imagine my 64-year old, dainty, junior high science teacher, Mrs. Jones, wielding any type of firearm, much less keeping our over-hormoned bodies and underdeveloped brains away from it.  And let’s not forget the Columbine school shooting in Colorado. There was an armed security guard at the school that day. That didn’t stop the massacre.

Third, the notion of arming “everyone” leans on the inherently befuddled notion that having guns will deter gun violence. As a collective, I think it only fair to observe that humans have proved that they are incapable of handling firearms in a responsible way. Thus arguing that we merely need to arm more people suffers from serious cognitive dissonance. If having more guns in the general populace meant that people were safer, then the USA (with the highest per-capital level of civilian firearms on earth) would be the safest nation on the planet. It isn’t. Not by a mile. Arming everyone (or at least a lot of people) has made us less safe, not more.

3) “If we outlaw guns, then only outlaws (criminals) will have guns.”

First, this is demonstrably false. No one is arguing that law-enforcement officials relinquish their weapons. Law enforcement needs deadly weapons at its disposal.

Second, tell the parents whose children were slaughtered this week by a LEGALLY obtained assault rifle, that only outlaws will have guns if we outlaw guns. The idiot shooter who massacred those children had no prior criminal record and had neither the mental capacity nor the resources to obtain banned weapons on his own. Even so, it is likely that if he possessed the money, he would have passed a background check and waiting period to buy the assault rifle he used anyway.

Third, this argument leans on a false dichotomy which wants to press the issue to one of two extremes, namely, that we either have a total elimination of all firearms or a total elimination of all restrictions on all firearms. Very few people argue for either extreme, myself included. I am merely advocating that all semi-automatic firearms be banned, as well as magazine capacities that hold more than 3 bullets, armor-piercing rounds, sniper and assault rifles of all types. Such weapons are only for one thing: killing people, and cops in particular when it comes to armor-piercing rounds. There is simply no reason to sell these types of weapons and upgrades to the public unless we want to engender exactly the sort of tragedies that we are experiencing with increasing frequency.

Deer hunters won’t need more than 3 shots at a time, the same can be said of other types of prey, bird hunters in particular. Squirrels and other small game can even be had with a good pellet gun, and I seriously doubt that “self-defense” will require more than 3 shots either. Yes, this may be mildly inconvenient, but that is a laughable price to pay for the safety this will bring to our society as a whole. Get over it.

There is much more to say on these initial three arguments, but I’ll let that suffice for now. However, there are three additional protests that merit a brief evaluation:

4) “We’ve outlawed drugs and look how well that is working out.” 

This argument is confused. First it implies that banning drugs has had no impact on society, an assumption I categorically reject and will continue to do so until evidence can be marshaled by the opposition. Pending that evidence, the analogy is a broken one.

Second, this protest tacitly suggests that if there is a strong correlation between the gun issue and illegal drug issue, then illegal drugs ought to be made legal just as fire arms ought to be unrestricted. Once again, I question the wisdom of this and suspect that even those who try to use protest #4 have not thought through where their argument leads, and that very few politically Conservative, pro-gun types are actually in support of legalizing all presently banned drugs. It is a faulty analogy.

Third, while I admit that abuse and neglect are certainly part of the culture associated with using recreational drugs, it is nevertheless true that, if a life is going to be destroyed by using them, it is usually the life of the user himself or herself. This is not the case with mass-shootings, and at that point, attempting to draw a parallel between guns and recreational drugs completely falls apart.  It’s a broken analogy.

5) “If you want to ban guns, then you might as well ban cars and knives too, because they can also kill people.”Guns and Cars

First, this is a poor excuse for an argument on restricting semi-automatic assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, amor-piercing rounds and sniper rifles etc. Unlike the items I just mentioned, cars and knives have purposes beyond killing people. I think that any normal adult can see the difference. Of course I recognize that anything and everything, even a paperclip, can be a potential weapon, but to use them in such a way is beyond their purpose. I recognize that the world is not safe and that we cannot legislatively or practically prevent paper clips and other seemingly benign items from being used as weapons, but this is not the case with the kinds of firearms and upgrades I mentioned. We CAN prevent them from carrying out their intended function (killing humans), and the first step to doing so is banning their sale, trade, manufacture, transportaion and use, as well as the bullets that are fired from them. It is impossible for a civilian to use a weapon that he or she has no access to and can procure no bullets to fire from.

Second, this argument fails to consider that many things like cars, cribs, toys, medicines and foods etc. ARE, in fact, banned, decommissioned, recalled and destroyed when they prove to be dangerous to people. Similarly, manufacturers of such products can be (and have been) held to account for their irresponsibility. If 100+ public shootings and hundreds of thousands of our dead citizens do not demonstrate the lethality or inherent problems with firearm “products” then what does?

Finally, suggesting that products like unsafe cars be banned does not constitute an argument against the banning of unsafe guns.

6) “Education and Safety Technology would have stopped mass-shootings.”

This argument sounds wonderful, but it fails on several points, not the least of which is that gun education and safety devices are ALREADY easily available, affordable and widely promoted. None of theses things stopped the recent shootings.

Second, education itself will do nothing to prevent people who want to go on a death-dealing gun-rampage from doing so. Safety devices stand a slightly better chance, but only if they are used universally, and clearly they are not.

Be that as it may, in the original Facebook thread that started this discussion, my friend, Brad Steinman, suggested that we develop and use some sort of software and ID recognition device in all guns that prevent them from being discharged in certain places (like schools) and keep non-owners from using them so that stolen guns would be little more than elaborate paperweights. I think this is an interesting idea that has potential, although it would do nothing to prevent snipers from firing bullets at protected zones from afar, and it raises a whole set of other issues in an age of digital piracy and hacking efforts. Don’t tell me that this yet-to-be-created “gun software” can’t be overridden or circumvented and that militaries the world over wouldn’t be able to figure out how to do so.

This gun software device would also do nothing to prevent shootings outside of these special protected zones, and I can only imagine the types of liabilities that would ensue if businesses could, but did not, install such anti-gun devices/ networks. Talk about rising insurance rates and consumer backlashes and lawsuits! Brad’s proposal sounds wonderful, but I think it suffers from too many problems (even if it existed) to be practical at the moment.

Nevertheless, the idea might have potential, so I am willing to compromise and make a deal with my friend, Brad, and like-minded individuals: Until these software safety devices are developed and implemented with 100% accuracy and 100% saturation, all firearms NOT having/ using this technology must be relinquished and confiscated, and there ought to be a full ban on all additional semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity magazines, sniper rifles, armor-piercing rounds and the sale, trade, manufacture and transportation of all such weapons and upgrades.

Until that moment arrives, there simply IS no way to lessen the chances that guns will continue to be used for killing people. As such, we must rid ourselves of these types of weapons. When we purchase them and vote for candidates because of their pro-gun positions, we are nothing less than accessories to murder. I have no other way to see this. When we continue to sow seeds of violence and allow for military grade and military capacity weapons to flow through our society, it is no wonder that they are used for their intended purposes: to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. We are merely reaping what we have sown, and I for one, am sick of it.

Screen_Shot_2013-02-07_at_10.51.30_AM

We are not helpless, are we?

We are not helpless, we CAN refuse to buy these sorts of weapons. We CAN vote and speak out against these sorts of needless weapons. We CAN call on our local sporting good stores to NOT carry them, and we CAN divest ourselves from guns and ammo corporations and encourage our businesses, schools and churches to do the same. This is the United States of America, and if we want something badly enough, we have proven that we can accomplish it. The question is:Do we want more gun violence and mass-shootings in our nation, or less? The choice is up to us.

-Corbin Lambeth

UPDATE 1/4/13: My friend Ben (who has posted below), has suggested that my recommendation of 3-bullet magazines is too small. Another good friend (Reynolds) who is pro-guns suggested that we limit magazine sizes to 10 bullets. I think that 10 is too many, but I can see his and Ben’s point that 3 may be too few. Not that I am in a policy-making position, but I would be willing to concede to a 5 or 6 bullet capacity if absolutely necessary for legislation to be possible.

