Since the last blog entry, many have responded, commented and posed questions. I have aggregated some questions regarding gun control and my answers to these questions. Some questions were already answered in the original blog post, some are new questions. In all questions, I strive to answer from a Christian point of view as much as I could in accordance with the teachings of the Scriptures. I do not claim to be an expert of any sort, but to merely state my opinions and knowledge regarding the question of gun control. I think it is a good time in the wake of the tragic shooting incident, that we start a serious talk about gun control. The time is now, not later, and the politicians in Washington and in State Capitols need to jump onboard.
1. Questions: Problem is not the guns, but human beings? Then gun is not the problem, and people could use other means to kill as well regardless we use guns or not?
Answer:Yes, the root of all human tragedies lies in the wickedness and sinful nature of man, as result of the Fall. However, this answer does help in terms of practical public policy concerns.
I will address this in two parts, which was already addressed in the original post.
A) First, in terms of severity of damage to human lives. We must take into account the severity of damage that can be inflicted on human lives. As discussed in the original post, guns, knives and fists each can kill. But the damage which can be inflicted is severely higher with guns, especially with certain type of fire arms. A deranged person with fists and knives can be much more easily subdued than one with a gun.
Likewise, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons cause even more harms on human lives. While it is human beings that kill, advance in technology has enabled us to kill at a much larger scale. With Nuclear Weapons, it is massive. Knowing the deadly consequence of a nuclear war that could potentially wipe out lives on earth, nations have been actively engaged in nuclear none-proliferation. By the same logic, guns should be controlled, more strictly in the United States to reduce damage to human lives. This is a public policy question we must address.
b) Secondly, we must take into account the fact we already live in a gun-filled culture that owning a gun is prevalent that prompts the discussion for gun control. This is the larger cultural and political context that we must address.
we must understand, that as a public policy issue, as already mentioned in the previous blog post, we feel the need to carry guns precisely because others are carrying one, this is the larger cultural, political context of the United States. Many of the gunmen who shot and killed others within the past 5 years since 2007 had legally acquired guns. Legal guns were the ones to blame, they were the ones that killed (of course used by shooters).
Basically for many, the argument goes that, we must curtail violence with violence, as a preemptive and preventive measure. What a paranoid and pathetic society we have become in this kind of gun-filled culture and society? Had there not been such a prevalent gun possession, we wouldn’t even have this kind of discussion to start with! The need to carry a gun is a after-the-fact reality, this is the culture and society we live in, and we must react by carrying one ourselves. This does not solve the root problem, it only fixes in the short term. Just like the fiscal cliff was a time bomb as a result of short-term fiscal fixes over the past decade or so, and now is ready to explode if not dealt with comprehensively and at the root. (see the CNN report for more details on the origin of the so-called “fiscal-cliff” http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/14/news/economy/fiscal-cliff-origin/index.html)
This nation’s obsession with guns has to be reversed, to solve the root problem of mass gun shootings that happens way too frequent already.
2. Question: Even if we ban guns, there will still be a black market for it.
Answer: Yes, there will still be a black market, even in countries where guns are currently banned and private gun ownership not allowed. But guess what, the overall circulation of guns is significantly less! Less guns, guess what, less gun-related violence and mass shootings. Less guns and less gun violence is evidenced in countries and U.S. states that have stricter gun control. In general, gun ownership in the U.S. has come down, but owning a gun is still easy in the U.S., it only takes one deranged person with guns to cause the deaths of 20 innocent children. Stop it.
3. Question: Does gun control take away my freedom as guaranteed in the 1st amendment of the U.S. constitution?
Answer: There is no such a thing as absolute freedom, in the legal sense even. For example, freedom of expression is not absolute. Obscenity is banned, that is an exception to “freedom of expression”; another, someone cannot shout “fire” in a theater packed with people when there isn’t one, and cite “freedom of expression” as an excuse for doing so. U.S. case laws have enough precedences to say, there is no such a thing as absolute freedom in the legal sense, let alone philosophically.
Human freedom is not absolute. Freedom does NOT equate “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want it.” This is not freedom, this is barbarianism. The word “freedom” is one of the most infamously misused words. It is often used without a sufficiently defined meaning. Freedom as a concept and principle, must be principled. Otherwise, your “freedom” would be the loss of another’s freedom. Why doe we have laws? Doesn’t it restrict our “freedom?” No, the law is there, so that our freedom can be protected. Our human freedom has limits, restrictions, and must be principled. Human freedom is not absolute.
Secondly, when the founding fathers had written the constitution, note that it was a document of compromise. The founding fathers compromised a lot to come to an agreement for the nation to be built. Having said that, we must understand the historical context of the clauses in the Constitution. Guns were perhaps a necessity in those days, people had to take up arms to defend themselves, for one thing, modern law enforcement was none-existent in America at that time, until probably 2 centuries later. Things have changed quite a bit now. Are we still live in those days and ages where gun was necessary for survival? No. Wild Wild West anyone? No.
For many of the pro-gun folks out there. Owning a gun is not so much of a necessity for many. It is more of a sport and hobby. Had the American founding fathers knew the harmfulness of guns in the contemporary society, it’s very debatable whether they would apply the same to the contemporary context. I think not. Their society and age is significantly different from ours.
4. Question: I want to be armed with guns to protect myself, this world is crazy!!
Answer: This has already been addressed in the original post. A society in which gun presence is ubiquitous for self-defense is paranoid and chaotic. That’s not safer, that is scary. How do we trust ourselves that we don’t resort to guns in the heat of an argument? Even the teachers in the school, if armed with fire arms, could also be shooters. So do you and I as sinful human beings.
The need for weapons to protect oneself is an argument for a gun-culture society. We don’t feel safe because other people have guns. The reason I arm myself is precisely because people around me has one. The CT shooter’s guns were legal guns registered under his mom’s name, and he killed his mom with that gun. This is very ironic. Don’t forget too that every year many little children hurt themselves accidentally by their parents’ guns.
This is a public policy issue that should be addressed rather than a mere individual preference. It is just sad that gun ownership for passive defense has become an active tactic for ordinary citizens. What’s the use for law enforcement and police, then? We might as well regress back to centuries ago or back to the days of wild wild West when we take law enforcement into our hands. Then we have problems of private vigilantes who take justice into his hands, with no accountability from citizens. Then why do we even need government as instituted by God (Romans 13) if we take matters into our own hands?
Arming ourselves for protection is a solution for the short term, not a long term solution. And we will reap the consequence of such a short-term solution. It does not address the public policy issue at the root (Note that this is a public policy issue I am addressing. I am not addressing the human issue of sin here, that is the root of all human evils, for which we truly need Christ.).
5. Question: So tell me if guns are banned, people will not be killed this way.
Answer: It is not a matter of people will be killed this way or not. there will still be. It’s about prevalence of this kind of death. As a general rule, less guns, less gun-related death. It’s not a matter of a simple Yes or No, it’s a matter of how many. Sinful human beings will always find ways to kill. What we can do is reduce the damage.
The confusion people have is that they argue banning guns will not eliminate gun violence for good, so why ban it? Of course it won’t. There will still be a black market for guns, and people will still die from it. But the damage to human lives will be much less for the society at large and the country as a whole.
And when ordinary people don’t have guns, those who access the black market, are the true criminals. Hey, then the police must come in and do their job better, and they can better target this group of criminals as well, and not have to worry about those who are mentally ill who also happens to have a gun!
Yesterday, 22 children were wounded by knife attacks in China by a mentally-ill man. no mentioning of deaths. See the severity and difference between the two incidents?