Every time a mass shooting takes place, we hear politicians say they are going to address the problem, but nothing happens. A poll conducted after the massacre at a Florida high school shows that most Americans think Congress and President Trump are not doing enough to stop these shootings. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed faulted Congress for its inaction, while 62 percent blamed Trump, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Why are they afraid to do what most Americans want them to do? Because we no longer have spiritual, pro-life leaders, who value people over guns. It is more important to listen to the voices and money of the NRA than to respect the will of the people. So we will continue to have the highest mass shooting rate of any civilized country in the world.
Most of us grew up in a culture that glorifies guns. I used to watch westerns on television like “Gunsmoke,” “Have gun will Travel,” and movies with John Wayne, Steve McQueen settling scores with a gunfight. Many Americans sense their identity, character, capabilities and strengths from being exposed to this type of violence.
Some Americans believe the myth that we are a collection of rugged pioneering individuals, forever exploring new frontiers and the dangers and challenges they present. Guns, in this context, are an extension of that myth. Yet, this is not who we are. We are a community of diverse individuals who are interdependent on each other for our very survival.
The USA is about 4.4 percent of the world population, yet our homes contain more than half of the privately held weapons in the world. A Gallop Poll survey showed that only 30 percent of Americans own guns. Yet, there are more privately held weapons in America than people.
Some leaders try to blame the mass gun shooting on things like video games. Yet, when we compare ourselves with Japanese and South Korean young people who love video games as much as America’s youth, we see that these kinds of attacks rarely happen in those countries.
Other leaders blame secularism. Northern Europe is perhaps the most secular region on Earth, yet they rarely suffer such horrors. What about mental health? Are Americans really more prone to serious mental disorders than other people? No, but one big difference exists. Young Americans, usually white males, have the firepower available to express deadly rage.
Some government leaders try to mislead citizens to believe that the Second Amendment (the right to own guns) is an absolute right for gun owners in America. This claim among gun-rights advocates implies that the Second Amendment establishes not just a right to own guns, but a right that the government cannot legally limit. This is not true for gun-rights or any other right.
The Supreme Court has said repeatedly that no right under the Constitution is absolute. Whenever the government has very strong reasons to restrict a right, it can do so.
Take the First Amendment right to free speech, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.”. Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that the First Amendment does not protect your right to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater that is not on fire. Also, we cannot libel others, or incite murder, or leak government secrets, or distribute child pornography, or say certain words on TV, or pass out political pamphlets wherever we want.
We already restrict access to firearms in many ways. We prohibit people from owning machine guns, from owning shoulder-launched missiles and hand grenades. We prohibit felons and the mentally ill from possessing firearms. We prevent children from owning firearms.
We have to pass sensible gun laws to protect the lives of our citizens. God wants us to be pro-life. Our national leaders must pass pro-life gun laws to stop the slaughter of the innocent.
Posted on Tue, October 29, 2019
by by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd