My Stance On Guns

I'm realizing more and more just how much my convictions and personal beliefs are setting me apart from almost everyone around me -- particularly the Christians I know. For one thing, I'm a Democrat (which, of course, sets me apart from about 90% of the US evangelical population (which I'm cool with)). I have a fairly liberal view of the world, the economy, society and even the Gospel, to a certain extent. But it's always a strange and lonely feeling knowing that, of nearly all the people I associate myself with, I'm the only one with these beliefs.

This came more into focus last week when my stepmom informed me that she bought my dad a rifle for Christmas -- something that I'm moderately cool with, but not really. See, I'm fairly anti-gun; not a complete gun-annihilation advocate, but not totally indifferent about firearms, either. I told Megan about my feelings toward guns and she thought I was ridiculous. She then informed me that her family and I will have nothing to talk about, really. She said, "I shoot guns. My entire family shoots guns and goes hunting." I told her my family is the same -- I'm the only person in my family that wants nothing to do with guns.

But, I wasn't always this way.

There was a time when I used to hunt too, with my grandfather and uncle -- I hunted turkey, pheasant, quail, rabbit, deer... If it moved, had four legs or two wings and had breath in its lungs, I'd shoot at it. Now, up until the incident I'm going to detail here, I was never a good shot. I remember a time when a pheasant was perched on a tree branch, just sitting there and I fired at it three times and missed every shot -- in fact, it just continued to sit there, as though it were mocking me. My grandfather said, "There must be something wrong with the sight or maybe the barrel is bent." He grabbed my gun, lifted to his shoulder, fired and dropped the pheasant in one shot.

When I was 11, I went on my final hunting excursion. We were at a pheasant/quail/turkey farm in Wisconsin called Blondhaven -- at this farm, they breed birds, fatten them up, blindfold them and cage them (so they won't peck at each other as much), then release them into an enclosed area so hunters can come in and shoot them. Somehow, during this particular trip, a turkey had gotten out of its cage and ran into the field, where the three of us were hunting. With its blindfold over its eyes, the bird became wild and frantic, running every which way, trying to avert the bullets it heard being fired at it from every direction. It then ran directly into a tree, face first, and collapsed. I approached the bird and was amazed to find it still breathing -- I figured it had broken its neck. My uncle (who was drunk, by the way), slung the strap of his rifle over his shoulder and retorted, "Well, Andy -- looks like you have a clear shot at this one. Put it out of its misery." I lifted my gun, a 12-gauge shotgun to my shoulder, aimed it directly at the bird's face and blew its head off. There was nothing left but a neck, spilling a pool of blood onto the frozen grass and February snow. My uncle laughed, "Yep! You got that one, for sure!"

A wave of shame came over me. I had never shot anything before and my first kill was a heartless, brutal and incredibly violent attack on a blindfolded bird -- one of God's first creations -- that didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell against the power of my shotgun. I dropped the gun into the snow, turned and ran, as fast as I could, back to the parking lot and locked myself in the van we came in. I think I cried for about two solid hours, begging for God to forgive me the horrible wrong that I had done.

I've never so much as held a gun since, despite the arguments I've heard from friends and family over the years that guns are just fine and dandy.

And I've listened to and even considered all of your arguments; I've heard you tell me over and over about the thrill, the rush you get when you bring down a ten-point buck. I know that you believe shooting wild game is nothing more than sport, like baseball or tennis. I've heard the argument, "Well, we eat everything we kill" (and to you, I say, "Go to the grocery store! You don't HAVE to murder animals just so you can eat! You're not a caveman or a tribesman!"). And if I have to hear, one more time, "The Constitution says I can have a gun to protect myself"... Oh man. That stance has become one of the biggest straw man arguments to support gun use.

And there are so many stories I could relate to you, to tell you why I have such a problem with guns: I could tell you that it was a gun that killed John Lennon; I could tell you that it was guns that killed three of my cousins -- one during a hunting trip, one from suicide, one from just being stupid and irresponsible with a friend; I could tell you the amount of times I was shot at while living in the East side of Aurora; I could tell you the amount of money that the government is making under the table, thanks to arms dealing.

But we both know that we're never going to convince one another that the other is wrong. I know that the Constitution permits everyone to be a desensitized, gun-toting buffoon and you know that I have every right in the world to be an oversensitive, liberal crybaby. Whatever.

But before you lift the gun to your shoulder and scope out your next big kill, ask yourself a few questions: 1) is this what God meant when he created Adam to "rule over" the rest of His creation? Is this how God intended for me to respect His creation? 2) (and this one is incredibly cheesy) WWJD? Honestly. What WOULD Jesus do? I'm not sure the man who stated "he who lives by the sword will die by the sword" would be the biggest gun advocate. I may be wrong, but there's something wrong with this picture...


  1. Drew, you're not as singled out as you may feel on this issue. I consider myself to be fairly liberal as well but I'm very anti-hunting and guns. To be perfectly honest I despise hunting and think it's completely unnecessary in the culture we live in today. And to say that you're doing it for the "sport" makes it even worse, to take the life of one of God's creatures (and usually the most harmless of all). As far as self-defense goes there's a number of other ways to protect yourself and that's unjustified as well.

    Be proud of your stance and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

  2. Drew, I definetely see your point and agree with you as well. I am not completely against hunting but I know myself that I could never do it and for those people that hunt for the fun of it and don't plan on eating what they have just killed, well, I don't understand that.

    I like that you brought this up because it was so interesting to me that a large majority of "Christians" are pro guns and were so worried when Obama was elected that their guns were going to be taken away from them (assault weapons, not hunting rifles)....well, I just don't understand that either. But then again, I am Liberal too and a "Christian" but I also believe in certain things completely different than most "Christians". The picking and choosing of what to believe is right or wrong for man kind intrigues me.

  3. Hey Drew!!

    I know this may be weird coming from ME and I'll probably surprise myself with what I'm about to say...

    In regards to 'we eat everything we kill', 'you don't have to murder...go to a grocery store' either way its killing. The only way to get out of that one is don't eat meat. I guess I have to give props for the people that go out and kill an animal for free and eat it up! I think its worse that consumers are paying to have their meat pumped with hormones and abused.

    Don't get me wrong. I don't have the heart to kill my own food. But some people can stomach it. I'm not trying to attack you or battle your views. I just think if some people wanna get off their butts and have their own fresh free range healthy meat, GO THEM!! Plus those animals in the wild are happy, eating what they want and when they get shot, their death is quick unlike the animals all shoved together trying to survive.

    So I see what your saying, I agree with you on some level. But I don't think people should be attacked for wanting to go get their own food the natural way. :) thanks for sharing your thoughts though, very interesting!

  4. Love the photo. WWJD is really so appropriate. In the beginning of creation man and beast were originally vegetarian creatures. And God's plan is to restore this peace during the millennium reign of Jesus. Isaiah 11:9 "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD." This is the ideal position and it is made known to us that we might know the heart of GOD. By the same token though our current age is not ruled by "Ideals" Therefore I would say that legislating against gun ownership would not be wise. I don't really want all the guns to be owned by the government and criminals. Some have argued that american individual gun ownership prevented Japan from trying to land on American soil during WWII. Gun control throughout history has disabled people groups from protecting themselves from despotic governments. (Russians and Stalin, Cambodians and Polpot, Hitler and the Jews, Communist China etc. ) http://www.thegunzone.com/rkba/rkba-12.html. With that being said as a Christian am I going to own a gun. For me personally no. I have never killed an animal and I guess I would if I had to, but I probably would not feel good about it. But I think it is an important individual right that should be maintained in our country.