Like so many other Americans, I can’t wait for Christmas. I can’t wait to see children open gifts and to worship Jesus to whom the magi of old brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Still, like for so many Americans this Christmas, my thoughts and prayers will wander on Christmas day to Newtown, Connecticut, where some children who would be opening presents won’t be.
As I drove home last night, my thoughts wandered until I turned on NPR. I listened intently to an interview on the assault rifle used in Newtown—the semiautomatic AR-15. According to NPR’s Melissa Block, the AR-15 “is essentially a civilian version of the military’s M-16. And it is, according to the NRA, the country’s best-selling firearm.” Ms. Block interviewed Malcolm Brady, a retired assistant director with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I was as surprised as Ms. Block was when Mr. Brady said that he expected consumer demand for the gun to jump dramatically: “…it may be for protection. It may be for the coolness. And it may be for the fact that people will be in fear that the weapon will be put back on a banned level, and they want to obtain it before it is banned again. But I think you will see the popularity of it and the purchase of them increase drastically, in between now and the holidays, near Christmas.”
One does not need such a gun for hunting. A simple rifle will do. I sure hope people in my neighborhood aren’t buying this gun for Christmas. I would hate to see anyone lost to friendly fire or caught in the crossfire between modern day Hatfields and McCoys. While some might think the gun has a Rambo effect (as stated in the interview), Rambo didn’t go around killing innocent civilians; I would hope people will reconsider what associations are made with this gun in view of its use in gunning down movie goers in Aurora, Colorado, shoppers in Clackamas, Oregon, and kindergarteners in Newtown, Connecticut. Besides, this gun was once banned. That should at least cause us to ponder the questions: why was it banned and why then was the ban lifted?
Wouldn’t it be an amazing Christmas gift, if wise men today were to come and lay down their M16 equivalents at Jesus’ feet to worship him? (Matthew 2:2, 11)