Furthermore, Reynolds also suggested that any deer rifle could be labeled as a “sniper rifle” which I spoke out against. While I had guns like my brother’s M-60, military sniper rifle in mind, I can also see Reynold’s point, so I think that exemptions for standard deer (30-ought) type rifles is reasonable, especially if they are subject to a 3 to 6 round maximum capacity.

Most of the comments below (but not all) have been imported from 2 of the Facebook discussions I took part in regarding this subject.

Thanks for reading,

-CL

See also: Guns, Newtown, And Personal Responsibility

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About C_Lambeth

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor's of Science and from George Fox Seminary (now Portland Seminary) with a Master's of Divinity. In addition to knowing Christ and helping others know him, I am passionate about peace, the environment, Christian feminism, justice for all (not just the wealthy) and being a lifelong learner. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or to suggest new posts altogether. Thank you for reading me! -CL
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73 Responses to If You Give A Man an Assault Rifle…

  1. Ben M. says:

    Great post Corbin. Perhaps this tragedy will force both sides to begin to deal with the messiness of gun control and it will push us forward into a deeper discussion that recognizes the complexity involved. I do think there are some straw-men set up in your arguments, and I wanted to comment on a couple:

    “Would these gun-toting “self defenders” have us believe that they only intend to wound or scare intruders?”
    Yes – I am one of these gun owners, and the above is my attitude. I am not salivating at the idea of someone crossing my threshold so I can fill them with bullets. You address “gun owners” as Red-Dawn wannabees. This has not been my experience. I do not believe I have the right to take a life, the only exception being to save a life of my family member.

    “Any good gun-defender will surely then shift to argue that it is the teachers in the classrooms who ought to be armed. This is also stupid, for it assumes first, that teachers will never go insane (a poor assumption), and second, that students will not get access to the weapon (either by force or by teacher negligence).”
    I know a lot of gun people, and I know of none who are asserting that we arm everyone, or that all teachers should be armed. Maybe there are some arguing for that, but I haven’t heard it. But perhaps it is time that we tried to figure out how to arm a select few people in high-risk public places so that anyone who decides to wield mass-death does not have 10 minutes in which to do it before police can arrive.

    “I seriously doubt that “self-defense” will require more than 3 shots either.”
    If I’m ever in a situation where I am holding a gun that needs to be fired in self defense (God forbid), the thought of having 3 shots or less is more than a little chilling.

    My 2 cents? The real world is messy. I think both sides on this issue need to cave a bit. I think assault weapons need to be banned. I think we need to find a way to arm a few, responsible people in a way that makes the world safer. These people should be required to demonstrate their ability to physically and mentally hold that responsibility. If we lived in an ideal world, it would be easy to say we should ban guns, but we don’t

    If our school district decided to train 2 employees in my kids’ school to use a gun, secured the weapons in places inaccessible to any but those 2 (and yes, that is possible), I would feel safer about my kids being at school. It is currently too easy for someone who wants to die and be on the news to create a venue where they become famous. Banning assault weapons is a good first step, but I don’t think it goes far enough. We also need to put guns in the hands of a select few who can wield them when something horrific happens.

    I don’t pretend to know how all that happens, but something has to change. Miss you bro!!

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Ben,
      Thank you for your comments. I am glad that you are not a “Red Dawn” type, and I would never accuse you of that, but my point has always been that we cannot only allow safe, sane and responsible types to have firearms. I have no problem with your gun ownership per se, but if we must allow you to have them, then so too must everyone else (who doesn’t have a criminal record… yet).

      I can understand why you might want more than 3 rounds in your weapon of choice. I am willing to consider a few more, perhaps as many as 6, but your protest indicates that you might want to do more than waive your gun at intruders to scare them.

      I also understand your suggestion that schools require armed guard types, but this seems to be a measure at damage control rather than outright damage prevention. It also neglects that one of our nation’s worst school shootings (Columbine) happened at a school WITH an armed guard. It solved nothing. Nevertheless, if such armed guards were mandated, I would not resist it so long as these guard’s salaries and benefits were funded entirely by taxes, fees, registrations and permits etc. on guns, bullets, gun manufacturers and owners (or the NRA). Lord knows that schools themselves are already underfunded and their teachers underpaid. Why should they be saddled with paying for yet another problem that they did not create?

      Thanks again for your comments. Always good to hear from you!
      -CL

  2. Matt Koch says:

    When will you attempt to address the root of the problem instead of the tools that are being misused?

  3. Ashley Ramsdell says:

    “Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it is dark…”

  4. C_Lambeth says:

    Today the NRA held a no-questions allowed press conference wherein their spokesperson proclaimed that the nation needs “absolute protection” for children but did not include ANY restrictions on rapid fire assault weapons, high-capacity clips, armor piercing rounds or anything else. The oh-so-smart NRA suggested that this “absolute protection” should merely include putting armed guards in every school.

    I might be open to their plan as long as they are willing to help pay for it and that the rest of the funds needed for the plan are supplied by heavy taxes and fees on guns and bullets. Given that most of the NRA’s loyal supporters are Republicans who want to avoid taxes and cut government spending, I wonder how the NRA proposes to pay for their plan to put more guns in schools. However, if our nation moves ahead on the NRA’s plan, it won’t prevent non-school, mass-shootings in the least, but it should not take one cent of taxpayer money. If guns are the problem, then makers and sellers of the weapons should bear the responsibility of paying for security against their abuse.

    -CL

  5. Adrian Bucur says:

    Bro I’m tired if blaming guns!! It’s not guns! It’s not the NRA! Why are we not blaming first person shooter video games that glorify killing and headshots! Desensitizing most kids to violence and guns. And i do agree that most parents and adults are not careful enough with guns.

  6. Adrian Bucur says:

    Those same games teach kids all about guns and different types etc…also society as a whole needs to look at tougher laws to aquire guns. But to blame guns is like blaming cars for killing people in car accidents.

  7. Adrian Bucur says:

    So Corbin your argument is that guns only purpose is killing? Come on, you don’t beleive that…

  8. Adrian Bucur says:

    Target practice? What about Recreational hunting? Oh wait, you are anti hunting too right?

  9. Adrian Bucur says:

    Corbin your pacifism is killing me!

  10. Adrian Bucur says:

    I’ll endulge you Corbin. Let’s outlaw guns. But let’s also outlaw alcohol, marijuana, abortions, all of which kill too!

  11. Diana Bec says:

    Is banning illegal drugs taking them off the streets????? You can’t ban guns!!!! It’s an amendment right to begin with and even if we change the constitution….you can’t ignore the fact that parenting is at an all time low….Corbin….who ever you are….you are more than ignorant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can’t possibly believer guns is the problem!!!!

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Yes, Diana, as a matter of fact, the banning of illegal drugs has reduced their use. If you are making the case for the opposite, then please show me the data. Similarly, your argument necessarily suggests that drugs be legalized as well. Is that what you intend?

      Secondly, you are confused about what I am advocating. I am not suggesting that we ban all guns. However, I think it fair to point out that the framers of the Constitution only had single-shot, front-loading muskets and cannons in mind. They had no idea about the creative rifles that we would later invent to slaughter each other with. It is a Constitutional right to have a firearm. It is NOT a Constitutional right to have assault rifles or nuclear weapons.

      As far as your calling me names goes, my conversation with you is essentially over if you can’t think of anything more intelligent to say.
      Thanks, Bec.

  12. Andrew Cojocaru says:

    this would have happened with or without the guns.. Corbin, exactly what are you proposing when you advocate for increased gun control, or taking guns away. I’m honestly interested in hearing some LOGICAL, ARTICULATE, FACT-BASED responses instead of the usual rhetoric. from Mr Corbin.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Wait, Andrew, are you suggesting that bullets don’t need guns to do their work? Since you claim to want logical, fact-based responses, I think you should be aware of your argument’s problems. The recent shooting spree at an elementary school would NOT have happened “without the guns.”

  13. Andrew Cojocaru says:

    SIGH… I’m honestly interested in hearing some LOGICAL, ARTICULATE, FACT-BASED responses instead of the usual rhetoric.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Well Andrew, I am just asking how you think that the recent tragedies involving bullets would have occurred as you said, “without guns.” Or were you just defaulting to typical, pro-gun “rhetoric?”

