Gun control laws have taken center stage in US politics after the mass shootings in Orlando on June 12. The debate over these laws stems from how we interpret the Second Amendment, the right of private citizens of the US to bear arms, and our desire to protect ourselves and feel safe.
Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut has become a leading advocate for gun control legislation in the years since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Last week, Senator Murphy and 38 fellow Senate Democrats held the House floor almost 15 hours to force Congress to address legislation concerning gun violence prevention. Murphy’s speech recalled the shooting at Sandy Hook and the bravery of the victims. In response on Monday, the Senate voted on four different gun proposals, legislation that allows private citizens to own guns while restricting those most likely to threaten public safety. None of the four measures passed.
On the same day, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ban on assault weapons in Connecticut and New York. Those challenging the ban argue that most people who own assault weapons use them safely and only for sport and protection. They believe the ban restricts their freedom to bear arms—back to the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment reaches deep into America’s roots, all the way back to the American Revolution. Americans greatly value our freedom to defend ourselves and keep our families safe. And it is true that most Americans who own guns, even assault-style weapons, do so safely and without violent intentions. Still, as a nation, we mourn when our constitutional rights allow others to harm innocent people. Like Orlando and Newtown. We want to go about our lives freely and safely, without the threat of violence.
Citizens across the US and around the world want both freedom and safety, but even in a country like the United States, people have yet to know this kind of relief. Today, the way forward for the US seems even less clear. Meanwhile, the Bible presents a different way forward. The Old Testament prophets speak about a day when God will rule over the whole world, providing freedom and security for all people. On that day, God will bring justice to all people and nations, and humanity will live together in peace. People will stop fighting and killing one another. No more Orlandos. No more Newtowns. The prophets tell us that people will trade their weapons for gardening tools, their swords for shovels, and their spears for hoes. And the freedom and security that we have not found in our own world, God will provide abundantly in his Kingdom!
The Message Isaiah got regarding Judah and Jerusalem:
There’s a day coming
when the mountain of God’s House
Will be The Mountain—
solid, towering over all mountains.
All nations will river toward it,
people from all over set out for it.
They’ll say, “Come,
let’s climb God’s Mountain,
go to the House of the God of Jacob.
He’ll show us the way he works
so we can live the way we’re made.”
Zion’s the source of the revelation.
God’s Message comes from Jerusalem.
He’ll settle things fairly between nations.
He’ll make things right between many peoples.
They’ll turn their swords into shovels,
their spears into hoes.
No more will nation fight nation;
they won’t play war anymore.
Come, family of Jacob,
let’s live in the light of God.