The right to keep and bear arms

Washington, D. C., passed laws virtually banning the possession of firearms, even in the home. Those laws did nothing to prevent our nation’s capital from being one of the most violent and crime-ridden cities in the country. Arguably, those laws helped make it so. But the Supreme Court has struck down those laws, going further to affirm that the Second Amendment applies not just to a collective right embodied in militias but that it affirms the right of individuals to possess firearms. Glad or sad?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bart

    Glad the 2nd Amendment was upheld.

    Sad it had to be by the Supreme Court.

  • Bart

    Glad the 2nd Amendment was upheld.

    Sad it had to be by the Supreme Court.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    DEE-lighted. The decent people of that city will have some ability now (though the city will do its best to restrict it) to protect their homes and families. The criminals will have to share a little of the personal fear that decent citizens feel all the time.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    DEE-lighted. The decent people of that city will have some ability now (though the city will do its best to restrict it) to protect their homes and families. The criminals will have to share a little of the personal fear that decent citizens feel all the time.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I used to be stationed at Bolling AFB right in the middle of Anacostia. Thankfully I had armed guards protecting my little gated comunity. I think this is the best thing that could have happened for D.C.
    A friend of mine there was once held up at gun point. He used to be for gun control, but that night his thought was “I thought guns were against the law in D.C.” That experience changed his mind on the whole thing.
    Watching the news last night it was amazing to see mayors and D.A.s who actually thought those laws did something to protect people. It is a good day to be an American.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I used to be stationed at Bolling AFB right in the middle of Anacostia. Thankfully I had armed guards protecting my little gated comunity. I think this is the best thing that could have happened for D.C.
    A friend of mine there was once held up at gun point. He used to be for gun control, but that night his thought was “I thought guns were against the law in D.C.” That experience changed his mind on the whole thing.
    Watching the news last night it was amazing to see mayors and D.A.s who actually thought those laws did something to protect people. It is a good day to be an American.

  • Greg Smith

    Glad. Very glad.

  • Greg Smith

    Glad. Very glad.

  • Joe

    Glad – am reading the opinion (all 157 pages of it) today.

  • Joe

    Glad – am reading the opinion (all 157 pages of it) today.

  • http://www.lsaels.org Edward Bryant

    Scalia wrote a great opinion – razor sharp. I do fear however that his acknowlegement that no rights are unlimited will result in even more onorous laws.

  • http://www.lsaels.org Edward Bryant

    Scalia wrote a great opinion – razor sharp. I do fear however that his acknowlegement that no rights are unlimited will result in even more onorous laws.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Very glad it came out right, sad that four justices apparently cannot read or diagram a sentence. Maybe PHC could sponsor a class in diagramming sentences for them?

    Also something of a bummer that Scalia does not appear, as far as I can tell, to have repeated Miller’s point that the citizens are allowed weapons typical of a militia–yes, that would include the full auto M16 and the .50 Browning. If you can carry it…..

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Very glad it came out right, sad that four justices apparently cannot read or diagram a sentence. Maybe PHC could sponsor a class in diagramming sentences for them?

    Also something of a bummer that Scalia does not appear, as far as I can tell, to have repeated Miller’s point that the citizens are allowed weapons typical of a militia–yes, that would include the full auto M16 and the .50 Browning. If you can carry it…..

  • http://reformationfaithtoday.com/ Les Prouty

    As a concealed carry licensed, law-abiding 2nd amendment proponent I am very glad for this ruling.

  • http://reformationfaithtoday.com/ Les Prouty

    As a concealed carry licensed, law-abiding 2nd amendment proponent I am very glad for this ruling.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Happy and relieved beyond words. An opposite decision would have been devastating.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Happy and relieved beyond words. An opposite decision would have been devastating.

  • Trey

    I am very glad. I actually think the thugs in D.C. may think twice before they think about committing larceny. The fact is what deters people of crime is punishment and knowing that a person may have a gun in their home I think will act as a strong deterrent against criminals.

  • Trey

    I am very glad. I actually think the thugs in D.C. may think twice before they think about committing larceny. The fact is what deters people of crime is punishment and knowing that a person may have a gun in their home I think will act as a strong deterrent against criminals.

