A Thesis On Gun Control

Premise one: gun control results in greater crime. Lack of control results in lesser crime. Requirements to own guns result in almost no crime.

Premise two: not all liberals are stupid.

Preliminary conclusion: liberals have the facts in hand and know these things.

Premise three: greater crime results in greater anarchy.

Premise four: the hoi polloi (the people) prefer tyranny to anarchy.

Conclusion: the liberals want anarchy so that tyranny can result with them in power.

Folks, I think the liberals have a much greater goal in mind than the simple elimination of guns. This is just a means to an end. By stirring up crime and anarchy, they will make the people so afraid of chaos that the people will flock to a tyrannical government. There is historical precedent for this in the time of Rome. According to Taylor Caldwell, Catiline was encouraged by the powers that be to commit acts of anarchy in order to make the people so afraid that the government could then disarm the people and seize complete control over everything.

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109 Comments

  1. February 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Is this a joke?

  2. Reed Here said,

    February 4, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Umm, why would you think it is a joke? sound too conspiratorial?

    I’m inclined to make a similar argument concerning what is happening with our economy. Not to suggest any one particular economic system is “the” biblical system, to be sure we must agree that only those systems which enforce the 8th commandment are valid. It is interesting how government induced crisis are leading to greater governmental say (control) over how people use their property.

  3. February 4, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    The only way socialism can take over a free society is by the live-lobster-in-the-pot approach. We’re already getting pretty warm. We’re virtually nationalizing the largest banks and auto manufacturers. “Universal” health care is next, which leads to the government deciding who lives and who dies like in England and other countries. If the massive inflation “stimulus” bill passes, our currency will be worth less than the cloth on which it’s printed. Either liberals are incredibly stupid, can’t read history, or there may be something more afoot. I’m not prepared to dismiss Lane’s hypothesis.

    History proves again and again that the only thing between tyranny and a free people are the people’s firearms. Our founding fathers knew that, and so did the Brits when they marched on Lexington and Concord to confiscate our guns. Just read Joseph Story’s Commentary on the Constitution of the United States if you don’t believe me. I’d rather that we didn’t have to learn the lesson again the hard way.

  4. art said,

    February 4, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    You should write the next installment of Zeitgeist.

  5. KBennett said,

    February 4, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Wow. I’m not a fan of you, Foolish Tar Heel, but this had better be a joke.

  6. David Gadbois said,

    February 4, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I don’t know how concious an effort it is on the part of the political left, I think their motivations are mixed (and, yes, many of them simply are exceedingly unintelligent) -but it doesn’t matter. The net effect, regardless of intent, of their policies both insulate and nurture their power. That’s because you can simply buy votes through socialism – give out stuff for free, like welfare or health care, and you have a life-long loyal base of constituents. Bloat government until a huge chunk of the workforce are public employees, and watch your small-government candidate opponents go down in flames every single election. You can’t lose.

  7. greenbaggins said,

    February 4, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    This post is not a joke. You may laugh at it. But it won’t be funny in 20 years when there are no freedoms left, and tyrrany rules because the people do not have guns anymore.

  8. "Lee N. Field" said,

    February 4, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    “Premise two: not all liberals are stupid.”

    The other options are crazy, or evil.

    You need to read “Murder by Gun Control” (http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2000/libe68-20000331-07.html).

  9. rfwhite said,

    February 4, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    7 Greenbaggins, “it won’t be funny in 20 years” — is the tyrant that far off?? DV.

  10. greenbaggins said,

    February 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Well, I personally think that there is enough residual independence that tyranny won’t be able to erase all of our freedoms in 8 years. You cannot turn a country on a dime. Of course, it has been turning for awhile. So, maybe sooner. I don’t know.

  11. February 4, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I might be with Dr. White on the timing. Freedom is always just one generation from being lost, and we already have a massive head start.

  12. rfwhite said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I’m just thinking in times of crisis the demos turns over its freedoms in exchange for deliverance from fear (tragically ironic, isn’t it? fear cause us to see bondage as deliverance). Repentance is such a happier course.

  13. phil said,

    February 4, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    just out of curiosity, did you have a particular society in mind wherein citizens were required to own guns in premise one?

  14. Durell said,

    February 4, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Liberals support lawless filmakers/videogames/ etc. to instigate outbreaks of violence thus keeping populus in fear of everyone. Thus more police, social services, psychologists, government dept.s, job creation, etc. Thus you go to government/liberals (in this case) to get jobs, comfort, food, etc.

    “Conclusion: the liberals want anarchy so that tyranny can result with them in power.”
    -So then the problem’s not the tyrants. It’s that they’re not the tyrants.

  15. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:42 am

    Hey guys,

    I don’t think this is a joke. It’s a serious discussion. Being British you can probably guess what side I’m gonna fall on with this. Lane, gotta say I disagree! So let me offer some serious counter-arguments off the top of my head.

    First, let me tackle premise 1 and premise 0.

    Premise one: gun control results in greater crime. Lack of control results in lesser crime. Requirements to own guns result in almost no crime.

    Ok. You’re gonna need to offer some evidence to support this. Furthermore, what is the starting point for this comment? In a country where guns are seriously regulated, and gun ownership is almost outlawed completely, gun crime is far far less prevalent that in a country where gun ownership is common.

    But moving from being a country where there are lots of guns to being a country where there aren’t many will result in a temporary period of increased gun crime. Just like when free market economists take a country over from socialists, there must be a period of pain while the mess is cleaned up.

    Premise zero: taking up arms is an inherent freedom citizens must have.

    This is evident in your comments, Lane. Some would use the same argument for abortion wouldn’t they? They would argue that is a freedom that we want to erase, and is therefore part of a projectory of erasure of freedoms.

    However, you’ve got to justify taking up arms as a vital personal freedom in order to draw the conclusion that the restriction of arms is the restriction of freedom in that sense.

    Second, let me point out that “fear” is actually used by the pro-gun lobby as much as it’s used by the anti-gun lobby. The argument for gun ownership is that I should be able to defend my family, and overthrow my own government if I so wished. Fear can work both ways in this debate. Either to justify a tyrannical government, or to justify a “freedom” that isn’t a necessary freedom.

  16. borgnotes said,

    February 5, 2009 at 8:38 am

    “…in times of crisis the demos turns over its freedoms in exchange for deliverance from fear (tragically ironic, isn’t it? fear cause us to see bondage as deliverance)….”

    But isn’t that exactly what the Dubyaites did? Keep in mind that Obama’s “stimulus” plan to grow the government, er, economy, is just building on what the spineless Republicans did this past fall. It was Bush that exploded the budget from $1 trillion to $3 trillion (none of his budgets did anything but explode government spending, and 6 of the 8 years he had a Republican Congress, so blaming it on the Democrats, who barked a lot but do the same, just doesn’t cut it), and massively expanded the entitlement state and thus our long-term liabilities to over $100 trillion. What’s a little (or a lot) more among statist friends?

    Until so-called conservatives come to accept the fact that Bush II was much more akin to Hoover, FDR, and LBJ than to Harding, Coolidge, and Reagan, we will have NO credibility in denouncing the hell-bound programs of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triad of power. Repudiating the latter requires repudiating the former, for Obama’s fasci-socialism is just another variety of the soci-fascisim of the previous eight years.

