Guns – a Spiritual Problem?

Anyone who follows this blog, or my other blog, is acutely aware of my views on guns. I have no fondness for them and I have yet to be presented with an argument that makes me thing of them as useful tools, rather than deadly weapons.

There is an obvious connection between the number of guns in a society and the number of gun-related deaths. For example:

In recent years the US death rate per 100,000 people with guns (be it murder or suicide) was 12.21. In France it was 2.83. In Australia it was 1.04. It was 1.75 in Norway and 1.6 in Sweden. It was 0.99 in Germany and 0.62 in Spain. In the UK it was 0.23. You can check out the source for this information here.

Is it a coincidence that there are 120.5 guns per every 100 people in the USA? The next country with a significant number of guns per 100 people is Germany, with 32 guns per 100 people. Germany has considerably fewer guns in circulation, but also has tighter restrictions on the types of firearm, the quantity of firearms any one person can own, and on ammunition. Is it a coincidence that Germany is significantly safer?

Sweden has 23.10 guns per 100 people. Sweden has different gun control laws to Germany, yet they prove to be nearly as effective. In France there are 14.96 guns per 100 people. France has more deaths from guns per 100,000 people than Germany and Sweden combined, but less than a quarter of the US death rate. Once again, France has robust and sensible gun control measures.

So, with that in mind, is the following truly a sensible means of discussing the problem of gun deaths and gun violence?

#3. Gun Violence

A second article would be this one.  Christians can address this issue by steering the conversation to the real problem instead of letting certain people groups distort what the source of the problem is. It is not guns or gun ownership that is the problem

Then advocate for just, honest and legitimate responses that take care of the problem without violating any rights. If you do not like guns or gun ownership, do not be biased in your response. Other people do not feel like you and have a different opinion.

The problem has to deal with evil and Christians who hate guns can easily work with those who own guns because the target issue is spiritual.

There are facts regarding guns that support some opinions but not others, and the facts are not biased. They simply are what they are. Back in 2017 I put together a comparison of different countries and their homicide rates. I’ve presented these facts on a number of occasions and the data does not vary a great deal, even across a march of years. Among developed nations of broadly similar cultural and economic backgrounds, the USA has the highest homicide rate and the murder rate with guns alone is higher than the total murder rate of several other countries, sometimes even the total rates of several countries combined. It is an unavoidable statistical truth that guns, which are designed to be lethal weapons, prove to be devastatingly effective at taking life, and in countries where they are prevalent, or where gun control laws are inconsistent or absent, they take more lives than in countries which have sensible and consistent laws.

This isn’t a question of opinion, it’s a question of fact.

I swore I would not respond directly, but there are certain statements relating to this topic that I cannot see go unchallenged.

We came across this website & article Already In 2022 … Guns And Death by perusing Meerkat Musing and its sister sight Coalition of the Brave. And as usual, it is written by someone who is very anti-gun or anti-gun violence.

Before we look at some of the statements made by that author, we need to make a few Christian or biblical points clear. First, we cannot use Peter’s ownership of a sword and use in defense of Jesus as permission to own guns.

We believe that is the only time a weapon owned by one of the disciples was mentioned in the Bible. Second, the Bible does not ban gun ownership. There is no verse, instruction, or command that says believers cannot own guns.

However, there are plenty of verses in the Bible that will govern that ownership and guide the believer in the use of guns. The believer must obey those verses correctly and not use them to justify any subsequent action that may be illegal or sinful.

Third, there is no verse in the Bible that commands or instructs believers that they have the right to interfere with anyone wanting and having guns in their home. It is a personal choice to have guns and it is a personal choice not to own any.

As long as those guns are not used for sinful purposes, we see no problem with Christians owning guns. Unfortunately, the unbelieving world does not think in the same way and those anti-gun unbelievers feel they have the right to force their views on others.

What the facts demonstrate is that countries with high rates of gun ownership that combine said high ownership with slack and inconsistent regulations see more gun deaths. I’ve done my homework on this topic. I’ve looked into the statistics and the numbers. Whether or not gun ownership is Biblical or whether raising concerns about guns is sinful is irrelevant.

