ON GUN CONTROL
My response to a letter to the editor in the St. Louis Post Dispatch Dec 26, 2012 regarding gun control in response to the Newtown Ct. shooting:
"I think your comparison is good but a little bit off. You're exactly right that just because someone might perhaps own a Corvette they don't have a right to drive 150 MPH. They should obey the speed limits just like the rest of us. That's exactly right. In fact that's my exact position regarding assault style rifles or high capacity magazines. Just because I own an assault style weapon and high capacity magazines doesn't mean I should use them in an illegal or harmful way...but I still have the liberty to own them just like the guy who still has the liberty to own the Corvette. He should drive his Corvette responsibly and legally as I must use my assault style weapon and magazines responsibly and legally.
Also, just like the guy with the Corvette - his car looks like a professional race car and is a lot faster and more capable than a "regular" family sedan BUT it is NOT a professional race car. The corvette has very important features that make it road legal and safe vs a professional race car and it has limitations that a professional race car does not have. This is just like it is with what we call "assault style" rifles. They look like the guns used by the military but they have very important differences that make them legal and safer for public use. The main difference in what I own vs what the military uses is that my "assault style" rifle is semi-automatic only (just like most hunting rifles) whereas the military assault rifle is selectable between semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) and full automatic (multiple shots per trigger pull). There are other differences but this is the biggy.
There is widespread misunderstanding about guns and about these so called "assault style" rifles. The ONLY differences (in terms of lethality) between a citizen version of a typical "assault style" rifle and a typical semi-automatic deer rifle are two: 1) the deer rifle is usually much more powerful than the assault style rifle and 2) the assault style rifle can accept larger capacity magazines. Over the past 10 years the assault style rifles have become far more popular among sport shooters for shooting competitions and hunting. For hunting the high capacity magazines are usually illegal so they utilize lower capacity magazines. For shooting competitions however the high capacity magazines are most often utilized. So when you hear people say, "there is no legitimate use for these assault weapons and high capacity magazines...they are only for killing people" you now know that is untrue.
Finally, "assault style" rifles are utilized by citizens for home defense. They make an excellent home defense choice because, when using the correct ammunition, they are often safer than a pistol or shotgun in regards to "over penetration". By that I mean, if the unthinkable happens and I am forced to defend my family from home invaders and I have to shoot someone, and if I use my assault style weapon with good self-defense ammunition, the likelihood of that bullet continuing to travel and penetrate through multiple walls and perhaps exit my house and penetrate into my neighbor's house is greatly minimized.
MUCH more could be said but I wanted to respond to your comments because you made a reasonable comment and one problem with this debate is that too many people really don't want to talk. They want to simply scream their opinions. Hopefully this helps clarify some things for someone. The bottom line is that this country was established on the basis of personal liberty and limited government. Liberty by its very nature is dangerous because it allows people to do bad things as well as good things. If we try to control the bad things by removing some aspect of personal liberty from everyone then we transfer more control to the government and eventually we will be no different than any other country in the world who has lost their freedoms and suffer under a tyrannical government. Like our founders said, our form of government (constitutional republic) is designed for a religious and moral people and is wholly unfit for any other. If we don't have the internal governance required to handle our liberty we will certainly lose it".
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON THIS TOPIC
In the final paragraph above I touch on the 2nd amendment aspect of this issue. In many ways I actually think this aspect is the most significant. It is very important that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. By so doing the founders were stating that this right, among others, was a fundamental right required to secure and maintain liberty. Why? Of course it doesn't really take much study to answer the "why" question. If it were not for their possession of firearms in the new world they would not have been able to conduct a revolution and secure their own liberty from the England and establish the United States of America. They understood this to be a key element in the realization of a free society and they understood this right had already been removed by the majority of "civilized" nations of Europe. By removing firearms from the people, governments remove the power to overthrow the existing ruling elite who DO have firearms and thus concentrated, centralized power. Such power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely...to employ an oft used axiom. The founders knew this because they were thinking from a Christian, at least biblical, world view. Mankind is fallen, sinful, and therefore very susceptible to corruption and that corruption will inevitably result in the oppression of the people.
So the 2nd amendment was seen to be absolutely critical to a free society. Alexander Hamilton (Federalist Papers) argued against a formal Bill of Rights. His reasoning is fascinating. Hamilton's position was that the Constitution was inherently limiting to the Federal government. Its purpose was to invest only certain powers and rights to the Federal government and invest ALL other powers, rights, and liberty to the states and people. If a Bill of Rights was added to the constitution, a future generation seeking to gather more power to the federal government may use its existence to argue that, because there is a Bill of Rights delineating specific limitations around particular rights, the federal government must have SOME jurisdiction regarding those rights! And Hamilton was right, that's exactly what has happened regarding freedom of religion and the right to keep and bear arms. For both of these rights in particular (I think because these two rights pose the most threat to a corrupt central government) the government has intruded and limited the rights of Americans. In fact, the constitution specifically denies the federal government ALL jurisdiction in regard to these fundamental rights.
In the name of "safety", "security", and "tolerance" the federal government of the United States has taken prayer from school and banned numerous classes of firearms. The government dictates that nativity scenes cannot stand in specific places and that specific citizens cannot own firearms. I could go on and on listing violation after violation of amendments one and two. Our society is once again ripe for another large "power grab" by the federal government in the form of new and stronger gun control. At some point this will be deemed intolerable by enough citizens that it will be resisted in a highly confrontational manner. It already is being resisted by various individuals who become frustrated and allow that frustration to overflow in anti-social ways. As a Christian one must think about these things and determine how to act if (and most likely when) the government of the United States effectively eliminates the Bill of Rights in this country and abolishes the fundamental freedoms that our founders died to establish and preserve. The guiding principle for every Christian MUST be, what will bring honor to Christ? What would Jesus have me do in this situation? Ultimately, if our Christianity and our patriotism comes into conflict our Christianity must prevail. How that will look under specific situations must be determined by the individual believer in communion with his/her community of faith. It will not be easy and it may not always be passive. But it will always be difficult and will always require sacrifice.