Gun Violence in Our Upside-Down World: A Sermon

We Mormons don’t give sermons. We give talks. We like our pulpit-talk, and all of our talk for that matter, to be collegial, mild, and soft. Given the choice we’ll always take banana bread. “Talks” don’t make waves.

Today I want to sermonize. I want to call down a some fire on Pentecost and shine with the Glory of the Lord. I want to call our people to real action, challenge our thinking, and pound the pulpit while I do it. 

This past week I was in at an airport with my eight year old daughter. We were going on a Daddy/Daughter adventure. She had told me she wanted to visit China. I had arranged for us to go visit L.A.’s Chinatown and take part in the Monterey Park Chinese New Year Festival. 

While at the airport, I checked my emails.

I sit on the board of my local school district. A kid had brought a gun to school. Thank god, he was spotted. The administrators took care of it with quick and expert care. But my community walked the razor edge of tragedy. 

A couple days later, the morning after my daughter and I had enjoyed the festival, we woke of to a string of texts, and a missed call, from my girlfriend. Monterey Park had suffered a mass shooting. Had we stayed out a little later, we would have been at risk.

It was surreal, having two instances of gun violence so nearly within my orbit. 

When Simon Peter was crucified, in the apocraphal text Acts of Peter, he requested to be hung upside down. If ever we mention this, we say he made this request because he felt unworthy to be hung like Christ. But that is not what the text says. Peter asked to be hung this way because he knew Jesus had turned the world around. Jesus had made our upside-down world right-side up again. And hanging as he would, he would see the world the right-side up. 

The problem was, the problem is, none of us have noticed. That is the so-called scandal of Christianity. Jesus turned the word around; he made it right with god, and the world doesn’t seem to know. No one has noticed. 

I came home from the trip. The next morning I saw California had suffered another shooting. Two in one week. A natural move in the sort of perverse world that resists redemption. 

Congress met soon after. There was a televised hearing. They were decrying Ticketmaster. Senators were quoting Taylor Swift. Each was trying to be cute. Each was washing their hands while crosses were carried. 

None were aware Christ had redeemed the world. Each carried on like it was still upside-down. 

We worship the God who weeps. Perfect worship is emulation and that’s why we weep with those that weep. This weeping must be done, and to be done properly, it cannot be done in alone. We are not to weep in isolation. We can mourn when we need to mourn. But we must also do the work of mourning with those that mourn. We are called to engage with our weeping and our mourning and our comforting. 

Thoughts and prayers do not qualify because they are not outwardly engaged. Not really. They are an excuse to go home, to be sad, and to cry to god in our closet when the stranger cries for comfort outside.

We are God’s Weepers On Earth called to mourn with all of Those and comfort with all of Those. I am not convinced that we can truly live this divine commission without substantive engagement with the issue of pervasive gun violence. 

A month or so ago before this last mass shooting we were discussing a six year old who shot their teacher. Just a couple of days ago, it was reported that a Kansas man was shot by his dog. It’s grown cliche to say, but this does not happen in other countries. This is an American problem fueled by our unwillingness to engage. 

This violence is the blood and sin of our generation. We are as the people before the flood- without affection, hating our own blood. And if not hating not caring enough to take action on behalf of our brothers and sisters. 

Each of us proclaiming that there is nothing we can do. Each of us offering half-hearted Thoughts and Prayers; each another link in Satan’s Great Chain which he swings from his hand as he laughs and his angels rejoice. 

How long till we bury our weapons of war? 

How long till we beat them into plowshares? 

How long will how long shall we suffer these wrongs and oppressions, before our hearts shall be softened?

How long until we, the Lord’s Chosen People, stop supporting the corrupt judges and Chief Priests who have allowed these weapons to flood our Promised Land?

How long will we suffer this upside-down world?

If we refuse to stand as witnesses for Peace will we not cry for the mountians to fall upon us when the Prince of Peace returns?

Christ has turned the world upside-down. But it is up to us to keep it that way. We are the Hands of Christ on earth called to hold it right-side up. We cannot, like the slothful servant who buried his talent, sit on our hands waiting for Jesus to return and do the work. We cannot wait to be commanded in all things. Angles above us are silent notes taking. 

All of this could be more refined. I know I didn’t offer solutions. I’m not convinced I need to. More astute voices than I have offered them already. I just ask that we Latter-day Saints realize our commission to engage and work and toil and keep the world as Jesus turned it.

As I conclude putting this sermon to paper I am in my own classroom. I am sitting at my teacher’s desk. Here, yesterday, in this room we had a meeting with my 8th graders about something that had happened at lunch. Something that required a school wide communication with parents. 

One of my students had told an administrator that their friend had brought a gun to school. 

Dear Father in Heaven, help us turn the world around.


  1. I had a coworker mention that he brought a handgun in his backpack to high school every day. Not that he thought that he needed it for protection, but that he fantasized about being physically challenged and then shooting the aggressor.

  2.    %Sent from my Galaxy

  3. Thanks. We will continue to have individual and mass shootings until we decide that we love life more than we love our guns. Other countries have shown us that this is possible. But are we too “exceptional” to learn from them? Perhaps.

  4. Amen and Amen and Amen, brother!

  5. This entire “sermon” comes from a place of fear, and then seeks to use the Gospel as an emotional cudgel to placate that fear. That never works, except to convince those who already agree with you.

    I am a gun owner. I freely admit that. I have been accused of “loving my guns more than my kids”, but the truth is that I own my guns BECAUSE I love my kids, and I have used them to defend and protect my family. I have faced direct, specific threats towards me as an individual, as well as having had my home targeted because of who lived there before we bought it (which we didn’t know at the time). That generally changes your perspective on things, especially when you have a pregnant wife and a young family.

    Guns themselves are not the problem. The problem is that we live in a fallen world surrounded by evil. In an ideal world, we would all be able to “bury our weapons of war”, but that is not the world we live in (and comparing the US to other nations doesn’t work because you have to deal with the world the way it is).

    There is no universal commandment to disarm yourself in the face of evil.
    The same pacifistic Anti-Nephi-Lehis who buried their weapons and swore never to shed blood again also armed their sons and sent them to war to be led by a prophet. That’s an individual decision to make in consultation with the Lord and based on your own particular circumstances. It’s not my place to judge you, nor is it your place to judge me.

    Go ahead and be a witness for Peace, but the only way to bring Peace is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will not achieve that by disarming people in the face of evil. You can only do that by helping to turn the hearts of those who would do evil towards the light that the Gospel brings.

