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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The Bill of Rights is a list of restraints on the General Government (in Washington D.C.), NOT on the people.
  6. 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.
  7. The discussion of Article Two by the Framers puts its meaning beyond doubt.
  8. Article Two is a check on tyranny of the General Government, not a provision for sportsmen.
  9. Government is here seen protecting a right, not granting a privilege.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 use them."
    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."
  12. "The people" means all of us. The "people" of Amendment Two are the same "people" of Amendments Four, Nine, Ten and Seventeen.
  13. 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.
  14. 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 gunshots!
  15. 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.
  16. The arms in question are the ones needed to defend freedom. 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 fear."

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 afford them.

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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