A Perspective on Gun Violence Prevention

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If the United States can succeed in reducing gun violence (a much more public goal since the shooting at Sandy Hook), not only will deaths go down, but also fewer people will live with disabilities. In 2011, over 32,000 Americans died in gun violence including nearly 20,000 suicides and over 10,000 homicides. A journal article postulates that for every gun-related death in the U.S., up to six additional people are injured, many of them permanently. This past Saturday, for Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath, Curtis Ramsey-Lucas from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies delivered a statement at the Washington National Cathedral. His statement got me thinking. Perhaps it will you too. He has kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.  

The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, as with other mass shootings, give us pause as disciples of Jesus Christ and citizens of the United States of America. We recoil in horror at these events as we also lament the daily toll of gun violence that takes the lives of thirty Americans each day and that tears at the fabric of families, congregations, and communities across this great land.
Our founders, who in declaring our nation's independence, said we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; who worked to establish our Constitution in order that we might enjoy a more perfect union, to insure peace at home, to promote the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty for their time and our own; who crafted the Bill of Rights to further secure the fundamental freedoms we enjoy including our right to keep and bear arms; surely this is not what our founders had in mind when establishing our government – that we would live in a nation in which the right of one to bear arms trumps the rights of another, even those of a child, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to “keep and bear arms,” while also making it clear that this right is “not unlimited.” Nor should it be. The liberties we enjoy are often in tension with one another and no right should be so broadly construed as to undermine the ability of the broader community to maintain order and the peace necessary for human life and flourishing.
That is why gun violence prevention is a priority of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. That is why we have encouraged American Baptist congregations to take part in this Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath and to work beyond this weekend to support the sensible goals of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. That is why we have reached out to the Newton Interfaith Clergy Association in support of their efforts, and, that is why we are supporting efforts like the Interfaith Prayer Service and March to Prevent Gun Violence that will take place at the Iowa State Capitol Monday, March 25.
The scriptures teach that God sets before us life and death, blessings and curses. God does not force, but God surely encourages us to choose one over the other. “Now choose life,” we read, “so that you and your children may live.” On this matter, as with so many others, our ancient calling is clear. Now and in the days to come may it be our present task.

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Please keep in mind that banning guns will do nothing to prevent criminals, or mentally unstable people from carrying out violence with guns. Addressing issues pertaining to mental health would go much farther in preventing gun violence.

Gun control is not the government's goal.  It is another form of "people control".  They are following the formula of Nazi Germany and the former Soviet Union.

Guns do not kill people...people kill people. How many people are killed each week in both Canada and the United States in automobile accidents, yet no one mentions or even thinks about taking those killer cars off the road.

Secondly, Harry Truman often said "the only thing new under the sun is the history you do not know". History is rife with accounts of dictatorships who first disarmed the population and then started executing them. Could that happen in North America? Do not bet on it.

Several years ago, Canada introduced a long gun registry program that was an utter failure and had to be abandoned. Only farmers and sportsmen bothered to register their guns. Not one criminal did.

The Right to Bear Arms is an important right. Hold onto it as if your life depended on it. It may one day.

I am utterly amazed at the responce brother Mark Stephenson received from the christian audience. Would that be Jesus responce? I sit here sobbing at the computer on account of it.

 

Mr. Prins,

Until our government can actually prove itself able to effectively carryout the current gun control laws, what would be the possible point of passing new ones that are more restrictive towards honest, law abiding gun owners?  Criminals will not obey these new laws, they don't obey the old ones.  The young men who have committed all the viloent mass murders in recent years all had mental heatlh issues and were on medications of some sort.  Many if not all of them were bullied and felt rejected by their peers.  Maybe we could start with the actual causes of why these monsters did what they did before we start going after the inanimate objects that were used.

I do understand that to some these arguements sound heartless.  They want us to DO something to make the survivors feel better, safer, like their children didn't die in vain ... but doing the WRONG something will not help them.  Lets do something real, tangible and effective because I guarantee you that even if Congress had passed all these new laws it would not have stopped that boy from going into that school and commiting murder.  He would have found a different source for his guns, or he would have cooked up a bomb, or an incendiary device or something else.  

Please understand that those of us who want to protect our 2nd Amendment rights do not say these things lightly.  We realize the potential for violence, but without guns in the hands of honest people, a whole LOT more people could and will die.  Guns do save lives too, you just never hear about it because it isn't exciting TV viewing.  Let focus on things that will help, protecting vulnerable children from bullies, helping families with mentally unstable kids to get them GOOD help so that this never happens to them.

Jake:

Perhaps you could tell us what it is about the responses that has caused the flood of tears. Perhaps one of us may be able to help you through it.

Community Builder

It seems unreasonable and sub-Christian to not favor sanctified common sense gun-control.  The parents at Sandy Hollow have said that the only time there was a chance to excape the barrage of bullets emitted from the shooters gun was when he had to engage another clip.  Just think if the clips had only contained ten bullets perhaps 1-5 persons may have escapred his deadly deed.  I think that is immentienly worthwhile.