  • Chilibean

    Neither glad nor sad, I believe the SC upheld the 2nd Ammendment. Don’t own a gun that I use only an old late 1800′s winchester 22 that’s sitting collecting dust, but I’m not pro or con on this issue because I believe it’s a sympton not the problem.

    I saw a pic of a pro-tester on CNN whose sign read if Gun’s kill people, do Pens misspell words? Tickled my funny bone.

  • Chilibean

    Neither glad nor sad, I believe the SC upheld the 2nd Ammendment. Don’t own a gun that I use only an old late 1800′s winchester 22 that’s sitting collecting dust, but I’m not pro or con on this issue because I believe it’s a sympton not the problem.

    I saw a pic of a pro-tester on CNN whose sign read if Gun’s kill people, do Pens misspell words? Tickled my funny bone.

  • http://lutheranguest.blogspot.com/ Jim

    I am overall glad, because I think we should protect individual gun ownership.

    That being said, construing what the Second Amendment actually means is a closer call than many conservatives seem to recognize. I’ll give the nod to Scalia and the majority, but the dissenters are not at all out to lunch on their reading of the text.

  • http://lutheranguest.blogspot.com/ Jim

    I am overall glad, because I think we should protect individual gun ownership.

    That being said, construing what the Second Amendment actually means is a closer call than many conservatives seem to recognize. I’ll give the nod to Scalia and the majority, but the dissenters are not at all out to lunch on their reading of the text.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Also something of a bummer that Scalia does not appear, as far as I can tell, to have repeated Miller’s point that the citizens are allowed weapons typical of a militia”

    Scalia probably had to leave that out to gain Kennedy’s vote. The dissenting four should be impeached as far as I’m concerned.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Also something of a bummer that Scalia does not appear, as far as I can tell, to have repeated Miller’s point that the citizens are allowed weapons typical of a militia”

    Scalia probably had to leave that out to gain Kennedy’s vote. The dissenting four should be impeached as far as I’m concerned.

  • Don S

    Glad, of course, but also sad that 4 justices, for all intents and purposes, don’t recognize a right explicitly set forth in the 2nd Amendment, but are all over a FUNDAMENTAL right to kill unborn children derived from the penumbra of whatever. And sad that Obama pandered to the voters yesterday concerning his “support” for the 2nd Amendment when we all know full well that any justice he appoints to the Court would have and will side with the 4 above mentioned.

  • Don S

    Glad, of course, but also sad that 4 justices, for all intents and purposes, don’t recognize a right explicitly set forth in the 2nd Amendment, but are all over a FUNDAMENTAL right to kill unborn children derived from the penumbra of whatever. And sad that Obama pandered to the voters yesterday concerning his “support” for the 2nd Amendment when we all know full well that any justice he appoints to the Court would have and will side with the 4 above mentioned.

  • http://www.prochristoetlibertate.blogspot.com Elizabeth Horst

    Very glad! Give the honest citizens of DC (and all of America) their constitutional rights back so they can protect themselves and their families. Now I’ve been debating whether or not I should try and get a handgun up here in NY … tough regs. Hmm.

  • http://www.prochristoetlibertate.blogspot.com Elizabeth Horst

    Very glad! Give the honest citizens of DC (and all of America) their constitutional rights back so they can protect themselves and their families. Now I’ve been debating whether or not I should try and get a handgun up here in NY … tough regs. Hmm.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    JUSTICE GINSBURG: “But why wouldn’t the machine gun qualify? General Clement told us that that is standard issue in the military.”

    For a couple of seconds, I was almost starting to like Justice Ginsburg. She was asking why machine guns shouldn’t be allowed under Miller, given that they are more of a military arm than a pistol is. If only she would have pressed that logic to its appropriate conclusion.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    JUSTICE GINSBURG: “But why wouldn’t the machine gun qualify? General Clement told us that that is standard issue in the military.”

    For a couple of seconds, I was almost starting to like Justice Ginsburg. She was asking why machine guns shouldn’t be allowed under Miller, given that they are more of a military arm than a pistol is. If only she would have pressed that logic to its appropriate conclusion.

