Esty_Lewis_sitin_otu_img

An honorable man such as Rep. John Lewis (D. -GA.) has a strong track record of fighting for Civil Rights and fighting for fair treatment under the Law. He started a sit-in the House of Representatives after there was a failure to bring up legislation to vote on gun control legislation which was blocked by the Republicans under Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R. -WI). Both men as I see it are honorable men. You may or may not agree with their respective positions but both seem honorable. The difference is Rep. Lewis believes that congress needs to debate a response to the tragedy in the gay club in Florida before moving on to other congressional business. In the need for debate I completely agree with Representative Lewis.

Isaiah once told us that there is a day coming when God’s Chosen One will reign on this Earth. In that day “He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). That day is not here yet and we must be wise as we live in a world that wants the benefit of the Kingdom without the reign of the King. One can not exists without the other. Until that day arrives we should be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Jesus in Matthew 10:16). This is not a easy tension but it is possible. We are blessed to live in a land where we elect our representatives to craft laws that govern us all. Christians should be a voice of reason (truth) and compassion (love) until the King comes.

There does need to be a robust debate in the House on the role of the Second Amendment. It should not be predicated on what the Senate does or does not do with it. House Speaker Paul Ryan said it was a dead issue in the House since the Senate already has said they are not going to act on it.

It is not unreasonable in light of developments of semi automatics being used by terrorists and sociopaths in America to cause mass harm in America to have a real discussion on gun safety and security in America. We need to hear both sides of the issue to discuss safety and security in light of a ever increasing reality that jihadist are using weapons to kill including using weapons that were legally purchased in America.

We need to be able to discuss the reality that certain people such as the shooter in Florida that were known to be sympathetic to jihadi ideology by our government. Under current law, gun-salesmen were unable to keep the shooter from purchasing weapons. Does this mean that his right to purchase guns should be suspended? If so, on what constitutional grounds? Does the Second Amendment guarantee everyone has the right to purchase any type of guns?  Should there be certain individuals that have some of their freedoms curtailed in the interest of national security?

Reasonable people can disagree on what needs to be done next but the conversation needs to be had.

Most legal gun owners are a mixture of people that use guns as a method of entertainment, protection against assailants, and as a safe guard to protect against the possibility of tyranny. The Second Amendment does protect their right to own guns. Personally, I very much support the Second Amendment for personal protection and to safe guard against tyranny which was the Founders intent. It does not at all give any framework on which type of guns that includes because semi-automatic and automatic weapons did not exist in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was ratified. Those who are pro-Second Amendment need to realize that those who oppose weapons that can easily be used to kill mass number of innocent lives are not their enemy. Murderers are the enemy.

Some Democrats currently want to end certain types of weapons from being able to be purchased and to curtail the rights of some citizen from purchasing guns in the hope that they would not be able to purchase weapons that can inflict mass casualties. If laws had been in place to keep him from purchasing these weapons easily would lives have been saved? Yet, is that the wisest course or should we profile would be assailants only and curtail some of their rights?

There are no answers to this question that can be easily reduced to soundbites. The different ways to respond to this tragedy need to be nationally considered, weighed, and measured. The legislative response must balance due process (5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments), the right of free speech and association (1st Amendment), and the right to bear arms (2nd Amendment) in the context of the 21st century realities. We also need to honor the original intent of the 18th century framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights since we are a nation ruled by laws.

Most anti-semiautomatic weapon advocates believe that private citizens should not own guns that can be made in to assault weapons or function in a similar fashion. Those who advocate this position need to see that gun owners as a whole are not a problem. Outlawing such guns may reduce the number of quick casualties from gun deaths. The question is it a smart long term solution especially in the context of the Second Amendment that allows for citizens to rebel against a tyrannical government if necessary? It is clear that jihadist are capable of inflicting mass casualties by making bombs, using knives, and using military weapons to kill in the name of their ideology. Perhaps it is time that we have a thorough conversation on what ideologies are not compatible with American interest. This too is a slippery slope because it opens the question of who gets to define which ideologies are dangerous. Also who gets to decide what qualifies as American interest?

Still though the idea of the House of Representatives is that the voice of the people is heard in our national political discourse through our Representatives. The conversation needs to happen.

Rahm Emanuel once said “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” There is a opportunity to use even tragedy to bring about good changes. Though it must be done with care or it reduces human lives to chess pieces in some political theater.

This is seen when certain people co-op a tragedy to advance their political capital. It devalues human life as a pawn for political power. It does not matter which political side you are on the issue. Be it Donald Trump, currently a Republican saying I told you so shortly after the tragedy unfolds or Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Minority Leader and former Speaker of the House, using the sit in as a fundraiser!

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee according to CNN used the opportunity to fundraise, with Pelosi telling supporters, “I need 6,000 gifts in the door during tonight’s sit-in. Will you pitch in $1?”

That is just disgraceful on both sides of the issue. People like me who are pro-life need to speak in to this debate with more than just sound bites from our political teams. We should advocate for all that our representatives can reasonably and legally do to end using weapons for unlawful means. This means that all sides are going to have to work together and we must all speak out against those that would waste a opportunity to bring good from evil by using tragedy for political gain.

 

Leave a Reply