  17. rfwhite said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:00 am

    12 Pete M, I, for one, heartily agree with you that fear can work both ways in this debate–it can and it does.

  18. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:11 am

    #17

    You’re right Dr White.

    It’s scary ;)

  19. Rustmeister said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Pete, I know gun crime may have decreased “over there”, but hasn’t overall violent crime increased on a yearly basis? Predators usually seek defenseless victims. Not having access to firearms facilitates that.

    As to fear, you are correct. However, the anti-gun crowd uses the fear of hypothetical situations – “wild west shootouts” if handgun carry is allowed, “blood in the streets” if so-called “assault weapons” aren’t banned. To date, these scenarios have not taken place. At least, not outside gangland, where gun laws are not followed in the first place.

    Pro-gunners, however, have real-world fears to address. You see them on the news almost every night – home invasions, carjackings, robbery, rape, murder. These things do happen, and thinking “it won’t happen to me” is a head-in-the-sand way of looking at life.

    As to anarchy, I don’t think it’s confined to the liberal left. A politician’s sole purpose in life is to stay in office, not matter the cost. Or the political party.

  20. Zrim said,

    February 5, 2009 at 9:57 am

    This post is not a joke. You may laugh at it. But it won’t be funny in 20 years when there are no freedoms left, and tyrrany rules because the people do not have guns anymore.

    Fear alert.

    As I have suggested before, Christian gunnies do better to realize this is really more a question of liberty/conscience than the second amendment.

  21. Steven Carr said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I would heartily recommend reading Dr. Peter Hammond’s book, Holocaust in Rwanda: The roles of Gun Control, Media Manipulation, Liberal Church Leaders and the United Nations.

    Pete # 15 and 18 your fellow Brit, George Orwell, heartily disgrees with you:

    That rifle hanging on the wall
    of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage
    is the symbol of democracy.
    It is our job to see that it stays there.
    ~ George Orwell, sergeant in Home Guard

    There is also another Brit that disagrees with you: Winston Churchill.

  22. February 5, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Pete, RE # 15,

    I refer you to John Lott’s work, especially his well-researched book More Guns, Less Crime, which has been updated at least once since originally published. Areas with the strictest gun control (e.g., Chicago, Washington DC, New York) consistently lead in crime rates. I live just across the river from DC, and our crime rates are a tiny fraction of DCs because criminals know that their chances of being shot here by a potential victim are much greater. Our rate would be even lower if we didn’t have so many liberal sheep here. Even the US gov’t’s own studies show that gun control does not lower crime.

    As for England, it leads the industrial world in crime rates despite the despotic limitations placed on firearm ownership by lawful subjects. Knife crime has gotten so bad that some cities conduct no-warrant searches and use airport-style metal detectors on the streets. London tops the list as the most crime-ridden city in the industrial world. The US isn’t even in the top 10 of industrial countries with respect to crime.

    Did I make that up? No. The International Crime Victims Study showed that Ireland, England and Wales, and New Zealand lead the pack at positions 1, 2, and 3 with their draconian limitations/elimination of firearm ownership amongst law-abiding subjects.

    As for your premise zero, the American Revolution settled that question over 232 years ago. Ordinary citizens trained and fought to defeat the largest army in the world to win their freedom. The first four inalienable rights recognized (not granted) in our Bill of Rights cover the first four freedoms taken away by the British in the period leading up to the Revolution. The Red Coats marching to Lexington and Concord were going from house to house to confiscate firearms. They got more than they bargained for. I don’t suggest that you try it again, especially since your Army is now small than our Marine Corp.

    The only alternative to a free, armed populace is a police state. The Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership have an excellent site dedicated to this subject. It’s sad that the land that brought the world the Magna Carta is well on its way to the latter. The hard lesson learned over and over is that freedom isn’t free, and it ultimately rests on a populace willing to take up arms to preserve that freedom.

  23. KBennett said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    New thesis:

    This post will not be funny in 20 years. It will be sad.

    Amen Zrim.

  24. greenbaggins said,

    February 5, 2009 at 11:29 am

    In addition to Robert’s killing statistics, consider Switzerland, which has mandatory gun ownership (including assault rifles!) and so little crime it doesn’t even register. Consider also the county in Georgia that made gun ownership mandatory and crime went down %70. At the very least, these two examples completely explode the idea that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens means more crime. That simply is not supported by the facts.

  25. Rustmeister said,

    February 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Kennesaw, Georgia

  26. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    #21 Steve,

    Disagreeing with Orwell – oh well.
    Your comment on Churchill – ouch! Boy, you guys know where to hit a bloke.

    Seriously, though, I don’t care what they think. I’m just acknowledging that my thinking on this will obviously and clearly be shaped by the society I’m living in. I suppose acknowledging that means that it’s only the case for me… I’m glad you’re able to be truly objective.

    #22 & #24,

    Ok, guys, you haven’t really engaged with my answer on this statistics thing. I made the point, that: In areas where guns are already available, gun controls will create an increase in crime rates, this is because there will now be lots of guns in the wrong hands, and not many in the right hands. However, once guns are flushed from the system entirely… then the influence of gun control to increase crime rate stops, as, the deterrent is no longer needed, since the criminals don’t have the guns either.

    As to crime rates in the UK – yep, they’re bad – but there are too many factors to tie that to gun control as to the reason. In fact, crime has risen dramatically in this country in ways that connect very sharply to other factors that have nothing to do with outlawing guns. Crime in the UK is in many ways almost totally parallel to particular socio-cultural factors.

    The primary ones being the massive proliferation of idolatry, the wholesale rejection of our Christian heritage, and the cultural rejection of the concept of punitive justice for so-called restorative justice. Forget gun restriction guys – the lack of any kind of moral conscience, the sheer unbelief of the state churches, and the atheism that’s now an insipid part of what it means to be British is the reason crime is so high here now.

    Oh, and, knife crime is far, far, far, far, far better than gun crime.

    Let’s push your logic further:
    Why make any kind of gun illegal?
    Shouldn’t we make all explosives legal too?
    And flame throwers?
    In fact, shouldn’t all offensive weapons basically be made available to the entire public?

  27. Todd said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I know no one has yet suggested that the gun control issue is a biblical issue, but since it usually ends up there, here is a great 2k warning from Carl Trueman from his latest book, “Minority Report”

    “The relationship between the church and politics is always going to be complicated. This is not least because political thinking is a culturally specific, occasional activity, where the black and white moral categories of right and wrong do not always, or even often, apply. After all, every Christian who takes the Bible seriously should hate poverty and want the innocent protected from the violent and the oppressive. But is it necessarily sinful to believe that this is best achieved through free markets or through nationalized industries, or through particular configurations of tax burdens and welfare payments? Only the crudest of Bible-thumping simpletons can possibly correlate the teaching of the Bible in a direct, no-nonsense way with the party political platforms of the early twenty-first century. They need to be aware of the fact that the claiming of divine sanction for opinions which are, in themselves, morally indifferent or at least debatable, is the oldest trick in the book for foreclosing on intelligent discussion.” (pg. 57)

  28. Mark said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Anyone who think Pete speaks for the UK is taking the easy and illusionary road.

    Favorite sign: “Love my country; fear my government”

    England, incidentally, has gone farther than America in sentencing a man for life imprisonment for having the arrogance to used deadly force to defend himself from a criminal and home invader.