  • The Jones

    To celebrate, we drove laps around the national mall firing handguns into the air. I love freedom.

  • The Jones

    To celebrate, we drove laps around the national mall firing handguns into the air. I love freedom.

  • fw

    what about nuclear arms… Why dont I have the right to bear them? what in the second amendment wouldprohibit that? “bear arms…” YEah! how about a bazooka or two or….? I can hardly wait to get mine on ebay soon…..

  • fw

    what about nuclear arms… Why dont I have the right to bear them? what in the second amendment wouldprohibit that? “bear arms…” YEah! how about a bazooka or two or….? I can hardly wait to get mine on ebay soon…..

  • fw

    to suggest that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with maintaining a well armed militia and disconnect those two parts seems sorta specious to me. dont see scalia being so razor sharp here……that connection is what would delineate just what kind of arms and for what purpose…. and then logically, concealed weapons could be banned and maybe even handguns…

  • fw

    to suggest that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with maintaining a well armed militia and disconnect those two parts seems sorta specious to me. dont see scalia being so razor sharp here……that connection is what would delineate just what kind of arms and for what purpose…. and then logically, concealed weapons could be banned and maybe even handguns…

  • fw

    i am amazed that no one allows that reasoned men could go at least several ways with the wording of the 2nd amendment. reasonably and logically. I dont really have an opinion either way. truly so. but I dont see a victory for obvious reason here. I could go with the liberals or the conservatives on this one actually. I think the 2nd amendment actually allows room for both arguments actually.

  • fw

    i am amazed that no one allows that reasoned men could go at least several ways with the wording of the 2nd amendment. reasonably and logically. I dont really have an opinion either way. truly so. but I dont see a victory for obvious reason here. I could go with the liberals or the conservatives on this one actually. I think the 2nd amendment actually allows room for both arguments actually.

  • The Jones
  • The Jones
  • Carl Vehse

    “what about nuclear arms… Why dont I have the right to bear them?”

    The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.

    So sue.

  • Carl Vehse

    “what about nuclear arms… Why dont I have the right to bear them?”

    The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.

    So sue.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’d love to hear predictions of how much crime is going to go down in DC now. Feel free to qualify it (violent crime only? burglaries?), but I really would love some guesses.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’d love to hear predictions of how much crime is going to go down in DC now. Feel free to qualify it (violent crime only? burglaries?), but I really would love some guesses.

  • Bob Myers

    Thankful.

  • Bob Myers

    Thankful.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I won’t do crime predictions but I do predict a few more people will be able to save their lives and property. Something the police were notoriously unable to do for them in D.C.
    I still remember the black angel in a Ford Explorer with a heineken in the console, who saw my life in danger as I was waiting for the bus at dusk on the corner of Malcom X and Martin Luther King, and stopped to give me a ride to base. Has to be the roughest neighborhood I’ve ever passed through, and not a cop to be seen.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I won’t do crime predictions but I do predict a few more people will be able to save their lives and property. Something the police were notoriously unable to do for them in D.C.
    I still remember the black angel in a Ford Explorer with a heineken in the console, who saw my life in danger as I was waiting for the bus at dusk on the corner of Malcom X and Martin Luther King, and stopped to give me a ride to base. Has to be the roughest neighborhood I’ve ever passed through, and not a cop to be seen.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@25), are you saying that the effects of legalizing guns on crime in DC will be negligible, aside from some anecdotal evidence? I thought this was supposed to have a huge negative effect on crime. Now we have a chance to find out in a situation that is fairly controlled.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bror (@25), are you saying that the effects of legalizing guns on crime in DC will be negligible, aside from some anecdotal evidence? I thought this was supposed to have a huge negative effect on crime. Now we have a chance to find out in a situation that is fairly controlled.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Regarding Frank’s question “why not nukes”, the simple answer is that when you get critical mass of plutonium, an equivalent or larger amount of TNT to detonate it, and shielding to prevent the owner from being exposed to lethal amounts of radiation, you’re talking about several hundred pounds of bomb. If you can “bear” or carry that with you, be my guest.

    That’s also the critical thing about the militia clause; Miller clearly noted that the 2nd Amendment preserved the right to militia style weapons. That would be your assault rifles, IMO, as well as semi-auto and other pistols.

