The Common Good

"Love Your Enemies" = "Don't Shoot Them, Either."

The House of Representatives just passed a law that would allow gun-owners to carry their guns through other states based on the Constitutional right to bear arms (as opposed to the right to bear legs — once global warming kicks it up a notch expect to see this one on the floor soon).

Non-Violence Gun Sculpture in Sweden. Image by Francois Polito via Wiki Commons.
Non-Violence Gun Sculpture in Sweden. Image by Francois Polito via Wiki Commons. (double licence GFDL et Creative Commons CC-BY-

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

As a native Illinoisan, I’m not sure how I should feel about this bill. Illinois is one of two states (not including Washington D.C.) that don’t have concealed carry provisions. This provision would allow Missourians and Michiganders and people from Indiana to waltz right through our state with their guns as they please. I see the merit and legality to the 2nd Amendment, yet at the same time, I recognize we have a gun violence problem in America. 

Here’s how dialogue around gun control goes these days:

For: Guns kill people.

Against: Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

For: People kill people using guns

Against: And the Second Amendment?

For: Shoot… No, wait!         

We don’t do a good job of debating about gun-control (or lack there-of) in the United States.

There are fundamentally four types of people, as far as using and handling guns are concerned:

1. The people who know how to use a gun properly, and are willing to use a gun if necessary. My brother, Chris, is an Eagle Scout, and spent a summer teaching kids how to shoot a gun at a rifle range. He knows how to use a gun properly, so I can trust him that he will use it properly. When talking about gun control, this group is safe.

2. The people who know how to use a gun but choose not to. I picture a lot of ex-cops, ex-scouts and ex-soldiers in this category. Maybe they had a bad experience, but when it comes to guns, they aren’t dangerous to the general population.

3. The people who are willing to use a gun, but don’t know how to use one properly. (See, Anders Behring Breivik, et al) The right to bear arms was enacted for self-defense, not outward aggression. This is the group everyone should be concerned about when talking about gun control. It is because of this group that we need background checks and a crack-down on illegal arms deals.

4. I belong in the 4th group. Yes, I did go skeet shooting one time at summer camp, but by no means do I know how to use a gun properly, nor would I be willing to use a gun under normal circumstances (talk to me again when the zombie apocalypse hits, but by then I think we’ll have bigger issues to address than gun-control.) Granted, my group probably has many other problems, but the possibility of shooting someone is not one of them.

Using this as a starting place, how do we approach comprehensive national security using the Second Amendment? The law, as it stands, does not make us safer as a country as much as it makes is safer as individuals (who choose to carry guns. Unless you’re Plaxico Burress). How do we protect individual freedoms while also protecting collective security?

And when Jesus said, “Love your enemies,” is it possible he also could’ve meant, “Don’t shoot them”?

James Colten is a campaigns assistant at Sojourners.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories


Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)