The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun

The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun

Under the heading: The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun were the following statistics....

"There are 89 guns for every 100 civilians, according to the 2011 Small Arms Survey. That amounts to roughly 270 million guns owned nationwide, far and away the highest gun ownership rate in the world. With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. is home to anywhere between 35 and 50 percent of all civilian-owned guns on earth."

"And while America certainly does not have the highest firearms-related homicide rate in the world (it ranks 28th), our rate is more than four times that of any other industrialized country (including all of Europe, Japan, Australia, Turkey and India): in 2011, there were well over 9,000 gun-related homicides (nearly 70 percent of all homicides committed), or roughly three per 100,000 population, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. That’s about 20 times the average rate of all other developed nations, according to the Washington Post.

In contrast, Great Britain has a gun ownership rate of about 6 guns for every 100 civilians. Last year it had 41 gun-related homicides, or .07 per 100,000 population. Meanwhile, Finland, where there are 45 guns per 100 civilians, had only 24 gun homicides in 2011, a rate of .45 per 100,000 population."

http://blogs.kqed.org/lowdown/2012/12/1 … f-the-gun/

http://blogs.kqed.org/lowdown/files/201 … shpost.jpg

People have the right to bear arms under the Constitution of the United States of America but, since many U.S citizens profess to be Christians,  I would like to ask, 'Does God give Christians 'the right to bear arms'? Apparently, some people think so.

The following image was sent to me by an American...

http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a … 5207_n.jpg

But those outside the US find it rather alarming in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shootings and many others over recent years. It was said that the mother of the shooter had guns at home and often took her sons to the firing range for practice. This Mom was shot by her own son with her own weapon. The lives of so many other innocent young people were taken that day, by a deranged young man with access to deadly weapons and a knowledge of how to use them. How is this not wrong on so many levels?


In defense of their 'rights', I have often heard it said that "guns don't kill people...people kill people", but isn't it closer to the truth to say that "people with guns kill more people than anyone"? People with semi-automatic weapons can snuff out so many lives in a very short space of time....often they are children.

What is the justification for anyone who claims to be a disciple of the "Prince of Peace" to also be someone armed with a deadly weapon?

On the night of his arrest, when Peter drew a sword to defend his master, Jesus said to him, “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword."

Substitute the word "gun" for "sword" in this statement and ask what was Jesus saying?

Comments?

"But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace" (Psalm 37:11)

JaneD
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Re: The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun

Hi Jane,

I've been having a great discussion with a friend of mine from New Jersey about this. I live in Australia. Even though our countries are quite similar on the surface when it comes to gun laws our cultural mentalities aren't. I can't speak for all of Australia obviously but from where I reside we don't really discuss gun laws like Americans do. I've toyed with why this is and I think to some point it has to do with the gun restrictions and confiscations made 17 years ago after a dreadful massacre in the state of Tasmania. That and our constitution is different to the US concerning guns.

My friend from New Jersey informed me that the right to bare arms is not just about protecting themselves from other citizens (criminals etc.) in a fallen world but to protect themselves from the government itself. Way back when it seems the powers that be had a nobel cause in adding the 2nd amendment so that the United States government (also consisting of fallen people) could never form a dictatorship or any kind of tyranny to it's people.

So a lot of why this debate is difficult is because taking away the right for citizens to bare arms is really just a bandaid effect fuelled by a over-emotional response to the horrible school shootings of late. It isn't going to fix the issue in the long run. Plus the problem with the government still having the right to bare arms while it's citizens do not is another recipe for disaster. The only way to fix the situation is to change the hearts of the people.  We can do this one person at a time (at least) by doing what we have been called to do, share the Gospel in faith, hope and love, and change a generation.

Whatever is but might not be is dependent on what is and cannot not be.

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Re: The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun

jadmorffier wrote:


Hi Jane,

I've been having a great discussion with a friend of mine from New Jersey about this. I live in Australia. Even though our countries are quite similar on the surface when it comes to gun laws our cultural mentalities aren't. I can't speak for all of Australia obviously but from where I reside we don't really discuss gun laws like Americans do. I've toyed with why this is and I think to some point it has to do with the gun restrictions and confiscations made 17 years ago after a dreadful massacre in the state of Tasmania. That and our constitution is different to the US concerning guns.
My friend from New Jersey informed me that the right to bare arms is not just about protecting themselves from other citizens (criminals etc.) in a fallen world but to protect themselves from the government itself.