    (and if you can’t ban those, why bother with bolt action and revolvers?)

    And tODD, my prediction is that DC does not simply obey the court’s order, but pulls a lot of stunts to make sure that their obedience of the court occurs as late as possible. After they get slapped down a few more times in court, and the mayor does some time for contempt, then residents will begin to arm themselves and crime rates should drop some.

    If residents replace their government and elect a new mayor and city council that understand the relationship between guns and crime, they could possibly join the ranks of civilized–shall issue concealed carry law–jurisdictions, and crime could really start to drop there.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Regarding Frank’s question “why not nukes”, the simple answer is that when you get critical mass of plutonium, an equivalent or larger amount of TNT to detonate it, and shielding to prevent the owner from being exposed to lethal amounts of radiation, you’re talking about several hundred pounds of bomb. If you can “bear” or carry that with you, be my guest.

    That’s also the critical thing about the militia clause; Miller clearly noted that the 2nd Amendment preserved the right to militia style weapons. That would be your assault rifles, IMO, as well as semi-auto and other pistols.

    (and if you can’t ban those, why bother with bolt action and revolvers?)

    And tODD, my prediction is that DC does not simply obey the court’s order, but pulls a lot of stunts to make sure that their obedience of the court occurs as late as possible. After they get slapped down a few more times in court, and the mayor does some time for contempt, then residents will begin to arm themselves and crime rates should drop some.

    If residents replace their government and elect a new mayor and city council that understand the relationship between guns and crime, they could possibly join the ranks of civilized–shall issue concealed carry law–jurisdictions, and crime could really start to drop there.

  • Anon

    The founders are clear in their letters and publications, as well as the text of the 2nd Amendment, that infantry weapons may not be in any way limited from the populace. That crew-served weapons could be owned as well, but might be better in the hands of duly-elected township and county officials, likewise for cavalry. Private ships were allowed to be armed as well.

    So yes to RPG-7s and Stingers, but while you could perhaps own an M1A2, it would be better “on the courthouse square” as The Music Man put it.

    The cost of fighters and bombers would be so prohibitive that they would be likely on the State level.

  • Anon

    The founders are clear in their letters and publications, as well as the text of the 2nd Amendment, that infantry weapons may not be in any way limited from the populace. That crew-served weapons could be owned as well, but might be better in the hands of duly-elected township and county officials, likewise for cavalry. Private ships were allowed to be armed as well.

    So yes to RPG-7s and Stingers, but while you could perhaps own an M1A2, it would be better “on the courthouse square” as The Music Man put it.

    The cost of fighters and bombers would be so prohibitive that they would be likely on the State level.

  • Don S

    Well, first of all, tODD @26, whether or not it reduces crime is immaterial, as what was at stake was a constitutional freedom, not a crime reduction scheme. And how could you predict the extent of a drop in crime? The (law-abiding) population of D.C. has been herded like sheep away from guns for 32 years — it will take quite a while from them to arm themselves. The amount of crime reduction will be proportional to the extent to which the citizens avail themselves of their rights to bear arms. And it will take a few successful self-defense incidents before word gets out to the crime committing community to stop going into people’s houses cause they might be packin’.

  • Don S

    Well, first of all, tODD @26, whether or not it reduces crime is immaterial, as what was at stake was a constitutional freedom, not a crime reduction scheme. And how could you predict the extent of a drop in crime? The (law-abiding) population of D.C. has been herded like sheep away from guns for 32 years — it will take quite a while from them to arm themselves. The amount of crime reduction will be proportional to the extent to which the citizens avail themselves of their rights to bear arms. And it will take a few successful self-defense incidents before word gets out to the crime committing community to stop going into people’s houses cause they might be packin’.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    I’m always glad to see the constitution upheld. But…

    Living in Europe for four years made me appreciate cities without guns. I wasn’t nearly as concerned about my family’s safety over there as I would be in some parts of the US city I live in now.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    I’m always glad to see the constitution upheld. But…

    Living in Europe for four years made me appreciate cities without guns. I wasn’t nearly as concerned about my family’s safety over there as I would be in some parts of the US city I live in now.

