Gun-control or self-control? ‘More laws may not have the intended effect’

gun-controlNASHVILLE, Tenn. (BNc) by Hugh Fulford — People are up in arms over guns. The rash of shootings and mass killings in America has made gun control a hot button issue.

The US president has appointed a special commission headed by Vice-President Joe Biden to allegedly look into the situation from all angles, with input from a wide range of constituents representing different interests and opinions about the matter. Personally, I am not sure just why the president has appointed the commission since all indicators point to his having already made up his mind as to which side of the question he intends to come down on.

Of course, he and his family have 24/7 protection by armed Secret Service agents, and he and Mrs. Obama, as well as all former presidents and their spouses, will have such protection for the rest of their lives. Obviously, he is not for absolute gun control on all fronts.

Is gun control the solution to the problem, or does the solution lie elsewhere?

This past Saturday’s (January 12, 2013) edition of The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper, carried a front-page story in the Local News section headlined, “Meth up despite new law.” The story told how “a new state law requiring the real-time tracking of pseudoephedrine purchases does not seem to have decreased methamphetamine production in Tennessee.” In fact, the manufacture of meth is up by 6% since the enactment of the law.

Gun-control advocates might do well to take note of this fact. The passing of more laws does not always have the intended effect.

The most extensive mass murder of elementary school children in the United States took place on May 18, 1927, in Bath Township, Michigan. Andrew Kehoe, 55, murdered his wife with a blow to the head, then went to the Bath school where he set off a large amount of explosives he had planted days before. The first explosion killed 38 children and six adults. When the school superintendent arrived, Kehoe set off another explosion, killing the superintendent. He then set off a third explosion in his truck, killing himself. No guns were used in this worst of massacres of school children.

In the New Testament we read of king Herod’s slaughter of the innocents at the time of the birth of Christ. This evil deed was accomplished, obviously, without the use of guns.

Fifteen hundred years earlier, a Pharaoh of Egypt ordered the killing of all new-born male Hebrew babies (Exodus 1).  This dastardly crime was accomplished by means of drowning, not by the use of guns.

If evil or insanity determine to carry out a killing — whether of innocent children or of others — means for doing so will always be found, whether guns are accessible or not.

The problem is not with guns per se, but with the people in whose hands the guns sometimes wind up. The enforcement of laws already on the books, no doubt, would go far in alleviating the problem we face.

At the same time, serious consideration should be given to the role violent video games featuring murder and mayhem may be playing in the increased violence our country is experiencing. Naïve parents would do well to know just exactly what their children are engaging in with reference to these games and monitor more closely their activities in this regard.

One’s mind cannot be saturated with such violence without it sooner or later finding overt expression (see Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 23:7; Philippians 4:8).

But no amount of legislation can change the hearts of people. Only Christ and the gospel can do that. Until the message of Christ takes root in a person’s heart and one decides to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind, and his neighbor as himself (Matthew 22:34-40), we can expect to continue to see frequent rampages of mass killings by evil or insane people.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:19-23, bold mine for emphasis).

No one would argue against the need for meeting certain sensible and reasonable requirements in order to own and carry a gun. But in the final analysis, it is not gun control that is needed, but self-control.

Hugh writes a weekly ezine, “Hugh’s News and Views.” This article was featured today. He has retired from full-time preaching, but continues active in service to the Lord.

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10 thoughts on “Gun-control or self-control? ‘More laws may not have the intended effect’

  1. I agree with the article. Christians also need to recognize the difference in self-defense and vengeance. Romans 12:17-18 says: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mins, I will repay,’ says the Lord.’” Some Christians read this passage and conclude that one has to stand by and watch an attacker harm their family and do nothing. These verses address vengeance, not self-defense. And even then, Paul taught that we must exercise self-control as much as possible.” Does this mean one cannot, with God’s approval, defend himself of his family against attack? Not at all. The passage certainly teaches against starting a fight for any reason, and vengeance by going back and attacking later. God says He will tend to that! But Jesus approved of His disciples carrying swords in their group in Luke 22:38. That was just before His prayer in Gethsemane and the event with Peter cutting off the ear of Malchus. When Jesus told Peter to put away his sword and that those who live by it will die by it (Matt. 26:51-52; Lk. 22:49-51; Jn. 18:10-11), He was teaching Peter and us not to live violently lest we die violently, which takes us again to Romans 12. The reason at that time for addressing Peter’s action was not to prevent the Lord from going to the cross. In addition, it is interesting that Peter had evidently carried that sword the entire time he was being trained by Jesus. We also see what his sword was capable of. And if Jesus had desired His disciples not to carry swords, then why did not address this issue early on and why did He approve in Luke 22:38?

    I personally hope that I never need to use capital force against any would-be attacker(s). And even if I were in the right, the court still might find a way to convict me of a crime. It does happen.

    Carrying on with brother Hugh’s article, we must not allow this gun issue to sidetrack us from our primary purpose, which is seeking and saving the lost.

    Roger Leonard,
    evangelist, Adel (GA) Church of Christ

  2. Brother Fulford is right, only “Christ and the gospel” can change the hearts of men. The President and those with him are really not that interested in “gun control” because the only way to control the use of guns is to control the hearts of men and that hasn’t changed through our time. We see things like this every time there is a significant event of catastrophic proportions, politicians seize on those events to persuade people they are doing something. While most of us believe in the second amendment we must also realize this can be a distraction from our work we don’t need.

    Let the politicians rave! We believe in God.

