Safety In The Name of Politics

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Today, my state passed the most comprehensive and restrictive gun laws in the country. Read it all here. There were no committee hearings, and no allowance for public comment.

Aside from feeling like New York and her Governor shoved this bill down our throats, much like it did with our new gay-marriage legislation, just to somehow support Gov. Cuomo’s future run for President in 2016, I sense the moral fiber of our political representatives has been hijacked by an overwhelming national tendency to politicize human tragedy for the sake of personal gain.

Of course being fed up with politicians is nothing new. Upon ousting the English from American soil, George Washington’s own men tried to persuade him to enter Congress and execute every last representative, arguing that the moral compass of their decision making faculties had become uncorrectable.

Certainly the completely illogical conclusions made by my state’s legislature today illustrates their utter ineptitude at governing. Our clip size capacity has gone from 10 rounds to 7 rounds, obviously concluding that it’s okay for us to kill seven people with our sidearms, but 10 is simply too many. Or how about the provision that says the color “black” helps designate a firearm as an “assault rifle”?

The saddest element to the legislation itself, however, is that it does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, nor punish lawbreakers with any consistency. Instead, it merely puts more state restrictions on those of us who actually care enough to abide by them, and wouldn’t have prevented the Newtown massacre (which, I thought, was the advertised point of all this).

My prayer is that We The People come to our collective senses and use our voting powers to remove irrational representatives among us and replace them with leaders actually concerned with enforcing existing laws that prosecute offenders, not law-abiding citizens.

ch:

  • Will C.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m afraid, however, that after this past election conservatives have thrown up there hands and retreated. Now more than ever we should be raising our voices in protest. I like the bumper sticker that says “The Founding Fathers Would Be Shooting By Now”. God help us help ourselves.

    • Thanks for the comment, Will. Agreed, our civic duty demands we continue to be a voice of reason even if we’re the minority.

      And yes, our forefathers also threw tea into Boston Harbor over a 3% tax.

      3%.

  • Hannah

    good post! i can’t stand it that the government who is supposed to represent us is not listening to what we’re practically screaming. and they are limiting the responsible gun owners who want to protect their families, while not coming up with a way to stop psycho people who want to do things illegally. they are supposed to be our leaders, but what is the definition of a leader; are they really leaders if the people aren’t willingly following? it’s late, and i’m probably babbling, but thanks for the post! 🙂

    • Great point, Hannah. Not only are they not representing well, they’re not leading well. Hadn’t thought of it in that light. Thanks for the contribution.

  • Daddyh

    Thank you for this. Today my state made me a criminal to be, because it seems lke I have a year to repent for something I did not do. I have never been arrested,never had a speeding or parking ticket, thanks be to God. My most cherished old hunting rifle holds ten .22 Cal.LR shells in the magazine. Now it’s illegal,and I am a criminal. (“pray for us) that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.” 2 Thess.3:2 NT

    • It’s ludicrous. And as Hannah pointed out, does nothing to deter or punish actual law-breakers. Lord, help me make my causes your causes, as I greatly fear getting off track.

  • Billy Jepma

    Stuff like this just baffles me. I do not understand how these politicians can use such a horrid tragedy to support their own agenda. Listen people, just because someone owns a gun, that doesn’t mean they’re going to go shoot people. Even you have a gun Christopher (a big one), and I couldn’t imagine you ever abusing it. The restrictions will do nothing to stop criminals, but it will stop law-abiding citizens from doing what is their right by the Constitution.
    Okay, rant over. Great post Christopher, I’m glad there’s other people out there who understand how absurd this all is.

    • Thanks, Billy. Yes, I think there are many more of us out there. The problem is our only true means of mobilization is by utilizing our power to vote law makers out of position. And based on our present course, that’s unlikely. This why I’m committed as ever to the development of Christ-followers through the vehicle of the Church with the hope of dispensing Kingdom values into the rest of the world. Far be it from me to assume The Right to Bear Arms is a Kingdom policy, but the preservation of life in a sin-filled world through noble defense I think is.

  • Daddyh

    Yea and amen to Billy J. And your 0824 response above.

  • Daddyh

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”
    – Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

    “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good”
    – George Washington

    “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
    – Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

    “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”
    – Abraham Lincoln, 4 April 1861

  • From an outsider’s perspective in Canada where owning guns isn’t really “a thing” (for lack of a better word), I cannot say that I am very informed on this topic. However, I would like to add my two cents worth: guns don’t kill people, people do. So imposing restrictions on guns is not getting to the root of the problem.

    • Emma: thanks for your perspective, especially as a Canadian. We directly attribute a lot of our founding freedoms to our right to protect that freedom personally. Further, your overarching statement is right on. If we are to apply to same logic used with all the extreme gun control measures, we need to also ban cars, airplanes, and knives.

