My wife Kimberly was somewhat surprised to learn that I favor more strict controls on the sale and use of firearms in the US.  It was one of those Is this the man I married? moments. I mean, I am a hunter, a Republican, and most importantly a Christian. Isn’t that basically a formula for supporting unlimited gun rights?

Actually, it’s not. And I will explain.

We begin with the question: Why is it that so many of the most ardent gun rights advocates are Christians?  My theory is that it all starts with the very noble idea that freedom must be defended. Our Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with basic freedoms, and that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” In the late 18th century, when it was perceived that the British government was infringing on the freedoms of the American colonists, we overthrew them by force of arms.  And that is why we enshrined in our constitution the right to bear arms, as the 2nd amendment reads: “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.” 

So the reasoning is basically as follows: By exercising the right to bear arms we ensure the protection of our freedoms against oppressive forms of government.

We add to this basic premise the fact that the Bible speaks about increased governmental oppression in the Last Days. Numerous passages in the New Testament predict the appearance of the Antichrist, a “man of lawlessness” who opposes the purposes of God and attempts to gain authority over the entire world.  Many Christians believe that massive global persecution is imminent, and once again, the idea of being able to defend our freedoms – by force if necessary - comes into play.

Two or three hundred years ago, the notion that I could defend my family’s freedom with the gun hanging over the fireplace made sense. But in the 21st century, this idea is ridiculous.  It is no longer reasonable to think that groups of citizens can abolish and institute a new form of government by force of arms. No matter how many machine guns we all stockpile in our cellars, we can never defeat the US military. Nor should we imagine that if an oppressive form of global government arises, we would be able to oppose it by force.

So I think we all need to admit that the world has changed since the late 18th century, and it’s time to adjust to a new reality.  In my opinion, it’s fine to own a shotgun or a rifle for hunting.  And I’m not opposed to the idea that some people may want to own a pistol for self-defense.  But there really is no need for anyone in America today to own a rapid-fire, high-power firearm.

The truth is that we have a gun problem in our country. The BBC states these facts about America today:

  • In our country, guns account for 64% of all homicides (compared to 4.5% in the UK, 30.5% in Canada, and 13% in Australia)
  • There are 270 million guns in America. Almost 9 out of every 10 Americans owns a gun. And this puts us just ahead of the peaceful land of Yemen (where the rate is 6 out of 10).
  • There have been over 90 mass shootings in the US, but that’s not the biggest problem. In the year 2014 alone, there were over 33,000 gun-related deaths in the US. 21,000 of these were suicides, and 11,000 were homicides.  

We as evangelical Christians adamantly defend the sanctity of life.  We believe that Jesus shed his blood for every single person on this earth.  He gave his life for the unborn, he gave his life for the mentally disabled, he gave his life for the poor and the outcast.  Every human life is precious in the eyes of the Father.  So shouldn’t it concern us that our 270 million guns are making it so easy to destroy the lives of people for whom Jesus died?

If more sensible gun laws might save the life of even one person – wouldn’t that be worth it?