The Right to Self-Defense: A God-Given Right

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In the United States, we are granted rights and freedoms that most countries do not offer. One of these rights pivotal to maintaining our freedoms as Americans can be found in the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms. Our founders knew that only a people who were armed could protect and retain their freedoms.

 

There are countless stories of individuals who conceal-carry or keep guns in their homes who have been able to protect their family, their friends, and even their churches and communities from those with evil intent. The ability to own and carry firearms is critical to self-defense and the ability to protect others who are in danger.

 

The Second Amendment clearly states that this right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” Jordan Stein, director of communications for Gun Owners of America, says that phrase means that the government has no business putting any restrictions on the right of the people to defend themselves and others, including inhibiting the people’s ability to own firearms.

 

He also pointed out that the founders and the Second Amendment didn’t give us those rights. “Self-defense is a God-given right,” Stein said. “The Second Amendment states why the right is needed — to protect freedom, to protect a free society — that the people have a right to keep and bear arms, and the government has absolutely no business, not even the slightest iota, of infringing or requiring restrictions upon that right of self-defense.”

 

The government has certainly tried to put restrictions on who can own firearms and what kind and how many they are able to have in their possession. One of the most dangerous pieces of anti-gun legislation that has been recently passed in some states is what are known as “red flag” laws, or as Stein calls them, “gun confiscation orders.”

 

Red flag laws essentially encourage people to tell on their neighbors. If someone believes their neighbor or family member or friend is a danger to society, they can report them to local authorities and cause the person to have all of their firearms confiscated — without due process. This opens the door to people telling on others just because they do not agree with them.

 

Throughout history, we have seen the detrimental after-effects of populations who were disarmed by their governments. Adolf Hitler disarming the Jews in Germany prior to the Holocaust and Fidel Castro disarming the citizens of Cuba are just two examples. Whether achieved by force in the case of the Nazis or for the greater good, as Castro successfully argued, both of these governments were able to quickly and easily implement tyrannical and murderous policies.

 

While the Bible may not say anything specifically about guns, it does support self-defense when it comes to protecting yourself and those around you. It is important to note that self-defense is defined as protecting yourself and others from the harm that someone else is trying to inflict — harm meaning that their intent is to injure or kill you or others. Self-defense does not include revenge or punishment for a wrongdoing.

 

Verses from Psalms and Proverbs show the responsibility we have to protect others from harm. Psalm 82:4, ESV, says, “Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” This same theme is emphasized in Proverbs 24:11, NKJV: “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling toward the slaughter.”

 

We are called to help protect those who may not have a way to protect themselves. Self-defense is not anti-Bible or anti-Christian. Protecting our right to self-defense ensures that we can do our part to not just ourselves but also the young, the elderly, and the weak, “the least of these” who Jesus loves and represents and who He calls on us as Christians to care for and protect.

 

As we near an election, tensions are high due to what could happen in the near future. If Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are elected, they could pose a serious threat to the Second Amendment and the rights we have as individuals to own firearms. Harris has talked about enacting a mandatory buyback of semi-automatic rifles where the government would provide monetary payment while taking those guns from those who own them. Stein notes how ludicrous this idea is, as the government would be “buying back” the guns from taxpayers using taxpayer dollars to take possession of something the government never had a right to take in the first place.

 

“I think they will transform the right to keep and bear arms into something that is unrecognizable to what our founders intended… they want to erase your right to own a gun,” Stein said. He also said they “don’t want people stockpiling weapons, which says a lot to me right there.”

 

The unknown of the election, the recent pandemic, the unrest across the country, and spikes in violent crime have all led to a major increase in firearm sales across the United States. The Brookings Institute reported that Americans purchased an estimated 3 million more guns between March and the end of June than they would have ordinarily. At the current rate, 2020 gun sales will top 35 million, an all-time high.

 

Brookings noted that although there have been gun increases in years past in response to potential gun control legislation, the 2020 spike “is less about concerns regarding access to firearms than (it is about) personal safety.”

 

That reality is borne out by the fact that 40 percent of sales in the first seven months of 2020 involved first-time gun buyers, with 40 percent of those buyers being women, according to NSSF, the firearm industry trade association.

 

Stein says he hopes this translates to a “massive pro-gun voting block” in the election.

 

The right to keep and bear arms and the right to self-defense is not a right that was given by government. It is inalienable, a right bestowed upon each of us by God, and we should demand that it continue to be recognized as such.