As a nation we have seemed to somehow elevated the 2nd’admendment to the status of one of the Ten Commandments as if God positively said, “Thou shalt bear arms.” Of course, the irony is there is the commandment which forbids murder and nowhere in Holy Scriptures do we see the necessity of having weapons. We can debate this all day long and then some, but with the recent shootings in El Paso, Midland Texas and Ohio, it is time for less debate and more action. I’m all for gun ownership but why can’t we as a society limit that to pistols, rifles and shot guns? No one needs semi-automatic weapons or military style weapons unless they are policemen or in the military.

My father-in-law used to say, “Your rights end when they infringe on mine.’  When violent, hate filled people legally obtain a weapon and use it for killing innocent people, their rights need to come to an end, even if it means law abiding citizens pay that price with them. The current administration says the mentally ill are to blame and yet they aren’t in the majority of the ones who pull the trigger in these killings.*

Perhaps they are so beholding to the NRA lobby that they lack the moral fortitude to pass more restrictive legislation. One powerful lobby should not buy and pay for the silence and inaction of a legislative body.

I get it. I really do. We like our fire power. I have enjoyed target practice and shooting at clay disks. It is an enjoyable experience and a rush. We should all be allowed to do that or hunt animals when we wish.  I also get the argument that guns don’t kill people. People kill people and it is an issue of a sick heart, absent from the love of Jesus. But if restricting the access to the ease of these guns can save even one life, wouldn’t it be worth it?

Bold action has always led to change for the better. Bold action created the WPA and led us out of the Great Depression. Bold action cut tax rates in the 1980s and revived a faltering economy hurt by long lines at the gas pumps and the loss of jobs. Before that, bold action lead to the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s which paved the way to greater social equality. The times call for bold action once again in the face of the national epidemic of gun violence by restricting a class of weapons to only the military and our law enforcement personnel. I’m tired of seeing “Thou shalt not kill” being violated in mass killings. Most of all, I’m tired of lowering the flag to half-staff every two weeks when it could be flying high and proud.

As Congress returns from summer recess, it will be interesting to see if there is the boldness there to really do something great. They have the moral authority, the backing of the majority of ‘we the people,’ and so may God give them the moral strength to do something bold for the welfare of all the people.

(*According to 2016 book, “Gun Violence and Mental Illness,” psychiatrists Liza Gold and Robert Simon report that less than 5 percent of shootings are caused by people with a diagnosable mental illness. In fact, it goes on to state that the mentally ill are more likely to shoot someone they know rather than strangers and they are more likely to be victims of a shooting rather than the perpetrator of one. This information can be found at Behavioral Scientist.org “The myth of mental illness causing mass shootings.”)

Jim Pence

Martinsville

Minister, Pleasant Grove Christian Church