For Christians, First Principles in the Gun Debate

Editor’s Note: Below is the third post from contributing writer, John Mark Reynolds, founder of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola, now a trailblazing provost at Houston Baptist University, and a frequent social commentator in places like The Washington Post:

If government were good, only God would have guns. Yet humans abuse God’s gift of human freedom, and so guns abound. What can we do about it?

Christians want peace, but perfect peace is not possible in our present condition without tyranny. We must tolerate law — a thing that does violence to our liberty — while remembering no law is good in itself. Liberty is good in itself, while law is the compromise we make with our inability to be good and free, and the law is only good when it maximizes liberty and minimizes vice.

Nothing is so good that humans cannot mess it up, and nothing is so bad that God cannot redeem it. If we do not start with this simple truth when it comes to guns, then our discussion will go no place. Guns can easily kill, though they need not be used to kill. Killing can be murder and murder is immoral. Guns, therefore, like cars, require thoughtful regulation in a fallen world. This is why both guns and cars are already regulated.

No gun control the President can suggest will deserve moral condemnation or praise, because there is no fundamental human right to own a gun as there is a fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Before guns existed, men were free and if all guns vanished men would still be free.

If men were angels, then every man could own a gun. If men were devils, no man should own a gun. Since no person is either an angel or a demon, and since guns are so easy to abuse, we must measure what to do about them.

Of course, gun regulations, which Americans already have, limit our liberty, but a limit on liberty need not make me a slave.  As a conservative, I recognize that this is a pragmatic decision between liberty and law. Regulation reduces what it regulates, but it also infringes on my liberty. There is also the pragmatic question of whether more gun control will prevent any of the events such as the Newtown horror.

Sociology and science can help us answer those questions, but science cannot tell us what society Americans want. Turning to another easily abused good, media, makes this obvious. The scientific consensus is that consuming violent media increases the tendency to violence, but that agreement doesn’t tell us anything about we should do. Christianity warns that Utopia isn’t coming with direct divine rule, so no solution will be perfect. The awesome liberty to play Halo means that unstable people can easily play Halo. Most Americans think the censorship of such media will not lead to a sufficiently significant decrease in violence to be worth our loss of liberty. Christians know that giving the government power is necessary, but also understand that all such power will be abused.

Increasing government power over anything is always dangerous, though increasing my liberty is also dangerous! It is impossible to know when “tipping points” are reached, when liberty devolves into licentiousness or the law into legalism.

This means there an be no single Christian position on gun control. Christians can live peacefully in societies where there is no right to bear arms and in societies, such as ours, where there is such a civil right. We believe in liberty, morality, and law, but don’t know how to balance those goods.

That is the downside of God’s gift of free will.

Pragmatically, as a citizen, I believe that an armed citizenry is worth any increase in violence that may result. I also believe that we have sufficient regulations in place and no new regulations, given the number of guns in the society already, are likely to prevent another Newtown. There has been no increase in such violence, and it seems unwise to pass laws only so that we can have the satisfaction of having done something.

If the Federal government decides further to limit magazine sizes in an act of therapeutic regulation, however, I think the Republic will no more be in imminent peril, than if it decided to ban certain kinds of violent video games. We were free before Grand Theft Auto and could be free without it.

I hope we do neither, but only because I believe too much liberty and privacy has been lost already.

  • http://byzantium.wordpress.com Kullervo

    Extremely well-put.

  • http://www.lambpower.net Steve D

    Somewhere Second Amendment discussions always talk about rights. Never about responsibilities. The First Amendment has rules that modifies it. You simply can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. Child porn is (correctly) banned. Why is it that any attempt to set up some restrictions (that would make sense) on the Second Amendment get screams from those who want unfettered access to guns, rifles, and semi-automatics with large amounts of ammo? Where’s the responsibility that goes with the rights?

    • Charles W. Baldwin

      Gun owners do have a responsibility to keep their arms in good working order, to know how to use their arms, to know the existing laws concerning their arms, and to know and practice firearm safety. Whether these responsibilities are encoded into law or not is a different question. Limiting access to semi-automatics, large amounts of ammo, etc. are not responsibilities; they are restrictions. The problem gun control advocates will continue to run into is the “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment.

