I came across this question one day on social media: Why do conservatives believe that outlawing guns won’t prevent gun violence, but that outlawing abortion prevents abortion?
In light of recent tragic shooting deaths of police officers and civilians, as well as the dismemberment and selling of innocent human body parts, it occurs to me how apropos this question is—but probably not in a way you might think.
Ironically, the very essence of this question misses the overarching premise of conservatism: that all life is sacred and should be protected. For example, those of us with a biblical foundation believe that God is the author of human life, regardless of race, ethnicity, or color; and we are created in His image (Genesis 1:26-31). Phenomenally, the stamp of God is on the entire human race (Luke 20:25). In other words all lives matter, born or unborn.
Conservatives understand, with regards to guns, that no matter how many laws are passed you will never be able to control the acquiring of guns. Criminals are unscrupulous because they don’t follow the law. They are by definition “lawbreakers.” Hence, the only ones who obey these laws are innocent, law-abiding citizens. This raises the point that in a confrontation with a law-breaking criminal (or deranged assailant), it’s the law-abiding who are left at a disadvantage. As I have heard others say, “When you disarm the innocent you empower the criminal to kill or abuse those you have disarmed.”
Of course, I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any gun laws. There absolutely should. But, laws by themselves do not regulate behavior. Illegal drugs are a prime example, and believed to be one of the very reasons our borders and inner cities have turned into “war zones.” Disarming citizens only makes them easy victims. Women should understand this more than men. A woman who is trained to use a handgun and carries one is less likely to become a victim of a violent crime. It doesn’t matter how big the assailant is, a gun changes the whole dynamic. She can protect herself from an assailant whether he or she is a 300 lbs attacker, brandishing a knife or a gun. The question then becomes in this scenario, how proficient she is in handling the gun.
Inevitably, gun ownership brings down gun violence, just because of self-preservation. Criminals’ undoubtedly prey on the weak and count on walking away from these encounters to enjoy their spoils. If they’re not sure whether you are armed or not, or better yet confident that you are, there is less chance they will be willing to target you for an attack. A gun is neither good nor evil. In the right hands, it can be used to protect life without firing a shot or firing a shot to prevent a-would-be massacre.
The right to own and carry a weapon is in accord with our beliefs that all life is sacred, and must be protected against those who have a total disregard for the sanctity of all human lives. The fact, that it is also a constitutional right (2nd Amendment), which allows citizens to protect themselves from a dictatorial government, is just another reason why conservatives are willing to stand to protect our right to own guns.
Just think, how many children could have been saved had one or more of the teachers been armed at Sandy Hook elementary school. Or, what if there were signs warning would be assailants that teachers may be armed? God only knows if these massacres ever happen or if it is stopped after the first few shots as vigilant armed teachers are equipped to respond with returned fire.
I doubt the Israelis are having this kind of conversation.
Unfortunately, for the unborn, we aren’t able to arm them so that they can protect themselves. Abortion is always carried out against the life of the innocent, except for the life of the mother. Societal ethics should provide the first line of defense for the helpless unborn babies, then the father and lastly, the mother. Although shootings in public schools and theaters are heart-wrenching and horrible to imagine, innocent lives are being taken every day by abortions in staggering numbers. Even more horrific are the recent Planned Parenthood videos of employees discussing harvesting of baby body parts for profit.
According to statistics over 3,000 babies are aborted every day. In other words, 3,000 babies were killed by legal homicide. If the massacre in Newtown, CT was horrific, and it was than what of the killings of these innocent lives? How can we seemingly turn away from the death of the unborn, while simultaneously declaring outrage for the deaths of the precious children in Newtown? Or the deaths of young Black men who, by their actions, put themselves in harm’s way?
You see to social conservatives, the only way to reduce the number of abortions and death of the innocent is to outlaw abortion. Again, the law itself will not stop all abortions, but it will serve as a measure to encourage law-abiding citizens from illegally trying to obtain one. It will also reflect our morals and values as a people, without contradiction. We incite moral evil in the hearts of men when what we deem “legal” is in opposition to what we know to be moral. Our laws should protect the innocent, both the born and unborn. The right to bear arms protects those who are born. The right to life and pro-life laws protect the lives of the unborn—no contradiction.
Laws are meant to restrict or regulate behavior. We outlaw rape, murder, and theft but do these laws stop this behavior? No, but laws (and the punishment associated with the breaking of such laws) will undoubtedly curtail participation of these crimes for many.
Anti-abortion laws say to conflicted would-be parents that what you are contemplating is morally wrong. It also mandates to physicians and clinicians that the destruction of life in the womb has both moral and legal consequences. Arming innocent citizens says to would-be criminal beware you may be biting off more than you can chew. In either instance, life is more likely to be preserved if we make the consequences intentionally unappealing.
Now, I have a question for those who still advocate for abortions, and stronger guns laws restricting the right to protect one’s life, home, family, and property. Jesus once challenged the Pharisees and teachers of the law as He prepared to heal a man on the Sabbath. Jesus asked, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or evil, to save a life or to destroy it?” And so I ask a similar question, “which makes for better policy: to outlaw good or evil, to protect life or to destroy it?” (Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9). God help us if we continue to get this question wrong.