The recent theater shooting in a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin and raises the question again: should a person use a firearm to defend themselves, or others? I have been asked by a number of folks for a perspective. I will endeavor to provide a balanced perspective on this controversial issue.
First, seek the Lord’s guidance. Ask family and others involved in your business to ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance with you. If you feel checked or experience a lack peace about obtaining or using a firearm; then, don’t proceed. I believe that while the Lord may prompt some to take this step, he will check others to refrain at the same time.
Some ask, “Is using a gun Biblical?” Consider what Nehemiah wrote: “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.” (Nehemiah 4:17-18, NIV) Clearly, at times the Lord instructed His people to be prepared to defend themselves.
When making this decision, evaluate the risks. Are you in a risky location that requires protection? Do you believe you or your establishment is a likely target? A gas station at midnight with few people around is one thing; a restaurant with 80 customers is another.
Remember that the only reason to have a firearm is to be prepared to use it to protect the life of yourself and others. Your job is not to play deputy sheriff, Rambo, or stop people from stealing. The only reason to use a firearm is to save an innocent life.
If you make the decision to arm yourself, then you need to accept the responsibility to become fully trained and comfortable using a firearm. If you are not willing to take a training class and practice regularly; then, don’t carry a firearm.
Some are calling for additional gun control in the wake of the Colorado shooting. The town of Aurora already had a ban on handguns, and the theater was posted as a weapons-free building. Mexico has a ban on owning guns and ammunition yet 10,000 Mexicans are killed each year in the drug wars alone.
Consider some recent examples involving the use of firearms to protect and restrain. When a gunmen opened fire at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, a former police officer, holding a concealed weapon with permit and acting as part of the church security team, shot the shooter before many others died. In another example, two students with legal weapons pinned down a gunman until the police arrived. The shooter had already killed two students at the University of West Virginia.
I have a friend who is a police detective. While off duty he was in a store when a gunman walked in and announced a holdup. Because several people were in the store, the officer did not draw his weapon. The robber took the money and shot the clerk saying, “I am going to eliminate the witnesses.” When he started to point the gun at others, the detective drew his gun and fatally shot the man. Fortunately, the clerk was only wounded. The officer used his weapon only when life, not money, was threatened.
I will never advise a person to carry a firearm or advise against it. As Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV) Ask God for wisdom. Seek his direction. Then, take action based on what He says.
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