  • allen

    I’ve never understood the thinking behind the idea that because an amendment only enumerates one reason why a right exists, that no other ones also exist. Are the framers of the Constitution expected to have listed each and every reason for each and every right? We have the right to keep and bear arms. If someone thinks that’s a bad idea, I would refer him to Article Five.

  • allen

    I’ve never understood the thinking behind the idea that because an amendment only enumerates one reason why a right exists, that no other ones also exist. Are the framers of the Constitution expected to have listed each and every reason for each and every right? We have the right to keep and bear arms. If someone thinks that’s a bad idea, I would refer him to Article Five.

  • http://www.lsaels.org Edward Bryant

    FW : “to suggest that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with maintaining a well armed militia and disconnect those two parts seems sorta specious to me. dont see scalia being so razor sharp here……that connection is what would delineate just what kind of arms and for what purpose…. and then logically, concealed weapons could be banned and maybe even handguns…”

    Showing the connection between the two clauses is what Scalia does (sharply!). First, gramatically, the militia clause is a dependent clause. It does nothing to change the MEANING of the second clause or restrict it. Of course the right to keep and bear arms has “something to do with” militias in the same way that arms themselves have something to do with militias, but just as arms can exist without militias, so can the right to bear them. Scalia provides abundant evidence that these rights exist quite apart from militias.
    He also explored an interesting bit of history. Part of the federalist/anti-federalist argument was whether the federal government could disband the militias as Charles I and James II had done. The answer was no, because Charles and James had succeeded in destroying the militias – how? By disarming individuals. The founders said that couldn’t be done here BECAUSE OF THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS POSSESSED BY THE INDIVIDUAL.
    That is the real relationship of the two clauses. The existence of state militias is protected by the right of the individuals to own arms.

  • http://www.lsaels.org Edward Bryant

    FW : “to suggest that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with maintaining a well armed militia and disconnect those two parts seems sorta specious to me. dont see scalia being so razor sharp here……that connection is what would delineate just what kind of arms and for what purpose…. and then logically, concealed weapons could be banned and maybe even handguns…”

    Showing the connection between the two clauses is what Scalia does (sharply!). First, gramatically, the militia clause is a dependent clause. It does nothing to change the MEANING of the second clause or restrict it. Of course the right to keep and bear arms has “something to do with” militias in the same way that arms themselves have something to do with militias, but just as arms can exist without militias, so can the right to bear them. Scalia provides abundant evidence that these rights exist quite apart from militias.
    He also explored an interesting bit of history. Part of the federalist/anti-federalist argument was whether the federal government could disband the militias as Charles I and James II had done. The answer was no, because Charles and James had succeeded in destroying the militias – how? By disarming individuals. The founders said that couldn’t be done here BECAUSE OF THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS POSSESSED BY THE INDIVIDUAL.
    That is the real relationship of the two clauses. The existence of state militias is protected by the right of the individuals to own arms.

  • http://www.lsaels.org Edward Bryant

    I should have concluded “by the pre-existing and inviolable right of the individuals to keep and bear arms.”

  • http://www.lsaels.org Edward Bryant

    I should have concluded “by the pre-existing and inviolable right of the individuals to keep and bear arms.”

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Gotta love a blog that causes you to look up a word nearly every day. Today’s new word (for me):

    Specious -Apparently good or right though lacking real merit; superficially pleasing or plausible; having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: a specious argument; c.1400, “pleasing to the sight, fair,” from Latin speciosus “good-looking, beautiful,” from species “appearance” (see species). Meaning “seemingly desirable, reasonable or probable, but not really so” is first recorded 1612.

    Too bad I can’t get Dana Carvey out of my head saying, “Isn’t that specious?”

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Gotta love a blog that causes you to look up a word nearly every day. Today’s new word (for me):

    Specious -Apparently good or right though lacking real merit; superficially pleasing or plausible; having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: a specious argument; c.1400, “pleasing to the sight, fair,” from Latin speciosus “good-looking, beautiful,” from species “appearance” (see species). Meaning “seemingly desirable, reasonable or probable, but not really so” is first recorded 1612.

