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Recent tragedy has thrust the debate of gun control once again into the forefront of our public dialogue. A young man chose to murder and injure innocent people in a school setting before he killed himself.

The details of his background and motivation are still being investigated, and any discussion of these details is speculation. Ideally, any discussion of solutions would wait until after the investigation revealed the facts and we could objectively look for societal changes that could be made for prevention.

Unfortunately, many have chosen to use the momentum powered by grief to exploit ulterior agendas without any evidence that their solutions would have prevented this or any similar horrific events. As Christians, many of us tend to retreat back from such civil disputes, for we are to live in this world, not of it, thus excluding ourselves from the decisions that are made that directly affect us because we are to “submit to governing authorities” (Romans 13:1) This places those who hold those stances at a disadvantage, for reality is, physically, we are a part of this world, a world that is actively dissolving open ability for us to spiritually live in this world.

The United States of America was founded on “We the people,” sharing in governing authority. One of my most cherished quotes that captures the idea so sweetly is from Laura Ingalls Wilder in her book Little Town on the Prairie: “America won’t obey any king on Earth. Americans are free. That means they have to obey their own consciences.” As Christians, we recognize our consciences lie with God.

We were founded upon individual sovereignty for our earthly life to have freedom to not live of this world. In a system like ours, our governing authority is ourselves, for our rights were bestowed onto us by our Creator, not government. Our elected leaders only have the power in which we allow them.

Throughout the years, our government has expanded, shifting the power from the individual to the state. However, our forefathers in their wisdom allowed the people to have the ability to lawfully prevent a government that would subjugate our personal right to self-governance. The Second Amendment was written precisely for Americans, including Christians, to have a right to bear arms.

In America, Christians and all citizens have not only a right to self-govern; we also have a God-given right to own weapons for self-defense (Luke 22:36). Swords were used for security throughout the Bible. Nowhere does it say that the security they provide is wrong. In fact, swords were so much a way of life, they are often found in verses relaying Biblical history and used in metaphors and comparisons throughout.

Guns had not been crafted at that time. The first guns were created in the 13th Century after the Chinese invented black powder. Within another century, guns became a tool used almost as frequently as the sword. Just as now, there were constant dangers and threats from those who would desire you or your family harm. We have a right to protect our lives and to protect the lives of those around us from those dangers and threats. One of the current tools best to assist us in preserving that right are guns.

For those who claim gun control would curtail horrific events that involve them, I want them to think about this quote:

“The abuse of anything is no argument against its proper use” – Cicero

In every instance involving mass shootings, existing gun laws have apparently been broken. No law could have prevented them. The issues that propel gun violence are cultural. No government policy will prevent them.

As Americans who are Christians, we value our freedom to worship and to not be forced to spiritually live in this world. Even in the past year, that freedom has been threatened greatly by decisions from the Supreme Court. Our freedoms to our individual sovereignty have been encroached upon by policies and regulations created not for our governance but for political power. We must defend those freedoms, and without the strength the Second Amendment affords us, our authority is abdicated.

Freedom is not gained by the complacent. Freedom is gained by the vigilant.