By Jerry Guzi
Guzi is a small business owner in Roanoke.
Our Creator gave us this Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”
The original purpose of a gun: To Kill.
(On another matter,) Jesus said: “For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” (Mark 7:8)
With our love of guns, and near-idol-worship of the Second Amendment … In America, so richly blessed by Him, have we ignored God’s law, and substituted our own tradition? (To the detriment — killing, injury, heartbreak — of COUNTLESS children, women, men?) Have we created a culture that is in violation of His Commandment, His law?
We Virginians have seen gun violence that plagues America, and Virginia: Virginia Tech, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia Beach. MANY more.
When any shooting happens, it affects the victims — and many others. Each, breaking hearts.
It’s worse than it used to be. How in the world did we get here?
Our gun culture of hunting, home protection, and target shooting somehow insidiously morphed into something much different. Something harmful, deadly, destructive, costly.
Some blame mental illness, video games, or Godlessness. These are deflections. Other developed countries have these. But they don’t have the gun violence, killings, and injuries America has.
So, what is it? I respectfully suggest that our once-normal responsible gun ownership and use has been co-opted and firestorm-fanned by greed, fear, selfishness, and power politics.
• Greed — of gun manufacturers, dealers, sellers, lobbyists. Similar to Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma, who knew their products harm, injure, even kill, Americans, the gun industry knows. They ignore. They substitute their own self-serving reasoning.
• Fear — of others, of being outgunned, of tyranny, of having my guns taken away. Fear sells.
• Selfishness — MY rights. To all the guns, and firepower I want, wherever I want. To heck with others ... their rights, their life, their liberty, their pursuit of happiness. Their safety. (And no, more guns don’t save lives. More guns, more gun violence.)
• Power Politics – Those profiting from gun sales — and their special-interest lobbies — fund and lobby to get their way. Congressional, state legislators, even citizens argue, debate, protest to get their way, their political win. Then — like American Russian Roulette — carnage comes. Again. The political victors offer “thoughts and prayers”. Only. Again.
We absolutely have the right to defend ourselves, our families, our homes, but that right is not absolute.
What about the Second Amendment? From 1791, until 2008, it referred largely to militia.
Even when this interpretation changed, including individual home gun ownership (U.S. Supreme Court, Heller case, 2008), that (5-4) case ruling included:
“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
In The Atlantic (May 14, 2019) Justice John Paul Stevens said of the Heller case: “The Supreme Court’s Worst Decision of My Tenure”.
“District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right to possess a firearm under the Constitution, is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Supreme Court announced during my tenure on the bench.”
“So well settled was the issue that, speaking on the PBS NewsHour in 1991, the retired Chief Justice Warren Burger described the National Rifle Association’s lobbying in support of an expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment in these terms: ‘One of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.’ ”
“I now realize that I failed to emphasize sufficiently the human aspects of the issue ..”
What do we do?
Most importantly, all of us working together, providing common-sense .. knowledge — of guns, gun violence, gun laws, gun safety programs that stem gun violence in Virginia, and the U.S.
God and guns?
God is of His commands, Word, covenants, life.
God is not of guns.
We don’t need false idols.
We don’t need sanctuaries for tools of killing.
We do need sanctuaries.
Of human life.
Of freedom from gun violence.