      • http://www.lambpower.net Steve D

        “The problem gun control advocates will continue to run into is the “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment.”

        Except for the fact that the First Amendment has similar language. “Congress shall make no law…” says basically the same thing. Gun owners also have a responsibility to limit access to their guns from those who are not qualified/capable of using the firearm properly. Again, why do gun rights advocates don’t see they have responsibilities? They don’t want regulation but are unwilling to deal with the consequences.

        • Charles W. Baldwin

          “Gun owners also have a responsibility to limit access to their guns from those who are not qualified/capable of using the firearm properly.” I would agree with that. As Peter Parker would say, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Having said that, everyone on both sides of the argument were wondering why the Sandy Hook shooter had access to his mother’s guns, suggesting that most gun owners do take that responsibility seriously. The shooter’s mother, unfortunately, paid for the shirking of her responsibility with her life. I would hazard to say that if they are unwilling to deal with the consequences, it is likely because they didn’t cause the consequences. Please allow me to ask what regulations you would like to see in place; perhaps that would help clarify the discussion.

          • Michael Bernard

            There is no screening of backgrounds in gun shows’ gun sales and private transfers of ownership of guns. Those sales make up 40% of gun sales. 40% thanks to a loophole in the law!

            Law abiding citizens should be yelling and screaming for our safety from criminals who have such easy access to guns. Close the loopholes. Tell your congressman and Senator. We want protection from the criminals.

            So how is it, again, that the people who want more restrictions are the BAD GUYS and the people protecting criminals’ right to get guns easily without any restrictions are the Good Guys?

          • Charles W. Baldwin

            @Michael: If there are loopholes, let’s close them. But, how would that have prevented Sandy Hook? Again, if it’s the right thing to do, it’s the right thing to do and it doesn’t have to solve a Sandy Hook type problem; however, the whole outcry for gun control, such as it is, stems from Sandy Hook. That most, if not all, of the proffered “solutions” would not have made a difference in Sandy Hook makes it look like this is just an excuse to further the gun control agenda rather than to actually solve a problem.

  • Jeremy Forbing

    There is so much I agree with here, I will choose to ignore my strong disagreement with the beliefs expressed in the last three paragraphs. The rest of it is a great starting point for this discussion.

    The balance between liberty, morality, and law is a very precise expression of where the real debate in this country ought to be. We could even simplify that to liberty and law, since the government cannot and should not legislate morality. But admitting that we are all uncertain where the boundaries should be is a perfect beginning. So much else of our national discussion is just noise designed to scare you into a voting booth.

  • David Juniper

    Lots of confusion here. Methinks it would be more clear if freedom was spelled with a capital “F” and God with a small “g”.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

    If the Federal government decides further to limit magazine sizes in an act of therapeutic regulation, however, I think the Republic will no more be in imminent peril, than if it decided to ban certain kinds of violent video games. We were free before Grand Theft Auto and could be free without it.

    I hope we do neither, but only because I believe too much liberty and privacy has been lost already.

    That’s right, you’ve lost too much “liberty” already to conscience the extreme notion that civilians have no need to own weapons of mass murder. Limit magazines so that you can only kill 10 people in a matter of seconds before having to pause to reload? Certainly not worth considering with for the sake of thousands of lives every year!

    If you want to state that there can be no Christian position on gun control, that’s fine, but by doing so you forfeit the right to any Christian claim to the term “pro-life”.

  • Simon P

    As a Brit who enjoys living in an almost gun-free culture (in central London, no less), I find it astonishing and terrifying when a US brother says this: “Pragmatically, as a citizen, I believe that an armed citizenry is worth any increase in violence that may result.” Seriously?
    I’m fully aware that the Bible doesn’t directly legislate on the issue, and that there are subtleties in the debate, but most people this side of the Atlantic find the above view absurd in the extreme.

