Is the 2nd Amendment Biblical?
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, recently introduced a bill making “it no longer possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada." This drastic action followed the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24th. Here in the United States, the debate over the 2nd Amendment and access to firearms continues to grow as people are looking for solutions to stop violence after the Texas shooting. But what should be a Christian's response be to the debate about gun ownership? What insight can the Bible give? Here are a few points that makes it clear the Bible supports the 2nd Amendment:
1. The Bible supports the ownership of weapons
The Founding Fathers had just fought and won a war against the tyranny of Great Britain when the 2nd amendment was written in the Constitution. They understood that domestic and international enemies existed, and thus, that citizens should be ready for anything. Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, said, “…to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them..." While the Bible does not mention guns specifically, it does agree with this idea of owning weapons. In 2 Chronicles 23:9-11, the crowning of Joash, king of Israel, was protected by Jehoiada and the priests with weapons in their procession. Joash then became one of the greatest kings in all of Judea. Weapons, whether guns or swords, are tools and can be used for good or harm. It is the personal use of the tool, not the ownership, that is to be judged. Jesus knew that Simon Peter had a sword and did not judge him on him owning one. It was only when Simon Peter used it improperly in Matthew 26:52-54 that Jesus rebuked him.
2. The Bible allows self-defense
The Founding Fathers believed and articulated the Judeo-Christian idea that humans are created in the image of God. This means that every human has the right to defend that image. The Bible supports this in Luke 22:35-38, with Jesus instructing his disciples to go and buy swords when journeying. Why? Because there are dangers such as wild animals, murderers, thieves, rapists, etc. The weapon is a precaution to defend oneself and the others around you. The Bible is also supportive of using weapons to defend one’s property. In Nehemiah 4:16-18, half of the men carried weapons to protect the wall and the other men against attacks. In Exodus 22:2, God states that if a thief is killed breaking into a house at night, the one who killed the thief is not guilty of murder. God does not seek to punish those defending what He has given them.
3. The Bible calls us to do what is right
The growing movement to hinder or remove gun ownership, whether in the United States or in other countries, presents dangers to its citizens. Cesare Beccar, famously quoted by Thomas Jefferson, said, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." The best way to protect the innocent in the community is by the use of weapons. To not do so is a sin of omission. In The Life and Death Debate: Moral Issues for Our Time, Dr. Norman Geisler and James Porter Moreland wrote, “… to permit murder when one could have prevented it is morally wrong. To allow a rape when one could have hindered it is an evil. To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is morally inexcusable. In brief, not resisting evil is an evil of omission, and an evil of omission can be just as evil as an evil of commission. Any man who refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails them morally.” Christians, especially Christian Americans, are called to protect the innocent, protect oneself, and protect that which God has given us. The 2nd Amendment gives the freedom that enables us to do so.