  14. Andrew Cojocaru says:

    corbin.. i think you’ve forgotten the previous post i made. 22 children died SLASHED WITH A KNIFE. and left to bleed to death in china.. A killer will kill no matter what weapon he has. i think i like your “LOGICAL” conclusions.. i think we should ban basically everything that has ever been used as a weapon.. That means you too buddy. Your body can be a weapon as well.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Knives have purposes beyond killing, Andrew. Your argument/ analogy fails in the same way that Adrian’s car parallel does. Anything can be used as a weapon, but unlike guns, knives are not designed only to kill. Try again.

  15. Andrew Cojocaru says:

    SIGH. your analogy fails in every way Mr. Corbin. Adrian and I fail to make a point through cars and knives, but in the end, the police showed up with weapons, and cars to protect and serve our country. Neither killed an innocent man.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Wait, which analogy of mine failed, Andrew? I don’t recall making one and can’t help but notice that you merely seem to be parroting my criticisms of your argument back at me. This is ironic since you claim to want to avoid useless rhetoric.

      I also can’t help but notice that you haven’t yet responded to the questions I asked you. Nevertheless, I do thank you for admitting that your knife (and car) analogies fail. I am glad that you can see this.

  16. Adrian Bucur says:

    Jesus? He has been removed from our society. So I don’t know what he would do…

  17. C_Lambeth says:

    Adrian, are you honestly of the opinion that Jesus wasn’t a pacifist? That if he had just had a sawed-off or an assault rifle, he would have gone Chuck Norris on Judas and the Romans in the Garden?

  18. Adrian Bucur says:

    Corbin, While Jesus is the “prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6), He was not, and is not, a pacifist. Revelation 19:15, speaking of Jesus, declares, “Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3, & 8 say, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heaven…a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Daniel 9:26 says that “war will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” Matthew 24:6-8 says, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Adrian, have you considered that the Revelation passage you quoted might be metaphorical? Would THE Word possibly use words, like what is alluded to in Heb. 4:12 ? Your interpretation suggests that at the end of all things, Jesus will say something to the effect of, “Well, all that peace and love crap didn’t work, let’s use the tools of humankind, Ginny get yer gun!”

      You claim that Jesus wasn’t a pacifist. Ok, can you please show me a single instance where Jesus used violence against a person or people? And since you quoted Isaiah 9:6, would you mind telling me why you think it means that Jesus will resort to violence at the end, rather than bringing peace?

      Isaiah 9:6 “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

  19. Adrian Bucur says:

    Corbin back to scripture… Sin WILL be punished! BECAUSE of love! Don’t tell me your a universalist?

  20. Angie Muresan says:

    Adrian… your anger is misplaced. This world needs peace, this country needs peace, and continually pitting one side against the other will never make allowance for it. Lord have mercy.

    • Adrian Bucur says:

      Angie, I’m not pitting anybody against each other. As I grieve my initial reaction is anger! Just a normal part of grief! In senseless tradgedies we all try to make sense of everything!

  21. Dan Bec says:

    Angie, what did Jesus say when He was on earth?? That He is going to bring peace?? NO! He said that He will bring a sword, and will bring division. Peace can only be obtained one way. And it’s sickening to read that Adrian/ Adela’s anger are misplaced!! Are u from Mars???

    • Angie Muresan says:

      Dan Bec, perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the Word of God. Start by reading the Gospels. Matthew 5:9 in particular. In case you don’t have a Bible handy here it is, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
      Frankly, I don’t understand all the name calling, the obvious hatred, and the holier than thou attitude by some of the commenters here. It is unbefitting to a child of God.

  22. Dan Bec says:

    Then, Angie, how it happens that Jesus proclaimed about Himself not to be a peace maker?? I suggest that you would read the book of Deutoronomy, that would give u a short resume over all the moral law and character of God. It would familiarize u with his expectations. And after u read that book a few times, u would see why America is under a mighty curse from God, and why I have a dislike for liberals

    • Angie Muresan says:

      I will say it again, Dan Bec. If you consider yourself a Christian, familiarize yourself with the New Testament. Pray on the words of Jesus, breathe them, live them. They will truly change your life. You’ll be more peaceful, more loving, less prideful, less judgmental. You’ll be more like Christ.

  23. C_Lambeth says:

    Dan Bec’s comment is interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is that he wants to interpret Jesus in light of Deuteronomy (rather than the other way around). I think that Dan has this backwards, but I also have to wonder if he wants to hold Christians to all of the Old Covenant Laws or if he even tries to keep them himself. I suspect that he doesn’t and that his “suggestion” to Angie (that she read Deuteronomy a few times) is not because she isn’t aware of God’s character, but rather because he (Dan) wants a violent god who hates everyone that he does. Curse those confounded Liberals and their notion of a peaceful Jesus!

    Second, that Dan advocates violence and uses Deuteronomy to support his notion that America is “under a mighty curse from God” indicates that he has more in common with the Westboro hate group out of Kansas than he does with the Prince of Peace found within the Bible.

    Finally, the verse in the New Testament that Dan alludes to (Matthew 10:34) is embedded in a context (the entire 10th chapter of the book), that talks about Jesus’ disciples being sent out as missionaries, not to make heads roll, but to tell people about the Kingdom. Here’s what the verse in question says with a little context:

    Matthew 10:32-36Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

    Just going 2 verses before and after the text that Dan alluded to indicates that verse 34 is not a general approval of violence or an indication that Jesus himself is violent / not a pacifist. Rather, it uses the visual image of a sword to make the point that Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God naturally engenders one of two polarizing opinions (either that it’s legitimate and powerful or illegitimate and impotent). Sometimes we Christians will even have to choose between following Jesus or following our family members who oppose him. It is no different today than it was in 1st century Palestine in this regard. When people hear and understand the message of Christ, they either accept him or reject him. This is precisely why our culture is seeing increases in both numbers of Christians and atheists, because people in the middle are gravitating towards both ends of the spectrum.

    If we look at this Bible verse’s parallel in Luke, it reinforces my understanding and interpretation of the text that Dan tries to enlist for his violent Jesus. Luke 12:51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

    If Jesus asks us to follow him, to take up our execution stake (cross), be willing to suffer and die at the hands of a hostile world and then did all of these things himself as our example, then how could we believe that later on he will say, “Nevermind about all that Prince of Peace and love stuff, I am just going to slaughter everyone instead. Peace and love didn’t really work out so well, so I am going to act like Hitler or Stalin and just kill everyone I don’t like.

    I don’t know that Jesus.

    -CL

  24. C_Lambeth says:

    I didn’t know if I was supposed to laugh or cry or get angry at this interview with a gun-nut. http://www.upworthy.com/angry-gun-advocate-loses-it-live-on-cnn-in-the-most-bizarre-interview-ever?c=ufb1

  25. Bradley E WIlkinson says:

    Agry, crazy, disturbed people are goign to find a way to kill poeple Corbin. Taking away guns does not solve the problem. There is no problem to solve. People kill. They kill kids, they kill adults. Welocme to reality. I HATE GUNS! I do not own a gun. Christmas day we were at my In-Laws. They were out shooting guns. I HATE IT. My kids are not welcome over there alone. Sorry to all you gun freaks, but Semi-Automatic weapons are piontless. However, it will be a cold day in hell before I agree with someone who thinks gun control would have stopped “a tragedy” at Sandy Hook. If he only killed 1 adult whould it be less tragic? Multipule childrens lives are more important than 1 adult? Quit using a tragedy to try and gain control of sometihng you have no right to to even attempt. For that I will buy a gun and fight on the front lines for. I respect you buddy. We agree on the most important thing! Keep them coming.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Brad, thanks for the reply, but I don’t understand how you can think that restricting the kinds of guns that have been used in recent shooting sprees would not have prevented their use in the mass murders. By definition, if the murderer did not have an assault rifle, then an assault rifle could not have been used for its intended purpose (killing a lot of people quickly).