  6. Observer, your argument for guns seems as based out of fear as that of the OP (which, incidentally, doesn’t call for less guns, though that might be implied). Both your claim and the OP, however, I think would like to argue that your motives are out of love.

    So, do you have any argument for why America has such a problem with gun violence? Any tangible proposed solutions? Any way for you step away from your emotional response and agree to say, universal background checks and the gun fair loopholes, etc? In short, can you actually suggest or take a step to help given your experience?

  7. I agree with this post, but there’s also a kind of limited perspective here. It comes off as if this type of violence (domestic gun violence) is the only kind of violence that warrants pleas like this.

    This has kind of been the mood since at least Sandy Hook. But this also has a ‘first world problems’ kind of vibe to it, not first world in the sense that only first world nations experience it (other ‘first world’ countries don’t have as much domestic gun violence as the USA does), but first in the sense that the violence that the USA deliberately exports doesn’t get this kind of attention or response.

    When domestic mass shootings happen, we talk about beating our swords into ploughshares and burying our weapons of war. But when it comes to state-sanctioned violence abroad, these same voices don’t talk about it much.

    we’ve collectively exported mass shootings and violence onto others, the No Gun Ri massacre, the My Lai massacre, the entirety of the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, in which US forces have deliberately killed civilians. And if not us, we greedily sell weapons to other nations (like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel) who use them massacre other civilian populations (Houthi’s and Palestianians, respectively).

    But, because all of this is sanctioned by the state, and makes about 10% of the economy, we don’t think about it too much, at best we ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. At worst we believe them when they say it’s necessary and that they’re out there ‘defending our freedom’ or whatever. And this is mostly a bipartisan consensus, liberal won’t get in the way of our economy of violence.

    the beating of swords into plowshares needs to happens at the top, as well as the bottom, our collective lust for civilian collection of firearms is just down stream from the fact that we need violence on a massive scale just to maintain our imperial economy.

  8. Brian,

    My approach was based not in fear, but in principles of risk management (something I am trained to do on a professional basis).

    For example, I referenced my home being targeted because of someone who lived there before we bought it. I had someone trying to break my door down at 1:00am, in a place where the average police response time for a priority one call (in a suburban major metropolitan area) was approximately 6 minutes from the time they were notified by dispatch (effectively a 7-8 minute response time from when you call 911). Having the means of home defense in that circumstance is quite reasonable as a stopgap until the police can arrive.

    In contrast, a few years ago when my then-7-year-old son was showing signs of suicidal ideation, I made arrangements to move my entire gun collection outside of our home to minimize the specific risks to him until we could address his underlying medical issues, even though they were already kept in locked cabinets away from ammo according to standard gun storage safety guidelines. (Fortunately, he is doing much better now with the support of therapy and the diagnosis and treatment of some of his underlying disorders.)

    Different situations, with different risk profiles, led to different approaches.

    However, I am not going to turn this comment section into a debate over specific gun control proposals. As I said before, the only way to bring Peace is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You don’t do that through enacting laws (especially those that only target law-abiding citizens). You do that by teaching people to apply the Atonement in their lives and feel the Spirit. If we can do that, then it wouldn’t matter how many guns there are in the world, because they would all rust from disuse (outside of hunting for food).

  9. Observer, you have written about your situation before. I disagree, however, in that your case does not appear any less motivated by fear (in fact, it seems more so).

    Also, you seem to want to apply your (exceptional) situation and expand your response to some universal given. Most people in the US, however, don’t live in those situations. And even, then, there would still be room for debate.

    Finally, such a debate about what to do is exactly what this OP seems to be asking for. Your unwillingness to see both your own situation objectively (fear) and to engage with the debate about what to do seems to suggest already your position: which is to do nothing except what is already happening (and preach the gospel more?). Am I mistaken? If so, how?

    I’ll go first: let’s establish nationwide, universal background checks. Let’s demand gun safety training before a gun can be purchased. Let’s set an age limit on who can purchase a gun. Let’s establish and enforce red-flag laws. Let’s close gun-show loopholes.

    Let’s be more vocal in our outrage and un-acceptance about gun violence and the glorification of violence and guns in general. Let’s challenge people who recite demonstrably false ‘facts’ about gun violence.

    Let’s talk about and share our sorrows when lives are lost to gun violence.

    Let’s not avoid the debate. Let’s not keep the status quo.

  10. And to clarify, I’m glad you kept your guns away from your home when you felt like it posed a risk. Most people, however, don’t have the specific physical threats to themselves that you have. And, as your actions reveal, guns are part off the problem. You removed them to protect someone you loved.

  11. Observer, the notion that laws do nothing to advance the cause of peace is inane. No, no man-made law will ever bring lasting peace, but that’s no excuse not to try and make things better. Also, your aside about “law-abiding citizens” is ludicrous. How many of these mass shootings have been perpetrated by people who were law-abiding gun owners up until the point they pulled the trigger?

  12. Sadly, the second largest mass shooting this year, so far, was perpetrated by an active member of the church against his family in Enoch, Utah.

    The part that makes me the most sad in this is that a powerless child spoke up and wasn’t helped by people around her who could have recognized the danger she, her siblings, her mother, and her grandmother faced.

    While this mass shooting doesn’t have the random stranger element that many have that instills high levels of fear in many of us, but it *does* represent a real danger that *significant* numbers of women and children, and, yes, men within the church face.

    As a people that have promised to carry one another’s burdens, we let the innocent members of this family down. We could be spending conferences and fifth Sundays and other meeting times educating ourselves about the dangers of family and intimate partner violence instead of living within a delusion that it does not affect those within our ranks.

  13. Fear not, Anon. I’m sure that it will continue to drop down the chart of size of shootings this year such that soon we won’t even remember that we learned nothing from it.

  14. A practical step that some people I know have taken: they won’t let their children play with friends if there is a gun in the home. This means that the mother calls the home in questions and says they have a family rule that if there are guns in the home, their children can’t come over to play.

    Now, I understand that some might argue that this rule might not fly in some areas, but that’s the rule they have. And, this was in West Texas, and the mother had nothing but positive experiences from the resulting conversations and the experiences. (She is a compassionate fighter, lawyer, however, and had a lot of practice dealing with potentially awkward situations.)

    I’ve often wondered how I can and am willing to implement this in my own life. I have taken the step to do the same for family reunions, where I know my brother in law might be packing. If he brings a gun with him, my family is not staying in the same lodging as them.

    I’m also at the point where I will tell my father the same thing the next time we visit them. It would be an economic hurt for us to find other lodging, but we would swallow it.