I'm an Aussie too jadmorffier. I understand what you are saying from the Aussie perspective, but I doubt we will ever understand the American love affair with guns. It has always been the case in our experience that the government bears arms but the citizens do not necessarily. We don't really expect to have to defend ourselves from our own government. If people live in a democracy it is the people themselves who have put the governors in their positions. What a horrid thought for them to turn on their own citizens with weapons. Yet we have seen this take place in various nations of the world. Radical elements have taken a stand against their governments and awful scenes have resulted. How much better to pursue peace as Paul recommended. (Rom 12:17-21) Leave everything else in God's hands.

Jesus told us not to rebel against the government but to obey them in everything except when they ask us to do something Jesus has told us not to do. (Acts 5:29; Rom 13:1-4)

Way back when it seems the powers that be had a nobel cause in adding the 2nd amendment so that the United States government (also consisting of fallen people) could never form a dictatorship or any kind of tyranny to it's people.

I think that only really works in theory. Propaganda is a powerful tool in the wrong hands.

So a lot of why this debate is difficult is because taking away the right for citizens to bare arms is really just a bandaid effect fuelled by a over-emotional response to the horrible school shootings of late. It isn't going to fix the issue in the long run. Plus the problem with the government still having the right to bare arms while it's citizens do not is another recipe for disaster. The only way to fix the situation is to change the hearts of the people.  We can do this one person at a time (at least) by doing what we have been called to do, share the Gospel in faith, hope and love, and change a generation.

That is true. Only those who can see past their nationalism and their rights and on into their Christianity will understand that these things are not compatible.

You cannot be a flag waving, gun toting patriot and at the same time, serve an impartial "Prince of Peace" who does not recognize a person's nationality....only the peaceful condition of their heart.

“Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword." still applies.

"But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace" (Psalm 37:11)

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Re: The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun

What is the justification for anyone who claims to be a disciple of the "Prince of Peace" to also be someone armed with a deadly weapon?

I'm curious if you consider yourself a pacifist, and if you believe that all Christians, in order to be considered disciples of the "Prince of Peace" should be?

Would you argue that a woman who is being raped should merely submit, or would you grant her the right to fight back even if it meant harm to her attacker?
If someone brutally attacked a family member would you stand idly by in order to maintain your discipleship, or would you deal out physical harm to the perpetrator in order to prevent further injury or even possible death to your loved one?
And if you WOULD attempt to stop the attack, would you use whatever weapon you could lay your hands on, or are there some weapons that you would never use?

Frankly, I cannot comprehend the aversion some people have to firearms. They are inanimate objects; there is nothing inherently good or evil about them. A gun can be a problem or it can be a solution to a problem---depending solely on who wields it and for what purpose.

You quoted Jesus in regards to Peter wielding a sword in defense of His master and then said, "Substitute the word "gun" for "sword" in this statement and ask what was Jesus saying?"

Shortly before the incident you mentioned, Jesus told his disciples: "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

Substitute the word "gun" for "sword" in this statement and ask what was Jesus saying?

If your religion and your God requires you to go unarmed and defenseless against the evils of this world, you're certainly welcome to do so. But I don't belong to a religion or worship a God who requires that of me.

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Re: The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun

Chukar wrote:


I'm curious if you consider yourself a pacifist, and if you believe that all Christians, in order to be considered disciples of the "Prince of Peace" should be?

Jesus was not a pacifist, yet he never advocated violence of any sort for any reason.

He preached forgiveness and love for one's enemies....all enemies, not for one moment telling his disciples to "return evil for evil". (Rom 12:17-21)

Would you argue that a woman who is being raped should merely submit, or would you grant her the right to fight back even if it meant harm to her attacker?

Self defense can be practiced but not with the intent to kill the attacker. To fire a gun at someone could make one a murderer in God's eyes. You can't fight evil with more evil....that makes you as guilty as the criminal.
 

If someone brutally attacked a family member would you stand idly by in order to maintain your discipleship, or would you deal out physical harm to the perpetrator in order to prevent further injury or even possible death to your loved one?

Preventing an attack does not have to involve a weapon. When Jesus came under attack he fled his attackers without resorting to violence. He could quite easily have called on his angelic forces to defend him but he didn't.

And if you WOULD attempt to stop the attack, would you use whatever weapon you could lay your hands on, or are there some weapons that you would never use?

Would I use a gun? No way. I would not even own one. Would I hit an attacker over the head with a frying pan?...maybe, but I would never aim to kill....escape would be what I would pray for.