  29. Mark said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Oh, and here’s more news from the the Insanity Island:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4581871.stm

  30. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Hang on a sec, challenging some of the statistical assertions now.

    Define “crime”?

    While total crimes per capita puts the UK at no 6:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri_percap-crime-total-crimes-per-capita

    Assaults per capita put the USA only slightly above the UK – but they’re basically comparable:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_ass_percap-crime-assaults-per-capita

    Murder rates per capita in the States are twice that in the UK:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

    So, while there might be more overall crime in the UK (which could be caused by a plethora of factors), less people in the UK are dying from crime. That, to me, is consistent with the fact that everyone doesn’t have guns over here.

  31. Mark said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    One final comment on considerations of “Premise Zero” above. The US courts have ruled time and again that citizens do not have any standing to sue the police courts for failures to protect them from crime and the resulting damages (including getting murdered). So if people aren’t allowed to defend themselves, they are admittedly defenseless not only practically, but as a matter of law. The state has no obligation of them whatsoever.

    So, when you see the next footage the next time the lone gunman taking out a multitude of unarmed citizens–the footage of cops crouching around the perimeter waiting for the guy to finish his blood bath and run out of ammunition, know that you’re seeing the way the system is supposed to work.

  32. February 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Pete, RE #26,

    Oh, and, knife crime is far, far, far, far, far better than gun crime.

    Really? Care to run that by the victims’ families? Knives kill you just as dead. It reminds me of an old joke about the Piper Cub aircraft. One famous pilot one commented on the difference between jets and the Cub was that the Cub could just barely kill you. Besides, knives aren’t good defensive weapons as they let the attacker get too close and physical size plays a major role in knife combat. A firearm equalizes all physical factors between the victim and their attacker.

    Once guns are “flushed from the system,” only the tyrants and criminals will have them because only the law-abiding will be disarmed. In countries under international embargo from any small arms supplies, weapons can easily be obtained. Every hear of the black market? Even in the most totalitarian police states, guns are always available to criminals.

    Even if I were to buy your argument about flushing, if criminals don’t have guns they still have numbers, knives, and potentially physical size and strength on their side. That’s the law of the jungle, dude. Is that an improvement? Look at England and Australia. Australia didn’t even have a name for home invasions before they banned firearms. Youth gangs in England rob and beat homeowners at will because there’s no defense against numbers except firearms. I don’t mean to be insulting, but your argumentation is naive and would not even be recognized by your ancestors just 100 years ago.

    The ultimate irony of your post is that the same sociological arguments that you use actually play against you. Depravity ensures that evil will prevail if evil goes unchecked. That’s back to the law of the jungle – the largest and fiercest prey on the smaller and helpless, especially women and children. For ordinary citizens, firearms equalize the odds and dampen evil’s spread in the area of crime. They don’t solve the problem of evil, but they give the law-abiding a fighting chance.

    And that’s not even addressing the subject of tyranny, which Americans successfully faced down 230 years ago with their firearms. We need to be ready in all times to make that stand for our freedom.

    The biggest sociological difference between the UK and the US is that in the UK, rights have historically been granted and/or withdrawn by the king or queen. In the US, we recognized in our Declaration of Independence that our inalienable rights are granted by God. Any government that tries to take them away does so at its peril. That’s the point of the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

  33. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    #29, #30,

    As ever, I’m prepared to admit that I’m wrong on this issue if that turns out to be the case. But can some of you guys please tone down your rhetoric against groups?

    If we could particularly tone down the racism, I would appreciate it. I disagree with the second amendment, not all Americans.

    Oh, and, I never claimed to “speak for the UK”. It’s just a contextual point that is relevant for orienting people on this blog, that’s all.

    The ban on Fox hunting is not a comparable example… and was put in place by a socialist government who forced it through parliament by having it repeatedly heard, despite the bill being rejected several times, and creating large amounts of public pressure. No-one’s going to kill their political career to protect a minority rural group with no economic clout. It particularly represented the way that Britain is not proud of it’s own cultural heritage.

    There was a big public debate about the availability of knives a few years ago, that’s where the BBC article is from.

  34. Zrim said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Todd,

    Re #27:

    Good word. Trueman’s insight sure seems different from:

    “Weapons are ‘messianic,’ here are my stats to prove it. Remember, Jesus sent out the discples with weapons, so if you really love your family you’ll pack heat.”

    “Weapons are ‘evil,’ here’s mine. Remember, Jesus told Peter to sheath his sword, so if you really love your society you’ll flush your weapons down the loo.”

  35. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    #33,

    Really? Care to run that by the victims’ families? Knives kill you just as dead.

    When they kill, WHEN they kill, … then, and only then, they kill you just as dead. But… they kill less of the time, that’s why they’re far, far less dangerous. Ask those same families if they think it makes no odds if whoever murdered their relative was holding a gun instead of a knife.

    By far most crime is street crime, not crime in the home. Do you carry a gun in the street? I’m more likely to be able to run away from a knife than a gun.

  36. Durell said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    If firearm ownership became mandatory, would it be proper to still call it a “right”. Would it also become legally mandatory to defend another if that another was attacked? People watching out for one another?

    I seem to recall in a recently read book that their was an instance where communist Vietnamese militants of some sort supplied a firearm and x amount of bullets to shoot at the American soldiers daily, and if he didn’t blow off the rationed rounds he’d get into trouble (assuming death penalty).

    Side note: In regards to mandatory gun ownership here’s a thought about how that would come about: Governmentally (er…tax-payer) funded gun supply.

  37. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Reformed Musings…

    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/standard_links/regional_estimates.html

    So, consistent with your thesis, I’d be correct in saying that gun ownership is:

    1) Highest in the Northeast
    2) Lowest in the South

    Or perhaps attacks on homes and violent crime rates depend on things other than gun ownership?

  38. February 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    RE #38,

    Your lack of knowledge about the distribution of firearm laws in the US is certainly excusable. No foul there. That graphic is worthless because it mixes states and localities with differing firearm laws. DC is the violent crime capitol of the nation, and they counted it with the south. Rather than troll the net for what doesn’t exist, try reading Lott’s book. He broke the laws down and tracked crime by state (and county to some extent). There are other good references as well, but Lott’s is the most succinct. He’s an economist, so statistical work is his bread and butter.

  39. February 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    RE #33

    When they kill, WHEN they kill, … then, and only then, they kill you just as dead. But… they kill less of the time, that’s why they’re far, far less dangerous.

    Do you have any data to back that up? Gun crime isn’t generally committed by marksman. Getting stabbed or shot in the arm isn’t likely to kill you, but getting shot or stabbed in the heart will. If knives are so harmless, then why are there serious movements to ban sharp kitchen knives? To screen for them with warrantless searches and metal detectors on the street? Is England so flush with cash that they have the resources to pursue these “non-fatal” weapons?

    By far most crime is street crime, not crime in the home. Do you carry a gun in the street?

    40 states have laws requiring the government to issue permits to law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms. 8 more states may issue such permits. Only 2 sates and DC prohibit concealed carry by law-abiding citizens. Violent crime in those 40 must-issue states dropped significantly in each one after passage of such laws, on average about 7%/year if I remember correctly.

