As Americans, we are fortunate to have the right to bear arms enshrined in our Constitution’s Second Amendment. This fundamental right is a cornerstone of our nation’s identity and has been fiercely defended by gun rights advocates for decades. However, the tides are turning as we see more gun violence publicized throughout our country. Many of these violent acts are knocking on our own doorsteps. They are appearing in our schools, churches, playgrounds, and even peaceful outdoor events. This new awareness of violence is now putting the focus on how the second amendment is seen in Christianity. Many Christians are beginning to ask, is there a Biblical case for the second amendment? Do Christians have a need for self-defense or is gun ownership a question of faith?
Second Amendment and Christianity
Let’s first quote the exact wording from the second amendment to understand exactly what we are comparing to Biblical principles. The amendment reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Laying the groundwork for any Biblical discussion, we must first accept the fact that our God does not change. Therefore, we will use the Old and New Testaments to explore our questions and seek answers from God’s texts. As Christians, we are under a new covenant. We look to the teachings of Jesus to live our lives. However, that does not mean to abandon the wealth of knowledge found throughout the ancient texts.
To speak to both Testaments, the Bible teaches that human life is precious and should be protected at all costs. If violence did not exist, then we would not have the need to defend life. However, we know that has not been the case since the original sin. Our world will be filled with violence and evil until after the second coming. One can argue that the second coming will eventually bring an end to the need for the second amendment.
Biblical Case for the Second Amendment
Heaven is a place of perfect peace; I think any Christian can agree. God, in all His wisdom, knowledge, and perfection designed and created all that exists in Heaven. Therefore, we could make the argument that if Heaven has perfect peace, then there is no need for weapons, right? God has the power to create or destroy all of creation with a single word. Therefore, He has no use of weapons. And angels are His devote followers with unimaginable faith. On Earth, we see the abandonment of weapons as a way to obtain peace. Many believe that, “if evil can’t have a firearm, they are limited in the evil acts they can perform.”
But the Bible says…
In fact, Heavenly beings do have weapons and use them to do battle in both the physical and spiritual world. Even Lucifer knows this fact, firsthand. And it doesn’t take long to discover it in the Bible either. Genesis 3:24, an angel with a flaming sword was stationed at the entrance of the Garden of Eden once Adam and Eve were expelled. Exodus 23:20-23 says God sends an angel before the Israelites to protect them on their journey to the promised land. This angel would defeat their enemies with a sword.
Numbers 22:22-35 an angel threatens Balaam with a sword if he continued his journey. Then in 1 Chronicles 21:16 an angel appears to David with a sword in his hand. And prophesied in Revelation 19:11-16, Jesus will return on a white horse with an army of angels. They are described as having swords coming out of their mouths and defeating the enemies of God!
So, maybe weapons are just for angels?
How would David have killed Goliath without a sling and stone? Why would God hold the sun in the sky to give Joshua a tactical advantage in war? And why would God tear down the walls of Jericho knowing the city would be slaughtered? God displays throughout the Bible that he is not only interested in our spiritual well-being but also our physical protection.
The Apostles themselves carried weapons for protection. They walked with God Himself and still saw the need for swords. Simon even cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant to defend Christ before He was taken for crucifixion. And Jesus’s exact words to His Apostles in Luke 22 reads…
The Apostles had great faith in God’s protection. However, were still commanded to carry a weapon for self-defense while spreading the gospel around the world. Why would we think we are any different when we are charged with the same mission.
But guns are too deadly…
Evil will find a way. If you take away an evil person’s guns, will you also take away their ability to buy the household items they can purchase to create deadly explosives? On April 19, 1995, at 9:02am, a single truck full of explosive compounds killed 168 people, injuring 680. It caused additional damage totaling over $652 million.
Let’s say you can regulate fertilizer and fuel in large quantities. Perhaps that will stop evil people from committing evil acts, right? September 11, 2001, four flights were hijacked and used to shake the world’s foundation. In total, nearly 3,000 died, countless injured and a total cost of trillions of dollars when considering damage, economic impact, relief funds and a 20-year war that claimed another 897,000 lives. Within an hour, these evil men killed more innocent people than the last four years of mass shootings combined!
But the Government can fix it right?
God bless our government who acted swiftly and made changes to our infrastructure and national security to prevent another 9/11. So, once again Uncle Sam managed to defend the innocent and prevent evil acts, right? Maybe. But do you think that evil people aren’t looking at the death tolls from COVID-19, totaling nearly 7 million worldwide? Do you think they wouldn’t consider biological warfare along with countless other options we haven’t even considered yet?
And your point?…
With that to say, evil finds a way. Even if you could control guns and prevent evil people from using these weapons, they will find another way. Good people use guns as a deterrent and as a tool, nothing more. Bad people and good people have always had weapons, this is not a new thing for the 21st century.
Self-defense is the preservation of your life and the life of your family. The best option today, to prevent an attacker and keep yourself safe, is not a melee weapon that requires an attacker to be at arm’s length. Obviously, a gun that can be loaded and ready to stop an attacker from a distance is the best option to keep you, and your loved ones, safe.