    It’s time to change the discourse around guns.

    Most people are for practical steps. A step is a step.

  15. Brian,

    Guns are a tool that can be used for good or evil. As such, they are no different than any other tool. It is the uses to which they are put that are either acceptable or unacceptable. A gun in the hands of a hunter, used to feed his family, or in the hands of one of the millions of citizens who use them in self defense in the US every year* is an acceptable use (the scriptures specifically approve of both hunting for food and self defense). A gun in the hands of a robber, a murderer, or a thief, is unacceptable. The gun itself hasn’t changed, only the use to which it is put.

    This entire post, and any attempts from it to use emotional appeals to implement gun control, miss the root cause of the problem. The problem isn’t the guns. It’s people. You have to address the evil in the world, the element that causes people to use tools for unacceptable purposes.

    All the gun control in the world can’t change that. Guns are a 16th century technology, and can be replicated by home hobbyists with simple tools and supplies. Shinzo Abe was assassinated last year in Japan (a country with extremely strict gun and ammunition control) by a man using a homemade firearm and homemade gunpowder. Today, with a 3D printer, or a hobbyist mill, you can make a fully functional firearm from raw materials that are unrestricted and fundamentally can’t be restricted. The genie can’t be put back into the bottle.

    And that’s not even starting on the fact that virtually all of your proposals are blocked by the Constitution. The Second Amendment protects the right of the people (individuals) to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms. There are numerous Supreme Court precedents at this point now that reinforce that right, and that it is equal to the other rights in the Bill of Rights.

    I’m sure you would argue that guns are different from other rights, because they are “dangerous”, but as Clarence Thomas pointed out in the recent Bruen decision, that’s an interest balancing test, and that balancing was done when the Second Amendment was ratified, just like the balancing of the dangers of free speech and a free press and freedom of religion were done when the First Amendment was ratified. You may not like that it is the law of the land, but we do believe in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Until and unless the Second Amendment is modified by a later amendment, that is the legal bounds within which any proposal needs to work.

    So stop focusing on the guns, and start focusing on the people. When my son was suicidal, it wasn’t because we had guns in the house, it was because of his mental health. In the end, the solution wasn’t removing the guns (I made preparations to move them offsite, but we were able to get him the medical care he needed faster than anticipated and keeping them secured in locked cabinets in a locked closet in our locked room was sufficient), but getting him the treatment he needed.

    Finally, if you read what I’ve written in these comments and previous threads, you will note carefully that I have consistently said that whether or not someone owns, carries, or uses guns should be left up to the individual, according to their own personal revelation. The Spirit directed the Anti-Nephi-Lehis to throw down their arms, but also directed their sons to pick them up. It is, and should be, a personal decision. Gun control interferes with that. When you seek to impose gun control by law, you are saying that your personal decision not to own, carry, or use a gun should be forced upon me through the threat of legal force. From a doctrinal standpoint, it’s not my place to tell you to own a gun, but it’s also not your place to tell me not to.

    * A 2021 survey commissioned by Georgetown University economist William English found 1.7 million self defense uses of guns per year, well within the range found in other studies.

  16. I want to reiterate and expand on this:

    Stop focusing on the guns, and start focusing on the people. When my son was suicidal, it wasn’t because we had guns in the house, it was because of his mental health. In the end, the solution wasn’t removing the guns (I made preparations to move them offsite, but we were able to get him the medical care he needed faster than anticipated and keeping them secured in locked cabinets in a locked closet in our locked room was sufficient), but getting him the treatment he needed.

    Two thirds of gun deaths in the US are suicides. That’s an outright mental health issue. Most of those suicides are men (women generally prefer other suicide methods). We should be expanding resources for mental health support, and this is one area where the Church can particularly make a difference.

    Of the remaining gun deaths, a large portion of them tie back to two sources: gangs and drugs. We need to target the influences that cause young people to join gangs in the first place, by offering them alternatives to get a sense of belonging. We also need to increase enforcement to remove the more violent elements of gangs from the streets. With drugs, we need to do more to reduce demand (addressing mental health above will help with that) while also working to cut off the supply.

    These approaches focus on the people at the root of the problem, and not the tools used, and they would have immediate and real impacts on peoples lives without getting into fights over guns and gun control.

  17. Observer, I see that you can repeat the worn out logic and phrases that have existed for all long as the debate has existed. But don’t believe for a second that I, and nearly everyone with even a remote interest in the debate, hasn’t heard everything you have written before. I know I have. That doesn’t make them right or correct. And it hasn’t done anything to stem the tide of gun violence. Have you considered that there are other positions on the matter? by legal experts, by smart, loving people? Even by people who have guns? Did you know that various believes on gun control efforts have waxed and waned even within conservative circles and the party itself? Reagan? Look, the matter is not over, not some clear, final law, as you would have people believe. Also, I believe in sustaining the law, don’t straw man me. It’s offensive.

    Guns are dangerous. So are people. The point you think you are making isn’t really a point. Of course people do dangerous things and hurt each other.

    Also, you keep repeating yourself. Yes, I read carefully.

    People in other countries suffer from mental health problems. People in other countries consume the same media. People in other countries are stressed and have anger problems. And yet . . . .

    Finally, people in some other countries (think Scandinavia) believe less in Jesus than in America. Belief in God or the gospel doesn’t seem to be a significant factor in causing less gun violence (perhaps it’s even the other way around), no matter what you want to think. Factually, other develop, democratic, free countries have less gun violence, even factoring for population that us. They must have figured something out, must do something differently than us.. You know what it is, but disagree with it.

    In the end, nothing changes when nothing changes. That’s the point of this post. You are fine with the status quo, and the find the losses as necessary and unacceptable losses. Other things are more important to you. We get it already. Why not just say so?

    This OP clearly didn’t reach you. That’s fine. Your arguments won’t reach most people, however, who want something happening, to change; people who aren’t okay with the status quo (which is all that will continue to happen if we stick with your plan).

  18. If interpretation of the 2nd Amendment were settled law, the NRA wouldn’t have to spend so much money (and paying politicians) to convince people that it was.

  19. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Members of the Church in other countries do not own guns at a higher rate than their fellow citizens. They read the same scriptures, hear and read the same sermons, and seek to worship and follow Christ. They are not taught to worship and follow the 2nd amendment. It is not a God-given right, applicable to all His children throughout the world. The right to own a gun is not given from God. Choose you this day, etc.

  20. Jimothy, excellent point that nobody seems to want to engage in.

    Brian, your friend reminds me of an evangelical whose parents wouldn’t let them come over to play because of a gay sibling because of irrational fear of abuse and prejudice. Same thing.