    I’m more likely to be able to run away from a knife than a gun.

    Really? Are you faster than the teen and 20-30-something professional criminals? My wife isn’t. My parents aren’t? The physically handicapped aren’t. Do we just sacrifice them to the jungle for the cops to put white chalk outlines around after all is done? Survival of the strongest and meanest? Cleansing the gene pool, are we? Are you really thinking this through, Pete?

    Let me tell you a true story. A friend of mine is a young, tough, 20-something rugby player. A couple of his teammates, strapping young gentlemen at their physical peak, were in DC one day and were accosted by several large criminals. The rugby players got the crap kicked out them and were robbed. The criminals could have easily killed them. If a couple of fit young men like that don’t stand a chance, what chance do older/smaller/handicapped citizens have? Here in Virginia and 39 other states, that story would likely have had a different outcome, one in favor of the victims.

  40. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    #39,

    I may read Lott’s book, perhaps in a holiday. But due to time and priorities, this subject is currently only important enough to me for a few posts on a comments thread :)

    But. Is Lott’s analysis just of American States? Surely a proper analysis also needs to include places where guns are very hard to get hold of.

    But, let me ask, do you think this is a Christian liberty? Do you have any kind of theological case for this?

  41. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    #40,

    Do you have any data to back that up? Gun crime isn’t generally committed by marksman. Getting stabbed or shot in the arm isn’t likely to kill you, but getting shot or stabbed in the heart will. If knives are so harmless, then why are there serious movements to ban sharp kitchen knives? To screen for them with warrantless searches and metal detectors on the street? Is England so flush with cash that they have the resources to pursue these “non-fatal” weapons?

    Ok… this is exactly where people like me begin to find it hard to listen to people like you. Do you really disagree with this statement:

    Guns are more dangerous that knives.

    If so, then I’m gonna need a LOT of help to see why that’s wrong, as I’m obviously REALLY dumb.

  42. February 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Mark,

    Anyone who think Pete speaks for the UK is taking the easy and illusionary road.

    Sadly, I think that he does speak for the meek majority. OTOH, there are still a number of people in the UK who value personal freedom. I’ve spent a good bit of time on the island and know many of them. Many of my friends there wish to emigrate to the US for this and other reasons (including health care), but have no real means to do so.

    I’ve traveled extensively all over the world, including every major cultural group, and spent enough time in most locations to taste the local culture and engage ordinary folks in probing conversation. I’ve made many friends, highly value every experience, and respect their right to choose their way of life. But I would not choose any of them.

    The US is absolutely unique in the world from a number of sociological perspectives. What many others call freedom, we would consider absolute tyranny here. The problem is that few places in the world have the history that we have of relatively recently earning our liberty the hard way, then conquered a hostile continent, and eventually defending the rest of the world against tyranny. Liberty is in literally our blood. Australia comes about the closest, but they still have a large measure of “crown thought” in their genes.

    I say this with respect, but the net result is that I don’t expect folks raised outside the core US culture to ever understand the US or our love of our God-given freedoms–especially our willingness to fight for what we are and have on a personal level on the street and in our homes. The freedoms for which we fought, bled, and won in our Revolution were freely surrendered by the few other countries that had at least some semblance of them, including the UK. I sincerely pray that never happens here. This last election genuinely makes me fearful, though.

  43. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I say this with respect, but the net result is that I don’t expect folks like Pete to ever understand the US or our love of our God-given freedoms–especially our willingness to fight for what we are and have on a personal level on the street and in our homes.

    Well… that’s it, I’m off.

  44. borgnotes said,

    February 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Since this topic is attracting so much traffic, I though commenters here might be interested in a number of posts I wrote on the topic of gun control while working at ACRU:

    * A Hero Gets Fired — and He Didn’t Even Have to Shoot.
    * Harvard Study: Gun Control Is Counterproductive
    * Re: Gun Rights, Friends Are Found In Unlikely Places
    * Reagan on Gun Control and Self-Defense

    Eric F. Langborgh

  45. February 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    RE #42,

    You made the initial claim. Ball’s in your court. I grew up in a knife culture and am well aware of their capabilities in personal combat.

    Can I kill more people with a multi-shot firearm in a shorter time? You bet, but most people cannot. But here’s my point–I can stop someone like a VA State Univ killer with one shot from a firearm of my own, but probably not with a knife. Check out the Appalachian Law School or Pearl, MS, incidents and others where students or teachers with legal weapons stopped killing sprees. As a defensive weapon, the firearm has no equal at this time. That’s the point. Timothy McVeigh didn’t need a firearm to kill over 200 men, women, and children in Oklahoma City, just common fertilizer, and the Islamic barbarians didn’t need guns to kill 3,000 on 9/11. But, firearms in the hands of a law-abiding citizen on each of those aircraft could have stopped the hijackers. And please don’t give me the Goldfinger myth argument.

  46. February 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    All,

    I just cleared a bunch of pending posts to this topic. Sorry about the delay. As a result, many of the replies to specific post #s are off by at least one, sometimes more. You’ll have to follow the actual blockquotes when presented rather than the comment #s.

    UPDATE: I went back and tried to correct all the affected post numbers. I don’t think that I missed any but it’s very possible.

  47. February 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Eric,

    Good stuff, thanks.

  48. Ron Henzel said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t want to sound a discordant note here, but as a middle school U.S. history teacher who each year covers the Constitution with his 8th grade class, and who also covers Europe (including Great Britain) each year with his 7th grade class, I think it’s a little over-the-top to to even mildly suggest that the country that gave us the Magna Carta (which was a precursor to our Constitution) and the English Bill of Rights (which was a precursor to ours) is currently under a tyrannical regime. It was from the latter of those two documents that Americans directly derived the concept that taxation without representation is tyranny. At the very minimum an tyranny is, by definition, an oppressive power, but classically defined it is a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler (making the use of “absolute” as an adjective for this word quite redundant). I do not believe the UK qualifies under either definition.

  49. February 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Ron,

    I just reread my post and did not see anywhere that I said that the UK was under tyranny. You read something into my comments that wasn’t explicitly there nor intended.

    That’s not to say that the Brits haven’t surrendered significant freedoms. It was 230 years ago when we borrowed those concepts of liberty from their historic documents and other places. The UK of today would be unrecognizable to someone from even the mid-19th century. Brits have surrendered their firearms, are subject to routine warrantless searches on the streets, subject to confiscatory taxes, prisoners behind heavy doors/bars in their homes for fear of youths kicking in their doors and robbing/beating/stabbing them, prey when they wander into the street, and the government bureaucrats decide who lives and dies under their “universal healthcare” system. Without firearms, the subjects have no way to resist continued erosions of what’s left of their liberty. If the government takes away their steak knives, every housewife will be a criminal and they can do nothing about it.

    It may not be Zimbabwe, but they are headed in that direction. And so are we all if we don’t stay vigilant and ready to defend our liberty as intended by the 2nd Amendment.

  50. rfwhite said,

    February 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Wonder if there are statistics on how many pastors own and are trained to use a firearm, and if the moderators want to answer for themselves. No answer necessary; just wondering.