      Similarly, I am not trying “to use a tragedy to try and gain control of something [I] have no right to to even attempt.” You are mistaken on both counts. First, I am merely pointing out that our nation’s obsession with guns is reaping a harvest that I previously thought nobody wanted. Second, would you sacrifice my protected 1st Amendment right to free speech in order to silence my criticism of the 2nd Amendment? That seems a bit unfair. I have every right to say that murder weapons like assault rifles ought to be banned or taken away, just as you have the right to disagree with me.

      Once again, I would like to point out that I am not advocating that we “disarm” citizens of the United States, but rather that we eliminate the firearms (and their accessories) that are only created for one purpose (producing mass casualties with minimum of effort). The framers of the U.S. Constitution had no idea about the murder and out-of-control problem that their well-meaning amendment would yield, so it is a stretch (at best) to say that they would fight for regular citizens’ alleged “right” to have assault rifles, high-cap clips, armor piercing bullets, tanks, bombs, fighter jets and nuclear weapons, etc. There must be reasonable limits to what types of weapons the 2nd Amendment allows. All of us already know this intuitively.

      -CL

  26. Marc B. says:

    Corbin, Good discussion, but I have a question. You indicate that you believe Jesus will not resort to violence when he returns at the end of human history because you think he is a pacifist. If that is the case, then how do you explain what will happen to people who have rejected Christ? Will Jesus just say, “It’s all good,” and take everyone to Heaven against their will? I think that is what Adrian Bucur was getting at when he asked you if you are a Universalist. Thanks for the conversation.

    -MB

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Marc, this is a great question, so thank you for asking it. But before I respond, I want to remind everyone that the issues brought up about violence, guns and murder in this blog post were not centered on Christ’s return at all, but rather on how his followers are supposed to treat others until that moment comes crashing in on human history. Dan Bec and Adrian Bucur seem to think that not only is Jesus NOT a pacifist, but that he would, in fact, condone violence and using automatic rifles to kill people under the “right” circumstances, not just at the “End Times,” but also at any point between now and then. THAT is what I wanted to confront. Given that Jesus NEVER engages in violence against people, ALWAYS teaches that they love their enemies and bless those who persecute them, and then let himself be killed rather than engaging in either self-defense or retribution, it is obvious to me that both Dan and Adrian have missed something big about Christ and are merely writing their own fears, anger and attitudes into what they see in him. I find it interesting that our secular currency has been stamped with “In God We Trust,” but that an alarming number of Conservative Christian types in the United States continually proclaim to the world, “In Guns We Trust.” This should not be.

      But back to your question on the return of Christ. The list of things I believe about that event is short. Here they are: It will happen. It will be good. God wins. Evil loses. It will be forever. Creation will be redeemed and recast as incorruptible. So, the question of “How” this will be accomplished remains, and my most honest answer is that I do not know. I recognize that there are at least three Scriptures in the Book of Revelation that portray Jesus with a sword for a tongue that is used to “strike down the nations,” etc. (Rev. 1:16, 19:15 and 19:21). Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the original author of the book was writing to a local Christian community (or collection of Christian communities), about their current problems and situations (not ours). I promise you that he was not thinking, “This will be really helpful to people a few thousand years into the future who want a literal description of what Christ’s return will look like.” Christians do wonky things with Revelation, and making it some sort of doomsday calendar for armageddon qualifies.

      Second, since I do not know precisely how God will work out the details of Christ’s return, I cannot absolutely say that it won’t be with a violent Jesus riding a fire-breathing horse of doom. He may very well come with a grim-reaper style sickle literally protruding out of his face, swinging around and slicing people’s heads off. I think that’s a little ridiculous, but hey, I have been wrong before. Even so, none of us can afford to miss the oxymoronic nature of seeing the Jesus in Scripture, who was a self-sacrificing man of peace who always advocated treating his enemies with love and respect and refused to take up arms even in self defense, and THEN come to believe that when all the chips are down at the end of time, this same Jesus will completely reverse his teaching and default to being the most violent and murderous character in human history. Something seems profoundly wrong with this double-minded conception of Christ, and I think it is worth mentioning.

      Could it be that all the vengeful, retributive, fire and brimstone teaching of some Christians has missed the boat about what the second coming of Christ will actually be like? Would not a violent return of Jesus not somehow be an admission that love and peace have failed and that violence is really how things are settled once and for all and / or that God was simply unable to accomplish his purposes in any other way? God I hope not.

      -CL

  27. C_Lambeth says:

    I just don’t understand why so many of my fellow Christians are so willing to fight for people’s alleged “right” to have assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing rounds. Not only are NONE of those things protected by the 2nd Amendment, but if we are called to follow Christ (and all Christians are), then should we not give up the weapons of the world and trust in God rather than guns and encourage others to do the same? I have yet to hear any Christian acknowledge that weapons like those I just mentioned are designed for one thing: to kill people. I also have yet to hear any Christian connect their pro-gun feelings with what it means to follow Jesus. Why is this?

  28. Pingback: In Guns We Trust | Exploring Faith in Christ

  29. C_L says:

    This is a comment I just came across on Facebook. It was just too tempting for me to leave alone:

    14 stabbed at a Texas Community College. Dear Liberals/anti-Constitutionalists/people with bad logic, should we outlaw knives now? That would prevent crime and tragedy and everything wrong in the world right?

    Well. Speaking of “bad logic,” this statement founders on several fronts, the first of which is that it seems to be arguing that since knives can be dangerous, dangerous things ought not be regulated. Or even worse, this “logic” might lead one to conclude that since knives are dangerous, guns are just fine. Fail.

    Secondly, no one is suggesting that regulating firearms will prevent all “crime, tragedy and everything wrong in the world.” To paint gun control in this light is a hyperbolic and plainly ignorant argument.

    Finally, to suggest that a modicum of regulation on firearms makes one “anti-constitutional” is plainly stupid. The U.S Constitution allows citizens to “bear arms.” It makes no provisions whatsoever concerning what kind of “arms” that people are allowed to possess and use. It’s also important to keep in mind that the framers of the constitution had single-shot, musket-loading rifles and cannons in mind, not the semi-automatic, high-capacity clip weapons that we have since invented to slaughter each other with. I have no problem with gunpowder-using, front-loading, single-shot weapons like this. Have as many as you like. But to take what the constitution says and make it into a blank-check approval for whatever kinds of weapons we want is the truly anti-constitutional position. To make the point, I think it only fair that we include other weapons that the framers did not have in mind. Let’s make nuclear weapons available to everyone (along with flamethrowers, gatling guns, tanks, fighter jets and battleships). The way the statement is written above, these things are our constitutional right, right? And while we’re at it, let’s legalize cocaine, lead paint, asbestos and circular-saws without safety guards. If certain types of guns shouldn’t be outlawed just because they’re deadly, then neither should these, right? Right?

    Oops.
    -CL

    • Dave says:

      Okay, I get it. The framers had muskets. What did the military have at that time? Oh! Muskets! So the framers wanted citizens equally armed as the infantry? Yes. The citizens of the time had what was considered the best tech of the time. Just like the printing press of that time has evolved into the Internet, the best arms available back then have also evolved. The founders intention was for the citizenry to have “sufficient arms and ammunition” to preserve the security of a free state, to be able to band together in defense of that state. To defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Back then, large groups with muskets was sufficient, but today, if for some reason, our regular military forces were weakened, and unable to stop an invasion, it would definitely not be sufficient to meet Chinese, Russian, or whatever country’s troops coming up our shores, or down our streets, with muskets. The insurgency in the Middle East, up against tanks, drones, helicopters, cruise missiles, etc. have been able to hold quite a resistance with their Russian made AK-47’s and American gun owners outnumber them 100 to 1 at least. There are over 300,000,000 guns in America. Not counting suicide, there are roughly 11,000 gun related deaths a year, or about 30 a day. So every day, if 30 are used for bad purposes, the other 299,999,970 are not. Guns are not simply designed to KILL, they are self defense tools. They are “equalizers” and I cannot fathom why some people think it is better to just call police when a madman decides to shoot up the place. Concealed carry might not prevent a shooting, but may at least have a chance of preventing it from becoming a “mass” shooting. Body counts would liked be reduced, as a majority of police agree. http://www.policeone.com/Gun-Legislation-Law-Enforcement/articles/61873787-PoliceOnes-Gun-Control-Survey-11-key-lessons-from-officers-perspectives/

      • C_Lambeth says:

        This argument runs counter to the facts in our era. It has already been determined by the powers that be that civilians cannot have all the same weapons and technology as our armed forces.