    I suppose they can’t play at houses with swimming pools either.

  21. I agree with this post. Thanks for writing it. Tragedy abounds and there are far too many stories where someone sees using a firearm as a solution to their problems. We need to teach people the good news Christ.

    I also have a pistol in my car, a loaded “assault rifle” in my closet, and two more pistols within close distance of my bed.

    I’m not part of the problem, but do you think I am?

  22. Jpv, as far I as understand, my friend did it to begin discourse on guns in the home. I have no idea about swimming pools.

    And though I understand the parallel (irrational, subjective fears), to welcome a child into the home and to welcome a gun in the home are not the same thing. At least, not to most people. Yikes. Those sort of sentiments are exactly the sorts of things that need to be called out and discussed.

  23. bagofsand says:

    I was horrified when (back in the early 90s) my five year old boy pulled a handgun from between the cushions of a couch at my wife’s grandmother’s home. I was livid–and yet we went right on strapping that little boy into our car and driving him around on a daily basis with nary a thought about the danger we were putting him in.

  24. bagofsand, there is a reason legal charges could come into play in the first case and not the second case.

  25. You may be right, Brian. And I have to say that — even as a conservative — I’m torn on this issue. On the one hand, I don’t like the idea of taking guns away from responsible citizens. But on the other hand, something needs to change–it’s starting to look like the wild west out there.

    And so, speaking of cars and guns–I think we need to, at the very least, treat the ownership and usage of guns with the same gravity that we do cars. Training, testing, and licensing, should be a must–with further training and testing being required for more specialized firearms (as is done for specialized vehicles).

    I realize that a lot of that is already happening–and some states are stricter than others vis-a-vis those requirements. Even so, we may need to tighten those requirements even more.

    That said, tighter restrictions won’t fix everything. The last two mass shootings were in California–where gun laws are comparatively strict. And on top of that, many, if not most, murders are committed with illegal firearms. And so we’ve got to find away to stifle the conveyance of illegal weapons. But that’s easier said than done. And so as a practical matter we probably need to allow the public to be legally armed–at least until we can figure out how to put a stop to the flow of guns on the black market.

    It’s a mess.

  26. Amen.

  27. Sick and tired of gun spam says:

    Is there a petition I can sign to have Observer open his own blog for his own awful opinions and spare us from having to see so very, very many of them repeated so often?

  28. Thank you, bagofsand.

  29. thegenaboveme says:

    We Americans need to learn how to deal with conflict in different ways than to shoot first and investigate later.

    My husband Michael (who blogs here) and I were driving down a country road in WV, when someone with a gun decided that we were the person who just set a gas can on fire on a walkway in front of the house they were guarding from a threatening ex-husband. They shot at my husband when he was at the top of the driveway trying to see if we needed to call 911 about the fire we witnessed. We were trying to be helpful. Then they shot out the window where our pre-school daughter, Clarissa was sitting. The bullet thankfully went above her head, but it shattered the window, and later we poured cubed glass out of her little pink-and-white snow boots as she was screaming. They THOUGHT THEY WERE LAWFULLY USING GUNS TO PROTECTING THEIR PROPERTY. Oh, my husband was standing on the road in front of their driveway, and they shot at the vehicle multiple times as it stood on the public road. They almost killed my husband and daughter. They were careless, and they should have called the police about the gas can that was lit on a walkway (30 feet in front of the porch, nothing but sky above the can / resulting fire). The fire did not even hit a structure. All four of us slept (but did not sleep) in a queen sized bed that night, crying and hugging each other, thankful to be alive. I was also thankful that the 17 yo boy who shot at us in an effort to protect his property did not ruin his life by killing or maiming one of us.

    Americans have problems with emotional regulation, and we depend too much on guns to solve problems that should be addressed in dozens of other ways.

  30. Gun owners are the moral equivalent of drunk drivers.

    Thank you, op. It’s ridiculous we can’t at least pass a nationwide ban on assault rifles. No one needs an assault rifle for hunting. And if you use an assault rifle in self-defense, you’re going to become a mass murderer yourself. Ban assault rifles.

    thegenaboveme – thanks for sharing your story. That’s horrible and I’m glad you escaped injury.

  31. Thank you for being brave enough to broach this sensitive subject. Loving life means all life and we should protect others from the danger of gun violence as well as all other violence. This includes war.

  32. I have tried to be respectful towards others in what I have posted, and yet it is clear that others don’t seem to believe that they need to do the same. I have been accused by Brian of being callous and uncaring towards others (considering deaths from gun violence to be “necessary losses and unacceptable (cis) losses”). Others have used their username to call me “gun spam” (I’ve been commenting here on a variety of topics for well over a decade) because he doesn’t like my “awful opinions”. Janey sees fit to call me (and other gun owners) “the moral equivalent of drunk drivers”. BCC is supposed to be a place for “charitable discussion”. I have not insulted or attacked any of you, and there is no reason for any of you to attack me in such a fashion.

    The simple reality that none of you seem realize or accept is that gun control is not going to succeed in the United States. The Heller decision in 2008 made it clear that the Second Amendment isn’t going anywhere, and the decisions that have followed it (Caetano, MacDonald, and Bruen, in particular) show what direction the precedents are heading. You will see jurisdictions fight against it, much like many states fought against desegregation, but the Supreme Court’s course is extremely clear. That is reality, and you have to start with the world the way it is, not with how you want it to be. Guns aren’t going anywhere in the US in the foreseeable future, and the rush of states passing restrictions right now is political theater that is doomed to failure (and they know it).

    Mental health is an area where we can try to find agreement, and actually make a difference. Why then are so many of you so opposed to my pointing out such a clear method to reduce gun violence? In 2020, there were over 24000 suicides using guns in the US. That same year, the FBI recorded only 38 deaths from “active shooter” incidents (including mass shootings). Even using the Gun Violence Archive’s looser definition, you still only had 512 deaths in “mass shootings”, 1/50 the number of suicides. Moreover, like those who commit suicide, most mass shooters suffer from mental health issues too, which means that you can potentially reduce both sources of gun deaths.

    So, if there are two paths before you, and one of them is not realistic, but the other one is actually achievable, which one do you think you should focus on? Should you waste your time making yourself feel morally superior to “the moral equivalent of drunk drivers”, while not actually making a real difference in the problems? Or should you look for areas where you can build on common ground and maybe, just maybe, make changes that everyone can agree on and that could save thousands of lives each year (and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands more)?

