With the latest spate of horrific mass shootings, the gun control debate has been resurfaced yet again, like clockwork. I understand that this is an emotional topic, and going against the gun control agenda will get you accused of not caring if people die, or worse. Let me head that off by saying that of course I don’t want people to die. Mass shootings are terrible, but if we want solutions that will work, we need to put emotion aside and consider the problem calmly if we want the killing to end.
First, let’s define the problem clearly so we know exactly what we’re dealing with. A mass shooting is the murder of multiple people, using a firearm. The reason mass shootings are bad, of course, is that people are being murdered. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that murder is bad. We don’t want people murdering each other, so how do we make them stop? Can we?
The average person who favors gun control isn’t some power-tripping politician who wants to oppress people. The typical person who favors gun control just wants the mass murder to stop, and believes that restricting gun ownership will fix the problem. But will it? As I write this, I’m mere feet from firearms and ammunition, that I can easily access. I’m not going to go out and shoot anyone with them. On the other hand, it took me not even five minutes on Google to find three stories of mass knife attacks. What is the difference between someone like me, who won’t go out and shoot people, despite easy access to firepower, and someone who would go out and murder a bunch of people despite not having access to firearms?
The difference is in the heart. It’s a difference of desires. I, and the overwhelming majority of gun owners, don’t go out and shoot people for the simple reason that we don’t want to. Likewise, the reason that people go out and commit mass murder, be it with a gun or another weapon, is because, perverse as it sounds, they want to. This isn’t to say they don’t have reasons that they want to murder people, but in every case, there came a point where they decided to murder. Why would someone do that? We can discuss societal factors that might lower people’s inhibitions towards murder, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that people are inherently sinful and selfish. If it weren’t for our sin nature, societal factors wouldn’t matter. As long as the human heart remains sinful, there will always be those who choose to murder. Once someone chooses to murder, they don’t need a gun to do it. The rise in knife attacks in Britain shows that much. Almost anything can be used as a weapon; even a piece of wood can be weaponized quite effectively.
“But” you may argue “a gun makes it so much easier to commit mass murder.” That may be true, but there’s no evidence that a ban on ‘assault weapons’, the most popular target of gun control, actually does anything. In fact, there’s evidence from Australia that ‘buying back’ firearms from law-abiding citizens doesn’t do anything. Why? Because the heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked. Those who want to want to murder will find a way. Those who want to murder people en masse will find a way to do that; if not with a gun, then with a bomb or something else. Restricting guns won’t purge sinful, murderous desires from the human heart, only God can do that. Restricting guns will only take away the ability of innocent people to defend themselves and others.
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