  51. Ron Henzel said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Bob,

    What I think Pete was reacting to in his comment 44 was your sentence, “What many others call freedom, we would consider absolute tyranny here,” which came on the heels of a paragraph in which you included the UK among countries that only once had “some semblance” of the freedoms we enjoyed but have since surrendered them. It’s now obvious that you didn’t intend to explicitly call the UK a tyranny, and I never thought you did—which is why I framed my reaction with the words “mildly suggest,” even though I still think Pete was justified in taking it as somewhat more than a mild suggestion, just based on your wording.

    I’ve never lived in the UK but I have friends who have (including some citizens), and I believe they’d all agree that this is more of a caricature than an actual description. And now you add the following list of items to the UK’s “erosions of what’s left of their liberties”: 1) the surrender of their firearms, 2) routine warrantless searches on the streets, 3) confiscatory taxes, 4) fear of youth violence, and 5) the capricious nature of government healthcare. I happen to be very conservative, and would be horrified to see any of these things in the US, but I can also how an island nation roughly the size of Illinois (i.e., the part of Great Britain occupied by England) crammed with about 50 million people (roughly one-sixth of our population) and with a history measured in millennia rather than centuries might have developed some boundaries to personal liberty that differ from our own. The far stricter libel laws in the UK come to mind here.

    Meanwhile, you need to keep in mind that, for all its faults, the UK is a constitutional monarchy with a functioning representative democracy similar to our own. Over the past three centuries its center of power has shifted from the monarchy and upper house of Parliament (House of Lords) to the lower house (House of Commons) and its Prime Minister, all of whom are elected officials. It was those elected officials who voted the UK’s gun laws, tax laws, healthcare laws, etc., into existence, and there’s no reason to believe that if the people so chose they could not elect MPs who would reverse them. The Thatcher Revolution of the 1980s may not have gone far enough, but it is an excellent example of my point. (And I think the issue of warrantless searches is highly debatable, since every time we board a commercial airplane in the US we are subject to a warrantless search.) If UK residents had no power to change their government, or if its formal representative system had actually broken down due to corruption, then I think your forebodings of a Zimbabwe-style regime might be worth worrying about. As it stands today, I do not.

    Meanwhile, I agree that, based on what I’ve read, that the crime rate in Europe as a whole is higher than it is here in the US. I also believe that firearms ownership has the net effect of lowering crime rates rather than raising them, and I applaud the recent Supreme Court decision that recognized this. On the other hand, I think that we need to keep in mind two things about the 2nd amendment: 1) although it has the side-benefit of protecting us from criminals, it was created for the primary purpose of protecting us from tyrannical governments, and 2) central to the concept of “tyranny” at that time was taxation without representation, rather than taxation itself, regardless of how “burdensome” such taxation might be viewed. (There were other issues, which also became enshrined in the Bill of Rights—right to peaceable assembly; freedom from quartering of troops in peacetime, etc.—but there’s no indication that any of those rights have been trampled upon in the UK due to lack of firearms.)

    A case study in my second point here was the Whiskey Rebellion under George Washington. Counties in western Pennsylvania witnessed an insurrection when a tax on liquor was passed during Washington’s administration on the grounds that the tax was unfair. There was even talk of the secession of western Pennsylvania. Washington put Alexander Hamilton in charge of sizable force that he marched across the Alleghenies and routed the rebels with very few shots fired (since they up-tailed and ran).

    Now, the rebels believed they were defending the principles of the American Revolution. But Washington, who for some reason thought he knew a little bit about why that Revolution was actually fought, made it clear that everyone in western Pennsylvania had been represented in Congress when the vote was taken for the tax, and just because their side lost the vote was no reason to call the result “tyrannical.”

    I think we need to go back and study that episode further, and then we need to think long and hard about what we’re willing to label “tyranny” today. Is it in line with what our founding fathers would call “tyranny?” If it is, so be it; we should oppose it as they did, with force of arms if necessary. But if not, then it may be that all we’re really doing is misusing their names for the sake of our political peeves.

  52. Pete Myers said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I reacted to what feels like an opaque irritating elitism:

    …I don’t expect folks like Pete to ever understand…

    Arrogant… just arrogant.

    I’m just not going to engage with rubbish like that.

  53. February 5, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Pete, RE #53,

    My comment was a statement about socialization under particular cultural conditions. It seems that many don’t appreciate how different the culture in the UK is from the US. We’re separated by more than a common language. That was my point. I did not mean it personally and apologize if it gave you offense. I will edit your name out of the previous comment.

    We can discuss the definition of arrogant at another time.

  54. Ron Henzel said,

    February 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Bob,

    I suspected that that’s what you meant by the aforementioned phrase to which Pete understandably took offense. I think you did a good job clearing it up. But still, it’s a blade that cuts both ways. If “folks raised outside the core US culture” cannot be expected to understand our approach to freedom, then it also stands to reason that folks raised outside the core British culture cannot be expected to understand theirs. And just as we wouldn’t want their approach to it enacted into law here, so also we might find that they wouldn’t want ours, either.

  55. David Gray said,

    February 5, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    >And just as we wouldn’t want their approach to it enacted into law here, so also we might find that they wouldn’t want ours, either.

    Except ours in many ways is similar to what they had 100-150 years ago. But having lived in the UK for six years it certainly is a different culture in that regard.

  56. February 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Ron,

    Fair enough.

    It doesn’t appear to be serving them well these days, though. I’ve been to the UK regularly for the last several years, mostly London, and the crime is only getting worse. I honestly fear for my friends over there.

  57. Steve said,

    February 5, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I saw a news clip a few days ago that said there has been a 42% increase in background checks for guns over the same period one year ago. Apparently, people are concerned that they may not be able to purchase a gun in the near future.

  58. Colin said,

    February 6, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Pete,

    I have tried to debate guns here in the past – say anything that suggests gun control and you are in for a rough ride … I think people who are for less guns being available bring images to the minds of the pro gun posters of a knock on the door and their guns being asked for !!!

    As I have said before the negative use of guns is an issue, worst effecting the poorer big city communities in the US – fair ???? . Would any of you (fellow commenters) voluntarily visit any of these communities and have no fear of being held up at gun point (and the risk then of being shot), well maybe if you were armed ? I have visited (unarmed) similar districts allover the UK and work (unarmed) and serve (unarmed) in two. I have minimal fears of such happening to me, but of course would not completely discount it.

    But what about the knife crime in the UK ? I work with the police and courts in our second city and I honestly believed there is a measure of sensationalism in the press’s coverage ( to the gentleman who posted the you tube clip of the pro gun march, you probably won’t believe me, but really they are fairly insignificant here – they get a little more coverage when they ally up with the pro hunting lobby / country side alliance), which does not assist those of us seeking to address this with young people involved in this.

    Anyway our knife murders compares in no way to your gun murders in cities of comparable size to mine – For you statisitic searchers please find the murder rate for Birmingham UK for the last 3 years and compare to any of your cities of population of 1 million.+ (add in the West Midlands (which Birmingham is part of) connurabtion and you get about 3 + million)

    My thesis on this, is that a major reason is that we have less guns available (to such an extent that many of the guns owned by our thugs are ‘converted’ – not the high power accurate variety – ‘your’ thugs have) and they share them … true …

    Now is this transferrable to the States – with your love of guns … that is up for debate … but I have no doubt less guns is a good thing for us in the UK.

    Colin

    PS Reformed Musings ..

