>Whose Fault is it - The Gun or the Person?

    by Daniel Nuckols

To fellow American citizens:

It seems as if every time there is a school shooting or shooting rampage the media and liberals always blame it on the fact that it is legal to bear arms in the U.S.  They never view it as the people causing the crime; it is always the gun’s fault.  The problem with this however, is that people are looking at the tool of a crime and not at the root cause.  The solution for solving the problem of crime in America is not taking guns away from people.  If a bad guy does not kill you with a gun, he will find some other way to do it.  Studies have shown that owning guns actually deter those who want to do you harm.  Many people today want to blame crime on a specific weapon, the gun; however, a gun does not kill people – people kill people.  The only way to prevent crime is by changing people’s hearts.

Consider the recent shootings in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, where a mad man came into an Amish school and shot some of the school’s students and a teacher's aide.  The reaction to this horrible event illustrates the two polarizing opinions.  Some, such as Representative Dwight Evans (a democrat from Philadelphia), look at this incident and say that we need tighter gun control laws.  He says, "This tragedy illustrates in the starkest terms that no one is immune from gun violence. It is an epidemic and a crisis across this commonwealth. We must work together to solve this problem” (Bumsted).  Representative Katie True (a Republican from Lancaster County Pennsylvania), argues that the guns are not the problem.  She said, "Someone gets up one day and says, 'I'm gonna kill all the girls.' How do you legislate against that?

The basic right to keep and bear a gun is found in the second amendment of the constitution.  It states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” (www.archives.gov).  The philosophical thought that spurred the founders to include this provision in the constitution was partially based off of the writings of Aristotle, Cicero, Machiaelli (Halbrook 8).  Also this thought was the presiding opinion of the seventeenth century Whigs in England at the time (ibid).  Author Wilbur Edel gives us the primary reason our founding fathers deemed it necessary to include this provision in the Bill of Rights: “to ensure their continued freedom, the citizens of the new United States of America saw to it that no legal barriers were erected to prevent them from retaining the arms that had helped win their freedom” (37).

Most educated people would not argue that the right to bear arms is indeed found in the constitution.  Some liberals are even embarrassed by the fact that the second amendment is in the constitution (Cottrol ix).  If fact, some liberals claim that addition of it in the Bill of Rights was a blunder (ibid).  Basically, the main disagreement is over how people interpret the constitution.  Conservatives (who mainly support gun use), try to look at the original intent of the constitution (Brody).  They will ask such things as, “What did the framers mean when they were writing this?”  How do we apply this principle to contemporary America?”  Liberals, on the other hand, view the constitution as a changing document (Brody).  They view it as basically evolving over time.  Liberals may say something like this, “when the framers said that Americans had the right to keep and bears arms, they would have said something different in today’s contemporary culture,” or, “America was a lot different back then.  The framers did not face the same issues we face today.”  Viewing the constitution as a living document can be dangerous.  If viewed this way, the constitution can be interpreted anyway activist judges want it to be.  The framer’s intent is pretty clear in this case.  The framers obviously did not want the right taken away… “(it) shall not be infringed.” (www.archives.gov).

As a general rule, a crook would probably think twice about committing a crime against a person who had a gun on themselves.  Actually, 98% of the time when citizens use guns in self defense, the do not fire a shot.  They merely wield their gun, and that is enough to deter the criminal (Lott 3).  Crime seems to flourish when citizens do not have the power to defend themselves outright.  Consider the UK and Canada, who have strict gun control laws.  Almost half of burglaries in these countries are “hot burglaries.”  This is where a thief breaks into a house when the owner of the house is home.  Compare this to the U.S., where only 13% of burglaries are hot burglaries (Lott 5).  By no means am I arguing for anarchy.  I believe that is good and necessary for a police force to help patrol crime, otherwise America would become like some wild west movies where everyone shoots at each other after some argument.  However, the police are not omnipresent.  They cannot be everywhere at the same time.  There are numerous instances where the police could not have intervened, and a law abiding citizen had to step in and take matters into his or her own hands.  If these people did not take steps to protect themselves, they would not have lived to tell about it.  For instance, a man tried to hijack a van with a woman and her one-year-old daughter in it.  The woman offered the van to him, and pleaded to let her daughter and herself free.  The man did not move and he blocked the door.  The woman then took a concealed .44-caliber handgun and shot and killed the man (Lott 3).  This story demonstrates that sometimes law abiding citizens need to take matters into their own hands.

