I wrote this post last week, prior to yesterday’s shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Such violence tears my heart and my prayers are with the families of all the victims of this tragedy, and the other all-to-common tragedies in our world.
Before you read this post, check out Nicholas Kristof’s great article: Safe from Fire, but Not Guns.
I’ve seen a statement made dozens of times on Facebook and in the news in the weeks since the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Whether respectful or sarcastic the argument is the same: more regulations on guns will not end gun violence, so fighting for more regulations (laws) is pointless.
But here’s my question: if it is pointless to create tougher regulations in the hopes of stemming gun violence, why seek tougher regulations or laws on anything?
In other words, when it comes to guns there is a false dichotomy. The choices given are two extremes: either no new regulations or no gun violence. Since clearly more regulations will not end violence, then any regulations are a bad idea.
But what strikes me as interesting is how it would look to carry this logic into other issues.
Well, we’re never going to stop people from using drugs altogether, so why have any laws against drugs?
We’ll never completely eliminate abortion, so why bother trying to make abortion illegal?
Whatever you think about guns, drugs and abortion is practically a side issue for the point I am trying to make here. For the record, I am pro-life. I think abortion is a tragedy that kills innocent unborn babies. I think it would be good to make it illegal. But I don’t think making it illegal will solve every problem related to it and I think until it is illegal those who are pro-life should work for compromises that limits the need for abortion. No abortions would be fantastic, but less abortions are good too.
I am not just pro-life, I am also anti-violence. Of course, I do not think increasing regulations on guns will end all gun violence. I am all for people having guns to hunt or protect their family, if they so choose (though I am not sure how assault weapons or 6,000 rounds of ammo serve either of those purposes). But having guns less available and more difficult to get would lead to less gun violence: no gun violence would be fantastic, but less gun violence is also good.
My point is: I am trying to be consistent.
And I think many who argue against regulations for gun are inconsistent.
You can’t scoff at laws on one account (more laws against guns won’t end gun violence) and then call for more laws on another account (abortion, drugs). At best this is just being inconsistent. At worst it is just pandering to one or the other side of a culture war.
That, I think, is the real problem. Those on one side, conservative Republicans, don’t like abortion but they like guns. Those on the other side, liberal Democrats, don’t like guns but like a woman’s right to choose. Christians, rather than trying to promote a third way that is critical of both sides, that stands for life and against violence in all cases, end up becoming just one more voting bloc that blindly goes along with one side or the other.
Conservative Christians love to trump what the Bible says about life…but ignores all that stuff Jesus said about nonviolence.
Liberal Christians love the nonviolent stuff…but the pro-life angle is more discomforting.
I am not saying I have no blindspots or inconsistencies. I do. It is just that the recent gun debate (which we’ve already moved on from, thank you Chick-Fil-A, Rahm Emmanuel and Mike Huckabee) has really made this particular inconsistency clear to me.