    ‘Brits’ … ‘are subject to routine warrantless searches on the streets’

    Ask your friends in the UK if this happens to them ?

  59. borgnotes said,

    February 6, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Well, I tried to post a telling cartoon, but apparently this comment system doesn’t accept images.

    Go here, then, for cartoon.

    Eric F. Langborgh

  60. Ryan said,

    February 6, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Disarming the law abiding is the best and easiest way to make them dependant on government. What you say here makes simple, perfect sense. I think it scares the hell out of people which is why there seems to be a strange degree of angry rhetoric in the replies here.

  61. art said,

    February 6, 2009 at 11:08 am

    #61:

    Disarming the law abiding is the best and easiest way to make them dependant on government.

    I’m pretty sure that money would be the best and easiest way to make people dependent on the government…which is why we all already are dependent on the government.

    They control the money supply via the Fed. They control us by controlling the money supply and, thereby, controlling how much our money is actually worth.

    Perhaps that is a better focus for our energy…unless you’re truly addicted to shooting moose out of a helicopter with Palin.

  62. Reed Here said,

    February 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Why either/or Art? Go Palin!!

  63. Nicolas Barbeito said,

    February 7, 2009 at 11:38 am

    If you all do not mind I will jump in the discussion here.

    The question that seems to have been isolated down to ” is a society safer with or without guns” and, focusing it down even more, ” is a society safer from random acts of violence without or with gun control”. I will leave the stats people to argue whether it can be proven from facts about the last discussion. But I will point out that a society without guns cannot resist a government or a foreign government from committing lawless deeds. This was why the 2nd amendment was written, not because of street violence and crime. The crime aspect flows from the larger discussion of whether or not guns can be banned and an armed citizenry can co-exist. Personally, I think all guns could be banned and crime could go down with appropriate social measures. But the catch is those “appropriate social measures”. I would rather have the liberties enjoyed in the Revolution with regard to gun laws than risk the massive social laws we have today coupled with gun control.
    With regard to the Whiskey Rebellion: Washington was a believer in the lesser magistrate principle. He did not sympathize with mobs.

  64. Ron Henzel said,

    February 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Nicolas,

    You wrote:

    With regard to the Whiskey Rebellion: Washington was a believer in the lesser magistrate principle. He did not sympathize with mobs.

    How do those two assertions relate to each other, and what do they have to do with the point I was making?

  65. Michael said,

    February 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    It would be interesting to see the stats in Australia since they enacted that huge gun law that confiscated more than a half million firearms. Remember the pictures? A long line of guns laying on the ground. I bet that cost a pretty penny too. It’s been over a year and I wonder what the crime statistics are like?

  66. February 8, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    RE #65,

    Some articles here, here, and here. From the latter article:

    Australia saw its violent crime rates soar after its 1996 Port Arthur gun -control measures banned most firearms. Violent crime rates averaged 32% higher in the six years after the law was passed (from 1997 to 2002) than they did the year before the law went into effect. Armed robbery rates increased 74%. Australia’s violent crime rate is also now double America’s.

    As expected. By definition, criminals are unencumbered by laws.

  67. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Just a note: while Bob’s articles show more of an increase than mine, we are pushing in the same direction: gun control laws don’t help.

  68. Stephen Dechert said,

    February 9, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    # 50. I am a Reformed pastor. I have owned more than one gun in the past and will be buying multiple handguns in the near future – one for me, one for my wife. I have been trained and enjoy sport shooting as well as hunting. I live in Wyoming, where gun ownership is the norm rather than the exception. We can carry guns on our hips when walking through town. Violent crime is almost non-existent here, as most people know if they try to break into a house, they will most likely find themselves staring down the barrel of a loaded revolver. I have studied the issue extensively and have no biblical qualms about defending my family if/when necessary.

  69. Nicolas Barbeito said,

    February 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Re #64 Well, I suppose I was calling the Whiskey rebellion a mob action. I also was saying that Washington’s involvement in the American Revolution was a principled stand on the ability of the lesser magistrates to correct those above them who overstep their bounds. That is how I was relating the two. As for you point well I am not 100% sure what your point was. I was merely pointing out that our guns are given to us in the 2nd amendment for the defense of our civil liberties. However, we cannot just jump up and grab them every time we think they have been trampled upon.That, I think, was what the Whiskey Rebellion was. Maybe it was a little off topic. Sorry. But I think I was more or less agreeing with you in that you can not start shouting about your liberties and go grab your gun. But the other option is the lesser magistrate as I was pointing out.

  70. Marshall said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I’m a PCA pastor, and am glad this discussion has come to pass. Jesus COMMANDED His disciples, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your coat to get one.” Seems plain enough to me. We are expected by God Himself to defend ourselves and neighbors from criminals with weapons. The Old Testament is filled with stories of the heroes of the Faith taking up arms to cast off tyrannical regimes. So, guys, if you don’t own a gun, why not? It is your Christian duty and falls under the category of loving your neighbor as yourself. See also Larger Catechism 135 on “duties required in the sixth commandment”

  71. Todd said,

    February 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    “So, guys, if you don’t own a gun, why not? It is your Christian duty and falls under the category of loving your neighbor as yourself.”

    You’re kidding, right?

  72. Marshall said,

    February 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Todd: Why would you think I’m kidding? Just read your Bible….

    “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36)

    “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith…” (I Tim 5:8)

    As Christians, we are called by God to provide and protect our loved ones.

    So, if you don’t own a gun, and the thief breaks in the “steal, kill and destroy,” how will you protect your family?

    If the government turns against God’s people, how will you help form a new government, if you don’t own a rifle, as our Christian forefathers did?

    David was a man after God’s own heart, and he said:

    29 ¶ With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
    30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
    31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
    32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
    33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
    34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
    (from Psalm 18)

    David was not refering to “prayer battles.”

  73. Todd said,

    February 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    “If the government turns against God’s people, how will you help form a new government, if you don’t own a rifle, as our Christian forefathers did?”

    There are so many things wrong with this statement I wouldn’t know where to begin. I can’t wait for the By Faith headline: “PCA session begins church discipline process on all members refusing to own firearms.”

  74. Zrim said,

    February 19, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Todd,

    Though Marshall’s comments seem quite contrived, I think they at least serve as a fairly textbook example (complete with stick figure visuals) of what happens when it is not understood that this is a question that turns ultimately on liberty, as I suggested way above.

    Marshall at least shows us what happens when one side of the table is honest enough to carry through on its implications and what happens when the stats war dust settles. Where the pacifist ends up telling us Jesus would stick daisies down barrels (and so should we), gunnies tell us that we actually should be applying the RPW to gun ownership and proving from Scripture why we don’t own a gun. The intriguing thing is how both are way more American than Christian.

  75. Marshall said,

    February 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    When people have no rational, scripture-based response, I see they turn to ridicule. The ad-hominem argument. That’s what usually happens. It’s a pity, though.

  76. Todd said,

    February 19, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Marshall,

    Sorry, while I’ve read some convoluted attempts to force the Bible to speak definitively on the issue of gun control, I’ve never heard anyone suggest it is a biblical requirement to own a gun, and this from a Reformed minister! Kind of blew my mind. And I’m a gun owner.

