More Mass-Killings: Is There An Answer?

The mass shootings this past weekend at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and in front of a bar in Dayton, Ohio, has once again stirred the cries for some type of enhanced gun control.  Once again the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution has come under attack.  Let's remind ourselves what that important amendment actually says: "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."

This amendment, part of what is known as the Bill of Rights, was authored by James Madison as an important part of the ratification process of the Constitution.  If we consider those first ten amendments in an order of importance, then the right to keep and bear arms is second only to those rights enumerated in the First Amendment: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.  In those closing days of the 18th century, the newly independent United States had a very small national army.  Each state was responsible for its own defense and so each state organized local militias.  These militias were filled with men who volunteered to serve whenever a crisis arose that threatened their communities or their state.  By the time of the American Civil War, literally hundreds of militias were organized by both the North and the South.  Because each militia was made-up of volunteers each member had his own weapon.  Many had used these weapons to hunt game or to protect their families from outside threats.  Violence, perpetrated by the use of a weapon, was rare at the close of the 18th century. 

With that background for the writing of the Second Amendment, what has happened?  Weapons manufacturers have created firearms that have a more effective killing ratio and use more potent ammunition.  We are far advanced from those mussel-loaders of the 18th century whose accuracy was suspect.  Now we have firearms that are capable of shooting dozens of rounds a minute. 

So, we really have at least two problems that must be addressed.  First, is there some type of legal limit to the capacity of ammunition magazines that the general public should have access to and is there some type of legal limit to the type of firearm that is available for the general public?  Does the public need a magazine capable of holding 20-30 rounds?  If I am using my firearm to hunt ducks or pheasants or deer, do I really need that large magazine capacity?  Now I must admit that I am not a hunter - although I enjoy the fruits of others who are hunters.  I do not own a firearm of any type nor do I have a desire to own one.  So, I am speaking from a sense of observation, not experience.  So, it seems to me that the matter of what firearms are available to the general public is a question that needs to be answered.

The second problem is who should be licensed to own a firearm.  This is the more difficult question because in order to answer it we must analyze a person's background and character - which are very subjective.  And, as we have seen in so many of these mass-shooting cases, a person's character can change drastically, often without any advanced warning.  Should a person who is given a license to have a firearm be required to be re-evaluated on an annual basis?  Who would conduct this?  I do not have answers to these questions. 

But here is the larger question that I have been focusing upon since this past weekend.  Guns do not kill anyone!  A gun that is securely locked in a gun case does not kill!  A gun only becomes a weapon of destruction when it is in the hands of a person who has evil intentions.  It seems to me that, with this thought in mind, perhaps we need to address that larger question: why do people kill one another?  Let's not forget that the first violent act in the history of mankind was one brother killing another brother.  There we know the reason was anger and jealousy.  Why does it seem that America's inner-cities almost are magnets for gun-violence?  This past weekend there were 52 shootings in Chicago alone.  Friends, it seems to me that we DO NOT have a gun problem in America, we have a CULTURE problem.  We have a MORAL problem.  This is the direction our law-makers should be moving toward and not the creation of more gun regulations. 

And while I am at it, let me add this: the number of people who die via gun-violence each year is very small when compared to the number of people who are killed in automobile accidents or the number of people who die because someone is under the influence of alcohol.  I do not hear politicians raising an alarm that we need to regulate automobiles.  And I certainly do not hear them raising an alarm that we need to regulate alcoholic consumption.  It is easier to focus upon guns. 

Does the Bible speak to this issue at all?  The Bible tells us that in the last days wickedness will increase (Matthew 24:12).  Paul tells Timothy that one of the descriptors of the final days will be the brutality of men (2 Timothy 3:3).  When we have abandoned absolute truth, when we have abandoned God, then the worst within the heart of man often arises.  This is what we witnessed in Dayton and El Paso this past weekend.  And, sadly, I believe there will be others as well in the coming weeks and months unless America truly is repentant and searches for God once again.  But I am not optimistic that will happen.  Sadly, stepping outside of your front door today involves a risk.  Entering into a Walmart to shop for a birthday gift involves a risk.  Sending your child to school involves a risk.  Enjoying a meal at McDonalds involves a risk.  Oh the need to be ready for we do not know the day or the hour when God will call us home.      


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