Guest post by Phil Snider
Gun laws in the United States of America should be changed immediately:
Fact 1: Every year far more innocent people in the U.S. are unintentionally killed by an accident with a gun than are criminals killed by a “good guy with a gun.” [So the self-defense argument doesn’t work unless for some strange reason one wishes to also argue that more deaths by gun violence is preferable to fewer deaths by gun violence.]
Fact 2: Where there are higher rates of gun ownership in the U.S., there are higher rates of gun violence in the U.S. There is a direct and disproportionate correlation between gun ownership and gun fatalities.
Fact 3: Nations with tighter gun restrictions have drastically fewer gun fatalities in comparison to the U.S.
Fact 4: If you say that changing the law is unnecessary because criminals will always find ways to break the law, then you are de facto arguing against the purpose of having any laws.
Fact 5: A person hellbent on acting maliciously can murder far more people with certain types of guns than with, say, a knife. [This seems so obvious to point out, but, for example, there’s a reason it’s wrong to build bombs –> they are designed to kill large quantities of people at once. As are many types of guns.]
Two more facts, from a friend:
A history of violence against women is among the strongest predictors of future violence like murder and mass shootings.
People living with mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violent acts than the perpetrators.
Truth: We may think (or feel) that having guns makes us more safe, but that is an illusion. Owning guns makes us far less safe. Nonetheless, our fears have led us to build a golden calf out of guns. But like all idols, they cannot save.
Truth: Our nation is enamored with the myth of redemptive violence, from which we need to be saved.
Truth: If one thinks the founding documents of our country are not subject to revision or contextual and constructive critique, then (1) one has to continue to support some pretty outlandish things, such as the 3/5ths compromise and (2) one doesn’t think it’s possible to progress further or to be open to new insights and perspectives, which is at once both tragic and myopic.
Truth: We have the responsibility to politicize tragedies so they don’t keep happening over and over and over again. Not to do so is to give them our tacit approval, which should be unconscionable.
What are we waiting for?
Phil Snider is an award-winning author, community organizer, pastor, and teacher. In addition to providing religious commentary in various local and national media outlets, including NPR affiliates and nationally-syndicated radio and television programming, his work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, Slate, Fox News and USA Today. Phil’s books include Justice Calls: Sermons of Welcome and Affirmation, Preaching After God, The Hyphenateds, and Toward a Hopeful Future (winner of the 2011 Mayflower Award for best book in church and society).
Image: REUTERS/SERGIO FLORES