    • Alis

      As someone who used to live in central London and now lives in a rural backwater I completely agree with you, Simon.

    • JohnM

      But then the genesis of that absurd view had something to do with the Brits. :)

  • John Byrne

    “Guns can easily kill, though they need not be used to kill.” What else can they be used for? Guns are designed to kill and it is ridiculous that anyone other than the lawful authorities of the state and those with licensed and controlled hunting weapons should own them. The obsessive prejudice against government being allowed to govern (“Increasing government power over anything is always dangerous…”)is not a Biblical Christian position but owes more to the libertarianism of John Locke who believed that human nature is characterised by reason and tolerance (another un-biblical presumption).
    The Biblical position on government and its powers is found in Romans 13: 1-7
    “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”
    There is no Christian basis for the right’-wing obsession against government and against gun-control. They are advocating anarchy. Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. ”
    The US constitution and its amendments are not Holy Scripture.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      John, you ask, “What else can they be used for?” They can be used for self-defense, of course. The great majority of the time, when guns are used for self-defense, they’re never fired. When they are fired, they usually injure but do not kill.

      I also think there’s something to be said for deterrence against government corruption or the formation of tyranny.

      • John Byrne

        Timothy, I’ve been the victim of gun crime and obviously survived it. Reason: I was not armed and presented no threat to the perpetrators. Friends who support the gun lobby asked me why I didn’t grab the gun off him! Reason: I’m not Chuck Norris. That only works in the movies and those who think they can defend themselves against determined armed criminals are living the same kind of fantasy that Chuck plays out on the silver screen. We need to de-escalate the threat in such situations, not increase it.
        And where did the idea of self-defense come from for the Christian? How did the Lord Jesus react to personal abuse and brutal assault? And he tells his followers: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:27-31
        How can a Christian justify threatening or taking the life of another to defend their property? When did the 2nd amendment supersede Scripture?

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          John, people use guns to defend their homes and their families all the time. It doesn’t take Chuck Norris.

          “Turn the other cheek” doesn’t necessarily mean “let people kill you.” And it certainly doesn’t mean letting people kill my wife or children. If I can use a gun as a deterrent, without harming anyone, to prevent theft from my home, I will do it. And if I need to shoot the gun in order to defend my wife and children, I will do so. There is nothing in Scripture against these things.

          • John Byrne

            Timothy, you and your family are in far more danger having guns in the home and living in a society where guns are easily available than you would be in a society with sane gun control. If all the money and time spent on personal gun ownership was paid in taxes to fund law enforcement you would be in far less danger of having someone invade your home and threaten your family.

          • Timothy Dalrymple

            Let me try to make this more constructive. What does sane gun control mean to you, John? What do you recommend?

        • Bryan

          Forget about defense of self or property for a moment. What if it were your family who needed protection? Would you really not be able to justify threatening or taking the life of another to protect them? Or for the protection of any other human being? Would you rather an armed criminal kill several people rather than being stopped quickly and lethally, if necessary?

          • John Byrne

            Sane gun control is where the only guns in civilian ownership are hunting weapons licensed only to those who can prove they use them for hunting, or sporting guns which should be kept securely on site at gun clubs and not in members homes, and gun owners and gun club members must not have a criminal record. All other weapons, whether ‘assault weapons’ or anything else designed for the military or law enforcement should only be in the hands of the military or law enforcement.

          • Timothy Dalrymple

            So, to be clear, you would not permit handguns, for instance, for home defense?

  • Stacy

    The first weapon of mass destruction in the Bible was free will. And until we learn how to use THAT one responsibly, we can argue all we want about whatever we want. Since free will was a gift from God, you can’t argue that it was evil.

    Eve condemned the entirety of mankind to death by utilizing her free will in a manner inconsistent with it’s purpose. Evil is the enemy here, not the rock in Cain’s hand. Just sayin’.

    • Timmy Howard

      Yup, it is astonishing that others cannot see this. By the way, When Christ sent his disciples into the world he told them to take a sword. In my view this is this Christian argument against gun control.

