The Conservative Apologist: On Guns & Control

One of the darkest realities of our time is the regular occurrence of mass shootings; large-scale murders with firearms in the hands of troubled individuals.  Americans have not had a break from these types of massacres in quite a while.  There is usually at least one shooting event in the news at any given time, and this reality is not likely to change any time soon.  This is truly a bleak reality, and it is heartbreaking, but the question is, “What solution can be implemented to stop these mass murders?”

First, it is important to define the problem.  The biggest problem is not guns per se, but evil people with murder in their hearts.  Firearms seem to be the weapons of choice, but if not a firearm, a bomb, a knife, or a truck will suffice.  The problem is not the instrument of choice, the problem is evil people with a deep-seeded intent on harming others.  The real difficultly, however, is to identify and stop these evil people before they act on their murderous desires.

The almost unanimous solution proposed by the left is the implementation of stricter gun laws, with some even arguing that guns should be banned altogether.  At face value this seems like a valid solution, until one considers several facts.  In almost every occurrence, mass shootings happen in “gun free zones.”  In other words, these shootings happen in places where firearms are already prohibited, which also means that the shooter will feel somewhat assured that no one will be shooting back.  Another inconvenient fact, typically hidden from the public, is that cities (like Chicago) with the strictest gun control laws have the largest amounts of people killed or wounded by bad people with guns every year.  Other studies have shown that violent crimes have decreased as gun ownership has increased.  This accumulative evidence suggests that stricter gun control laws in the United States may actually increase violent crimes and the possibility of mass homicide.  What is more, stricter gun control laws completely ignore the biggest reason for the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the U. S. Constitution.

Another common argument that is often posed is that the framers of the Second Amendment did not realize that automatic weapons would exist in the future.  In the time of its writing, all they had were muskets, and therefore what they meant by “bearing arms” cannot be understood in light of the advent of modern weapons.  The problem with this argument is that the one making the argument ignores the original intent of the Second Amendment.  The purpose of the amendment was not to define what type of weapons the public ought to be able to acquire.  The purpose was to acknowledge that governments have a natural shift toward tyranny.  Therefore, the government should always have a healthy fear of the power of the people, and the people should have one final recourse if the government turns tyrannical.  It is a fact of history that tyrants always seek to disarm the people they desire to control.  This is something our founders learned from the events leading up to the American Revolution.  The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to put together a militia in order to protect themselves from foreign and domestic enemies.  Now imagine how ineffective this militia would be if they were only armed with muskets.

Another problem with the left’s proposed gun control laws is that we already have ‘common sense’ gun laws defined by each State.  Automatic weapons are not available to the general public, they can only be purchased through a very strict licensing process.  Felons, those dishonorably discharged from the military, and people with certain mental disorders are not allowed to purchase or own firearms.  In the recent Sutherland Springs shooting, the gunman was not legally allowed to purchase or own a firearm.  But he was able kill 26 people and wound 20 more.  Fortunately, a good guy with a legally owned firearm was able to stop the killer before more people died.

The problem with most legal solutions is that they misunderstand human nature.  If passing laws eliminate certain activities, then why do we still have an illegal drug trade in America?  If prostitution is illegal, why is human trafficking still a massive problem?  The reality is that external laws will not control the activity of bad people.  Making firearms illegal would only take guns out of the hands of good people, which would allow bad people to have full control.

The reality is that when a society tries to solve most of its problems from the top down, it is a sign of moral decay.  Good laws do not create good people.  We should not be asking the government to pass more laws that bad people will ignore, we should be asking how our communities can produce better people that will in return create a better society.  Bad people will always find a way to do bad things.  This is why our founding fathers understood that religion, particularly Christianity, was essential.  As John Adams once wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  We are just now discovering the hard way that Adams was exactly right.

On almost every college campus, students are being taught that there is no such thing as objective morality.  In this view, there is only your opinion in contrast with everyone else’s opinion.  This idea has been detrimental to our society.  If there is no true objective morality—if we live in a world of existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre—then we have no moral framework by which to condemn evil behavior, such as mass-shootings.  If all viewpoints are equal, then there is nothing but personal preference, or the strong arm of the government, left to dictate what is right and what is wrong.  Moral relativism is the quickest route to both mass-murder and governmental tyranny.

The bottom line is that all the gun laws in the world cannot change the human heart.  There really is no political solution; no top-down legislation can fix it.  Until our entire society realizes that this is a spiritual issue, we can expect little change to come through the multiplication of laws.  This is why many conservatives continue to call for prayer after these horrific events: because we know that God is ultimately the only one who can change the hearts of evil men and women.

Noah

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