(Author's Note: I started writing this two or three weeks ago, it got bigger than I expected and it just kept growing. Because of it's size, I am breaking this up and will post one part each day for four days. I don't intend for this to be a purely political forum but my hope is to discuss political events and find where they intersect biblical teaching. That element does appear in this discussion but it doesn't show up until Part 4 so please be patient.)
After the horrifying shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the news was full of talking heads from every political persuasion arguing over the cause and how such a tragedy might be prevented in the future. I have grown so tired of such talk that I mostly ignored it. What made me stop and think was a conversation that I had on Facebook with my friend, Terry Fairfax. Terry and I met in our high school band. Today he is a lawyer (and remains a huge musical talent). Terry and I are sometimes, at least politically, worlds apart but I enjoy chatting with him because we respect one another and we are both willing to consider the merits of logical arguments, even when we disagree.
As we often do, we came at this tragedy from different perspectives and drew from experiences of different lives. As such tragedies often do, the discussion of Rep. Gifford’s shooting caused us to consider the need for individuals to own firearms and then, obviously, our constitutional rights to “keep and bear arms.” Terry made me think. His knowledge of the law and history made me dig deeper and get past a lot of the sound bites thrown out by conservatives in the media. Eventually we agreed on some things and disagreed on others while remaining friends.
As I continue to reflect on our discussion, something has been bothering me. I found myself wondering why the ideas of gun control and the passing of gun laws bothers me. Understand that I am not (nor have I ever been) a huge proponent of gun ownership. I have served in the military. I have trained on and have carried an M-16 rifle for many days and for many miles. I am comfortable around firearms but at the same time, I can see that there is a logical problem with permitting ordinary citizens to own weapons of moderate destruction. Things like rocket launchers, tanks, hand grenades and land mines, in the interests of everyone’s safety, should belong to the military. So what is it that bugs me about the idea of gun laws?