Guns today are a hot topic that provokes emotional responses and vigorous debate on both sides of the issue, whether in support of or opposition to guns. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” after the Sandy Hook school shooting. His statement added fuel to an already raging gun debate, yet what he said didn’t address the entire problem. Although guns can maim or kill, they first have to be loaded, aimed and the trigger pulled.
The gun issues are more complex because of mental health problems that motivate senseless killings. In the past the mentally disturbed were sent to mental health hospitals, but many psychiatric facilities are now emptied and closed: www.tacreports.org/bedstudy
One of the best, Northern State Hospital outside of Sedro-Woolley, WA, closed in the 1970’s: www.skagitriverjournal.com/NearbyS-W/NSH/NSH1-Intro.html Their patients were loaded onto busses and dropped off at “rest homes and group homes” across the state with many ending up on the streets.
With so many psychiatric hospitals closed, police far too busy to answer 911 calls in a timely manner, citizens need to protect themselves and many choose to purchase guns. However, gun ownership and use needs to be done with education and training. For our household that includes what God and the Bible has to say about guns?
The Baldwin’s book, To Keep or Not to Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give up Their Guns, written by Pastor Chuck Baldwin and his constitutional attorney son, Timothy Baldwin offered biblically rooted answers for our questions. While the Second Amendment: www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, the Baldwin’s write, “Scriptures confirm the right of self-defense.”
Their findings are based on what they call the “burden and standard of proof, natural rights and a “consequence based approach” supported by the Old and New Testaments. For example, they cite the story of Melchizadek in Genesis who blessed Abram, later Abraham, for saving “his abducted nephew Lot, by force.” Genesis 14: 12, 18, 19 and Hebrews 7:1, among many others. The Baldwin’s argue “natural rights form the basis of justice and are the root of human compassion.”
Readers learn why they believe gun rights are a divine right, why people shouldn’t give up their guns and what “meaningful self-defense” is. They also write about “proportionality” and “necessity,” whether the Bible says to sell your clothes and buy a sword if you don’t own one and when the “other cheek” should be turned.
In some ways, the book is written almost like a legal brief, yet the logic is easy to follow, the words simple, easy to read and understand. Although I firmly believe the gun debate today is more about politics than guns those who follow Christ need to know what the Bible has to say on this vital issue and the Baldwin’s thought-provoking book provides timely answers.
‘To Keep or Not to Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give up Their Guns’ by J.D. Timothy Baldwin & D.D. Chuck Baldwin, Baldwin Publishers, 2013, 272 Pages, 978-0988898806, $14.95 http://keepyourarms.com/
Midwest Book Reviews—“Gail’s Bookshelf” www.midwestbookreview.com/rbw/aug_13.htm