Frankly, I cannot comprehend the aversion some people have to firearms.

If you are American, I can understand this. You are raised with firearms as almost a standard means of self protection. In Australia, only law enforcement officers are allowed to carry weapons. We like it that way. It's rather comforting to know that every person I pass in the street is not packing.

The mass shootings in America are appalling. They are the result of unstable people being allowed to carry deadly weapons. The Sandy Hook killings were committed by a deranged young man who was trained in the use of weapons by one of the very people whose life he took....his own mother. Should small children and teens be the casualties of irresponsible gun ownership?

I don't think Americans realize how the rest of the civilized world views their love of firearms.
It's not the wild west any more you know. Suburbia is hardly the place for a shoot out. :-P

They are inanimate objects; there is nothing inherently good or evil about them.

Of course not! They are only designed to kill people. Bombs are inanimate objects too.

A gun can be a problem or it can be a solution to a problem---depending solely on who wields it and for what purpose.

There are other solutions that don't involve deadly weapons. How many young children have been shot as a result of careless placement of firearms in the home. They create more problems than they solve. Look at the stats. American gun related deaths are many times more than any other supposedly civilized nation.

You quoted Jesus in regards to Peter wielding a sword in defense of His master and then said, "Substitute the word "gun" for "sword" in this statement and ask what was Jesus saying?"

Shortly before the incident you mentioned, Jesus told his disciples: "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

Substitute the word "gun" for "sword" in this statement and ask what was Jesus saying?

Do you not wonder why Jesus told them to buy swords and then forbade them to use them? He rebuked Peter for injuring the slave of the High Priest and healed him.

It was to demonstrate that even though they were armed, they would NOT resort to violence or resist arrest. Even when the apostles were placed under arrest, they did not protest or resist. They left themselves entirely in God's hands.

If your religion and your God requires you to go unarmed and defenseless against the evils of this world, you're certainly welcome to do so. But I don't belong to a religion or worship a God who requires that of me.

Christ never advocated that we be part of this world, including its conflicts; in fact he instructed us to be NO part of it. (John 15:19, 20) He identified its ruler as satan the devil. (1 John 5:19) Violence is the devil's trademark. Do you remember why God brought the flood? (Gen 6:13) God hates violence. (Psalm 11:5)

There is never a reason for a Christian to resort to the use of deadly weapons. They will take a bullet for a brother, but they will not fire one.

"But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace" (Psalm 37:11)

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Re: The United States of Firearms: America’s Love of the Gun

JaneD wrote:


Jesus was not a pacifist, yet he never advocated violence of any sort for any reason.

Really?
His personal interaction with the money changers in the temple belies your claim. The scriptures tell us that he made a "scourge of small cords" (a whip) then "DROVE" them from the temple, turning over their tables in the process. Sounds suspiciously like an act of violence to me.
And how could it have been otherwise? It's pretty unlikely they would have given up their day jobs and left the place with nothing more threatening from Jesus than a "pretty please".

He preached forgiveness and love for one's enemies....all enemies, not for one moment telling his disciples to "return evil for evil".

And how can an act of self defense be considered "evil" except in the mind of a pacifist?
There's a clear difference between self defense verses revenge/retaliation, which is what the Savior forbade his followers to engage in.

Self defense can be practiced but not with the intent to kill the attacker.

And how does that square with your previous statements? Wouldn't any sort of self defense (other than merely running away) be "returning evil for evil"? It would be helpful if you would make up your mind?
And if you had no "intent to kill the attacker" and yet your act of self defense (a frying pan on the noggin for instance) resulted in the attacker's death, wouldn't that send you to hell based upon your own criteria?

To fire a gun at someone could make one a murderer in God's eyes.

Once again, to equate an act of self defense with murder is utter nonsense in my view, and extremely presumptuous to suggest that God would view it as such.
What if you fired a gun at someone simply to scare them off? Or what if you fired and missed? This happens regularly in many self defense situations where guns are used. Certainly God isn't going to hold you accountable for murder in the absence of an actual death.

You can't fight evil with more evil....that makes you as guilty as the criminal.

Like a frying pan upside the head, right??
Your argument just gets more convoluted as we go along. Either an act of self defense is wrong or it isn't wrong. Please make up your mind.


Preventing an attack does not have to involve a weapon.

