This article is part of our 'Explainer' series. The aim is to inform you of the prevalent arguments from both sides, relating to a specific hot topic. We are not explicitly supporting one side of the argument. This is a purely informative piece.
America has always had a close relationship with the gun as it has had a deeply fraught relationship with violence. It started with the tough and dangerous lives of the first settlers and was soon followed by the painful history of slavery and the foul treatment of native Americans. The European colonists did not come to America to have an easy life and they knew it. We all know the Wild West. We have seen dozens of movies about gun wielding criminals chased by sheriffs and their posse.
Well, the Wild West never stopped existing; it simply moved. From the prairie it traveled to the urban centers where crime blossomed and gangs fought their wars. The gun has never left America and some are proud of that while others lament the results: loss of life in their community.
Most people were not too bothered about guns in America until the gun wielded by out-of-control-people started taking the lives of innocent young people in suburbia. 1999 marks the year of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. Many schools and other public places have since become the scene of mass shootings. Countless people, young and old, fell victim to unspeakable violence while having nothing to do with the shooter who had a beef with society, hated followers of Jesus, or had gone into deep depression, etc.
BBC.com reports that “There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which catalogs such incidents. A mass shooting is defined as a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant.”
While it sounds plausible that something ought to be done, many argue that gun control is a bad thing. It is not that they are not concerned about the shootings in suburbia. Their resistance to gun control is well founded. Here are some of the most frequently heard arguments against gun control.
1. The Gun is Part of the American Way of Life
As true as it might be that the gun kills more people in America than any other nation, as said, many Americans are proud of their guns and see it as part of their way of life. Don’t touch the gun or you’ll hit at the heart of what it means to be an American. Americans are proud and independent people who have conquered the land with their bare hands so to speak.
If you take the gun away from an American you belittle him the way European socialist governments belittle their citizens. Americans love their country because in it they are independent and free. Their government is not a nanny and never will be. Since gun ownership so strongly symbolizes what it means to be American, you have to stay away from it. There are other ways to deal with violence in this country.
2. Gun Possession is Too Widespread to be Reversed
From the earliest times, Americans have been able to purchase firearms. Guns last longer that just a few years; they hardly have an expiry date. There are millions and millions of guns in as many drawers. Most homes will own a gun. Banning guns will only yield the result that people who can’t get them anymore are at a huge disadvantage. It will isolate the have-nots over against an overwhelming majority of gun owners whose guns are going nowhere.
Now that the gun is here you can’t take it away anymore and you can’t prevent people from getting new ones either. Any gun ban will not evaporate all those guns that were once sold and are still operational. If people can’t get a gun anymore, they will feel defenseless in the face of criminals and gangs.
3. Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do
It’s so easy to think that the problem can be solved by simply banishing guns. But let’s be real here. Guns are things. They are inert by themselves. They don’t do anything. It’s the people who get in in their minds to perpetuate evil, to go and murder innocent people, to wreak havoc. It is those people that do so, that need to be stopped. They are the problem; not the guns.
This means that you need to educate people about gun use and educate them to be good and decent citizens. You need police capable of identifying the bad one and provide a sense of safety on the street. You need to deal with the people involved, not the guns. The gun is innocent, so to speak, and can be used both for bad and for good.
4. Guns “Are” in the Second Amendment
It is true that Paul says in Romans 13 that we "need to be subject to the governing authorities" and that "rulers do not bear the sword for no reason" but if those rulers, i.e. the government, wrote a constitution in which the private possession of weapons is guaranteed, then it is clear that private possession of guns is not a rebellion against the state but something guaranteed by the state for the well-being of that state and the members of its society.
The Second Amendment is part of the Constitution of the United States of America. You can’t just change it. And as it is, gun possession is part of the constitution. It is written into the constitution. Don’t tamper with the constitution! Doing that is tampering with the foundation of the United States of America.
After all, the Founding Fathers did not provide for the possibility of gun possession for nothing. They had in mind that the fragile new state was still vulnerable to attacks from England. So citizens needed to be allowed to own guns in order to organize militias for self-defense. Of course, we don’t live in those days anymore, but the notion of self-defense it still relevant. An American needs to be able and has the right to self-defense.
5. There Are More Effective Ways to Prevent Gun Violence
There are much better ways to prevent gun violence in this country than taking away the right to own guns. As said before, banning guns puts those who don’t yet own guns at a disadvantage. Moreover, banning guns will merely disarm innocent people because criminals will still be able to get guns illegally. Banning guns might therefore in the end result in more deaths.
It would be better, therefore, to put armed guards in public places and allow security personal to arm themselves. Another option is to allow concealed carry of weapons. This way, common citizens like you and me can come to the aid of people involved in a potentially violent situation or even ward off dangerous gunmen. After all, guns are the best protection against guns.
6. Gun are Necessary For Self-Defense
Jesus, the night he was betrayed, asked his disciples whether they had any weapons. They showed him and he did not stop them. He even recommended they buy swords (Luke 22:36). While Jesus later healed the ear of the priest's slave that one of his disciples' had cut off, it seems he was not on principle against the possession of weapons. We, likewise, should not let ourselves be fooled that we are safe without weapons. Weapons offer protection for our self-defense.