On March 25, someone at my church told me that she saw a bunch of people downtown protesting something.
“Well,” I replied, “yesterday was March for Our Lives, the national demonstration against gun violence.”
“No,” she said, almost laughing. “This was something that I agree with.” (Apparently, it was a protest against animal violence.)
The rhetoric surrounding guns in our country right now is impressively divisive. There is such a severe imaginary line between sides of the debate – either you support gun ownership or you don’t – that good, kind Christians sometimes automatically translate “demonstration against violence” to “demands to take away everyone’s right to own guns,” in their minds.
If we were all to set down our emotions and assumptions for a few minutes, I’m sure we’d find that there is much more of a middle ground than we’re giving ear to.
We don’t want kids dying in school. That, I think, we can all agree on.
The March for Our Lives movement is not a demand to abolish the Second Amendment. The movement’s official website expressly states, “We support the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, as set forth in the United States Constitution.” The goal of the founders and participants of March for Our Lives is to pass legislation enforcing responsible and safe gun-ownership: a ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and more thorough background checks on potential buyers.
Modern America is like the church in Corinth in the first century. The Apostle Paul wrote letters to the church after receiving word that they were becoming polluted by their culture and behaving in unacceptable ways. In the first of these letters, he writes:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)
Like the people of Corinth, we in America are very concerned with our rights. We revere the Constitution. Consequently, this issue has heated up significantly in the days since Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called for a repeal of the Second Amendment. It is entirely unlikely that such a drastic change to the U.S. Constitution will take place, but the suggestion itself can make gun-rights supporters feel threatened or attacked.
Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to repeal this amendment. I agree with the March for Our Lives Movement. U.S. citizens have certain rights granted to them by this country, and we shouldn’t be stripped of those rights based on the awful behavior of a few people. But, having this right doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want with it. It doesn’t mean that anybody can walk into a store and buy whatever kind of weapon they want.
“I have the right to do anything,” we say – but not everything is beneficial.
Yes, our country grants citizens the right to buy and own guns. Sometimes, owning a gun can be very beneficial, assuming the weapon is used responsibly. But when this right is allowing for situations that put our students in danger, we need to consider whether owning certain weapons is really the priority. We should not seek our own good, but the good of those whose safety is jeopardized when our rights are abused.