The death of a child is unnatural. The murder of children is evil.
Our hearts go out to the families of the children killed in Uvalde, Texas, and to the families of those teachers who perished while protecting their students.
As a former police chaplain, I have been at crime scenes that involve the murder of multiple children. Seared into my mind are the images of children killed senselessly. I pray for first responders who walked the Uvalde halls and classrooms where the children who bore the Imago Deo (the Image of God) lay silently dead.
The Politicization of a Tragedy
Every time a school shooting happens, American politicians call for gun control.
I thought about refraining from a defense of the Constitutional Second Amendment. People’s high emotions, however, lead to irrational statements. The more illogical arguments I see for gun control, the more I feel the need to give a dispassionate, reasonable defense of the 2nd Amendment.
Friends of mine are on both sides of this issue, and they speak with equal passion on the subject. It’s important to remember that every American heart breaks when our children are murdered, regardless of one’s position on gun control. While Americans may not agree on the solution, every single American does grieve over the situation.
In this post, my arguments against increased gun control will go against America’s cultural norms. Opposition to the Constitutional principle I advocate will be both fierce and expected. Principled arguments against gun control laws during times of sorrow are like uninvited wedding guests; people may choose to tolerate them for the sake of appearances, but they don’t like them or want them.
Principled arguments for or against gun control are needed to avoid emotional reactions to painful circumstances.
A surgeon with steady hands uses principles and procedures that he refined long before the emotional impact of meeting his dying patient. Similarly, a defense of the Second Amendment during a crisis from a dispassionate and principled position may save an entire country.
If possible, read what follows without emotion and see if it makes sense.
Liberty Is the Principle
Americans do not need less liberty regarding possessing and carrying guns. Americans need more liberty.
Mass shootings occur because the government encroaches on the liberty of American citizens to freely carry firearms. If teachers had guns in the Uvalde elementary school, the murderer might not have been able to fulfill his evil intent.
When the Founding Fathers formed our country, they based society on Natural Law. Natural Law teaches that certain rights or values are inherently and universally known by human reason.
The best summary of Natural Law is found in the following seventeen-word statement:
“Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach on other persons or their property.”
Our Founding Fathers believed that every rational human being knows that you don’t intrude or infringe on someone else’s person or property. You definitely don’t go into a school and shoot children.
In the early days of our country, when a criminal encroached on another person or property, the criminal was either killed or forcibly detained and jailed by local authorities. The American courts held that restitution for the crime would be made to the victim(s).
If your property had been taken, the thief would be ordered to return your property and make financial restitution to you. If an arsonist destroyed your house, the fire starter would be responsible for building you a new home and financially reimbursing you for your inconvenience. If you were injured or wounded by a criminal, he would have to pay you money. Victims of crime had their property and personal losses financially restored by the criminal.
In the case of murder, citizens would swiftly bring to justice the murderer via execution. It was “life for a life.” The people would execute the murderer.
Over time, common law began to develop within the court system of the United States. As various crimes occurred in the United States and the criminals were caught and brought to court, the judges would look at legal decisions in previous cases to make a ruling on the restitution amount that would be deemed fair and equitable to the victim.
But throughout the first few decades of American jurisprudence, two things were true about crime and the courts:
1. The people encroached upon were the victims, not the state.
2. The criminals who encroached made restitution to the victims, not the state.
The Reason for an Armed Citizenry in a Land of Liberty
Because our forefathers understood the principles of Natural Law, it was necessary for law-abiding American citizens always to have the right to keep and bear arms. Amendment II of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution gives citizens “the right to keep and bear arms.”
Most Americans don’t understand why our forefathers felt the right to keep and bear arms was necessary for a free society to exist. Even President Biden seems to believe the 2nd Amenemdnet is for hunting. There are two main reasons our Founding Fathers instituted the 2nd Amendment, a right “that shall not be infringed upon.”
1. First, our nation’s Founding Fathers knew there would be occasions when criminals would not make the court-ordered restitution to their victims.
When that happens in a country built on Natural Law, outlawry is invoked. Outlawry is the ability of citizens in a civilized society to pass judgment and punish those criminals who refuse to make court-ordered restitution to their victims.
Most of us understand the term “outlaw,” but few of us know that the word comes from the word outlawry. Outlawry means criminals who run from court-ordered restitution are handed over to society and placed “outside the protection of the law.”