    Too bad I can’t get Dana Carvey out of my head saying, “Isn’t that specious?”

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    It may or may not have any negative effects on the rate of crime. We will find out. One thing we do know, not allowing citizens to have fire arms did not cut down on crime. When I lived there it was the murder capitol of the country.
    Kevin N,
    I lived in Europe for quite a few years myself. one thing I realized though is that feeling of safety was a naive one. Of course I lived in Itally, but reading the papers there and discusing news with my coworkers, the crime was as bad in the cities as it is in most American cities. The gun laws never stopped the mafia from doing what they wanted.
    Very few times have I ever felt my life endangered, but a few of those times were in Europe, where supposedly people don’t have guns, but the police feel obligated to carry uzis.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    It may or may not have any negative effects on the rate of crime. We will find out. One thing we do know, not allowing citizens to have fire arms did not cut down on crime. When I lived there it was the murder capitol of the country.
    Kevin N,
    I lived in Europe for quite a few years myself. one thing I realized though is that feeling of safety was a naive one. Of course I lived in Itally, but reading the papers there and discusing news with my coworkers, the crime was as bad in the cities as it is in most American cities. The gun laws never stopped the mafia from doing what they wanted.
    Very few times have I ever felt my life endangered, but a few of those times were in Europe, where supposedly people don’t have guns, but the police feel obligated to carry uzis.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    Bror,
    I agree, I feel a little uncomfortable in Italy when I see police with machine guns. But in most of Europe, police are much more lightly armed. And I could walk in most of Bucharest any time of day or night and feel perfectly safe. I’m not opposed to people owning guns, but I see little use for hand guns. If I were to have a gun in my home, it would be a shotgun.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    Bror,
    I agree, I feel a little uncomfortable in Italy when I see police with machine guns. But in most of Europe, police are much more lightly armed. And I could walk in most of Bucharest any time of day or night and feel perfectly safe. I’m not opposed to people owning guns, but I see little use for hand guns. If I were to have a gun in my home, it would be a shotgun.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    John Piper writes:

    What do the supreme court ruling on guns and the martyrdom of missionaries have to do with each other?

    Noël and I watched Beyond Gates of Splendor, the documentary version of End of the Spear, the story of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint in Ecuador in 1956. That same day we heard that the Supreme Court decided in favor of the right of Americans to keep firearms at home for self-defense.

    Here’s the connection. The missionaries had guns when they were speared to death. One of them shot the gun into the air, it appears, as he was killed, rather than shooting the natives. They had agreed to do this. The reason was simple and staggeringly Christlike:

    The natives are not ready for heaven. We are.

    I suspect the same could be said for almost anyone who breaks into my house. There are other reasons why I have never owned a firearm and do not have one in my house. But that reason moves me deeply. I hope you don’t use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun. Better to find some missionaries like this and support them.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1288_Guns_and_Martyrdom/

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    John Piper writes:

    What do the supreme court ruling on guns and the martyrdom of missionaries have to do with each other?

    Noël and I watched Beyond Gates of Splendor, the documentary version of End of the Spear, the story of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint in Ecuador in 1956. That same day we heard that the Supreme Court decided in favor of the right of Americans to keep firearms at home for self-defense.

    Here’s the connection. The missionaries had guns when they were speared to death. One of them shot the gun into the air, it appears, as he was killed, rather than shooting the natives. They had agreed to do this. The reason was simple and staggeringly Christlike:

    The natives are not ready for heaven. We are.

    I suspect the same could be said for almost anyone who breaks into my house. There are other reasons why I have never owned a firearm and do not have one in my house. But that reason moves me deeply. I hope you don’t use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun. Better to find some missionaries like this and support them.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1288_Guns_and_Martyrdom/

  • Carl Vehse

    There are some instances where Christians in their vocations as parents, neighbors, citizens, police, soldiers, military contractors, or even SWAT/military snipers, have the responsibility and authority to use deadly force, such as for the protection of themselves and others from an imminent deadly threat. This is not to say that every Christian (or citizen) has the mental capability or physical skill to use a firearm for such a purpose.

