Going Beyond the Gun Control Debates

This article was originally featured in Focus on the Family President Jim Daly’s blog, DalyFocus™

The extraordinary public debates about guns over the last few weeks, including at the White House and at CNN’s Florida Town Hall, have been highly emotional and contentious events. Nearly a month after the catastrophic carnage in Parkland, Florida, debate concerning what to do about it is raging red-hot, and understandably so. People committing violent acts with guns is a growing epidemic, particularly in schools. Since early January, in addition to Florida, there have been school shootings in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

In response, students around the country have been marching in protest and sharing their thoughts, demanding that legislative action be taken to end the escalating violence. At the White House, Andrew Pollack, an understandably distraught father whose daughter Meadow was murdered in Parkland, Florida, pleaded with President Trump.

“How many schools, how many children have to get shot?” he asked. “It stops here, with this administration and me, because I’m not going to sleep until it’s fixed.”

These parents and students are asking reasonable questions. They figure that doing something is better than doing nothing. 

It’s wise to examine existing gun laws and ask if there changes or additions that need to be made, and also ask whether the myriad of relevant laws already on the books are being adequately enforced. This is the role of our legislature. But if the debate starts and stops there, the heartbreaking and horrific events of February 14th will happen again.

That’s because at its core, the current debate has to be about more than guns. What’s being protested is a symptom of a much larger problem. You cannot legislate away evil. No laws on the books can change the human heart.

What these students should be protesting and discussing is the lost culture they’ve inherited from us. It’s a lost culture that mocks or ignores God and His timeless teachings, living for only carnal pleasures and temporary thrills.

These students now protesting are demanding we talk about and enact more gun control legislation – because we live in this lost culture where increasingly people can no longer control themselves.

History suggests that freedoms are taken away from people who cannot manage them. This is how freedoms die, when a culture is no longer morally able to exercise those freedoms in a proper and responsible manner.

We’re living through a moral freefall, but few in positions of influence are willing to talk about it. Instead, we hear much talk about its symptoms (like gun violence), and many of these same people want to ban the very things that will lead to healing and revival.

Those with a fervent and sincere faith are mocked and marginalized rather than respected and uplifted for their deeply help religious convictions.

Vice President Mike Pence was maligned the other day by Joy Behar on ABC television for acknowledging that he prays for wisdom and waits to hear for guidance from the Lord.

“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus,” Behar told her audience. “It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you … That’s called mental illness … Hearing voices.”

It’s ironic that the popular television host is lampooning the idea of God communicating wise counsel. I would point out to Ms. Behar that Jesus preached against murder – yet many think it’s illegal for high school students to hear that teaching.

I also can’t help but note that many of those who are demanding more gun laws in an effort to protect innocent life find it entirely acceptable that 4,000 innocent lives are lost each day at the hands of abortionists. More than 55 million babies have been legally killed in the U.S. in the last few decades, and yet our societal elites seem genuinely befuddled why life is viewed so cheaply by those who resort to those shocking incidents of violence.

I realize this is a complex discussion, but let’s get it all out on the table. Where is the Left’s grief for these children? Senator Schumer (D-NY) was high-fiving his colleagues after blocking a vote on the pain-capable bill limiting abortion to the first twenty weeks of development. Most developed nations don’t allow abortion past 12-13 weeks.

What’s more, those who champion the ideal of families with both a mother and a father are regularly dismissed as being hopelessly out of touch with modern mores. Yet, six of the deadliest mass shootings committed in the United States since 2005 were committed by young men without fathers in the home. In addition, studies show that young men without dads are roughly three times more likely to carry a gun and deal drugs than those living with a father.

The opioid crisis is devastating the country on numerous levels. In fact, experts identify it as the primary factor in causing life expectancy in the US to drop for the first time in many years. At the same time, those of us who oppose the legalization of marijuana are somehow socially square and standing in the way of progress.

We have a tourniquet-level problem – a sick culture, crumbling families, and an abandonment of basic values and decency – and we’re attempting to treat it with band aid solutions that do nothing to address the cause.

It was John Adams who famously remarked that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Was our nation’s second president foreshadowing our current crisis? Was he pointing to the fact that someday – maybe today – we would no longer be trusted with these freedoms because we can no longer control our wrong impulses to harm others?

President Adams was identifying the key issue which undergirds all our freedoms. I pray that we heed his warning. History is clear: godlessness and immorality leads to an outbreak of evil.

I welcome your thoughts.

UPDATE: Take 17 Minutes and Pray for Our Students



  1. by Ginger

    On March 14, 2018


  2. by kathy hanse

    On March 14, 2018

    Dear James,

    I grew up on a farm in NY state. My Dad only allowed men who would shoot ground hogs or deer and follow his rules (where to hunt and never shoot near any of us 8 kids etc)
    I would like to see guns collected, like what was done in Australia. See: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/australia-s-mandatory-gun-buyback-inspires-u-s-activists-few-n855361

    Folks who need guns to shoot game or policemen or military people should go for intense screening and annual checks. No other guns – period!

    Get rid of harmful drugs. Find ways to relieve pain with herbs and natural remedies.