    Todd

  77. Marshall said,

    February 19, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    The Larger Catechism partly explains the sixth commandment by stating that it is our Christian duty to protect and preserve the lives of our family and neighbors. If there are criminals “out there” with guns, who are a threat to our families and neighbors, then how will we obey the commandment, unless we have firearms? You may say: create a police department. Well, that is fine and good. However, as the old saying goes, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. There is such a thing as personal responsibility. When the thief breaks in to steal and kill, how will we defend our families? Thus it becomes your duty to have a gun, and train to know how to use it effectively. You may say, the odds are such an event probably won’t happen. True, thank the Lord. The odds are my house won’t burn down, but only a fool would refrain from having fire insurance, because too much is at stake. That’s how I feel about the safety of my family. Too much is at stake to refrain from being adequately prepared. And it is certainly the Christian duty of every husband to be able to protect his family.

  78. Zrim said,

    February 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Marshall,

    Nobody is trying to pry your gun from your fingers. The question is why in the world you are trying to force one into the hands of others.

    It is one thing to suggest it is a parent’s duty to protect his family, quite another to say “it becomes your duty to have a gun, and train to know how to use it effectively.”

  79. Marshall said,

    February 19, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Fine, what will you then use to effectively defend your family against armed intruders? Please tell me what? A baseball bat? Krav Maga? A knife? Karate? I’d like to know how you are preparing yourself. Certainly there are alternatives to a gun, but none so effective, especially for those of us who are not physically strong.

  80. Zrim said,

    February 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Marshall,

    The onus isn’t on me to answer your questions; I’m not the one telling another what he should/not do over a thing indifferent. The burden is actually on the legalist to prove why one who chooses to refrain from (or other cases particpate in) a thing indifferent is less than Christian.

    (Hint: when silly logic lets you down the misuse of Scripture to do something other than testify to the person and work of Jesus–his own hermeneutic, by the way– doesn’t count.)

  81. David Gadbois said,

    February 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    How often good advice becomes moral law. Yowzers.

  82. ray said,

    February 19, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    #77, well I for one admire that famous Colonial Pastor.

    It goes like this …

    ” The hymn books of the churches of New England during the time of the American Revolution were largely filled with the songs of Isaac Watts. During the war, while American colonists were engaged in battle with British soldiers, they ran out of ‘wad’ for their muskets. A local pastor who was nearby ran into the church and gathered up the hymn books. He then proceeded to tear out the pages and give them to the soldiers to be used as wadding in their muskets, as he yelled out “give ‘em Watts, boys!”

    What was the name and church denomination of that colonial Pastor? :)

    Luke 12:39
    “And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.”

    “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun control. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future.” — Adolf Hitler, 1935

  83. Ron Henzel said,

    February 19, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Marshall,

    You wrote in comment 71:

    I’m a PCA pastor, [...]

    That’s what makes your handling of Scripture here so frightening.

    Jesus COMMANDED His disciples, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your coat to get one.” Seems plain enough to me. We are expected by God Himself to defend ourselves and neighbors from criminals with weapons.

    I have no problem with the thesis that God expects us to defend ourselves and our neighbors, with violent force if necessary. Nor do I have problem with Christians owning guns as a means of providing for such contingencies. I believe this matter lies in the realms of Christian liberty and the proper use of biblical wisdom.

    I do have a problem, however, with your additional thesis that gun ownership for Christians is required either by Scripture or the Westminster Standards, and I have a major problem with using the particular text to which you appeal in comment 71 as a basis for any of your theses. The passage from which you excerpt your proof-text, Luke 22:35-38, reads as follows in the NIV:

    Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

    “Nothing,” they answered.

    He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

    The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

    “That is enough,” he replied.

    The purpose of Christ’s instruction is found in verse 37: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” Thus the purpose was explicitly not self-defense! To impress this text into the service of gun ownership (required gun ownership, no less!) is to be guilty of the same kind of misuse of Scripture that characterizes cults, in my opinion.

    Two swords were hardly enough to defend the group of disciples from Roman soldiers garrisoned in Jerusalem, but they were enough to cause Jesus to be “numbered with the transgressors,” thus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy. Both of these points were brought out quite vividly when Peter actually attempted to wield one of those swords not long afterward in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    The inane nature of the “NRA exegesis” of this passage in Luke 22 is further brought home when it is observed that, taken as woodenly literal, it also requires Christians to carry both purses and luggage.

  84. Marshall said,

    February 20, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Now I’m scratching my head about the exegesis! It seems you are saying that possessing two swords made the disciples into sinners. Somehow they had to have a couple of swords so Jesus could be included as a transgressor along with the disciples?? My head is spinning!

    Also, I will plead to being literal here (although I don’t think I would be “woodenly” so!) I fully believe Jesus wanted His disciples, from that point forward, to go on their missionary trips with both purses (finances) and luggage (clothing, shoes, soap, etc). The day of miraculous protection and provision was over. Now the disciples would need swords, money and possessions to enable them on their journeys.

    The short sword of Jesus’ time was THE short-range defensive weapon. He commanded the disciples to buy swords, if they didn’t have any. Two were enough for the band of 12 strong men. Their ability of self-defense as a large group was great. But for an individual traveling forth, he had better get a sword.

    This passage is actually more applicable to missionaries and traveling evangelists, moreso than to home defense. But I’m not going to be “wooden” and say that it has no application to a man protecting his family at home.

  85. Reed Here said,

    February 20, 2009 at 8:24 am

    No. 85, Marshall: if the command applies to missionaries, why is Paul so explicitly opposite in his missionary journeys? Surely had he a sword he would not have willingly succumbed to the beatings, etc. Of course, the Philippian Jailer would be very ticked off at Paul.

    One question: do you believe it a sin serious enough to “discipline” a church member who does not own a gun? Specifically, I am a PCA pastor who does not own a gun. Do you believe it appropriate to bring charges against me for a failure vis-a-vie the 6th commandment?

  86. Marshall said,

    February 20, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Answers: Suffering for Christ’s sake, and suffering at the hands of criminals are two different cases. We never read of Paul being beset by thieves, or we may have read about Paul’s self-defense, too.

    Also: Nope, I wouldn’t bring charges against you. But I will urge you to rethink your responsibility. If you don’t own a gun, how will you defend your family if the need arises? Karate?

  87. Zrim said,

    February 20, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Marshall,

    Nope, I wouldn’t bring charges against you. But I will urge you to rethink your responsibility. If you don’t own a gun, how will you defend your family if the need arises? Karate?

    If you wouldn’t bring charges against Reed for not packing heat then can you explain your fairly explicit language up to this point that clearly implies you would? Could it be that instead of Reed having to re-think his responsibility that you may need to either re-think your heretofore language or re-think your decision not to bring charges?

  88. Reed Here said,

    February 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

    No. 87, Marshall: then how is the “buy a sword” applicable to missionaries? Defend thyself against the thug but not the reviler?

  89. Marshall said,

    February 20, 2009 at 9:48 am

    If I brought charges against all sinners, I would have to bring charges against everyone, and everyone else would have to bring charges against me.

    For a host of links and info on Christians Bearing Arms, I just offer a link: http://www.mouseguns.com/cba.htm

    Incidentally, http://www.mouseguns.com is my own website.

    Bye, y’all!

