The recent carnage by a man with known psychological problems wielding an assault rifle has spurred further rhetoric in the gun control debate. Meanwhile, many, many more are being killed with guns daily in our streets or in our homes.
A plethora of editorials and opinion letters have been written on gun control, but nothing has changed. Prospects for change seem dim. For now, there is little more that can be said or written, but change must come and soon.
Some are crying out for early identification of those likely to enact violence similar to that carried out at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
It will neither be possible to predict the behavior of all who have psychological problems, nor reasonable in terms of health information privacy. Even if we could, we would still have hundreds of gun-inflicted deaths at the hands of the “sane.”
Improving mental health diagnoses is not enough; common-sense gun reform is necessary. Access to certain types of firearms, such as assault weapons, should be restricted, and ammunition clips over a certain size should be banned.
Even as I write, I can hear the rejoinders of the NRA and gun advocates. I have heard all of them far too often, and I do not believe that they hold water.
The myth that gun ownership and perceived Second Amendment rights will save us and preserve liberty is dead.
It should be given its last rites and buried. Those who cling to that myth should ask the families of the many victims how saved and liberated they feel.
What has been disappointing to me is the lack of concern and compassion from the Christian community.
How can we be concerned about souls and such issues as abortion and the death penalty, but acquiesce to the essentially unregulated sale of automatic and semi-automatic weapons being used to kill and maim innocent people?
What, then, can we do? What options are open to those who see as unacceptable the current level of gun control?
In the final analysis, gun control, especially the control of assault weapons, is, like most everything else in life, a political issue. Let us hold our political leaders responsible.
What remains is for those of like mind to stand up and speak out as we find candidates from both major parties who will seek legislative changes and not be intimidated by the NRA lobby.
Bill Holmes is an ordained Baptist (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) pastor and part-time hospital chaplain. He retired from medicine after 34 years of practicing and teaching pediatrics and pediatric neurology. He is also a doctor of ministry student at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.