One “outside the law” was Wanted: Dead or Alive. It did not matter how citizens captured the outlaw. People brought the outlaw “dead or alive” back to the courts. The state paid the one who captured the outlaw a bounty for the capture. In the old days, prisons were pretty empty. Incarcerations were limited to those awaiting trial. Once a court ordered the terms of restitution, the criminal was released to work and pay for his crimes.
It was extremely dangerous for a criminal to run from his responsibility of making restitution for his crimes. It would cost him his life. Our Founding Fathers understood the need for a civilized society to “keep and bear arms” because a community of free and civilized people was ultimately the highest power in the land. The citizens of the United States would need to keep and bear arms because of outlaws.
A criminal placed “outside the law” for refusing to pay restitution was to be denied his civil rights. He is an “outlaw” or “out(side) of (the) law.”A modern version of outlawry would be a free and law-abiding teacher in a school, armed with a weapon, shooting and killing a murderer in the act of encroaching on human life. When a person attempts to take someone else’s life, as a citizen of the United States, a citizen is supposed to take action. Citizens – “We the People” – are called upon by the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God to take the life of the person who intends to kill our fellow citizens. If you allow a “government” to disarm citizens, then “the government” has the power to institute tyranny. Natural Law demands the individual right of a person to bear arms for justice.
The citizen should not have to wait for “law enforcement” to take action. Our Constitution, built on Natural Law, demands citizens to take action. Many believe a country is more civilized when free citizens don’t have guns. Our Founding Fathers believed just the opposite. According to Natural Law, a free society makes the free people of that free society the highest authority–not the state or the government.
Government is of the people, by the people, for the people. Could law-abiding citizens in a free society make a mistake in dealing with an outlaw? Of course, but the checks and balances on a free people is the knowledge that you might be deemed an outlaw if you violate Natural Law and encroach on an innocent person.
Natural Law is as much a science as biology, physics, and math. Regardless of one’s religion, Natural Law is understandable because it is seen in Nature and comes from Nature’s God. Natural Law understands that victims experience a crime of encroachment, and the criminal is the encroacher.
The United States Government Has Wrongly Assumed the Role of Victim
In today’s “advanced” society, the criminal pays their debt “to the state” (e.g., “prison time”). The criminal who encroaches no longer is forced to pay restitution to the victim.
Unfortunately, in modern, progressive America, the United States government has replaced the people of the United States. When a state usurps the governance of a free people, the state will eventually devolve into fascism.
A fascist state does not arise overnight. Like Germany in the early 20th century, fascism progresses slowly as more and more power is handed to the state and more and more freedoms are taken from the people.
One of the fundamental needs of a fascist state is for its native citizens not to be armed.
(2). Our nation’s forefathers understood that there could be an occasion when the government violates Natural Law (by encroaching on citizens), and it would be the duty of the free citizens to rebel.
Very few Americans know that the reasoning of those we call Patriots, the men, and women who fought their government during the American Revolution, was built upon Natural Law.
People like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, and others believed that England was encroaching on the people and property of the colonists.
America’s Patriots believed people should always be able to keep and bear arms because there always needs to be the ability for a free people in a free society to revolt against a government that violates Natural Law. England violated the principles of Natural Law, and in obedience to Nature and Nature’s God, the American colonists revolted against England.
When writing the draft of the Constitution of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “No free man shall be debarred the use of arms.”
Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” (The Federalist Papers, pages 184-188).
Abraham Lincoln declared at the commencement of the Civil War:
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”
These men understood that any government which removes the right to keep and bear arms from its free citizens takes a gigantic step toward statist fascism.
So, though we grieve over the mass murder at Sandy Hook, and though we deplore acts of violence by criminals throughout our land, we should resist with all our might any intrusion by the government to take weapons from us.
Natural Law demands free citizens have the right to be armed. As a Christian, I may choose not to bear arms. I may choose to turn the other cheek when encroached upon, living as Jesus Christ lived. But as an American citizen, I feel I must resist any effort by the state to take weapons from her citizens.
It’s not a biblical principle on which I stand regarding gun control. It’s not a Christian principle I am promoting.
It is a matter of universal morality. State governments that intentionally disarm their people turn to fascism.
It’s a matter of liberty vs. tyranny.
It’s a matter of Natural Law.
Natural Law demands that we advocate against the government removing the liberty of citizenry to be armed, lest this great land of liberty become infected with dictatorial tyranny.
Our prayers go out to the victims of the tragic Uvalde shooting.