I listened carefully to the coverage of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision yesterday to uphold the right of individuals to own firearms. The decision, historic in prime because it is the first to address the Constitutional issue of personal gun ownership, made a lot of people happy because it upholds a personal freedom. It made a lot of people unhappy because it makes it more difficult to control guns as a measure to keep violent crime in check. I’m not against responsible gun ownership.
As I listened, I couldn’t help but consider the Scriptural advice that Paul offers the Church in Corinth:
23“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
Americans, well, we’re all about our own personal freedoms. This SCOTUS case hinges on where the line might be between our individual right to bear arms and a reasonable way to control violent gun crimes. I can’t help but think that personal gun ownership, while clearly permissible, may not be either beneficial or constructive in furthering the good of others. Certainly, it’s allowed in America and was reaffirmed in yesterday’s Heller decision.
Honestly, it’s not legally-kept, properly-secured guns I have issue with. It’s irresponsible practices that leave guns available to criminals with which I take issue. Yes, it is irresponsible of an individual to keep a gun in a dresser drawer where a curious child could easily find it; never mind a burglar. Yes, it is irresponsible (and a lie) to keep a gun in the trunk of a car under the guise of “going to the range”. It is irresponsible not to require regular training and qualifications of those who have legally owned and registered guns. There are more scenarios, but I’m sure you can see what I mean.
The fact is a great many illegal guns started out as legal ones. There are myriad ways – lost, stolen, inherited by unlicensed family members, or what have you – these weapons made their way out of the light. It’s those weapons which need control. Is there a way to do that without controlling them from the start? How to do that for the constructive benefit of all is the big question. The greater good often requires sacrifice by those seeking it.