  • Lissa Bales

    I think the article is very well-thought out. I appreciated hearing the debate not from a “guns vs. gun control” perspective but from a “liberty vs. laws” viewpoint. However, I can’t really recommend the article because the sidebar advertisements look like something you can get arrested for accessing. “Naked women, naked girls”????? Why is that a link I can access from your website??? Maybe it’s some article about human traffiking or something Christian, but I don’t dare click on it!!! Fix those, or give more information, if you want to be seen as a legitimatly CHRISTIAN blog by newcomers.

    • Charles W. Baldwin

      Lissa, I agree that on occasion, the sidebar articles could use a brief descriptor. The particular article you reference is Mr. Dalrymple’s opinion piece on pornography (from a Christian male’s perspective). The title of the article, “Naked Women and Naked Girls,” makes more sense after having read the article. In any event, the articles listed under the Most Popular Recent Posts section are safe for your perusal.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks, Lissa. Yes, those are not advertisements but are the most popular posts that I’ve written here at Philosophical Fragments. The post you reference is about pornography and the ways in which we regard the women/girls who pose for it — but there’s nothing obscene about it.

      It remains the most popular post because it draws a lot of search-engine traffic. People who are looking for pornography see a title like that, click on it, and find something telling them that they should not be looking at pornography. But the analytics show that most people who come to the post actually stay and read it, which is nice. Glad you liked the post.

  • Bill Goff

    This is one of the most muddled articles I have ever read. It grieves me to see anyone publishing such garbage. To believe that an armed citizenry is worth any amount of violence is not a statement that any Christian should utter.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Glad you liked the post, Bill!

  • John Byrne

    The problem is that there are no ‘principles’ in Reynold’s argument. If we’re looking for first principles for Christians in the gun debate surely the starting point for all of us has to be the Bible. Anything less is just the reinforcement of prejudice and bigotry.

  • Caleb W

    Pro-Gun Christians need to think seriously about their complicity in a culture of violence and as well as the associations they keep. A gun is an inherently violent technology. It is not neutral, as so many gun owners who think very highly of their own moral standing like to argue.

    The NRA is a powerful and unscrupulous organization that lobbies in the interests of gun manufacturers – companies that profit from violence. I do not see how embracing America’s gun fetish, despite your sundry unconvincing self-justifications, is Christian.

    Thank you John Byrne for calling out the growing anti-government sentiment within Christianity (the sentence about increasing government authority over anything as always dangerous is ridiculous). Political conservatism is not Christianity. Conservative Christian leaders need to stop assuming that it is and speaking out of those assumptions – you are alienating a lot of good people.

    Timothy, you are living in a world of extremes, where owning a gun is defending your family and not owning one is letting people kill your family. I would also be curious to see how you would use your gun to deter government corruption.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Of course not, Caleb. That’s not what I said. I was challenging John Byrne’s extremes to point out that guns can be used for things other than killing.

      I actually agree with you that *some* Christians have gone way overboard in their love for guns. I’m not a big fan of guns, and the Second Amendment has never been a major issue for me. Like John Mark here, I don’t believe that increased gun regulation is a sign of impending tyranny or anything of the sort. These are baby steps. But I do believe that people should be able to own guns, and that there’s nothing wrong with Christians owning guns, for self-defense or defense of their property and family. And I also believe there’s something for the Framers’ original intent that an armed citizenry should form a kind of bulwark against government tyranny. I know we’re a long ways off from tyranny, and tyranny always seems further away when the party you prefer is in power. (Remember all the Leftists warning of the tyranny of GWB and wondering whether he would give up power at the end of his second term, King George, the imperial presidency, etc.?) But I think we’d be fools to think that it could never happen to us, and having an armed citizenry — reasonably armed, and responsibly armed — not only forms a defense against the violent among us — or against invasion, which seems less likely now than in the time of the Framers — but also against the oppressive use of corrupt power, even on the local level.

      • John Haas

        “And I also believe there’s something for the Framers’ original intent that an armed citizenry should form a kind of bulwark against government tyranny.”

        The framers most definitely did not intend an “armed citizenry” to be a “bulwark against government tyranny.”

