More on Gun Laws

James Martin, S.J.:

Of course, violent people use guns in violence. We can’t prevent people from being violent – apart from a miracle of God’s grace – but we can prevent said violent people from having access to guns.

Christians should be leading the way toward the revision of gun laws in the USA. Do I hear an Amen?

This priest is pushing to say this: Not what does the Constitution provide a right for, but how does the cross compel us to live?

But our revulsion over these crimes, and our sympathy for victims, may be more than an invitation to prayer.  Such deep emotions may be one way that God encourages us to act.  Simply praying, “God, never let this happen again” is insufficient for the person who believes that God gave us the intelligence to bring about lasting change.  It would be as if one passed a homeless person and said to oneself, “God, please help that poor man,” when all along you could have helped him yourself.

These shootings would not have happened if the shooter did not have such easy access to firearms and ammunition.  So religious people need to be invited to meditate on the connection between the more traditional “life issues” and the overdue need for stricter gun control.  The oft-cited argument, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” seems unconvincing.  Of course people kill people; as people also procure abortions, decide on euthanasia and administer the death penalty.  Human beings are agents in all these matters.  The question is not so much how lives are ended, but how to make it more difficult to end lives.

Pro-life religious people need to consider how it might be made more difficult for people to procure weapons that are not designed for sport or hunting or self-defense.  Why would anyone be opposed to firmer gun control, or, to put it more plainly, laws that would make it more difficult for mass murders to occur?  If one protests against abortions clinics because they facilitate the taking of human life, why not protest against largely unregulated suppliers of firearms because they facilitate the taking of human life as well?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • gingoro

    From a person who lives outside of the USofA. What limits on personal possession and use of weapons and explosives exist in the USofA? For example what about:
    RPGs
    anti aircraft guns
    heavy artillery
    Surface to Air Missiles (SAM)
    tanks
    surplus Russian tactical or strategic Nuclear weapons
    weaponized chemical weapons beyond tear gas etc

    Does one need a license to procure explosives?

    Surely there are some limits so this is a discussion of where the limits should be, not about having no limits at all.

    Dave W

  • Fish

    How do these sound?
    – When RPGs are outlawed, only outlaws will have RPGs.
    – RPGs don’t kill people. People kill people.
    – The first thing Hitler did was outlaw RPGs.
    – Obama is going to take your RPG. Join the NRA today.

    And so on. The idea that we’re actually talking about limits is a good one, but we enacted those limits before hatred of government became a virtue. If full-auto assault rifles, RPGs and surplus tactical nuclear weapons were fully legal to own, it would be impossible in today’s climate to change that legality. There are too many corporations and advocacy groups making too much money from weaponry.

    It is not a question of ethics, public safety or national security. It’s all about the $$$$$.

  • Luke

    AMEN!

    I’m all in favor banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Hunting rifles and shotguns are primarily designed for use against animals and I wouldn’t take those away from the farmers, hunters and ranchers who depend on them. You don’t see them used very often in homicide either (I am aware that the shooter in Aurora had a shotgun, but I doubt he would have done as much damage if that were all he had). Revolvers are more gray, but still better than semi-automatic handguns.


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