        Your comment also indicates that you may not be aware of the situation our fledgling nation experienced in the 1770s. Washington relied on colonial “regulars” or citizen soldiers, because the Continental Army was pathetic both in terms of numbers and equipment. Washington needed “well regulated” (trained and disciplined), armed civilians to take orders from a general and best the British, but not to resist the “tyranny” of the Continental Congress or its generals. The “resist domestic gov’t tyranny” has been a later slogan adopted by the pro-gun crowd.

        Your last post indicates that you believe if the United State’s armed forces could not repel an attack from Russia or China, our completely unregulated and undisciplined, gun-toting civilians could step up and right the ship? Am I getting you right on that? If so, I have to admit that I remain unconvinced.

        Your middle eastern warfare point fails to connect anyway, since the Iraqi “insurgents” are themselves the remnants of the disbanded Iraq army, complete with military arsenals. The picture isn’t altogether different for the Afghanis, who are fighting with both Russian and United States military hardware. You only referenced their AK-47s (which are likely to be full-auto versions anyway), but not their RPGs, mortars, and IEDs (all of which are illegal here in the USA). I get the impression you believe that foreign armies don’t come here because of our armed citizenry (and I imagine you feel the same way about our own government’s lack of tyranny against us), but if that is really what you think, can you provide any evidence that reinforces this notion?

        Your gun justification mathematics (% out of 300M) is irrelevant. Since guns are built to kill, pointing out that only a percentage of them actually do this on a yearly basis is hardly a compelling argument for their goodness or safety. That so many guns are used to wound and kill people and with such horrible family, community, and financial impacts, it is clear that negative societal consequences outweigh the benefits, especially when the consequence is death, while benefits are… target practice? I don’t expect you to agree with me, but I think most reasonable people can see that we have a serious gun-people problem that needs to be addressed in meaningful ways.

        I hope you can see the duplicity in stating your opinion that “guns are not simply designed to kill,” while stating that they are for defense and equalizers in the same sentence. How exactly do you intend to use a gun for defense if not to point it at someone and pull the trigger?

        And finally, are you aware that there was, in fact, a concealed carry, carrying citizen at the recent Umpqua school shooting? Are you aware of the fact that he did absolutely nothing to intervene? He had a chance. He prevented nothing, and the police agree.

    • Dave says:

      Flamethrowers are in fact LEGAL. There’s no law outlawing or regulating them. Do a quick google search.. And you claim that since there’s no provision anywhere in the constitution that say what types of weapons we are allowed to use, only “arms” is defined, you are correct. And at the time of its writing, the Contititution, which is a check on government by the way, included the words “well regulated” in the second amendment not to mean “regulated” by the government. Well regulated meant “well trained, well equipped, well armed” and certainly did not mean “well restricted” nor is it based on what one political party’s opinion of what the other party “needs”
      If we are only allowed to exercise our right using only the technology available at the time of its writing, the same tired analogy still applies. You don’t need a PC connected to the web to reply, find a printing press and have someone hand deliver your reply by riding their horse across the country. And “regulating” guns like cars is a fail. I can buy a car today off craigslist today, without a license, without insurance, even if I was a 3 time violent felon, no questions asked and never have to register it or buy tabs. I can take it apart, modify it, add a super high capacity gas tank and it’s completely legal as long as I don’t drive it on public roads. Then again, I’d only get a ticket if I was caught doing so.

      • C_Lambeth says:

        Interesting that you focused on flamethrowers, while ignoring the fact that it is illegal to have operational examples of the other weapons I mentioned. I’ve already had a variation of this conversation with “John,” and you can see that discussion in the comments section of this blog entry if you are interested: Oregon Passes Universal Background Check Law for ALL Gun Sales. That’s a Win. Please read it so you don’t merely repeat the same types of arguments he tried to use. The same can be said of your car/gun regulation “fail.” I’ve already addressed your concerns in the same link above (in the main portion of the blog entry, not the comments), so see if you can add something new there.

        As for the constitution being a “check” on government, you need to reconsider. The U.S. Constitution is the *foundation* of our government, not a check on some pre-existing government. Nevertheless it is an interesting notion you have about what “well regulated” means in the 2nd Amendment. What can you point to that gives your interpretation credence?

        I also don’t think your PC analogy works very well. Just like you and I, the Framers of the constitution knew that printed communication didn’t kill people. I also cannot help but to point out that some types of speech are not protected by the 1st Amendment for the very reason that these pose a risk to the welfare of the public. Yelling “FIRE!” in a movie theatre is not a protected form of speech, for example, and that same principle is precisely why I am for gun control and even abolishing the 2nd Amendment: Guns in public do not make us safer. They do the exact opposite.

        As you have said about the parallels between cars and guns, there would be far less gun violence in our nation if people were prevented from taking their guns off of their own private property. I don’t know how you would get a gun there without being on not-your-property, but whatever. Lots of battered spouses and children would still be killed with guns, and tens of thousands would still be able to commit suicide with guns, but gun violence in the public sphere would absolutely be reduced if we could enforce a at-home-only regulation. Like cars that are only operated on private property, are you telling me that you would support such gun legislation? If you don’t want to stop domestic gun deaths and suicides, but are ok with never being allowed to take your guns beyond the end of your property line, then okay. We can agree on the latter issue, even if not the former two.

        • Dayvihd says:

          Well regulated. The meaning of well regulated has nothing to do with regulation by government. Back then it meant “in good working order” “well equipped” etc
          http://www.constitution.org/cons/wellregu.htm

        • C_Lambeth says:

          I checked out the link, but it is suspect. The in-context uses from history are fine, as is the definition supplied, “…something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected.

          The problem comes with the political commentary attached at the end which tries to assert that “well-regulated” was intended to thwart government oversight. This is strained at best and begs the question at least: “What is an armed citizenry that is in *proper* working order, or *calibrated correctly* or *funtioning as expected*? Calibrated to what? Functioning according to whose expectations? This is precisely why the 2nd Amendment is an antiquated relic when used to support our odd-ball gun addictions, unfettered access and lawlessness. The U.S. citizenry has demonstrated that our gun-wielding is anything but “well-regulated” according to the definition you supplied.

        • Dayvihd says:

          The founders of this country had made the meaning pretty clear. Here is a collection of their own words, quotes when it comes to 2a.
          http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/history/the-founding-fathers-on-the-second-amendment

          But then again, you are of the belief that the constitution and the principles of liberty are antiquated and no longer valid in today’s world. You advocate abolishing the 2a. So I really don’t see the point. You aren’t going to “come around to my way of thinking” nor will I to yours. I believe in the right, and the freedom to choose. If I choose black rifles or loose powder muskets, it’s my right, I only seek to preserve that freedom to exercise that right. Today’s gun owners unfortunately have to put up a fight, and counter these assaults on that right from statists and the government. It is truly an attack on our liberty. Sorry you don’t see it that way.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          You see [gun control] as an “attack” on your liberty. I see it as a defense against insanity and death. The 2nd Amendment has clearly outlived its usefulness and purpose. It was about freedom and the defense of our nation. But because of our inability to control ourselves, it has taken our liberty (of life and the pursuit of happiness), and it is no longer needed for national defense by any stretch of the imagination. The modern expression of the 2nd Amendment also flies in the face of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution: “…to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare… .” Guns undermine each and every one of these values. So it is either time to repeal the 2nd Amendment or take serious, heavy steps towards gun regulation (or both).

          And all pro-gun types have to do to shut down this way of thinking is reverse the reality of gun violence. When it can be shown that guns are of greater benefit to the public sphere than detriment, I will move with the facts.

          I also find it interesting that you try to enlist the Federalist Papers to your cause. Are you aware that said papers were written by the particular Framers of the U.S. Constitution who wanted a strong centralized (“Federal”) government, and one that could wield a unified authority over the states and their respective citizens?

          Similarly, are you aware that most of the quotes you supplied from notable Americans in our nation’s early years were referencing citizen militias and weapons as means of national defense in lieu of a standing army? Well-regulated… by government leaders and generals for national defense.

