In the midst of the horrific mass murder in Newtown, Connecticut last week we are inclined to find any solution that might work to stop the repeated mass murders we have seen in American society in recent years. The massacre in Aurora, Colorado at a theater was not that long ago, and in both cases the perpetrators used a mixture of firearms, particularly military style semiautomatic rifles. The easy option is to try to remove those kinds of rifles from society, but the removal of those guns from society won’t stop the problem. Criminals are too smart, they will find a way to cause massive amounts of mayhem and death if they want to, and no amount of laws will stop them.

I worked with Nebraska’s worst criminals for three and a half years at its most secure prison as a religious coordinator. I got to know many of those men. Most criminals are not stupid. Most criminals I have known were extremely intelligent and very creative. If one of them wanted to kill a lot of people they could and would and a ban on semiautomatic rifles would not stop them. Any one of them could devise a bomb or incendiary device that could cause dozens of deaths. We need to remember that the brats that massacred people at Columbine High School used pipe bombs as part of their arsenal.

The problem is not the guns. It’s the people. No matter how much you try to make society safe by eliminating weapons you can’t make it safe. You have to deal with the root causes of people being bad, people wanting to do evil things, and getting bad people in prison or in places where they can’t do harm. We also need to do everything we can to discourage violence in our society and encourage people doing good things. Until you deal with the heart issues of people, no matter how much you try, criminals will find a way to hurt people.


  1. I agree that guns per se aren’t the problem. However, having said that, I do think some steps could be taken to make things safer. For instance, nobody thinks that cars should be banned, but does that mean that no regulations should ever be put in place to make cars safer? I mean, many years ago, cars didn’t have air bags.

    No matter how much you try, criminals will find a way to hurt people.

    There is truth to that, but that’s no reason not to make it more difficult for them to do so. For instance, should grenades be freely available to all? Anyway, someone wrote the following on another board concerning the ammunition used in semi-automatic weapons:

    The problem, in my opinion, is the clips allowed
    in these weapons. No one has any reason to use 20 round clips, period,
    no questions asked. That is stupid. There should be a limit on the
    number of rounds of ammunition that can bought at any one time and a
    limit as to how many rounds can be loaded into a firearm at any time.

    I agree with that. i also think that more stringent background checks should be done to prevent folks who are unstable or mentally ill from acquiring weapons. I agree that gun control doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve things in other ways. In addition, I think security needs to be increased at schools so that it’s much more difficult for potential troublemakers to gain access.

    It seems to me that there are two extremes we can go to:

    1) Say that guns are evil and should be completely banned.

    2) Say that guns are wonderful and make the world go around and are a panacea for all problems, and that we should give every teacher in the U.S. a gun along with a complimentary lifelong membership in the NRA. 😉

  2. So we shouldn’t place restrictions on gun ownership because criminals will find a way to do harm anyway? You need a better reason than that. I assume you’re pro-life. I doubt you would argue we shouldn’t ban abortion because some women will have them anyway. You’re logic would seem to call for the repeal of most criminal laws.

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