  3. You have hit the issue right on the head. We know that people’s hearts won’t be changed in America because we have such an aversion to the truths that the Bible teaches. There is so much avoidance of the truth for “political correctness” that I personally feel that we have fallen over the “cliff”. Can we make it as a nation? What does Psalm 9:17 say about the wicked and the nations that forget God? They shall be turned into hell. Are we not on the threshold of that destruction as we speak? We can’t make it on our own and without a great revival we will fall as a nation. That is our future as I see it. We have a great task before us and we need God to intervene as I feel that he is doing right now. We need to begin. Our politician’s eye are blinded with popularity and not one of them has the courage to “sacrifice themselves” for the good of this nation. And that goes for both major parties. It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue. Doing the right thing is a spiritual issue. We all have to be responsible for doing what is right. Pray that they (politicians) will have their eyes opened to the truth and that they may have divine guidance in every decision that they must make, before it is too late for us all.

  4. It it not an either or question. We need gun control AND self-control.
    More than forty years ago I spoke with a judge from Glascow, Scotland on the train. She said their biggest problem in Glascow was American sailors with guns. She said that for some reason, many Americans are infatuated by guns.
    The sword of the Spirit and a gun do not go hand in hand.
    Laws are for people who DO NOT HAVE self-control.
    What civilian needs an ‘attack gun’?
    New York’s new law is reasonable. No attack guns and no guns with more than seven bullets.
    And it is a silly argument that bad guys will still get guns. Bad guys still drive too fast. That is why we need speed limits.

  5. I have always taught and fought against alcohol sales as being bad, not because some will buy it somewhere anyway, but because fewer people will buy it if it is illegal and not openly displayed and sold locally and fewer of or youth will become involved with it under these conditions. I believe this is a reasonable and suitable approach to the alcohol problem while not being the total answer.
    I think the same ideas are appropriate regarding guns, especially assault weapons with high capacity clips. I can see why people obsessed with disaster oppose this idea, but a regular hand gun should be adequate for scaring most evil people away or holding them at bay until the police arrive.
    We should not ban large trucks from our highways because some drivers disregard safety by driving without adequate rest, while on mind altering substances, etc. These trucks provide a much needed service on a daily basis, not so with the such weapons as mentioned above.

  6. All due respect Howard, The issue is not necessarily “scaring people away.” We’d hope to do that, but in reality you might have to shoot someone if you pull out a gun! And if you pull a gun on someone, you must be prepared to use it if necessary. If not, then you just might be killed, or someone in your presence. That being said, my five shot 38 revolver might do the trick, but my chances with a 17 (or even 7) capacity magazine in a 9mm pistol are much better. “According to a 2008 analysis of NYPD firearms discharge data done by the New York Times, between 1996-2006 officers hit their intended target about 34 percent of the time. (Those are trained shooters, and they MISSED 66% of the time.) The Times reported that in 2006-2007, Los Angeles police officers hit their targets between 27 and 29 percent of the time, respectively. (So they MISSED 70+ % of the time.) There is no reliable national data on hit ratio.” http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57502545-504083/empire-state-building-shooting-sparks-questions-about-nypd-shot-accuracy/

    I would hate to shoot anyone, but if I pull a gun, I need to prepared to do whatever.

  7. It is a matter of personal freedom and the US Constitution. The 2d Amendment authorizes us to have firearms. This is not a matter of the right to engage in hunting. This deals with the right of protection of self and family. Those who seek to give an apology for gun control passed in New York are surrendering the rights of firearms ownership period. The anti-gun crowd will not stop until they have total confiscation of all firearms. 1 Timothy 5:8 obligates us to provide for our families, whichn is inclusive of protection from evil doers. The points being made against large capacity ammo mags are without merit. In defense of one’s own person or family, if it is morally right to shoot an evil doer, rapist, or murderer 5 times, then it is morally right to shoot him 30 times, if that is what it takes to stop him. If not why not.

  8. What did Jesus mean when He said: “But I tell you not to resist an evil person” (Matthew 5:38)? What did Paul mean when he said: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21)? What did Jesus mean when He said, “All who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).
    If these questions interest you, you might wish to read:
    “Wars and rumors of wars”
    http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/wars.html
    “The good warfare”
    http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/sword.html
    “Love your enemies”
    http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Davison/Roy/Allen/1940/048-loveyourenemies.html

  9. The type of resistance forbidden in Matthew 5:38-39 deals with resisting gross insults. “Smiteth” (rhapizo) is not discussing a life threatening harm. In Luke 22:36 Christ authorized the purchase of the sword. Did Paul sin in Acts 23 by his appeal to the Roman government for protection from the Military. If it were sinful for him to defend himself it would have been sinful for him to authorize others to do the same. Romans 12:21 speaks with reference to personal retribution of taking the law into one’s own hands;not personal defense or the defense of others. Even the law gives the right for defense of self or others. Our Lord on Matthew 26:52 spoke regarding violence as one’s practice; not defense of self and/or others. If your family were being attacked by evil doers would you allow those criminals to murder your loved ones without your coming to their defense?

  10. According to Jesus, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace” (Luke 11:21). Consider the example of the patriarch Abraham who commanded his own private army. “When Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people” (Genesis 14:14-16). Abraham subsequently received God’s blessings (Genesis 14:18-20; 15:1).

    Jesus even ordered His apostles to arm themselves. He had sent His disciples, first the twelve (Luke 9:1-6), then seventy (Luke 10:1-17), on two preaching campaigns. Each time, He had told them to take no provisions along, but to rely on the generosity of those they would preach to, since their efforts would be directed toward their own countrymen (Matthew 10:5-6). Prior to His death, after which He would send them on a worldwide campaign (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus prepared His apostles for something different. He asked, “‘When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?’ So they said, ‘Nothing.’ Then He said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one’” (Luke 22:35-36). Jesus knew that thieves preyed upon travelers (Luke 10:30), so He urged His disciples to prepare accordingly. So important was this point that He taught them it was better to be armed than clothed. Bryan Matthew Dockens

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