We’ve just had another one. The horrific event in Las Vegas has placed another “biggest mass shooting in modern U.S. history” into the record books. This one comes just over a year after the last record mass shooting, in Orlando.
In Las Vegas, the carnage came at the hands of a single gunman who had taken up a perch in a hotel room 32 stories above an outdoor concert attended by more than 22,000 people. This event was particularly troubling because of the sheer number of shots he was able to fire in such a short amount of time. Not only did he kill 58 people in the crowd, he hit nearly 500 more who have, as of this writing, so far managed to survive. Anyone who has heard the audio from that terrible scene has an understanding of just how unimaginably rapidly the shots came. It was clear that these were not one trigger pull = one shot weapons. This man either used fully automatic rifles or he used an after market device to convert his semiautomatic rifles into automatic ones.
Before we go one step farther, let me make one thing perfectly clear; I am a gun owner. I own a few shotguns, a couple rifles, a couple muzzleloader style rifles, and one handgun. I have always been a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and that hasn’t changed. However, no civilian, and I mean NONE, should have the right to own the kinds of rapid-fire-death-raining-machines that the Las Vegas shooter possessed. Yet, there are laws on our books that allow certain individuals who meet the requirements to own fully automatic weapons that were manufactured before 1986. I’m sorry, but that’s just insane. I don’t care how much fun they are to shoot, that shouldn’t be a right covered under the 2nd Amendment. Neither should anyone be able to legally sell or buy after market kits that can easily convert semiautomatic rifles into fully automatic ones. We are still waiting to hear the full story of what the Vegas shooter used, but there is a lot of speculation that he may have used some sort of trigger cranks or bump stocks that allow a semiautomatic rifle to fire at or near fully automatic rates. Some of these devices are available on the open market for under $100 and are legal to buy. I’m sorry, but that is madness.
Giving someone an easy path to weapons that can result in nearly 600 people getting shot from a single shooter in a matter of a few minutes makes no sense to me on any level.
So why am I debating this with conservative Christian friends on social media?
Let me confess something of which I am now ashamed. I was once a member of the National Rifle Association. As a hunter and, at that time, a pretty conservative Republican, I felt that the NRA had my back. I liked the idea of someone looking after my rights as a gun owning sportsman. Slowly, over the years, I became disenchanted with the NRA. I stopped renewing my membership. As I began moving more to the left on the political spectrum, I began to see just how dangerous the NRA is. I began to see how their propaganda brainwashes millions of people–like me–into a state of paranoia that anyone left of center wants to immediately begin a gun confiscation program. It’s for that very reason that our national gun registry is ridiculously antiquated. It’s a federal law–thanks to the gun lobby–that those records can’t be stored in a searchable electronic computer database. Instead, all those records are kept on millions of slips of paper in boxes in a warehouse in West Virginia, which is run by one man. Read that unbelievable story here.
Now, when I debate conservative Christians about the need for common sense gun control, I am hearing many of the exact same arguments I used to use against others. Guns don’t kill anyone, hardened hearts do. They suggest that praying for people to have their hearts softened is the only answer. I don’t think praying for people to have their hearts softened is a bad thing at all–but I am past the point where I think doing nothing else makes any sense. They tell me that there are already laws on the books that people are just going to break anyway. They will say that adding more laws will only restrict the rights of law abiding people. I get that, but I don’t think making it harder to get your hands on rapid-fire-death-raining-machines is a bad idea.
Consider this scenario: Let’s imagine that Roe v. Wade never happened and that abortion was against the law in America. Conservative Christians reading this are likely salivating at that scenario. But let’s take it a few steps farther. Let’s say that, even though abortion was against the law, millions of women were still finding ways to get them. Now, conservative Christian, would your argument be the same in that scenario as it is about sensible gun control laws? Would you argue that we already have laws and women are breaking them anyway. We don’t need to change anything because women will always find a way around the law. Praying to soften their hearts is the only answer.
I highly doubt it.
For some reason, guns are different.
What would Jesus think about weapons with which one person could rain death upon hundreds in a matter of mere moments?
I don’t know, but for the life of me, I can’t imagine he’d support them.