True as far as it goes.
But there are many instances when there is no feasible way to prevent an attack WITHOUT a weapon, whether that weapon be a firearm, a knife, or merely a fist. To suggest that ANY attack can be resisted in a non-violent way is utter fantasy.
Either God demands complete and total pacifism or he doesn't.
If he does then the argument is over and you have some explaining to do regarding a certain frying pan.
If he doesn't then you have to admit that violence will sometimes be necessary in certain acts of self defense.

When Jesus came under attack he fled his attackers without resorting to violence.

Obviously because that particular situation allowed him to do so!!
It's almost embarrassing to have to point that out.

And what if the situation hadn't afforded a retreat? What if several of his attackers had held Jesus fast while another one drew his sword with the intention of plunging it into the Savior's chest?
We'll never know what his response would have been, but I'm betting it would have entailed some sort of immediate violence whether on Jesus' part or on the part of his "angelic forces". Otherwise the whole story of the crucifixion, the atonement, and all that was associated with it would have never occurred, thus making many of the prophecies in the Bible worthless.

Would I use a gun? No way. I would not even own one. Would I hit an attacker over the head with a frying pan?...maybe

Returning evil for evil, huh?
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Some disciple of Jesus you turned out to be.

...but I would never aim to kill....escape would be what I would pray for.

And in the midst of all your praying what if the assailant has a death grip on your daughter's throat and is in the process of choking the life out of her? Are you going to "return evil for evil" or are you just going to stand there and pray that your daughter somehow escapes?
Remember, according to you Jesus "never advocated violence of any sort for any reason."
Please answer the question.

If you are American, I can understand this. You are raised with firearms as almost a standard means of self protection. In Australia, only law enforcement officers are allowed to carry weapons. We like it that way.

WE????
That's very generous of you to speak on behalf of all Australians, but no doubt there are tens of thousands that you DON'T speak for! Tens of thousands of law abiding Australians who were forcefully deprived of their personal property while posing NO threat to you or anyone else. And probably tens of thousands more who have since suffered an act of violence without having any effective way of defending themselves thanks to your unjust laws.

It's rather comforting to know that every person I pass in the street is not packing.

On the other hand I find it comforting to know that many people I pass ARE packing. I'm also astute enough to understand that those who are packing legally don't pose the slightest threat to me, while those who do pose a threat don't give a rat's patoot whether they can pack legally or not. Gun laws mean nothing to criminals.

The mass shootings in America are appalling.

Agreed. But statistically you have a much greater chance of drowning in a swimming pool than you do of being gunned down by a deranged madman. And since dead is dead, I wonder if you advocate banning swimming pools?
And if the number of deaths is the be all and end all of the argument, why aren't people like you clamoring for an outright ban on alcohol? I mean after all, the death toll from firearms pales in comparison to the death toll from "adult beverages".



They are the result of unstable people being allowed to carry deadly weapons.

I doubt you'll find anyone in the U.S who is opposed to keeping guns out of the hands of "unstable people". The problem lies in determining who is unstable and who isn't?
Depriving the law abiding MAJORITY of their right to the most effective means of self defense is in not the answer to the problem.
At least a dozen different surveys have been conducted in the U.S. regarding the defensive use of guns. The surveys yield numbers anywhere from a high of 2.5 million (Kleck) to a low of 82,000 (NCVS). The majority of the surveys find defensive gun use at a minimum of over 700,000 incidents per year. Even if only a very small percentage of that number would have been killed if they hadn't had a gun (and it's most likely NOT a small percentage) that still yields a death toll far higher than the current annual number of deaths by firearm.
It isn't a fair trade.

Should small children and teens be the casualties of irresponsible gun ownership?

And what exactly is your definition of irresponsible gun ownership?
I'm guessing that what you really oppose is ANY gun ownership rather than just the "irresponsible" kind.

I don't think Americans realize how the rest of the civilized world views their love of firearms.

I don't mean to sound belligerent but I don't think the rest of the civilized world realizes how little most Americans care WHAT they think?

Of course not! They are only designed to kill people...

Forgive me for saying so, but this is just gun-ignorant drivel.
Was an Anschutz 2013 Super Match designed to kill people? How about a Krieghoff K-80 or a Haemmerli 208? What about a Remington 1100 or a Browning Citori or a Winchester Model 21?
The fact is the vast majority of guns were designed to do nothing more than punch a hole in a paper target, bust a clay pigeon or put meat on the table. And those relatively few that WERE designed to "kill people" were developed primarily for defensive rather than offensive purposes. No gun designer ever sat down to create a gun for the purpose of murdering people anymore than a distillery manufactures a liquor for the purpose of aiding and abetting drunk drivers.