    I choose to focus on things that can actually make a real difference.

  33. Observer, I felt that I was largely civil and “charitable” in my discussion with you and others (ie bagofsand). Am I mistaken? In a cost-benefit analysis, would you be willing to relent some of your ground by allowing new laws regarding gun control to decrease gun violence losses? If so, please let me know.

    Also, just to be clear, I never argued that you shouldn’t own a gun. My arguments with you were directed to your fixed position on the issue and the repetitive and black-and-white nature of your argument that we can’t change any laws because the law is already settled. It’s not.

    I agree we should build on common ground. And mental health is a place to start. What to you propose. Are you for, say, universal mental health treatment? Mental health screenings for gun purchasers? I believe your answer would be ‘no’ to both of these. So what? In a similar fashion, you suggested earlier that the only answer if the gospel. I argued that there is no proof for that (given our largely Christian nation vs. less Christian nations). A generic ‘ we need to do better on mental health’ and ‘we need to teach more people the gospel’ are not practical solutions–and also ignore that other countries, again, have people with mental health problems, etc. I already pointed these things out. I do think, however, that mental health treatment would help. But also that such discourse is largely a distraction from the fact that our gun culture and gun laws are the largely factor by far. Please, engage. Make an argument. I don’t see in your last comment, however, that your comments, however, have engaged my points. Instead you’ve repeated yourself. That’s not building on anything.

    Finally, I also feel that the ‘drunk driver’ comment was out of line. The author, might truly feel that way, but it would be nice of them to offer some rationale, support for the claim.

    I understand that this topic can be emotionally charged. It clouds good discussion on both sides.

  34. I apologize for the ‘drunk driver’ comment. That was ad hominem and inappropriate. Let me try again with some actual discussion and support for the idea that law-abiding gun owners really are part of the problem.

    Observer has raised the topic that guns aren’t the problem, that people are the problem, and that mental health is an important issue that needs more study and support. As Brian notes, Observer doesn’t have any specific suggestions about mental health – just a general comment that there are mental health issues.

    I’d like to describe a couple of mental health symptoms common to law-abiding gun owners. Yes, I am suggesting that law-abiding gun owners may have some mental health issues that they are unaware of, but I hope you’ll consider my points. I’m not a mental health professional but I’ve had to study a lot of this in-depth on my own.

    Symptom 1: Grandiosity and the need to be admired. Most law-abiding gun owners believe that their guns are necessary for self-defense. They want to be a hero. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This hope to be a hero is a delusion of grandeur. The chances of actually being “a good guy with a gun” is vanishingly small, though the rare times it does occur are practically worshiped. There’s always the possibility for that level of admiration if you own a gun. Law-abiding gun owners may see themselves as “shepherds” of a flock of “sheep” who just don’t have the moral wherewithal to defend themselves. They do not see that the “sheep” are more afraid of the self-appointed shepherds and for good very good reason. The shepherds need the wolves to attack sometimes in order to justify their hope to be a hero.

    Symptom 2: Paranoia. The belief that people want to attack your family and that you need to be constantly vigilant is paranoia. Yes, you can find some stories to support paranoid beliefs, but by and large, most people are never attacked.

    Symptom 3: Selfishness and lack of empathy. A law abiding gun owner believes his right to own a gun outweighs everyone else’s right to feel safe in public places. The right to own an arsenal is more important than being able to send your child to school without fear of a school shooting. No one else’s opinions and feelings are as important as owning a gun. Law abiding gun owners cannot understand the feelings of people who are afraid of being shot while shopping or going to school or just going about their lives. Instead, they might even feel superior to people who would rather not carry a gun in self-defense.

    When you combine the hope to be hero, paranoia and the transcendent selfishness, you get a person who needs to be evaluated for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I’m not talking about the casual insult of narcissism that gets thrown at anyone someone dislikes nowadays, but the real, actual Personality Disorder defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Not all gun owners would rise to the level of NPD that gets an official diagnosis, but there’s enough there that they ought to go to therapy and unpack why they feel the need to own a gun.

    It’s possible that Observer is suffering from PTSD from the previous experience of needing to defend his family. Hyper-vigilance and believing that you have to have the ability to kill people in order to be safe is an indicator of PTSD. Seeking treatment may give you the ability to feel safe again, without needing to own guns as a coping mechanism.

    Law-abiding gun owners create the culture that allows mass shooters to easily access guns. It is the fault of law-abiding gun owners that Congress can’t pass laws to ban assault weapons, to mandate mental health screenings before buying a gun and periodically as long as the person owns a gun, can’t ban bump stocks, can’t close the gun show loophole, and a whole bunch more common sense gun restrictions. Yes, the responsibility for the easy access to guns that enables mass shootings to occur so frequently in America lies with law-abiding gun owners.

  35. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    The mental health argument is a red herring. Most gun deaths have no mental health connection. Say what you want about “mass shootings”, but they are the minority of shootings, and are defined too inconsistently to make any meaningful comparisons. And even in those cases, mental health is invoked way too often (being angry is not, in itself, a symptom of mental illness). The constant blaming of mental instability is exactly what conservatives and the NRA wants – taking the focus off guns.

    Observer, it sounds like, taking you at your word about your individual situation, you may have a reasonable fear for your safety (and your family’s) and maybe a reasonable argument for possessing a firearm. Congratulations, you are the exception! Someone who works in risk management knows to not use the outlier to craft the rule. A small fraction of a percentage has reason to be fearful of their lives to the extent that wielding a gun is a reasonable solution.

    And your citing of suicide deaths by firearm really works against your argument. Mental illness and suicide ideation and attempts are not greater in the U.S. than in most other industrialized nations. But suicide completion is MUCH higher. And the reason for this is, unquestionably, access to firearms. By itself, this is a reason to restrict gun ownership. Let’s definitely increase access to mental health care. Let’s definitely not allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking that should be a replacement for restricting firearm access.

    I have owned many firearms in my lifetime. I grew up with them in my home, had them in my home at times as an adult when we had children in our home (very, very securely stored). The research is quite clear on this – those with guns in their home are more likely to be injured (often killed) than those without a gun in their home (usually, it’s by their own gun). My own risk management assessment is that my family was always more safe when there were not guns in the home. I pray that your unique situation does not result in harm to you or your family. Nobody should have to live in such fear.

  36. Left Field says:

    I am 63 and the number of times in my life when I needed a gun to protect myself and my family has been exactly zero. When I think about all my family members and acquaintances who have needed a gun for such purposes, as far as I know, the number is also exactly zero. That’s not to say that nobody has ever legitimately used a gun for protection, but that’s just not how most of us go through life.