In fact, responsible gun owners know that the sound of a pump action shotgun or the intimidating appearance of an assault rifle are often enough to deter violent acts. And a warning shot is often enough to scare even the bravest of evil doers. This accomplishes two goals in one action. It not only keeps you and your family safe but also could save an attacker’s life. Hopefully they can leave that situation with a new lease on life. Maybe even a valuable lesson that the risk isn’t worth the crime.
With a Caveat…
The second amendment and Christianity are forever linked through Biblical cases and the right of Christians to self-defense. But the government has the responsibility to protect its people, even if it is from themselves. If you have committed a crime knowing that your conviction could remove your right to bear arms, then that is a consequence of your actions.
If you are purchasing a gun with the right intentions, a short wait or background check should not discourage you. But preventing someone from purchasing a gun illegally or in a rage is a country’s responsibility, within reason. But there is no denying that weapons are the most effective deterrent of evil. We find proof of this in the world’s deadliest weapons, hydrogen bombs. Most countries do not create these in the hopes of using them, but as a deterrent and for self-preservation.
Beyond Christian Self-Defense: Faith and Gun Ownership
As a Christian gun owner, I can tell you first-hand that I have never had the intention of using any of my weapons against another human being. In fact, I only own shotguns and rifles that are exclusively used for hunting, skeet shooting and target practice as a hobby. Honestly, they are mostly heirlooms that I treasure for the memories of those who have passed them down to me. At 40 years old, I have only purchased two guns. Both used exclusively for hunting, and not very successfully at that!
The truth is anti-gun advocates would say that owning guns shows a lack of faith that God will provide. I believe there is nothing further from the truth. Guns are tools when used properly. But just like any of my woodworking or yard tools, can be used in a deadly way if the intent is there. My oldest son, JP, is fascinated by guns and woodworking. But just like my table saw, he does not use any of my firearms. He is learning woodworking with a handsaw and learns gun safety with a low powered BB gun. It’s the person holding a weapon that makes it evil. Learning early to respect guns and life are essentials to Christians and gun ownership.
But for someone who believes I do not have faith that God will provide me safety, I ask, “do you take medicine?” If so, do you lack the faith that God will heal you? Why read the Bible if God can provide you wisdom and knowledge through prayer? Sometimes faith is knowing that God gave us the tools to solve our own problems.
Other Side of Guns and Christians- Second Amendment and Christianity
However, not all Christians agree with this interpretation of the Bible. Many believe that the Second Amendment is a distortion of the biblical principles of Christianity. These Christians point to the fact that Jesus taught us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. That violence should only be used as a last resort.
But that is exactly how responsible gun owners see it as well. A concealed carry is not for shootouts at the OK corral! They are a hopeful deterrent and inevitably the ability to prevent fatal harm to yourself or someone you love. You would be amazed at the legal action that can be brought against using a firearm, even in self-defense. The last thing you ever want to do is pull the trigger if you are a law-abiding citizen.
These mass shootings are by people that value their life even less than those around them. Even the safest of guns can be altered for mass shootings if the intent is there. With CNC machines and 3D printing, you will never prevent evil from attempting evil acts. No matter the laws in place. They will create guns, silencers, high-capacity magazines and alter weapons for rapid fire without ever asking for permission. Even a fireworks stand can become an arsenal to someone with evil in their heart.
Christians with guns, on the other hand, value life and do not purchase them to kill others. Gun ownership for Christians is about the option for self-defense with the hope you never have to use it. Not to mention hunting and recreation! Our focus should be to seek out those who have evil intentions. And beyond that, to have faith that God will keep us safe in the situations we cannot control.
It Means Nothing Without a Solution…
There isn’t a short-term solution because it’s a long-term problem. However, Christianity does offer an option out. Love and a value for life. If there isn’t a harvest because the field was never plowed, do you blame the plow or the farmer? We have to put in the work to create change. Violence is in our movies, music, video games and news coverage. Perhaps if we focus on the value of life instead of war and death, we will begin shaping a new generation.
Violence is human nature and will not be eradicated without God’s return. He does not cause the violence; we make a choice with our freewill to do harm. And that accounts for every one of every nation and every religion. Did you know the Bible was banned from public schools in 1963? And the first mass school shooting in America since 1764… Was near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania in 1966. From 1970 to 2021, there have been 1,924 incidents involving the discharge of a firearm on school property and 637 people have died.
Let’s find value in life once again. Perhaps look more seriously at mental illness in school age children and take a more caring approach instead of worrying about liability and lawsuits alone. We should focus on what our children are watching, playing, and listening to as parents. And as Christians, teach them the love of God, fellowship in church, and be an involved and loving nurturer.
If you take nothing else away about the second amendment and Christianity…
For society, realize that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. Christians need to learn that we are here to love, not to cast judgement. A person struggling with sexual identity, social interactions, or bullying is a person crying out for love and friendship. God loves us all and we are ALL His children. So take comfort that God confirms your right to self-defense and there is nothing in the Bible that bans Christians from guns. But with that, you have to accept the entire Bible. That includes sharing the love of Jesus in every step you take; with every person you meet.