It’s ironic to think of, but when cities have gun control laws, only the people who obey the law will turn in their gun.  Criminals are not going to turn in their weapons, so the end result is worse than it is at first.  The people who respect the law and life will not have any self defense, and thus they will become easier targets for criminals.  For example, in 1977 Washington D.C. started a ban on handgun sales.  Ironically, by the 1990’s the city’s murders have increased three times of what they used to be before.  The murders that were caused by firearms, were all done with a handgun (www.nraila.org).

Some suggest that the problem is with the availability of guns.  If the problem was with the availability of weapons, how come there were not more school shootings in my Grandpa’s and Dad’s generations?  My Grandpa used to tell me that they would bring their shotguns to school and put them up in the coat rack because they would do hunting on the way.  Even in my Dad’s generation there were courses offered in his high school on how to shoot a gun.  They even had a firing range in the basement!  Why is it that the main problems of that day were chewing gum in class, talking while the teacher is talking, and wearing hats in class?  For clearly if guns stirred in humans the desire to become homicidal, why were there not more shootings back then?  Well, something happened in the 1960’s…  The Supreme Court decided to kick God, prayer, and Biblical principles out of the public schools (Barton).  This atmosphere in public schools, devoid of God’s principles, has spurred the increase of everything anti-God.  One is not surprised to hear of unwed pregnancies, stealing, and violence in today’s schools.  In fact, these are common place.  School shootings have also increased since the 1960’s (www.keystosaferschools.com).    I think we all can see that the problem does not lie with a specific weapon; rather, it lies with something bigger: the heart of man.

The solution to the problem of crime, is not taking everything away that could possibly be used as a weapon.  In that case, one would probably have to take away construction tools, cooking utensils, and even paper clips!  My cousin once asked her teacher if she could have a paper clip for a paper, but her teacher refused to giver her one.  Why?  Because according to her teacher, a paper clip could be used as a weapon.  This example shows how ridiculous it can get.  The solution to crime is not an easy task, but it is fundamentally simple.  People need a change of heart.  Man’s heart is innately evil.  The Bible teaches us that this has been the condition of man’s heart ever since Adam sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6-7).  This initial act of rebellion brought death and sin into the world (1 Corinthians 15:22).  Not too long after Adam originally fell, the wickedness and violence of mankind increased rapidly on the earth so much, it grieved the LORD He had even made man.  “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:5-8).  This passage shows that God takes sin very seriously.  We are so evil in comparison to God’s perfection and righteousness, that He even considers our righteous works as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)!  This is because even if we do good deeds, these still come from a fallen sin nature with wrong intentions.  Because of our sinful nature, every single human breaks God’s law, and some do it to worse degrees than others, like murderers or rapists.  However, at the end of the day we are all guilty of breaking God’s law (Romans 3:10).  The only hope of stopping crime and evil on earth is by changing people from the inside-out.  However, one cannot do that by their own ability.  Only Jesus Christ can give us a new heart with new desires.  Jesus called it being “born again” (John 3:3).  God can take one’s heart of stone and give one a soft heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), if one repents and puts their trust in Jesus as their savior.  If you one does this, they will pass from death into life, and will want to do things that will please God (Romans 6:4).

So in conclusion, the most dangerous weapon is not a firearm, it is man’s heart; and only Jesus can change that.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  It is unrealistic and unbiblical to assume universal salvation.  Our world will never be a utopia until Christ returns and creates a new heaven and a new earth.  But until then, Christ is the only answer the fallen nature of man.


Works Cited
All verses are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).


Cottrol, Robert J (editor).  Gun Control and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Second Amendment.  New York, NY: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994. 

Edel, Wilbur. Gun Control: Threat to Liberty or Defense Against Anarchy?  Westport, CN: Praeger Publishers, 1995. 

Halbrook, Stephen P.  That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right. Oakland, CA: The Independent Institute,1994.

Lott, John R.  More Guns Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.  Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000.


Internet Articles:

Barton, David.  “Ten Steps to Change America.”

Brody, David.  “Constitution: Living Document or Original Intent?”  http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/news/050801a.aspx

Bumsted, Brad.  Analysis: Gun control forces will be emboldened, face tall task.”  Article from the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, October 3rd 2006.  http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_473219.html

“Bill of Rights”  The complete text of the Bill of Rights.

“Fables and Myths and Other Tall Tales about Gun Laws” 


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