    Yes a gun is a tool that can be used for legitimate purposes. Other tools include a spork, a plumb bob, a t-square, a ripsaw, a computer, a triple-beam balance, a glass cutter, a flour sifter, a slide rule, and a fountain pen. In fact, I’ve needed every one of these tools many times more often in my life than I’ve ever needed a gun. I think most of us are far more likely to need a plumb bob than that we’ll ever really need a firearm.

  37. Left Field says:

    If an intruder is going to try to get into my house, a better tool to protect myself is going to be a good deadbolt, rather than a gun.

  38. Janey,

    As much as your “drunk driver” comment was out of line, your armchair psychoanalyzing is far more offensive. You don’t know me, beyond what little I have chosen to share, and it’s absolutely uncharitable of you to jump to the assumptions about me and other gun owners that you have. You are simply replacing one caricature and stereotype with more caricatures and stereotypes.

    Your symptom 1: The vast majority of gun owners, and eve concealed carriers, don’t make a big deal out of it. You don’t know they have guns because they look and act just like anyone else – sort of the exact opposite of the “hero mentality” you describe. In fact, many of them take the attitude I did with my coworkers at a previous job after we had “active shooter” training. Several of them knew that, because of the threats from my ex-wife, I carried to work (but wasn’t allowed to carry at work per company policy) and kept my gun secured in my car, one floor below my desk. In the event of an active shooter, my plan was to dive across the hall the the stairs, get down to my car, rearm myself, and then get out of there. They were welcome to keep up. If someone shot at me, I would return fire, but that’s it.

    Your symptom 2: I work in cybersecurity, a field heavily steeped in risk management. Any field involving security involves significant amounts of risk management. Because of this, I often joke that I am “professionally paranoid”. But the difference between paranoia and risk management is that paranoia focuses only on the risks, and not on the frequency of occurrence, nor on mitigations of the risks. Your own reactions to mass shootings demonstrate an element of paranoia, too: they are a comparatively rare event (regardless of sensational news reports). For example, how worried are you about being struck by lightning? In the average year, more people are struck by lightning than die in a mass shooting (using the loosest definition of “mass shooting”).

    Your symptom 3: You know nothing of the gun owners I’ve known who work with therapists and abuse victims to help them learn self-defense, and who help those victims choose appropriate means of defending themselves against their abusers (sometimes a gun and sometimes other means). Because of my own past experience with an abusive ex-spouse, I have personally helped temporarily shelter abuse victims in my home until they could arrange another safe place to go to. There is an incredible amount of empathy and generosity in the gun community, but you don’t see it, because you demand that they fit your preconceptions.

    Finally, It’s absolutely inappropriate and ad hominem for you to be trying to claim that I might be “suffering from PTSD”. In that, you merely went from generalizing against all gun owners to attacking me specifically because you disagree with my positions that have been informed by my personal experiences. It’s easy for you to make assumptions about me from your lack of knowledge, and then throw out insinuations to try and discredit my arguments by accusing me of mental health issues, too.

    You don’t know what therapy I have been through, or what challenges I have personally overcome. I have been able to help and support my family through the challenges we have faced BECAUSE I have worked to overcome those issues and experiences, and your attempts to score cheap points on the Internet by insinuating otherwise is offensive and shows your own arguments to be morally bankrupt.

    Brian – I’d love to respond to your comment, but it will have to be later, because I only have time to respond to one right now, and felt that Janey’s was more important to address first. Comments like hers, with their outright bigotry against gun owners and outright personal attacks poison the well and prevent more reasonable people from being able to find common ground.

  39. I'm with Observer says:

    This is a difficult issue. But I’m with Observer generally. And I appreciate his efforts here and want him to know he is not alone. (It often feels that way!)

  40. Brian,

    I have a few moments, so here are a few things I would call out specifically that need to be addressed from a mental health standpoint. They come in different forms, from cultural to policy, to everything in between.

    Before I start, I want to add that this is a topic that is extremely important to me for many reasons. I have many friends and family members who have struggled with it. It has directly affected my family in numerous ways. Saturday night, I learned that a good friend’s younger brother passed away last week in a likely suicide. It is because of my firsthand experience that I have worked so hard to make people understand why mental health is the lynchpin around which all other changes need to happen.

    First and foremost, there is a stigmatization of mental health issues and mental health services that needs to be addressed. This particularly applies to men. Culturally, many men are still expected to be the “stoic warrior” who shoulders the burdens of everyone else without complaining. Admitting that you need help is seen as a sign of weakness, and makes you seem less “manly”. This is the biggest area where I think the Church can make a difference, encouraging men to reach out for help more when they need it. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help when you need it. I know how hard it was for me during my divorce (especially with the added element of my ex-wife’s threats), and I was grateful for the support of my bishop at the time who knew to ask me the right questions to point me to the help I needed. Not everyone gets that sort of support. More people should.

    Second, there’s a shortage of mental health professionals in the US. As an example, our oldest son is on the Autism spectrum. We were on waiting lists for over 4 years to get him into ABA therapy (the only insurance-approved therapy for Autism), and we have been hunting for over 6 months to find a new psychiatrist in our area to take over medication management for him. We need programs to encourage more people to go into mental health professions, and pass laws that reduce barriers to mental health access (such as making telehealth more accessible across state lines).

    Third, we need to expand mental health facilities. As I mentioned before, when my son was suicidal, there weren’t any beds (public or private) available to admit him and we were told he would have to stay in the pediatric ER for weeks until he could be admitted to a pediatric facility. If there is that level of demand, then we need to look at what is blocking the ability to meet the demand.

    Fourth, we need to look at strengthening the mental health coverage available in Medicaid and through the VA. Many combat veterans do not get the mental health support that they need because of bureaucratic incompetence and overhead at the VA, and Medicaid is supposed to be available to help the most vulnerable at the state level. Better mental health coverage in Medicaid would potentially help many who are homeless or poor be able to function better in society and lift themselves up, moving them out of bad situations. It would also make it easier to intervene when someone is suspected of being a danger to themselves or others.

    Finally, instead of “red flag laws” or “extreme risk protection orders” that merely take away a person’s guns if they are thought to be a danger to themselves or others, judges should be ordering a full mental health evaluation if there is credible evidence that they are dangerous (something the law already allowed before “red flag laws” came along). Simply taking someone’s guns away doesn’t make them less dangerous. The average home is still full of weapons and other dangerous items in every room. (When our son was suicidal, volunteers from a local organization helped go through our house to gather everything that he might use to hurt himself. My guns in the gun safe were the least of their concerns.) Removing the guns doesn’t remove the threat.

