Sensible people recoil at the reports of multiple-victim shooting incidents when they occur as well as the all-too-common, almost daily reports of murders we see in the media. We all want it to end. We want the number of deaths attributable to guns to be zero. But thoughtful people must ask, “What is the desired ultimate end result of gun control legislation?” What happens when the gun-control push is carried to its logical conclusion?
I am neither a hunter nor a recreational shooter. I don’t belong to the NRA – mainly because I don’t need more solicitations for funds. But against the backdrop of social decline, I have given at least passing thought to acquiring a handgun for self-defense and protection of family and home, and I believe I have every right to do so.
The number of firearms in civilian possession in the United States exceeds the number of people, and gun violence kills thousands of people annually in the United States, more than ten thousand of these deaths homicides, and perhaps twice that number suicides. Especially with highly-publicized incidents involving multiple victims, there is an ongoing effort to attempt to address the issue by legislation. Gun control is a constant ongoing political topic.
With the results of the 2018 election increasing the number of left-leaning gun control advocates in legislative positions, there will be increased efforts to pass gun control legislation. In a November 20, 2018 Denver Post editorial page article, titled “How many more victims will it take?,” a former Colorado state senator wrote, “None of us should be willing to wait for that catastrophe to force our elected officials to take action on common sense gun safety like banning high-capacity magazines, requiring universal background checks, banning bump stocks and enacting red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who are dangerous.” Given Democrat control of the Colorado legislature and governorship, such gun control legislation would appear to be a certainty. This likely will be the case in other states as well as at the federal level.
As such legislation is passed, it will have at best only minimal effect on the number of murders in either single-victim handgun incidents or multiple-victim shootings. And so, in time, calls for more legislation will be heard. Eventually, new sales of firearms and ammunition will likely be tightly controlled, and then banned. In a country where there are more than three hundred million civilian-owned guns, those intent on getting a gun or guns will continue to be able to do so with relative ease. At best, removing guns from a home will prevent a shooting by an angry, depressed, or disturbed person in that home. Calls for firearms to be turned over to governmental authority will increasingly be heard. Perhaps hunters will be asked to entrust their guns to the government, checking them out during hunting season. A minority of law-abiding gun owners will come singing “Kumbaya” as they turn in their weapons for destruction; the remainder of otherwise law-abiding gun owners will choose to retain their weapons regardless of new laws. Those likely to commit crime, of course, will retain their weapons.
Meanwhile, gun violence will continue. A black market will inevitably develop for both weapons and ammunition, along with increasing theft of guns. The country cannot stop the flow of drugs or illegal immigrants into the country and won’t be able to stop the flow of weapons either. Attempts to confiscate weapons will result in casualties. Bans and confiscations are the logical end result of continuing gun control legislation, but will not only fail to end gun violence but may actually exacerbate it.
Pessimistic, yes, but there simply is no legislative or societal solution that will end gun violence. Further, society seems intent on making it worse. Drunk drivers kill thousands each year, but alcohol consumption enjoys almost complete acceptance, unlike firearms. Alcohol consumption does not make one a better driver, a better neighbor or citizen, a better employee, a better spouse, a better parent, a more stable and responsible person, and certainly not a better gun owner. Alcohol, and increasingly marijuana, are widely accepted and celebrated, even as when used in excess they exacerbate the kind of personal problems that create crazed gunmen. Use of violent and destructive media is almost universal among teens and young men, predisposing some to a mentality leading to gun violence. Broken homes and single-parent homes create a fertile atmosphere for the kind of problems that might motivate a multiple-victim shooter. In urban areas, young men, born to unmarried teen mothers who were born to unmarried teen mothers, are at great risk of becoming involved in gang violence. Yet society refuses to recognize the value of upholding marriage to promote stable homes that are more likely to produce stable, successful individuals.
American government and society perhaps cannot and certainly will not begin to address the real issues behind gun violence. Biblical Christianity, however, does offer real hope. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; all things have become new.” When an individual comes to Christ in simple repentant faith and is regenerated by the Spirit, when an individual is saved, the Bible tells us that our tendencies and desires are changed. The motivations that cause a person to shoot another person without cause are transformed. It is true that even a truly born-again person will sin, but the likelihood of that born-again person becoming a murderer is certainly diminished. Further, transformed believers are more likely to be better parents, better spouses, better neighbors, better citizens, and are less likely to not only become murderers but are less likely to parent children who become murderers.
Our hope for a less violent society is not in the government. It is not in gun control legislation, even when carried to its logical conclusion. Our hope is in the transformation of human nature that comes with the gospel.