Should Christians Own Guns?
WHETHER CHRISTIANS SHOULD OWN GUNS
IS A MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION.
How the question of gun
ownership by Americans is resolved may well
determine the future of Christianity in our country and the
world. If those who view gun ownership as a privilege
granted by government, rather than a right originated by
God, are successful in taking away our guns they will be
back to take away our Bibles. Freedoms are linked, and
tend to fall like dominoes.
This country did not come to its birth because a group
of taxed patriots dumped British tea in Boston Harbor. It
was born because a handful of colonists resisted the attempt
of the mother country to impose gun control on
Massachusetts. On the morning of 19 April 1775, a handful
of people who understood and appreciated freedom
risked life and limb to oppose the confiscation of their
weapons. Their "shot heard Ďround the world" began a war
of defense that became our War for Independence. What
they believed and why they were willing to die for their
beliefs was later summarized for us in the second amendment to our Constitution.
"A well-regulated militia being necessary
to the security of a free state,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms
shall not be infringed."
Let us consider a number of things:
- The Constitution is a set of by-laws presupposing
a charter, the Declaration of Independence.
Its Preamble states, "We the people of the United
States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish
justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for
the common defense, promote the general welfare,
and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and
our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution
for the United States of America."
It begins with its first reference to "the people,"
giving us a clear understanding of the meaning of
this phrase which will appear from time to time in
the document. The Framers obviously understood
that "the people" have an inherent authority to
create a government subservient to themselves.
"The people" are the government by means of
their elected representatives. Government was to be from
the bottom up and not from the top down.
The Signers of the Declaration saw governments
as instituted among men to protect pre-existing
divinely originated rights.
Ours is the first government in history structured
upon the premise that rights derive from God and
not from the state. For the first time in history, a
group of men assembled to "invent" a government
that would protect rights that already existed.
The Constitution does not claim to give rights, it
recognizes rights as already existing.
The Constitution does not give us the right to own
and carry arms. It recognizes that right as
antedating itself and forbids the national government and
the state governments from rescinding it.
The Constitution grants 20 powers to the General
Government and reserves ALL OTHERS to
the States and the people. The power to bear arms is NOT
granted to the General Government, NOR reserved to the States,
but reserved to the PEOPLE.
The Bill of Rights is a list of restraints on the
General Government (in Washington D.C.), NOT on the people.
Article Two is the surety for Article One.
The only way to guarantee that the General Government
will continue to honor the rights listed in the First
Amendment is to provide the check and balance of an armed citizenry.
The discussion of Article Two by the Framers puts
its meaning beyond doubt.
Article Two is a check on tyranny of the General
Government, not a provision for sportsmen.
Government is here seen protecting a right, not
granting a privilege.
The second clause is the independent clause.
To ignore the statementís grammar and syntax is to
do violence to more than its language. It is to do
violence to a basic and long-standing freedom that
stands guard over all other freedoms.
The militia is all of us.
Under Title 10, section 311 of the U.S. Code, the
militia of each state includes "all able-bodied males
at least 17 years of age and under 45 years of age
who are or have [made] a declaration of intent to
become citizens." That those who wrote and approved
the Second Amendment held an even wider view is evident
from their comments:
Richard Henry Lee: "To preserve liberty, it is essential
that the whole body of the people always possess arms,
and be taught alike, especially when young, how to
Samuel Adams: "The said Constitution
shall never be construed to authorize Congress
to...prevent the people of the United States who are
peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."
Patrick Henry: "The great object is that every man
be armed....Everyone who is able may have a gun."
"The people" means all of us.
The "people" of Amendment Two are the same
"people" of Amendments Four, Nine, Ten and Seventeen.
An armed populace is necessary to a well-regulated militia, and a militia to the security of a free state.
It is a historical fact that in nations where the political leaders want to curtail the rights of the people and take away their property and freedom, they always begin by trying to disarm them. This is usually done by first requiring them to register their firearms and imposing a heavy penalty on those
who do not.
A free state cannot be a police state.
The only way to disarm any nationís populace is
through the establishment of a police state.
Whenever a child dies through accidental discharge
of a weapon some will suggest that if disarming
the American people can "save the life of one child, it will be worth it." The police states of our century, having disarmed their people or inherited a disarmed people, have killed hundreds of thousands of
times the number of little girls that die of accidental
Keeping and carrying was never understood to
mean locking in an arsenal.
In the early history of the country the state militia
was made up of private citizens, who usually furnished their own arms. Thus, during the Revolutionary War the minute men could be assembled on very short notice and arrayed into a formidable military force because each man had his own weapons.
The arms in question are the ones needed to
The contract that our forefathers made between the
government that they created and the people, with
the Second Amendment still intact and unamended,
recognized a pre-existing and divinely originated
right of the people to keep and carry arms. They
considered this right unalienable and sought to
prevent its infringement by the National and the
state governments. They saw an armed populace
desirable in combating invasion, insurrection, and
rioting. But even more, they saw it as a protection
against tyranny by our own government. They saw
this right as a right of the individual to protect
himself and others against harm. If we are ever needed,
and probably we shall be, to fight in support of our
National Guard, Military Reserves, or standing
Army against a common foe, we will need twentieth century weapons, including what Adolph Hitler first dubbed "assault rifles." These are not designed to commit mayhem as their would-be confiscators claim. They are designed to prevent mayhem. If, God forbid, we ever need stand between our loved homes and our own government, grown
tyrannical, we will need the best arms that we can
keep and carry. Loyalty to oneís country comes
before loyalty to oneís government.
The proven way to control violent crime is to control
violent criminals, not to render law-abiding citizens
helpless. One good electric chair is worth a thousand gun
laws. America's police, judiciary, and penal systems are
proving ineffective in the war against violent crime. Jeff
Cooper, who has won more gun fights than all the heroes
of the old west combined, opines that, "When the criminal
no longer fears the judiciary, he has only his victim left to
It will be objected that Christians are not to defend
themselves or others but to "turn the other cheek."
Turning the other cheek is an orientalism. It is a figure of
speech that refers to oneís response to a verbal blow.
Two of The Twelve would not have been wearing swords
on the night of Christís betrayal if our Lord had been
teaching pacifism for three and one half years. Nor would
our Lord, in Luke 22:36 have suggested that believing
Jews buy weapons even if they had to sell their coats to
Many Christians believe that they have a right to call
a policeman to protect them from a home invader, using
lethal force if necessary. How can one delegate to
government a right that one doesnít have himself? We cannot
give what we do not have! Many Christians believe that
killing the enemy overseas is commendable, but killing
the enemy here at home is wrong. What twisted reasoning
arises among Godís people when the study of Scripture is
neglected for a generation and replaced with music, drama,
psychology and lectures on "How to Feel Good About Yourself."
Back to The Book. It is not a pacifist book. God is not a
pacifist God. Pacifism allows terror to reign and good people to perish!
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