    Those are just a starting point of specific changes related to mental health that I would recommend to help reduce gun violence in the long run.

  41. I am also generally with Observer on this. I note that BCC is generally comprised of more liberal Mormons, although the occasional hard-core ultra-conservative ultra-dogmatic pharisaical Mormon pops up from time to time. So I am not surprised that some OPs or comments would be strongly gun control. And I have no problem with those opinions. This should be a forum for a civil exchange of ideas. But I do have problems with anyone trying to gatekeep Mormonism or Christianity. I am tired of people trying to set their personal requirements or interpretations from scriptures as the ultimate test for faith and righteousness. You can be a faithful devout Christian and be either pro-2A or anti-2A. You can be a faithful devout Christian and be either an anti-gun advocate or a responsible gun owner.

  42. NAPtheAnarchist says:

    Firearm prohibition would be as effective as drug prohibition. Back in 2001 I traded a half ounce of weed for several 20 round AR magazines from a guy that snagged them while he was in the army. While I’m sure the good anti gun Mormons on this page haven’t had much experience with the black market, I can assure you that it exists. The reality is that as long as the government has guns, the bad guys will have guns. All you need is a hammer and an unsuspecting cop.

    2 years ago, while I was out of town working, my 13 year old son heard a woman outside our house at 3 am screaming for help. He went and woke up my wife and said he was going to check on her. My wife said not without me, grabbed her 9mm, and they went outside. They found a woman that had been drugged and beaten. The victim told my wife that some people tried to pull her into a van, but she got away. My wife called the sheriffs department, as our town was too small for a police department. It took the deputy 30 minutes to get there. In the meantime, the van returned, and they tried to intimidate my wife and convince her to let them take their panicked “friend” home. My wife, with her hand firmly on her gun in her hoody pocket, told the criminals to kick rocks. The idea that my son, wife, or the bloodied victim would have been better off if my wife was unarmed is absurd.

    Rural Americans oftentimes don’t have law enforcement just down the street. We have to be responsible for our own security. We don’t have private armed security like church and government officials, but we plebes still feel our lives are important enough to defend. Rarely do you hear about the countless defensive gun uses. You only hear about the incredibly rare school shooting.

    Pass all the gun laws you want. They will only disarm you. They won’t touch the guns of bad guys, and nice outlaws like me.

  43. Free men own guns, slaves don’t.

  44. These last couple of comments are an indicator why America will continue to have such drastically high gun violence statistics compared to other countries. In a nutshell: the right-wing of America. I think it’s quite fair, given their general rhetoric, to put the blame on them. No solutions offered; only fear and platitudes, and red herrings.

    The OP is correct: a drastic change is needed. It won’t come from those unwilling to consider alternatives.

  45. Brian,

    And here you do what you accuse me of. I provided you detailed solutions related to mental health as you requested, and you defaulted back to saying the same old things.

    As I said before, you have to start with the world the way it is. The fact is that the legal framework in the US includes Heller, McDonald, Caetano, and Bruen, which place the Second Amendment on a similar footing as the rest of the Bill of Rights. Under Bruen, once something is determined to fall within the historical sphere of the Second Amendment, it is presumptively protected unless there is a history or traditional analogue for the proposed infringement. And there simply isn’t a history or tradition of infringements that would allow the sort of gun control policies that you and others have advocated. Of the historical analogues that do exist, most of them were instituted for what are today legally impermissible reasons (specifically racism), which also makes them invalid under Bruen’s standard. Legally, that makes those proposals non-starters and a waste of time.

    You can say that I’m just repeating myself, but that’s the legal reality today, and it’s not going to change unless at least 2 of the conservative justices die/retire and are replaced by liberals (not likely in the near future) or the Court is expanded to at least 13 justices while Democrats control the Presidency and the Senate (not happening while the Republicans control the House).

    Insisting that we pass laws that are unconstitutional under current precedent (and will by all indications be struck down as unconstitutional) is counterproductive, and will also only serve to strengthen that precedent.

    The facts do not support that guns themselves are the problem. If that were the case, then violent crime would not have continued to decrease in the US so much as gun ownership significantly increased over the course of almost 30 years from the early 1990s until the onset of Covid in 2020. Correlation does not prove causation, but a negative correlation disproves causation.

    There’s an old saying in legal circles, that when the law is on your side, you pound the law. When the facts are on your side, you pound the facts. When neither is on your side, you pound the table. You have neither the law nor the facts supporting your arguments. Pointing fingers and saying “the right wing is to blame” is nothing more than pounding the table.

    I have provided solutions. They just aren’t the solutions you want, and so you keep ignoring them, or pay them lip service at best.

  46. Observer, as others and I have noted, mental health concerns are largely a red herring.

    Also, you keep saying that the law is settled. And you write that it might not be settled if the composition of the Supreme Court changes. So, which is it? We all know that precedent is only precedent until it isn’t. Anti-gun control advocates know this and so do you.

    And no, you have not provided any solutions, only a few proposals on the red herring of mental health.

    Also, as I keep pointing out, there is a very strong case that easy, unrestricted access to guns is part of the problem.

    Finally, you can disagree all you want, but you (and others anti-gun control commenters here) point to very exceptional cases as if they were the rule.

    And yes, at this point in the conversation, I’ll pound the table. The left would like to do something tangible and have a conversation. The right, in general, would not. It was not always this way. I say it again, the right-wing is to blame. Show me substantial efforts or attempts at efforts by the right-wing of American politics and I’ll begin to listen.

  47. Brian,

    A “red herring” is something meant to be a distraction away from the truth. Calling something a red herring does not make it so.

    Second Amendment law is broadly settled for the foreseeable future, though it will continue to be refined and reinforced for some time. The only way that will change is if two Supreme Court seats flip (improbable), the Court is expanded (highly improbable), or there’s a constitutional amendment that repeals the Second Amendment (almost impossible). That’s reality. That is the truth. How do you expect to deal with that reality in any of your desired “solutions”? Unless you have a way to deal with that very real obstacle, all of your talk of gun control is a distraction away from the truth, a real “red herring”.

    And I think you’ve now proven that you aren’t willing to hold a charitable discussion. You asked me what I would be willing to propose, but then after I provided I long list of proposals that targeted mental health, you are right back to not addressing my points by calling them a “red herring” again. How exactly are they a distraction away from the truth? Is mental health not an issue in most gun violence? Between half and two thirds of all gun deaths in the US are suicides. Does that not tie directly into mental health? Is mental health not a factor in many mass shootings?