  • This is just another act in which the goverentment is trying to control us. We need to be vocal about it, but not just get mad, yell a little and let it go. We need to come together as a God fearing nation & fight for our freedoms. Teach others the truth and how to fight for the freedom in which America is supposed to stand for. Praying for the nations unity & freedom against goverentment control. Maybe it’s time we all read the constitution & remember what faith this country was founded on.

    • I’ve been meditating a lot on the differences between a “constitutional republic” and a “pure democracy.” They’re strikingly different, and I agree we should all re-familiarize ourselves with the documents our nation was founded with.

  • Everyone here has made some well-stated and well-thought out points so I’d like to join in. I very much respect Chris and anyone who has commented on this piece.
    First, I disagree that the new law misrepresents the citizens of New York. Governor Cuomo’s approval rating has never dipped below 70% and the law was passed by a Democratically controlled State Assembly and a Republican controlled State Senate. I’m not arguing that the new law is good or bad, I’m just stating that the representatives that we put into office by majority, created and passed the law by majority. I’m very proud of our system of government in America. If the majority of New York citizens decide that the new gun law has gone too far, they can voice their constitutionally protected opinion, and also vote for representatives that will change the law.
    Second, Chris, I very much appreciate your words,
    Far be it from me to assume The Right to Bear Arms is a Kingdom policy, but the
    preservation of life in a sin-filled world through noble defense I think is.
    I struggle when this clear line is not defined by Christians. The God and Jesus that I know are distinctly anti-death. I hope that this distinction will be vocalized much more in the public debate. Christians that disagree on gun control, I think, can agree on the nature of God who wants all humans to have eternal life.
    Lastly, I found it interesting to compare the gun legislation to gay-marriage legislation. I do believe that the constitution protects many individual rights. I have trouble though because it’s very difficult to support an individual’s right to own an assault rifle but to not support that same individual’s right to marry a member of the same sex. I can understand making a case for strong individual rights that would lack control of guns and marriage, and the opposite, the case that the government has the right to regulate both guns and marriage. I have trouble mixing the two in my mind though.

    Respectfully

    • Alec,

      Great stuff here. Thanks for chiming in.

      As to your first point, if the bill was so popular among the majority of New Yorkers, I would question why there were no committee hearings on this issue, nor was their any public comment allowed. Likewise, this bill was never brought to a vote amongst the citizens of the state. So in effect it was not a majority who chose it, but our elected representatives choosing of their own conscience (which may or may not be the will of the people); yes, it’s within their rights to do so, but consider the following: If it was “so popular,” the legislature very easily could have brought it to a popular vote with no fear of opposition. This should have been considered given that they’re directly bringing into question (right or wrong) the precedent of the 2nd Amendment. For this reason I do not think the government served the welfare of the people well, and therefore disagree with you, as you have with me. The State’s failure to walk above-board with this bill is proof to me they couldn’t pass it any other way, and it reveals an innate fault with our system.

      “The God and Jesus that I know are distinctly anti-death.”

      Well said. For this reason I’ve been wrestling in my adult life with being “pro life across the board,” which includes changing my views on capital punishment.

      To this end, I must be careful not to impress my Americanism on my Kingdom views, but vice versa. (And this is where many Christians I know begin to lose me). I remind myself that I travel to nations all the time where guns are illegal, where their governments are Socialist to the core (I’ll be in China next month!), and regardless of it all, the Gospel is still thriving and the work of the Lord is moving on. In fact, this is the subject matter of some upcoming posts to put my present ones in perspective. (Working backwards, you could say, from “civic < divine"). As to your last point, this is a true libertarian view point. And one I can not rectify in my own mind. I'm leaning more libertarian the older I get. Less government, period. "Don't tell me what to do." And, "as long as it's not affecting me and mine, carry on." However, homosexuality does affect "me and mine," as does any immorality. Just try explaining it to my kids; even the notion of immorality on any level, I hold, is detrimental to the innocence of the human mind as God intended. I fully realize my views on marriage are based in the Bible. Therefore creating law around the Bible is in fact mandating my world-view on others (ie, not freedom). But the only argument I feel I can make is that God, as referenced in the Old and New Testaments of the Christian faith, was the subject of almost every Constitutional writer's world-view (minus a few notables). So it's given to reason that such assumptions on the edicts and sanctity of marriage need not be defined to the extent we've dissected them today, or they may have been more specific. I fear we're entering an era where not only are our government policy makers becoming corrupt––which was why the Constitution was invented, to provide a way out from such situations through voting––but the populace has also become increasingly immoral. We are a Constitutional Republic, not a Pure Democracy. So even if our populace voted for something anti-Constitutional, by our own laws, we can not grant it. Yet here we are redefining a centuries old mandate of marriage, and a universal right to defend one's family, all in the names of "freedom" and "safety." Thanks for sharing, Alec.