Gun regulation is not a question of forcing beliefs upon others (unless you’re prepared to accept the flipside, namely that failing to apply any meaningful forms of gun control is a form of forcing beliefs on others, for it forces people to face needless extra risks in their daily lives – I wonder if the author will connect those dots or conveniently ignore that point). Many countries allow gun ownership but apply laws which are robust and also applied consistently. This is why a number of countries prove to be safer than the US, and they are safer over a march of many years, demonstrating that gun control measures work, in various forms.

The author goes on to attack the position of Jill Dennison, someone who has written extensively on guns and the problems and pain they have inflicted. Jill said the following…

As I write this post, it is just after 10:00 p.m. on January 1st 2022 in the U.S. and already 99 people have lost their lives to gun violence in the first 22 hours of the new year.  One of my New Year’s hopes I wrote about in a previous post was that reasonable gun laws would be enacted by Congress before the end of the year.  Had I taken a moment to write to members of Congress after seeing today’s statistics, my letter would have started with …
Hey, you STUPID Jackass, take your head out of your arse and do something right just for once.

To which the author replied…

There are several things wrong with this point of view. First, it is not the guns that are doing the killing. Blaming the tool is like blaming the hammer when it hits you on the finger. The tool does not have a mind of its own and can only act according to the wishes of the owner or user.

Second, those states and cities with the strictest guns laws are the same cities that have a problem with gun deaths. Laws are not the answer and are only meant to punish those people who violate them. They do not and cannot stop gun violence.

Third, that author thinks that their way is the right way forgetting that, there are millions of people who would disagree with her. Why should her or her anti-gun people have the only say as to what is right when it comes to guns?

Firstly, the old copout that ‘guns don’t kill, people do’ (essentially the author’s argument) overlooks that guns make it far easier to kill. It is a statistical fact that between two thirds and three quarters of murders in the USA over the past few years involved firearms. It is also a statistical fact that the US murder rate with guns only is higher than the total combined murder rates of UK, Japan and Australia (and there are many other combinations that come in as safer). Guns are not tools. They are deadly weapons and are designed as such. They have gotten increasingly more dangerous over the years.

Secondly, the author is flat wrong regarding gun control leading to more gun violence. This is not true at an international level and nor is it true at a US state level. There are a number of states that have weak or inconsistent gun laws that see higher rates of death and violence than states with stronger gun control laws. The true problem though, is inconsistency. Whereas the likes of the UK, Germany, Sweden etc, have national laws on this subject, the US approach is managed at state level. Different states have wildly different laws, enabling people to buy guns in one state that would be impossible to buy in another. When laws are consistent (see Japan as a great example), gun crime is heavily reduced.

Jill goes on to say…

There is something wrong with a nation, a society, whose citizens demand to be allowed to kill people, and that is exactly what the gun nuts in this country are doing.

To which the author replies…

This is a bit hypocritical and out of touch with reality as it only targets guns and gun ownership? What about all those people who want and have fought for abortion on demand?

Something is wrong with the nation when it allows people to be allowed to commit abortion yet fight against capital punishment and gun ownership. If the anti-gun supporters’ arguments were more consistent, then they would have more credibility.

The conflation of gun control and abortion is a typical tactic of the conservative religious right, and it highlights their own hypocrisy. Efforts to protect children are met with protest; efforts to allow living breathing human beings autonomy over their own bodies are met with derision. The ‘pro-life’ conservative right once again proves life only matters up to the moment of birth – after that, they will protest measures intended to protect children and others. There is a very vivid example of this hypocrisy later in this post.

On to the next sections. Jill states:

The only reason any fool wants to own a gun is to kill, whether they wish to kill fellow humans or animals.

The author responds:

This is not true as are her following sentences but it shows how blinded these groups are.

I’ll give the author the tiniest crumb here. There are some people who might buy a gun in the interests of self-defence. However guns statistically fail as deterrents and it certainly is true that many gun owners buy their weapons with the intent to kill something. How anyone can believe this isn’t correct is beyond me.