        Insofar as anything was going to be a “bulwark,” it was the “well regulated militias” the Second Amendment mentions.

        Insofar as militias were to play a role in guaranteeing the safety of the republic, it was primarily slave rebellions the militias were expected to put down. They would also play their traditional role in protecting against Indians and foreign invaders.

        It needs to be recalled that the framers were generally opposed to the idea of a “standing army”–a national, professional force kept under arms during peace time. Between wars, the army dropped down to a few thousand men back in these days (on the eve of the Civil War, eg, it numbered about 8,000). There were also no police forces to speak of. Militias were the first line of defense against domestic threats and the first responders in the case of foreign invasion, allowing time to rise an army should that be necessary.

        The framers had no intention whatsoever of enabling “armed citizens” (or even state militias, for that matter) to resist the government.

        One of the events precipitating the calling of the Constitutional Convention was a farmers’ rebellion in Massachusetts, led by Daniel Shays, which local militias (being the farmers) supported. A Federal Army was believed necessary in such cases where local attachments prevented the militias from keeping the peace.

        To the South they had similar concerns. Patrick Henry, arguing against the proposed Constitution (before the Bill of Rights had been passed), made it clear what that he was worried that the passion for liberty that was leading northern states to emancipate their slaves might make Congress slow on the draw in the case of a slave rebellion (since that wouldn’t constitute “war”), and he wanted a guarantee that the new Federal government would respect state militias:

        “If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia.”

        If you want to see what the Framers’ attitude towards local rebellions against tyranny was, look no further than the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, where George Washington personally led an army larger than any he had led during the Revolution to suppress it.

        And if you want to see how even well-regulated militias, with the help of a regular army, do in resisting Federal troops, look no further than the course of the rebellion whose sesquicentennial we celebrate this year.

        And that was when they were evenly matched for weaponry.

        What prevents tyranny isn’t an “armed citizenry.” It’s representative government.

        All this talk to the contrary is just Salon Unabomberism from people that saw “Red Dawn” one too many times.

    • Charles W. Baldwin

      Caleb, why is it that the innocent must be punished in order to look like we are doing something to hinder criminals? A gun at rest is neutral; it is the hands that hold it that direct its path. I applaud your desire to limit death and destruction, but you would see more results from your endeavors if you aimed them at removing inept drivers from the road. After all, the ownership of a driver’s license, unlike the ownership of firearms, is merely a privilege and not a right, and there are far more deaths caused by errant drivers than their are caused by gunshots. I don’t think America has a gun fetish; rather, it has a liberty fetish, which I fear it is slowly losing. Perhaps it is inevitable. Benjamin Franklin seemed to think so. And, since I mentioned him, I’ll leave with this: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

      • Dagmara Lizlovs

        I agree with you Charles. Here is an interesting website to look into:

        http://www.possentisociety.com/

        Here is an article we all should read:

        http://www.examiner.com/article/voice-of-the-pope-backs-obama-gun-edicts

        This is not an easy article to read as it contains less known facts of the Cristeros War in Mexico in the 1920s which arouse when the progressive secular government of Mexico began a violent persecution of the Catholic Church and the deadly consequences to thousands of people when they gave up their arms.

  • Christopher Ambrose

    First off, some background. I am Christian, an American, a gun owner, a five point Calvinist, and a libertarian. Now, for many of you, that will be enough to ignore me, and that’s fine.
    The gun control argument is fun and all, but we must look to the point of the second amendment…..to be used to overthrow the government in case of tyranny. That’s why we need guns in our homes, including semi-automatic rifles, which amount to a very small amount of the gun violence in the United States.
    And for those who hold these extreme anti-gun positions, why not surrender your freedom of political speech as well, since we must follow the commands of Romans? Following the laws of the land is one thing….actively working to make sure certain other laws are never passed is another. Total political apathy is ruinous, as it will eventually lead to all religious liberty being eliminated….it has happened time and again. While we should welcome persecution when it comes, we are foolish to pave the way for it.