There are other solutions that don't involve deadly weapons.

And as I've pointed out, there are problems that simply cannot be solved WITHOUT resort to a deadly weapon.
I could easily list hundreds of incidents in the past year in the U.S. alone where an individual (or several) would almost certainly be dead had they not had access to a firearm. And in many of those incidents the perpetrator was not killed during the altercation. So WITHOUT the firearm there would have been one or more dead innocent civilians; WITH the firearm there were no deaths at all.

How many young children have been shot as a result of careless placement of firearms in the home.

Very few, actually.
Far fewer than have drowned in bathtubs or swimming pools and you don't advocate outlawing those, do you?

They create more problems than they solve.

Of course this is merely your opinion with no empirical evidence to back up the charge. Earlier I gave you the statistics regarding the defensive use of firearms. If you disagree with them how about providing your own research rather than just conjecture.

Do you not wonder why Jesus told them to buy swords and then forbade them to use them? He rebuked Peter for injuring the slave of the High Priest and healed him.

First off there is no verse in the Bible where Jesus forbids his disciples from using their swords---Peter and the severed ear notwithstanding.
You have a bad habit of singling out an incident and then insinuating that the lesson applies to ANY and ALL incidents.
What else could Jesus do in this particular scenario? He is on his way to Gethsemane and the cross; on his way to fulfill the very thing he was sent to earth to accomplish. There was absolutely no reason for self defense at that time. In fact, Jesus explains that very thing to Peter in the 26th chapter of Matthew.

It was to demonstrate that even though they were armed, they would NOT resort to violence or resist arrest.

Again, your assertion is based on one particular incident. There is no reason to assume that the same response would be required in ALL incidents.

Christ never advocated that we be part of this world, including its conflicts; in fact he instructed us to be NO part of it. He identified its ruler as satan the devil. Violence is the devil's trademark.

Which has exactly WHAT to do with the principle of self defense? Again, you need to decide which side of the pacifism fence you stand on. So far you've done nothing but straddle it. Violence is either totally and completely the province of Satan or it isn't. Self defense is either wrong because Jesus forbids any act of violence or it isn't because he doesn't. Make up your mind.

Do you remember why God brought the flood? (Gen 6:13) God hates violence. (Psalm 11:5)

Kind of an odd combination of verses to illustrate your thesis isn't it?
God hates violence so he kills almost every man, woman and child on the face of the earth to prove it! Hoo Boy!

And how about these:
God hates violence so he orders Moses to wipe out the population of entire cities in the land of Canaan.
God hates violence so he rains down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah.
God hates violence so he kills the first born child of everyone in Egypt (including his own people) who fail to splash lamb's blood on their door posts.
And if God hates violence why did he approve of David slaying Goliath, or Elijah executing the priests of Baal?
I could list several dozen more examples of how "God hates violence".

Besides, the Psalm verse you quoted doesn't say that God hates violence. It says he hates "him that LOVETH violence".
Not the same thing.

There is never a reason for a Christian to resort to the use of deadly weapons. They will take a bullet for a brother, but they will not fire one.

Once again I believe that "NEVER A REASON" is nothing more than your opinion and cannot be backed by scripture. I don't believe that God expects his people to do nothing more than die (or stand idly by and watch others die) when confronted by evil.
Not only do I believe self defense is morally right, but I believe it is a GOD GIVEN right also.

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We are not alone. There is something out there bigger than ourselves. Where will you go after you die? What do you believe and why do you believe it? What is the point of having a mind if you never change it? Here's a surprisingly unsurprising statistic: Everyone dies sooner or later; there is no escaping it and you will be dead for longer than you are alive. This suggests that eternity might be worth more than a passing thought.

Are you ready for the inevitable? There is no need to be fearful of that inevitable moment, so long as you are prepared and as long as you are not taking comfort in something that sounds nice but is really just positive but wishful thinking. Make your life journey count, consider your eternal destination. Just believing in a lie wont make it truth, no matter how much you want it or how appealing that lie is. It is better to know the truth than to live in the delusion of a lie. No one likes being deceived, but in a world of political correctness, acceptance and anything goes, it is easy to side-step the truth of reality. What REALLY is true?

Can we just make up our own truth and say "well that is true for you, but my truth is something else"? Surely we can't all be right, especially when there are so many contradictory beliefs and top world religions out there.