          Yes, of course there were some folks back then (just as now) who viewed guns as the primary means of self defense, but quoting some junior state-house member or letter to the editor of a local paper in 17XX hardly demonstrates what the actual authors of the U.S. Constitution had in mind.

          It is also important to note that early America (and middle America) didn’t have a strong or reliable police force for domestic tranquility as we do today (ok, at least some of us have today #blacklivesmatter). Which is to say that while guns may have been more “necessary” for self defense then, they are not now, and the national stats on gun-related deaths vs. defensive gun use give plenty of credence to my position. More guns do not make us safer. Not anymore.

        • Dayvihd says:

          An attack on your pursuit of happiness? How? And how often do you witness gun violence first hand? How many times have you had your life, or liberty threatened by average gun owners? I’m guessing never. I’m guessing the only witnessing you’ve experienced was from a news outlet.
          However, I have prevented violence, not by shooting anyone, but simply brandishing. I caught 3 guys smoking some drugs beside Walmart and they proceeded to follow me. When I got to my house, they all had weapons. They weren’t guns, but a bat, a tire iron, and I’m not sure what the other guy had. All I had to do was point and they became really polite, got back in their truck, and calmly left. Did I report the assault that never happened? No. But I wonder what shape I’d been in of I was unable to equalize the situation, if I had left it at home. Events like this happen way more often than you think. There’s no real stats on defensive use, but estimates of up to 2,000 a day. Solely because MOST are unreported to police. The national media avoids defensive use. Like the recent school shooting that was stopped by a good person with a gun and only made local news. Plain and simple, I will not be made a subject. Drugs are out of control, crime happens, and I’d like to have the choice to defend myself and my family should the need arise.
          – by the way, the concealed carrier on the Oregon campus wasn’t even in the building, his life wasn’t in immediate danger, and would have had to put himself in harms way to intervene. I can understand why he didn’t. But you bet your ass if he was in the immediate area and people around him were getting killed, he would have done whT he had to do to survive.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          When people are gunned down, it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t happy.

          You act as if we should only be concerned about gun violence if it happened or happens to us. That’s like saying you should only have a gun if you plan on shooting someone. I am concerned about gun violence and doing whatever we can to stop it precisely because I do not want it to happen to me or anyone else.

          I come at this from a Christian perspective, one that values peace over violence, and one that seeks to honor Jesus (not the executioner). Jesus never said, “Be sure to care about injustice and violence, unless it doesn’t happen to you directly. In that case, don’t worry about it.

          As for as your Wal-Mart misadventure, let this be a lesson to you about shopping at Wal-Mart. But seriously, why on earth did you let these people follow you home? They had your attention in the lot, but then you suffered memory loss when you got in your vehicle? I’m glad things worked out for you, but if you had been paying more attention, you could have lost them before ever needing to brandish a gun.

          Your claim about defensive gun use is less than credible. Gun-industry handyman, Gary Kleck, already tried to fudge those numbers and failed miserably. All your side has is a biased and wildly unverifiable feeling about defensive gun uses. This is not the case for gun-related deaths. It’s a matter of “We feel like such and such” vs. “Here are the facts.” In point of fact, a study I know of that tried to verify how many defensive gun uses actually occurred in 2014 came up with 1584 for the entire year. That’s 4.4 per day, but you are telling me that it is actually 2000, or 454% higher? You are wide of the mark (to put it nicely) even if we double that number to 8.8 defensive gun uses per day to account for unreported incidents. So forgive me if I am not convinced by your claim.

          As I said, the concealed carry gun-toter at Umpqua did nothing to confront the murderer. You say you’d bet your ass that he would have done something if he had been right there in the same room, but even that is a dubious claim, as there are practically countless times when this scenario has played out, and even when a gun-toter tries something, they are often the first ones to be killed. It is simply a myth that more guns = more safety.

        • Dayvihd says:

          As for as your Wal-Mart misadventure, let this be a lesson to you about shopping at Wal-Mart. But secondly, why on earth did you let these people follow you home? They had your attention in the lot, but then you suffered memory loss when you got in your vehicle? I’m glad things worked out for you, but if you had been paying more attention, you could have lost them before ever needing to brandish a gun.

          So, the whole situation was my fault? I live right across the street from Walmart. And yes, I agree that nobody should EVER shop there if they can avoid it. I was there after looking all over for a volleyball/badminton set that I could not find anywhere else. I simply glanced at 3 guys sitting in their truck on my way to my car. Normally I would have just walked there, but I had been to Big5, and Fred Meyer first. After the meth heads saw me, and realized I had seen what they were doing, the passenger closest to me yelled something, not sure exactly what but I took it as threatening. And of course I was aware they were behind me, I circled around for some time. I wasn’t trying to “lose” them, as that would require me driving like a complete maniac and putting other drivers in jeapordy. No matter the situation, what happened happened. You can say what you think I should have done, and you don’t know what’s going through their heads or mine. But the fact is, I’m not going to be a subject to that kind of intimidation, and I certainly wasn’t trying to pull over and reason with them. What happened happened, and they won’t be coming around my house ever again, nor will they try again if they recognize me in public. They followed me, they drove up my driveway, they approached me with obvious intent to cause me harm, and the whole situation came to a screeching halt thanks to my God given right to defend myself. I’m not sure a knife, some mace, or even a baton would have been a match for three guys with clubs. Any other type of self defense weapon would have had to actually been used, meaning there would have to have been a scuffle with unknown outcomes. I could have shot them all if they kept coming as they were on my property and my states laws allow for that. But I have never killed a living thing and the last thing I want to do is take a life. Those kids, no matter how troubled, have family that don’t deserve that, and I do to. Those kids had a choice, that bad choice almost got them hurt. I had a choice, I chose to look for backyard games and in no way in the 15 years I’ve been carrying did I ever think such a choice would result in me having to actually pull my weapon. That is exactly why I carry. I don’t need it 99.9999% of the time. Probably will never need it again in my life. I hope To God I never do. But if I do ever need it, I hope to God I have it. That’s reason enough for me to have it. I’m not putting a single soul in danger whatsoever no matter where I am. And that’s the case for a vast majority of gun owners. Although some recent events that get national coverage show that a handful of events have been carried out by legally obtained firearms, a majority of gun related homicides take place in inner cities, by criminal gangs, with illegally obtained firearms.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          I didn’t say that the whole Walmart situation was your fault, but it does highlight the problem guns can create. Guns lead to a stand-and-fight sort of mindlessness when it is not necessary. If you didn’t have the option of grabbing your gun, I am reasonably confident you would have gotten a little more creative. The bottom line is that, even if your story is true, you could have handled the situation in a variety of ways that did not require a gun-brandishing or potential death-match.

          I’m not sure why you drove to Walmart when you apparently live next door, but losing a “tail” in traffic need not involve speeding or dangerous maneuvers as you indicated. I have learned that sometimes it is enough to let whoever is following you know that YOU know they are following you. If that doesn’t work, you could always drive to a very public, very visible place, even a police station, but certainly not a private residence or street (all of which are significantly less dangerous than gunplay). But regardless of what you could have done, you instead chose to lead your alleged attackers to your home and then draw your pistol. What if they had guns too? What if they come back when you’re not home? Was it really worth a shootout? What if they came at you with their other items and you killed one them? Good job? No. That’s needless gun violence that could have been avoided. Apart from being more self-aware on your way home, you could have, I dunno, called the police and locked your front door? Then these chaps would be confronted by a real authority, gotten a mark on their records, and perhaps steered away from a later, similar confrontation. Do you think they really wanted to murder you just for noticing them doing drugs in public? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it does strain the imagination.

          The situation you described is not the same as Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman, but like you, Zimmerman just couldn’t stand the idea of waiting for the police, so instead he drew his gun on an unarmed kid and ended up killing him. It was ruled self-defense, but it never would have happened at all if Zimmerman hadn’t felt empowered by his gun. It seems that you felt the same way. Yes, we have a God-given right to defend ourselves, but not a God-given right to kill people. They are not the same thing.