    • Jeremy Forbing

      Imagining that we can rise up with automatic rifles against a government with tanks, stealth bombers, and tactical nuclear weapons is a bit ridiculous though, isn’t it?

  • Jeremy Forbing
  • Rick

    “Pragmatically, as a citizen, I believe that an armed citizenry is worth any increase in violence that may result. ”

    I disagree with that statement in the strongest possible terms. It essentially says that having lots of Gun and Knife shows is essential for our nation’s well-being, and if elementary schools get riddled with bullet holes as a result of having 300 million guns lying around, oh well. I find that position indefensible, especially when someone makes it a month after Sandy Hook.

  • Rick

    Do the gun owners plan to organize themselves into well-regulated militias soon? It’s right there in the Amendment as a justification for gun ownership, yet no one is running drills in my neighborhood….

    • Scott

      Hey, Rick. Great idea! Let me know when you set up those drills. I’ll let others know about it too so we can attend and learn to be better prepared, safe and responsible gun owners. I’ll never forget the LA riots, when the police would/could not protect the businesses in the wrong/poorer side of town and the shop owners brandished shotguns and rifles to protect their stores against the looters. That was, for me, a time when I would have gladly joined the militia/police/shop owners to protect them from the ensuing mob violence. I hope it never happens in my neighborhood, but when the unsub’s are hopping fences and being chased by helicopters and K9 units and roving groups/gangs of teenagers are looking for homes to invade, which BTW both appear in our local news from time to time, I’ll feel better if I can join the defenders rather than the victims. See you at the drill!

  • Andrew Vogt

    I appreciate reading a ‘fair’ conservative, one who is not chained to the group he associates with and has a mind of his own. However in spite of that, I thought there was several glaring philosophical errors presented in this article. First off, the illusion to the constitution and one of the major premises to this train of thought was- “Liberty is good in itself”. Wrong. Liberty allows one to make choices, and choices are good or bad. Liberty is not in and other itself good, it is in and of itself neutral, potentiating good or bad choices.

    Second, “.. law is the compromise we make with our inability to be good and free”. No. “Law” is not and has not always been a compromise in leu of our failings. Take the first law ever recorded in Genesis, “do not eat of the tree in the center of the garden”. Was this law given out of compensation for fallen creatures? No. It was given in spite of pure creatures. Law is not inherently bad, it is likewise to freedom, inherently neutral because Law potentiates good or bad choices. The first law was set up for the good of the good- to keep Adam and Eve ‘alive’ forever.. quite different than a compensation.

    “Guns, therefore, like cars, require thoughtful regulation in a fallen world.” This analogy fails to ask something ridiculously obvious: what is a car, and what is a gun. Really, what are they. One is a weapon, the other a transportation device. The wielder of the transportation device accidentally kills many people every year, the wielder of the weapon voluntarily kills many people every year. Point being, the government is not suppose to regulate bad accidents in the same way it regulates bad will.

    “Increasing government power over anything is always dangerous, though increasing my liberty is also dangerous!” Again, contrary to this black and white thinking, a government with more power does not necessarily mean a more dangerous government. Power does not equal danger. A weak government could wield tremendous terror if it wanted to because it is a matter of a qualitative factors, not quantitative ones. What does that power look like, not how much of it do you have.

    Clearly the stance presented here demonstrates an attempt to fit the positions of opposing views into its own prefabricated worldview. As a result, the author fails to grasp any legitimacy of opposing view points, and in turn fails to reflect a balanced perspective in the article.

    • JohnM

      “what is a car, and what is a gun. Really, what are they. One is a weapon, the other a transportation device. The wielder of the transportation device accidentally kills many people every year, the wielder of the weapon voluntarily kills many people every year.”

      Some more obvious questions: What is a gun when used for purposes other than killing people? What is a car when used to deliberately run over people? From either a moral or a pragmatic standpoint is the line between bad accident and bad will always so clear that no comparison can be made? Is the statment “Guns, therefore, like cars, require thoughtful regulation in a fallen world.” really an analogy? And with which part of the statement do you disagree?