  • Carl Vehse

    There are some instances where Christians in their vocations as parents, neighbors, citizens, police, soldiers, military contractors, or even SWAT/military snipers, have the responsibility and authority to use deadly force, such as for the protection of themselves and others from an imminent deadly threat. This is not to say that every Christian (or citizen) has the mental capability or physical skill to use a firearm for such a purpose.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Here is my rebuttal of the John Piper statement quoted above.

  • http://thirstytheologian.com David Kjos

    Here is my rebuttal of the John Piper statement quoted above.

  • Anon

    The militarily-armed American citizenry was the answer of the Founding Fathers to the ancient question posed regarding Plato’s _Republic_: “Quis custodes ipsos custodiet?” Who will watch the watchmen?

    Kevin N. You may make that choice for yourself, you may not make that choice for your family or your neighbor, whom you have a duty to protect. Do you live alone?

  • Anon

    The militarily-armed American citizenry was the answer of the Founding Fathers to the ancient question posed regarding Plato’s _Republic_: “Quis custodes ipsos custodiet?” Who will watch the watchmen?

    Kevin N. You may make that choice for yourself, you may not make that choice for your family or your neighbor, whom you have a duty to protect. Do you live alone?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    So because missionaries had guns and chose not to use them, we should not have guns?

    Piper’s logic is generally excellent, but this one escapes me. What about “the crime rate here in our town is horrendous, so I recommend that you love your neighbor by spending your tax rebate to get a carry permit and pistol and do your part to deter criminality”?

    Yes, supporting missionaries is critically important. However, the “home mission,” and doing things to bless your neighbors, is equally significant.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    So because missionaries had guns and chose not to use them, we should not have guns?

    Piper’s logic is generally excellent, but this one escapes me. What about “the crime rate here in our town is horrendous, so I recommend that you love your neighbor by spending your tax rebate to get a carry permit and pistol and do your part to deter criminality”?

    Yes, supporting missionaries is critically important. However, the “home mission,” and doing things to bless your neighbors, is equally significant.

  • Joe

    tODD – This ruling will have no impact on crime – unless people decided to exercise their rights. If they do, I think it will be a statistically significant impact for the good. There has been a lot of scholarship on the impact of privately own guns and the crime rates. John Lott has done a very comprehensive study but many argue he is biased. Personally, I think the charges against Lott are bogus. But because of the controversy, I don’t use Lott in debates or discussions with people.

    Instead, I tend to cite Gary Kleck – another criminologist who has been generally regarded as unbiased (he does have detractors – but everyone has some). He is a criminologist by trade and he did a study that found that Americans use privately owned firearms to deter crime about 2.5 million times a year. His study was done a decade ago but there is no reason to think that time would affect that prevalence of defensive gun use. Here is his study: http://www.guncite.com/gcdgklec.html

    A fellow criminologist who hates guns and has said he would like to outlaw them all was prompted by Kleck’s study to write an article called, A Tribute To A View I have Opposed, wherein he wrote: “I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. “ It can be found at http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Wolfgang1.html

  • Joe

    tODD – This ruling will have no impact on crime – unless people decided to exercise their rights. If they do, I think it will be a statistically significant impact for the good. There has been a lot of scholarship on the impact of privately own guns and the crime rates. John Lott has done a very comprehensive study but many argue he is biased. Personally, I think the charges against Lott are bogus. But because of the controversy, I don’t use Lott in debates or discussions with people.

    Instead, I tend to cite Gary Kleck – another criminologist who has been generally regarded as unbiased (he does have detractors – but everyone has some). He is a criminologist by trade and he did a study that found that Americans use privately owned firearms to deter crime about 2.5 million times a year. His study was done a decade ago but there is no reason to think that time would affect that prevalence of defensive gun use. Here is his study: http://www.guncite.com/gcdgklec.html

    A fellow criminologist who hates guns and has said he would like to outlaw them all was prompted by Kleck’s study to write an article called, A Tribute To A View I have Opposed, wherein he wrote: “I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. “ It can be found at http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Wolfgang1.html

  • LAJ

    Very glad the Constitution was upheld and not reinterpreted at last!

  • LAJ

    Very glad the Constitution was upheld and not reinterpreted at last!


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