  90. Reed Here said,

    February 20, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Interesting. Marshall’s visit here feels so much like a blog version of a shotgun blast ;)

  91. Ron Henzel said,

    February 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Marshall,

    You wrote:

    Now I’m scratching my head about the exegesis! It seems you are saying that possessing two swords made the disciples into sinners. Somehow they had to have a couple of swords so Jesus could be included as a transgressor along with the disciples?? My head is spinning!

    I’m simply telling you what the text says. It connects the possessing of the swords with the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Sorry about your head.

    You wrote:

    Also, I will plead to being literal here (although I don’t think I would be “woodenly” so!) I fully believe Jesus wanted His disciples, from that point forward, to go on their missionary trips with both purses (finances) and luggage (clothing, shoes, soap, etc). The day of miraculous protection and provision was over. Now the disciples would need swords, money and possessions to enable them on their journeys.

    Jesus wasn’t talking about “from that point forward.” His instructions begin with, “But now…” He is clearly talking about how He is about to fulfill prophecy at that point in time.

    The short sword of Jesus’ time was THE short-range defensive weapon. He commanded the disciples to buy swords, if they didn’t have any. Two were enough for the band of 12 strong men. Their ability of self-defense as a large group was great. But for an individual traveling forth, he had better get a sword.

    I think you’ve completely missed the point of Christ’s instruction, just as the disciples did.

    This passage is actually more applicable to missionaries and traveling evangelists, moreso than to home defense. But I’m not going to be “wooden” and say that it has no application to a man protecting his family at home.

    You’ve just undermined your thesis that this passage constitutes a command (your word, which you put in all capitals) to all Christians to obtain weapons for self defense.

  92. Zrim said,

    February 20, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    If I brought charges against all sinners, I would have to bring charges against everyone, and everyone else would have to bring charges against me.

    Marshall, (I know you’re gone but) yeow, I can’t tell if you are coming or going. Your reasoning reminds me of a favorite human communications professor who once described some mens’ relationships to some women with a similtaneous hand gesture: one beckoning to come hither, the other demanding to go away.

    Charges don’t come against sinners because they are sinner’s but because they are visibly out of line with stated rules. You clearly convey that to not own a gun is to go against the clear teaching of Scripture and the confessions, which one would presume would be enough to bring charges, but then say you wouldn’t bring charges on the grounds that all sinners would then have to be charged with being sinful. You think you’re head is itchy and spinning…I think I need some Head N’ Shoulders and Tylenol.

  93. Reed Here said,

    February 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Zrim:

    A Friday evening beer is a better choice :P

  94. Zrim said,

    February 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Reed,

    Aye. The alcohol is also good to sanitize rifle spray wounds.

  95. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Why stop with guns? Surely RPGs would be needed to defend one’s neighbors at times. And come to think of it, I hear Raytheon ads on the radio — perhaps I should call them up and order Patriot missiles.

    Just in case.

  96. David R. said,

    February 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    #96 It would actually be a breach of the sixth commandment for you NOT to do that since mere guns are woefully inadequate for defending your family against the gun-toting criminals …

  97. Bill Stephens said,

    February 21, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Anyone have thoughts about churches that have armed guards? I’m thinking about the church in Colorado Springs where a women on the security staff confronted the shooter after he had already killed one person at the church.

  98. February 21, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Ron, RE #92

    I’m simply telling you what the text says. It connects the possessing of the swords with the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Sorry about your head.

    That’s a very novel reading of the text. Isaiah 53:12 refers specifically to the crucifixion. He was numbered amongst the transgressors externally because He was crucified between two thieves. Also there’s the imputation of our sins to Him (Isa 53:12; 2 Cor 5:21). It had nothing to do with the swords.

  99. February 21, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Bill, RE#98,

    There have been a number of unopposed church shooters who have taken lives in recent years. That, combined with recent attacks on churches and congregations by radical political groups, plus the mindless violence by radical Islamists, makes it prudent for churches to take protective measures as they see fit.

    The problem with guards is that they are visibly such and can be targeted specifically during an attack. That’s what makes concealed carry by the congregation so powerful – the perps have no idea who the armed defenders will be. That alone provides a powerful deterrent to violent crimes against a congregation.

  100. Ron Henzel said,

    February 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Bob,

    Regarding comment 99: I don’t know how you define “very novel,” but at the very least it does not appear to be brand new. Beale and Carson refer to it, or something very close to it (it’s hard to verify without access to various works they cite from Minear, Tannehill, and Rusam) in their Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (386-389). They cite five different interpretations of “The Use of Isa. 53:12 in Luke 22:37″ (388) with specific reference to the question, “What is the occasion at which Isa. 53:12 is fulfilled?”, and seem to reject both yours (the third one listed) and at least some form of mine (the fourth) and settling for the statement, “The quotation in 22:37 thus represents ‘the objective basis for the soteriological significance of the death of Jesus’ (Larkin [doctoral dissertation] 1974: 294).” Out of necessity, Beale and Carson end up compacting a lot of issues into a small space, and for that reason their comments require and deserve careful re-reading.

    I am not saying that the fact that the disciples carried swords in itself fulfilled Isaiah 53:12. I am saying that, in Luke 22:35-38 Jesus instructed them to carry swords because He was going to be counted as a transgressor, and that he brought in Isaiah 53:12 to explain his new instruction, just as that prophecy also explains why He was later crucified between two thieves. The bottom line here is that (contra Marshall) it was not because Jesus was making an application of the sixth commandment, requiring all Christians to carry weapons of self defense to protect their households and neighbors, that He said what he did in Luke 22:36. I believe that is the truly novel interpretation.

  101. Ron Henzel said,

    February 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Bob,

    Regarding comment 100: a clear summary of my view can be found here.

  102. February 22, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Ron,

    I’ll pull out my copy of Beale and Carson, but it’s hard to take your view of the issue seriously when it can be summarized by an anti-God, liberal TV show that based its humor almost entirely on demeaning Christian and mainstream American views with strawmen and stereotypes.

  103. Ron Henzel said,

    February 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Bob,

    You seem to be conflating what I wrote in comments 101 and 102. I intended them to be read completely separate from each other.

    In comment 101, I used Beale and Carson as a source to discuss the exegesis of the aforementioned Luke 22 passage. In comment 102 I responded to your remarks about church attendees carrying concealed weapons.

    In a way, my comment in 102 was a bit tongue-in-cheek—but only a bit. Despite the fact that Archie Bunker was a caricature designed to serve as the butt of liberal jokes (especially in the earlier episodes), on this issue I think the joke is actually on the liberals.

  104. Todd said,

    February 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Ah, All in the Family, the golden age of television. Whatever happened to smart comedy?

  105. Zrim said,

    February 23, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Todd,

    It died in the spring of 1983 with the final episode of M*A*S*H and was reincarnated as funny pedestrian comedy in 1989 with Seinfeld and its dark twin Curb Your Enthusiasm.

  106. Todd said,

    February 23, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Zrim,

    I thought M*A*S*H died when Blake and Trapper left. I guess all we have left is The Simpsons.

    Todd

  107. Jerry said,

    February 24, 2009 at 8:53 am

    RE #83,

    James Caldwell

    Synod of New York & Philadelphia

  108. Jerry said,

    February 24, 2009 at 8:53 am

    RE #83,

    James Caldwell

    Synod of New York & Philadelphia


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