The US does not have an absolute 2nd ammendment right.  The supreme court has explained in previous decisions that it is limited.  Just as freedom of speech is limited.  The 2nd ammendment even speaks about a well regulated Militia.

In light of the recent Boston marathon bombing, it is instructive to remember that the right to bear arms does not include bombs,canons, missiles etc all of which could easily fit with "arms."

Larry

The problem with gun control Larry is that it would not have done ANY good, either in Sandy Hollow, or in Boston. People who are guilty of those atrocities don't pay any attention to any such laws.

Larry:

If a teacher had been carrying a weapon, he/she could have saved the lives of many innocent children with one well placed shot while the shooter was putting in a new clip, regardless of whether the clip held 6 or 16 bullets.

While many folks seem to focus their attention on an inanimate object, in this case the gun, it is not the gun but the idiot holding the gun that does the killing.

Sincerely,

Ed

Community Builder

Yes Ed. you have a point but if its people who are the problem theny why could we not pass enhanced background checks? That has to do with regulating persons who should not have guns.  Also if there had been an armed teacher in the room he/she could have been the first person taken out, then what?  Why not the sanctified common sense approach which 90% of Americans support?  Why allow a small gun lobby to run the nation?

Larry

Larry: Background checks did nothing, nor did earlier interrogation by the FBI (2011) to stop two Boston bombers, who were described by most classmates who knew them as " quiet and respectful guys". Their father even claimed (afterward) that they were angels! If we wish to be serious about stopping the carnage( at schools for example ) three things must happen: (1) emulate all security measures Israel has in place which include profiling (2) arm the staff and/or (3) provide on site security people. In other words, take measures to stop violence by using deadly force when and where applicable. In my opinion, anything short of those measures is like applying a bandaid to a badly broken arm.

Sincerely,

Ed T

Community Builder

I think we are beginning to see that the CRCNA is not a truely prolife church by our comments on unlimited gun freedom.  We just don't care.

Larry

Larry,

  That is not fair.  Your frustration is understandable, but to say that pro-2nd amendment people don't care about life is not fair to them and at least in respects to myself is a lie.  We care about life, but we want the ability to defend it ourselves.  I live in a town where my son's small Christian school is 20 minutes away from the nearest law enforcement.  

Its been mentioned time and again, making it harder for people like me (on a tight budget but still a law abiding citizen) to own a gun will NOT stop a criminal from getting one.  They steal or buy from drug dealers, gangs and the black market, there are NO background checks for those sorts of people.  I have the RIGHT to protect my child from these madmen and if it takes a gun to do it then thats what I'll do.  Please, Larry, do not assume that because we come from different view points and "cultures" within our own country that somehow us rural, Constitution loving Americans care any less about life then you do.  Rather, why don't you give me an example of a new law that would actually stop a criminal from getting a gun illegally.  How will my being defenseless make me love life more?  Convince me of your stance rather then slandering me and those like me, prove that my children will be safer and how?  Can't we have a conversation and learn from each other without getting rude and hostile the way the secular world has on this issue?

Community Builder

I am not trying to get your gun.  I do not think you need a AK47 to defend your grandson or yourself.  If you want a gun with a clip of 10 bullets , more power to you.  I support you in that desire.

Incidently i grew up in the Edgerton/Leota Mn. area, so I doubt if you are in a more rural area than that.  As a kid I went jack rabbit hunting often but I never needed nor would my Dad have given me whatever the arms that police officers or soldiers were using.  It just was not necessary.

Mark makes a good point also.  Not all people with mental health issues are violent.  90% are not.  When I was in the mental hospital here in Visalia, my pyschiatrist told me I would not be able to buy a gun for one year or until I had fully recovered.  No problem.  I understood.

So what kind of gun do you need for self-defense and to protect your grandson?  I think even Diane Fiensteins legislation would protect your right to that kind of gun.

I think you are right that my last comment wqs unfair.  I was wrong and apologize for saying that 2nd amendment supporters are not prolife.  I still think it is time for 2nd amendment supporters and the NRA to admit that they do not have a right to AK47s, grenades, bombs, drones, etc.

Larry

Larry,

Interesting that you mention drones. It's President Obama who uses those. They are not available to the general public, the last time I checked. As far as AK47's, bombs and grenades, in the hands of decent, law abiding citizens, there is no danger to the public. They get enjoyment out of using them for target practise. The people who want to use these items to attack and kill other people, don't care about and don't obey the law.

Small world.  Larry I live just a couple hours from Edgerton and actually have family and friends from there.  :)  Anyhow, my main 2 questions went unanswered from my last comment.  I realize that you can't possibly answer them because even our dear elected leaders at the head of the gun control measures can't answer them.  Don't you ever get frustrated when a politician sidesteps around an answer because they don't know or don't want to admit they might be wrong?  Until these 2 questions are truthfully answered and with a fair bit of detail I cannot trust the governments motives (even those yours might be more pure):  How will passing these new laws stop a criminal from getting a gun when our current laws are not even being enforced?  How will this make me safer?  From my perspective it only makes us easier targets for bad guys be they in masks or suits.