    No, I’m not going to support the proposals you’ve called for like “mental health screenings” for gun owners because, as I’ve already outlined, they are unconstitutional (and. in fact, would be under more than just the Second Amendment).

    I get it. You don’t like guns, and you want to restrict people’s ability to access them. Guess what? I dislike pornography and would love to be able to restrict people’s ability to access it. But the difference between you and me is that I recognize that there are legal limits involved when dealing with a constitutional right, and I respect those limits. I’m not going to waste my time proposing pornography restrictions that go against First Amendment precedents just because I think pornography is evil. While it’s always possible those precedents will change in the future, that isn’t likely in the foreseeable future to any significant degree, so instead, I need to focus on other means to reduce the demand for pornography.

    That is a logically consistent approach to constitutional rights, and not a “red herring”.

    And no, the left doesn’t want to have a “conversation”. You want to dictate terms of the conversation. Anyone who doesn’t want to accept your solutions is to be shamed and blamed, much like you and Janey have done in this discussion here. What you don’t realize is that from a legal standpoint the conversation is already over. Your side lost, just like people who want to ban pornography lost because of the First Amendment. No amount of name calling, finger pointing, or table pounding will change that.

  48. Observer, I know what a red herring is. Focusing on mental health is a red herring because it distracts from the more salient issue of guns, as A Turtle Named Mack pointed out. Also, of course, from the elephant in the room, which is how other countries operate and have less gun violence and your argument that the law is set. Keep repeating yourself, of course.

    Laws change when the public changes. This OP is a call for people to change. Also, both gun laws and gun control laws and conservative views on both have changed numerous times since the inception of the 2nd Amendment. You don’t want it to change again. Again, let’s repeat that more fully: you don’t want to change any laws in respect to guns even though guns are the leading cause of death in children in the US because you believe (despite past precedent and your own admittance) that the laws can’t change. It seems, then, it isn’t really about the laws, despite your protestations.

    Also, I respect the limits of the law. Please stop with the whole ‘Brian wants to not respect the law’ crap. Sheesh.

    Finally, I see no difference in what you are claiming about liberals (which isn’t accurate, btw) and your own views. Also, the very childish, ‘your side lost,’ quip is quite revealing.

    End of line for me. You final comments have sealed the deal, though it was clear from the beginning that your goal wasn’t to figure out how to reduce gun violence.

  49. Brian,

    As I said, your gun control proposals are a complete red herring if you can’t outline how you would address the legal realities. Simply saying that you are calling for people to change isn’t going to do it, because that isn’t going to change the Supreme Court makeup or precedent on the timeframe necessary to uphold your desired solutions.

    How are you going to replace two of the conservative Supreme Court justices? Hope for them to die at an advantageous time? Pressure them to retire? Neither of those approaches guarantees you anything. Barring that, how are you going to expand the Court by 4 seats? With Republicans holding the House, it won’t happen until 2025 at the earliest, and the 2024 election looks even worse for the Democrats holding the Senate, regardless of who wins the White House. It would require Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and the White House with strong enough majorities, and that isn’t likely.

    That leaves repealing the Second Amendment through another Amendment. Even if you could get 2/3s majorities in both houses of Congress (which you can’t), it would require ratification by 3/4 of the states, which isn’t going to happen when 25 of the 50 states have passed “constitutional carry” laws.

    More than that, at this point the Supreme Court has to smack down the states who are defying the Bruen decision, if only to protect its institutional authority. Bruen specificially told New York that they couldn’t turn the entire island of Manhattan into an “sensitive place” and prohibit carrying a gun there, so the state tried to make almost the whole state a “sensitive place” instead. For the Court to allow that to stand would send the message that states could defy any of its rulings, and that would destroy the Court as an institution. Even the liberal justices recognize that (which is why Caetano was an unanimous decision after Heller and MacDonald were divided decisions).

    Passing gun control laws aren’t going to get people to change. All it does is piss off the law abiding people who aren’t the problem without significantly interfering with the people who are actually causing the problems.

    Take, for example, the current pistol stabilizing brace rule that was published this week. Stabilizing braces were designed to help people with disabilities (such as veterans) be able to better shoot pistols. The ATF repeatedly approved the devices and stated that they did not turn a pistol into a short-barreled rifle. Now, the ATF has published a rule changing that determination and giving people 120 days to register their former-pistols-now-SBRs, turn them in (without compensation), or destroy them (again without compensation) or face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison.

    Between 10 and 40 million pistol braces have been sold in the US. We are talking about hundreds of thousands to millions of people being turned into felons overnight. How does that make people safer? How does that change people’s hearts for the better? It doesn’t. It makes them mad by adding to their costs, their frustrations, and stress, and all over something that they did that was completely legal at the time. And of those millions of braces, only a handful have ever been used in a crime.

    In fact, in any given year only a fraction of 1% of all gun owners commit any violent crime (let alone with a gun – only about 8% of all violent crimes use a gun in the US). Why should the other 99+% of gun owners bear the burdens of that fraction of a percent without getting something in return for it? (Concealed carry permit holders, for example, commit crimes at a lower rate per capita than police officers do.) Why should those who obey the law be subject to an ever-increasing list of restrictions because of those who do not obey the law?

    At the very least, if you want a conversation, you need to offer something more than finger pointing and blame from your side. I’ve been involved in a lot of discussions about gun control over the years, and the general pattern is that gun control supporters demand something, and they offer to compromise by only getting half of what they want without offering anything that gun rights supporters want. Your proposals all come across as punitive on those who aren’t part of the problem, without offering them anything in return.

    That is what I mean when I say you want to dictate the terms of the conversation. You don’t want to offer any compromise (you know, a give and take). You want to force those who disagree with you to give in to your position without giving up anything in return. And yet you complain when you are met with the other side refusing to give in without getting something in return. That’s arguing in bad faith and a complete red herring.

  50. ComeToZion says:

    In the spirit of D&C 98:16 may we all “renounce war (even of words) and proclaim peace.” Remember the principle of agency and self-governance. We understood and accepted it once. Let’s not muff it this time!

  51. Some reasons to ban assault rifles, bump stocks, etc., despite the many already in existence:
    Starting an end to them is better than just giving up.
    To hold more people accountable for heinous crimes.


  1. […] call for prayers following a shooting. Instead of the comfort of prayer following a shooting, these commentators said what God really wants is for us to use our heads and pass more gun-regulating […]

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