When I mention ‘reasonable gun legislation’, it is because I know that the sort of gun laws I would really like to see will never pass muster in this nation.

Right. It is ‘their will be done’, no one else’s will, including God’s. it is a very blind and selfish attitude that says only their way can be accepted and what other people want does not matter.

It is quite amazing how the author will distort and misrepresent the arguments of others. Jill makes it clear there is a difference between what she would like to do and what is realistic. The author goes on to call her selfish, but Jill never claimed she would impose her personal wishes on the situation. In fact she acknowledged that she wouldn’t be able to!

Last year, there were 42 school shootings in this country. FORTY-TWO!!! Thousands of children’s lives were in danger as they attempted to get an education!

This is just hyperbole and a meaningless point. Ani-gun people only use it to get to people’s emotions. They do not realize it but children and everyone else are in danger at any time of any day. Even with that author driving down the street, she is putting people in danger.

It is an argument that doesn’t wash as it does not address the real reason why people use guns to commit crimes. Even school shootings.

This is the hypocrisy I referred to earlier, and it is spectacular. Firstly, Jill’s points are not hyperbole but are facts. The only difference between Jill’s statement and what I’ve been able to find via a quick Google search is that the number of US school shootings was 34, not 42. Ultimately that’s a minor distinction and does not detract from Jill’s point about thousands of children being placed in danger.

Which brings me to my next point. Yes, we are all to some degree in danger. However sensible people take steps to minimise that danger, and cars and drivers (to address the author’s specific example) are subject to all kinds of laws and regulations to make them as safe as possible. One wonders if the author regards road safety laws as being selfishly imposed on others…

What the author has failed to understand is that any prudent person will seek to take steps to reduce risks. This is why many health and safety laws exist. This is why there are tight regulations on dangerous products and substances, especially in respect of children. Why the author thinks guns should be an exemption to these rules is beyond me.

In 2021, 44,768 people died as a result of gun violence.

Yes, but abortion was the leading cause of death last year and for two years before that. Where is her ‘righteous indignation’ against abortion? The fact that over 44,000 people died through gun violence and hundreds of thousands more died from being aborted tell everyone that there is a spiritual problem that laws cannot solve.

Another demonstration that the author prefers to conflate issues. If they are serious about protecting lives, they would take a stronger stance against gun violence. Instead they prefer to drag the abortion debate into the discussion, in a classic example of the Red Herring Fallacy. Laws can solve the problem of gun violence (see the various links to evidence and statistics posted earlier in this article), and to claim otherwise is to wallow in self-imposed ignorance.

Gun violence has many reasons behind why it takes place and like abortion, it is people making the decision to use the gun to ‘solve’ their problems. The gun does not blackmail the user into picking it up and shooting up a school, robbing a bank, or doing other crimes.

A gun may not be in control but it does make carrying out violent crime a lot easier, as the facts show.

The issue is the sinful nature of people that have either not conquered their demons or have rejected salvation and Jesus Christ. It is not the gun’s fault.

The rest of her post you can read for yourself. it is a selfish, emotionally charged post that is biased and manipulates statistics, among other things, to try and force her views on everyone else.

Guns make it considerably easier to kill. This is a fact, demonstrated in numerous ways. The ‘why’ question is partially valid but also misleading. ‘Why’ people drink-drive is irrelevant in the eyes of the law, what matters is that someone drove under the influence. There are very strict laws on drink-driving. As mentioned before, there are many laws covering many topics, with the aim of making situations safer. Would the author support removing these laws (after all, do they not represent the imposition of views on others, something the author frequently decries, despite wanting to force Christianity down everyone’s throats)? Or do they recognise these laws exist for a reason? If the author cares for the well-being of children (dubious, based on previous conversations) then would they not support measures designed to protect them? Or, for all their rants about abortion and their conflation of that subject with gun control, are they really on interested in forced birth, and then the child becomes someone else’s problem?

It is ridiculous to accuse Jill of being selfish. She is expressing her views, not imposing them – she is not like the author, who as stated, desires to force everyone to live by his interpretation of Christianity. He rallies against statistics and facts because he cannot refute them.

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