          You went on to claim that, “I’m not putting a single soul in danger whatsoever no matter where I am [by having a gun]. And that’s the case for a vast majority of gun owners.” But just like your claim about background checks, this is not true either. Most household gun related deaths and injuries are not against criminals, but against friends and loved ones, women and children in particular. The statistics are undeniable; having a gun in the house significantly increases the chance of suicide and accidental death of the gun owners and their family members. Despite an anecdote here or there, the present situation in the United States proves that guns in the hands of the public do not make us safer. They undermine our safety.

        • Dayvihd says:

          I’d post some of Lott’s research if the other side wouldn’t just dismiss it right off the bat, simply because he’s pro gun. When inconsistencies and misrepresentation is found in his work, re does revise it, and it really doesn’t change much as far as the overall conclusions. Another good read to dispel some myths and present some facts is from JPFO. I’m no Jew, nor do I consider myself a republican or right winger. I was the biggest Bush hater you’d ever meet, and have voted democrat MOST of the time. Even voted for Obama the first time.
          Your claim that concealed carry preventing crime is a myth is just not true. Guns in the hands of good law abiding citizens pose no risk to the average American. The problem is not availability of guns or ease of access. If that were true, then there would have been way more mass shootings and gun crime in the 50’s and 60’s when anyone could just walk into Sears and buy a handgun or rifle, No background check required. You absolutely cannot buy a firearm from a dealer without one today. And even if America repealed the 2nd, and forced a buyback/confiscated all the guns, shootings and massacres would not stop. Criminals will still have guns, people all over would bury or hide them, and at least 2-3% (or roughly 3 million) of legal gun owners would not comply, and a good percentage of the “Molon Labe” types would actually get into a hot war with those coming to confiscate. Then there’s all the legal gun owners that maybe built their own AK out of legally unregistered 80% complete receivers and parts kits that they finished themselves. Under current ATF rules, 80% receivers are not considered a firearm, therefore don’t need serial numbers. All a person has to do is file a few parts of it down, drill some holes, and add some rivets. Then assemble it. This is fact, I know 15+ people that have done it, I have even attended a “Build course” with 30+ other people present, and yet, how often are AK-47’s used in crimes? My point is, the situation would likely get worse if our government tries to ban guns. There’s just no way in this country. Too many exist, and our right to bear arms in enshrined in our constitution. Changing the constitution will be seen by some not as “Preserving, protecting, and defending” as their OATH requires, but as the domestic enemy mentioned therein. It’s just not going to happen. This debate will be going on for the next 100 years, population numbers will stall because same sex couples can’t pro-create, and President Al-Rahul Mak-Shadoodie Bush and her VP will be asking for the debt ceiling to be raised to 700 kazillion dollars.
          http://jpfo.org/pdf03/gun-facts-6-2-screen.pdf

        • C_Lambeth says:

          I have no idea what you are referencing with “Lott’s research,” but if it is poorly reasoned or relies on faux-facts, then yes, it will be dismissed.

          I didn’t claim that guns (concealed or otherwise) never prevent crime. I am not against police having or using guns, and that is because such weapons have proven to be more of an asset than a liability for police (which is no longer the case for guns in the general population). What I said is that claiming “more guns will make us more safe” is a myth, and the gun-related injuries and deaths we experience in our nation (the most gun-toting nation on Earth) proves this to be the case.

          Your claim that a person “absolutely cannot buy [a gun] without [a background check]” is simply false. Due to Republican “leadership” all universal background check legislative efforts have failed, and close to 40% of all guns sold in the public have gone through “private” sales that are not required to complete a background check at all, much less pass one. In most states, purchases at gun shows do not require background checks, and the same is true of trades, gifts and transfers, especially on-line transactions. This article highlights the case. Even in states like Oregon, which recently passed a universal background check law, several of the state’s county sheriffs have said that they oppose the law and will not enforce it. The absence of universal background checks is also why this item is #1 on the President’s proposal for responsible gun legislation.

          Nevertheless, you are right when you say that our nation didn’t have the types of gun-murdering rampages (that we do now) in the 1950s and 60s. Something has shifted in our culture towards increasing gun violence, and that is precisely why my stance on the issue has changed as well. My position is data driven for recent times, not the 1950s and not the American revolutionary era.

          Moving on, when you predict that any serious efforts at gun control, bans, and updates of the constitution will fail, your argument seems to be of the can’t-win-don’t-try variety (which I patently reject). Even if my side cannot yet “win,” it does not follow that we should not try to reduce gun violence. I also find it interesting that you claim previously “law abiding good guys with guns” will suddenly revert to fostering lawlessness, violence and general criminality if their precious guns are threatened. This says a lot about these gun-owners, and it isn’t good: they love their guns more than law and order. That isn’t surprising to me, but I wonder if you’ve thought about it.

          As for AK-47s and their unregulated 80% kits, you just made a case for creating stronger regulations and enforcement of them. And yes, these weapons are used in crimes here in the USA.

          Yes, gun ownership is presently “enshrined” in our constitution, but it isn’t written in stone. Our constitution is an inherently alterable document, and it has been altered many times, including repealing an amendment that was a failure. It’s time to do the same to the failings of the antiquated 2nd Amendment. But you needn’t worry, we love our guns way too much to make any sort of meaningful adjustment to our constitution. I will keep using my 1st Amendment right to say that ol’ #2 sucks, but I am not betting on it going away any time soon.

          Your comments got kind of weird when you delved into OATH and “kazillions,” etc., but I have seen the “Gun Facts” site you linked. I am not impressed with it at all. I’ve run across it before, and I bothered to look into the first few “facts” it listed several months ago, and they are not, well… facts. Debunking them was relatively easy, and it motivated a blogpost which you can see here.

  30. C_Lambeth says:

    Two killed at Los Angeles International airport. The gun? You guessed it: a legally purchased assault rifle (and others). We may claim that the shooter was an idiot or insane, but when we can prevent the sale and distribution of such weapons and refuse to do so… who are the idiots?

    I may link articles featuring new shootings on this thread every time they occur in the U.S.A.
    God bless America.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/us/los-angeles-airport-partly-closed-after-shooting.html?src=recg

  31. Pingback: Oregon Passes Universal Background Check Law for ALL Gun Sales. That’s a Win. | Exploring Faith

  32. Pingback: If We Were All Just Christians, then Gun Violence Would… | Exploring Faith

  33. Dave says:

    15,000 police officers were given a survey after Sandy Hook. They disagree with you. Oh, BTW, [Newtown Gun-Murderer’s] rifle was illegally obtained…he stole it from his mother. Anyway….survey link: http://www.policeone.com/Gun-Legislation-Law-Enforcement/articles/6183787-PoliceOnes-Gun-Control-Survey-11-key-lessons-from-officers-perspectives/

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Can you please be more specific, Dave? What, precisely, do the officers who responded to this survey “disagree” with me on?

      And BTW, the Newtown gun-murderer’s weapon was legal and legally purchased. That the murderer came to possess it through nefarious means is somewhat secondary to that point. In fact, that he got it at all supports the notion that it should never have been allowed into the public sphere in the first place. If it had not been legal, then the murderer’s mother would not have had the gun at all. This is where you supply the platitude that he just would have gotten it through some other illegal means, but this also gives credence to my position: if gun manufacturers and shops never legally distributed their killing “tools,” then criminals could not steal them or use them for evil. It isn’t particularly difficult to make bullets, but the same cannot be said for the firearms themselves. We don’t just need to ban firearm sales. We need to ban their manufacture, trade, import, export, etc.

      The Newtown killer also highlights other problems with pro-gun logic. I’m pretty sure that when the killer’s mother purchased the rifle (for defense of course), she didn’t envision being gunned down with it. Clearly the weapon did not make her safer, and that is the statistical norm, not a fluke.

      The situation also exposes the myth of “keeping one’s guns safely locked away” from children and criminals. If they are determined and crafty enough, most gun vaults aren’t real solutions.

      This also casts further aspersions on the “home defense” rational for guns in the home (which itself is an admission that guns do, in fact, kill). How do you keep guns away from intruders and kids if they aren’t sufficiently locked away, and how do you have them ready for defense if they are? A survey of 15,000 police officers can’t change the fact that having a gun in a home significantly increases the chances of gun injury and death among loved ones and friends (not criminals).

