I know that calling it a “gun issue” will already have triggered responses from many thinking “guns are not the issue” for one reason or another. And they are right, in part.
I know that most arguments for gun control or for the right own guns are simplistic, paint with a broad brush, and attach immorality or injustice to the opposing side.
I know that one side claims what amounts to a divine right to bear arms and the other side sees them as enablers of mass violence. I believe both sides are misguided as a whole.
I know that guns are not a human right and we’ve attached far too much significance to them in America. These deadly instruments, useful in very particular contexts, have become almost hallowed grounds.
I know that the vast majority of gun owners are not pro violence against their fellow humans and abhor such actions. Nor are they, as a whole, “gun nuts” or even “gun enthusiasts.”
I know that a massive chasm exists between those who by culture, context, or choice, have never and will never own a gun and those who grew up with and around guns as a way of life. Both sides see the other as, at best, blind but likely a little deranged.
I know that guns do not kill people, people kill people . . . with guns. Because people are the ones who bear evil in their souls and minds.
I know that a person’s choice to commit violence is a matter of personal responsibility, but each of those choices unravels the seams of society and we are all members of and responsible for society.
I know the government cannot legislate morality, but it is tasked with limiting danger to its citizens.
I know that the government cannot pre-determine those citizens who will callously gun down their fellow men, women, and children which makes the job of protection one not of evil-elimination but of risk-reduction.
I know that without guns people cannot shoot each other either by accident, as when children play with guns, or on purpose in a high school or a drive-by. (And yes, I know that people always will and always have found ways to kill one another.)
I know THAT something must change in how our government protects us even though I do not know HOW it must change.
I know that that a good citizen’s “right to bear arms” should not enable a bad citizen to gun down children.
I know that the laws and structures currently in place are not working to protect citizens from one another.
I know that citizens are not successfully protecting one another or themselves either.
I know that to rein in gun access and institute more stringent laws will require the sacrifice of freedoms by law abiding citizens.
I know that the sacrifice feels massive to many because of the perceived invasion by a governing body into their personal rights.
I know the sacrifice feels like nothing all to those who have never claimed their right to bear arms – for them it is no sacrifice at all.
I know that all of this is complex and complicated – especially because there are hundreds of millions of dollars involved and the highest levels of government. And everything involving economic power and seats of government is complicated.
I know the no matter the complexity, complication, or net worth of these issues they must not be shrugged off or ignored in the lulls between school shootings (or military base shootings or workplace shootings or shootings on Chicago’s South Side).
I know that no person’s right to bear arms supersedes any person’s right to live, even if the one bearing arms would never shoot another human.
I know that thinking of this simply as “as a sin issue” or “a gospel issue” and allowing that to give us permission not to speak, act, and vote for the good our fellow people is unproductive, unhelpful, and unloving.
I know that those of us who are pro-life should be pro-life in the face of any evil that threatens innocents be it a government, a scalpel or an AR-15.
I know that I have barely scratched the surface of this issue, that I have offended some, and that I have frustrated others with a lack of resolution.
I know that I felt compelled to say or write something in the hopes it might move the needle of thought, conviction, or perspective.
I know that my words are not definitive or a deciding factor, but they are what I have and here they are.