      • Dayvihd says:

        Having a pool in your backyard significantly increases your child’s chance of accidental drowning. The fact is, for the amount of guns in this country and the amount of gun owners, a vast majority of them are not, and never will be used for nefarious purposes. Hundreds of millions are responsibly owned, and safely handled. The guns themselves do not CAUSE people to act out in a way they normally wouldn’t. It may make a suicide swift and easy, but isn’t going to cause that emotion, and banning them or prohibiting them in homes, will not prevent that emotion either. A revolver is no less lethal than any other firearm that shoots a projectile. We can’t just ban SOME firearms and expect to make any impact on gun violence, I’m beginning to get the feeling most advocates for gun control are ultimately arguing for a complete ban and prohibition on all firearms ownership. Is this your position? I mean, there or so many other things that cause far more unnecessary unnatural death than firearms.

        mi·li·tia
        məˈliSHə/
        noun:
        -a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.
        -a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army.
        -all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.

        In 21st century plain speaking, the ‘well-regulated’ term circa 1787 when the Constitution was drafted meant, as the case may be, that which is ‘adequate,’ ‘sufficient.’ or ‘in the proper form’ for its intended purpose. Intended purpose was the defense of individuals first, their homes and property second, and then their neighbors and neighborhoods working toward common purpose. From there, the scale may grow but the principle remains the same; a home guard for threats that are near and citizen soldiers to deal with external threats. Also misinterpreted by the foes of the second amendment is a term that hasn’t changed: “… shall not be infringed.”

        • C_Lambeth says:

          The pool analogy you provided is flawed. Unlike guns, things like pools, cars, knives, paperclips, etc. are designed for things beyond killing. Sure they can be abused or used inappropriately to kill, but killing is what guns are made for.

          I don’t particularly care if all the guns in our nation have not yet been used to kill someone. They, as an entire class of items, pose a significant risk to our population, and the alleged benefits are insufficient to warrant their ownership. So yes, I would like to repeal the 2nd Amendment. It has outlived its purpose and usefulness. Even so, I am under no impression that this is possible in our nation today. We love our guns too much and don’t particularly care about their negative consequences.

          That being said, I would like to point out that repealing the 2A is not the same as banning all guns. Many nations, including just about all of our Western, Democratic peers do not have a “right” to own weapons, but nevertheless retain the privilege if they can meet reasonable gun-sense regulation and oversight. And it is proven to work. Look at gun-related deaths in the UK and Australia (and Canada, and France, and Germany), and compare them to the USA.

          As for your dictionary references regarding *militia,* I don’t disagree with any of those, especially in relation to the 2nd Amendment or the Continental Congress and Washington’s need for an army to fight the British. However, this reinforces my point that the 2A has outlived the purpose for which it was created. We no longer need any militias to protect our land (from our government or anyone else’s). Similarly, I think your copy job about arms being intended first for self-defense, then property and finally community are misplaced and general reprints of modern NRA rhetoric. But I could be wrong, do you have any direct reference points for the members of the Constitutional Convention, and if you do, are the concerns they expressed still valid in our day and age? We don’t exactly live in frontier times or in the Ol’ West anymore. Those folks had a legitimate need. I don’t dispute that at all.

        • Dayvihd says:

          “Look at gun-related deaths in the UK and Australia (and Canada, and France, and Germany), and compare them to the USA”

          Why just gun deaths, why not look at all deaths? Homicide in general. I mean, death is death, and homicide is homicide right? Australia and UK are NOT good examples. Number one, just google these words: “Violent Capitol of Europe” and number two, of all the research that has gone into the effectiveness of Australia’s gun confiscation….I mean MANDATORY buy back (or jail, same difference), they really cannot tell if it made a difference. Armed robbery skyrocketed in Australia after 1996, stayed high for about 8 years. Sexual assault also went up about 3 years after 1996 and continued to stay above pre96 levels for 10 years. Homicide was already on the decline before 96 and continued on the same decline. Now the UK, they are indeed the violence Capitol of Europe. Homicide went up nearly 50% after the ban, and didn’t really fall until they added MASS police to their forces. Not sure I want a police state here. Cops cannot be everywhere at all times, as recent news events have shown, the possibility of a violent gun related incident exists. Usually, in places that prohibit weapons, the body counts tend to be higher. That’s an area where the toughest possible regulation one could impose exists…..total disarmament.

        • C_Lambeth says:

          You asked, “Why not all deaths?” And the answer is because making the topic about all deaths instead of gun-deaths is a tactic designed to shift discussions on gun violence away from guns. It’s like responding to the #blacklivesmatter movement by saying “all lives matter.” Which is to subtly assert that the systemic violence and oppression suffered by black folks shouldn’t be specifically highlighted because no one should suffer from these things. It is a meaningless truism that is designed to shift focus away from the problem that black people experience with officers of the law. It would be like Jews during WW2 trying to raise awareness of the Holocaust by creating a “Jewish Lives Matter” campaign only to be brushed off by the unaffected who respond with, “Yes, yes, all lives matter, (now leave me alone).” Stated another way, shifting the discussion to all murders instead of gun-related deaths is nothing less than an effort to avoid a real discussion about the costs and benefits of guns themselves. You really should check out my latest post, as it approaches several of the arguments you’ve raised here.

          Since gun violence is a real issue, gun-related deaths are the appropriate measure, as are gun-related injuries and all the costs related to both injuries and deaths. The toll is truly staggering in the USA. But I will give you space to make your case, if you can find an item that is designed to kill people as its primary purpose, just as guns are, and if you can show me that it is just as frequently used to that end in our society, I am likely to endorse bans, limits, and any other reasonable regulation of said item.

          Failing that effort (and maybe you won’t), a comparison of gun-related deaths between our country and our peers may be helpful. Some folks say that other nations’ gun-violence is irrelevant to gun-violence problems in the United States, and they might even have a point, but I think when we compare apples to apples, it helps make the case that gun regulations can, in fact, reduce gun-related deaths.

          The fact is that the USA is #13 in gun-related deaths worldwide. But we’re still doing better than our Westernized, industrialized, modernized, economic and military cohort, right? No. The only nations that have higher gun-related deaths than the USA are (in order from most to least): Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Jamaica, Swaziland, Guatemala, Colombia, South Africa, Brazil, Panama, Uruguay and Mexico. Not exactly an all-star cast of civilization. Canada? #33 on the list. Australia (which has largely banned guns)? #55. The U.K., which has no right to bear arms, but has made gun ownership a heavily regulated privilege? #60. The USA has more guns in the civilian population than any other nation on the face of the planet. If guns made us safer, then we’d be the safest nation in the world. We aren’t.

          Concerning Australia, even by your own accounting things like armed robbery, rape, and murder have begun (or continued) to decrease since the partial gun ban (1/5th of all guns). You claim that no difference was felt for 8 years, but both murder and suicide by gun have plummeted in Australia after the ban. Even if there was a time-delayed causation relationship, I suspect it is because criminals and lawbreaking gun-owner holdouts (and their weapons) would take several years to surface and be collected. You simply have not supplied enough evidence to make a strong case against the ban’s effectiveness, but can you tell me how many mass shootings they have had since the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996? How does that compare with the USA since 1996?

          As for the UK, it should be noted that they did not ban most guns, just certain types of handguns. So any claim that this particular ban failed to stop murder (much less gun-related deaths) fails to understand the issue. Yes, adding better cops will help in curtailing violence too. No, the UK is not a police state. In either case, the fact remains that gun-related deaths in the USA are 40 times higher than that of the UK, just as guns (per capita) in the USA are 17 times higher than the UK.

          Of course you are right to say that cops can’t be everywhere, but that does not mean that vigilantism should be the solution, much less ubiquitous. Yes, gun violence is on the rise in our nation. Yes, it is not enough merely to prohibit guns from certain places, but rather than saying we should have guns everywhere, I tend to skew towards the opposite end of saying we should have guns nowhere in public hands. If gun violence is a problem in our society (and it is), then adding MORE guns is not a viable solution. We’ve already proven that more guns ≠ more safety.

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