    Ban abortion. Every life is precious. Teach children about healthy dating, not to live with the opposite sex (or have sex) unless they are married. Encourage God’s blueprint for families.

    Guns, drugs and abortion are terrible. Addiction to social media, gaming and bullying are also troubling.

    We can learn to communicate in better ways: I love you, God loves you, Please forgive me, I forgive you as He forgave me, How can I help you? I care about you, God cares for you, Thank you for what you have done. Good bye. See: http://answersforthefamily.com/a-gift-from-parents-to-their-teen-you-are-unique-keith-dorscht/

    We need God and prayer in our schools. Listen to Jordan Whitmer, a young man who works with teens in high schools in the US. His grandfather is an evangelist. (Ron Hutchcraft) See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgdP15mVEsE

    God’s blessings!

  3. by Terri Reid

    On March 14, 2018

    Thank you for your thoughts on our present situation in the United State.
    I would suggest that born-again Christians pray and fast every Monday for our country, our leaders and persecuted believers. We need revival in America!!
    We need to share God’s love. We need to put on the full armor
    of God
    We need to be Jonahs and go to Nineva to tell others to repent. Or Peter saying
    “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
    the forgiveness of your sins.

    In His Love,

  4. by Penny Diamond

    On March 14, 2018

    I very much appreciate your thoughts and perspective and I completely agree. I’m so scared and burdened for our nation. We as a church must our part to be the light to a lost and dying world and give them the hope of Jesus!

  5. by Catherine

    On March 15, 2018

    I am not sure that putting some limits on gun ownership such as age or types of guns is taking away rights. Is having a speed limit taking away our right to drive? Hopefully, common sense will prevail. I am very impressed with these young people having the courage to speak up.

  6. by Misty Sturman

    On March 15, 2018

    Well said.

  7. by Mindi Beckler

    On March 15, 2018

    I know that I am nothing without God. He is the reason I have hope each day, freedom from sin and death and the promise of eternal life through Christ. I know sin is at work in the world and we have all been sinners so I think we have a responsibility to show the love, grace and forgiveness of Christ to others that He freely gave us through his sacrifice. There will always be sin and strife in this world, much of which we have little control over. So I will pray to Him who can transform the hardest heart who surrenders to Him and try to follow the human example Christ set for us when he was on this earth. His light can not be extinguished and we must follow it and point others toward it.

  8. by Tad Hominem

    On March 15, 2018

    If we can’t legislate evil away, why all the interest in overturning Roe vs Wade so that states can outlaw or severely restrict abortion?? Why outlaw child marriage? Outlaw heroin, meth and dangerous drugs?
    Becuz the human heart inherently has a tendency toward evil, as we r all born sinners, doesn’t mean that we, as a society, don’t make moral decisions about right vs wrong and what behavior is tolerated or not tolerated in our society. And, through our elected representatives, adopt laws and regulations reflecting those decisions.
    Parkland MSD is the first mass shooting that could have been avoided or minimized by an age restriction for AR platform rifles! Or mag capacity limits.
    Florida chose to remain a gun friendly state. Mr. Cruz legally purchased the AR15 rifle and several 30 rd mags which he used to inflict mass carnage. 32 casualties including 17 dead. We KNOW that the brain is not fully developed until the early to mid 20s. Given the emotional pressure and turmoil experienced in the teen years, including absent fathers and family dysfunction, there is no reason for 18-21 year olds to have access to weapons with such destructive capability. None. I would have drawn the new FL law differently but shame and blame on Gov Scott and the FL legislature for NOT recognizing the same moral and social decline that you described and taking this action sooner. It recognized porn but not AR platform rifles with 30 rd magazines!!??
    BTW, Mr. Cruz did have a father. An adoptive father! Who died when Nicolas was 13! I suspect that his problems began at a very young age or in utero. Since FL has decided to seek the death penalty, perhaps the a adoption will be unsealed and we may begin to understand the mind of this savage killer.
    Faith + Works. Pray but act.


    On March 15, 2018

    GLORY be to GOD for this ministry. YES, man cannot govern himself without GOD. They can try many things, have the best of intentions, but without GOD it’s impossible to accomplish what is needed to end this evil. ” You shall love love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. this is the first and great commandment.And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
    The teachings of the enemy and world, “do your will”. My heart aches for this generation and all who have put their faith and trust in anything other than JESUS. GOD’s HOLY SPIRIT moves me to pray for all. Oh that they would all turn to CHRIST for He is the only solution, if they would only SEE that He is all they really need. SHARE CHRIST, LIKE NEVER BEFORE. PRAY OVER OUR SCHOOLS.

  10. by Minority

    On March 16, 2018

    I loved this article, it really summarizes the entire problem: lack of godliness.

    To the person referring to emotional turmoil the young go through, that’s just another way to reduce their personal responsibilities. I was raised by a single mom, in a poor neighborhood, and i was bullied at school. I could’ve gone with drugs or become a teen mother. I didn’t. I had Christ! My husband had an alcoholic father, drug addict cousins, loved guns since he was 12 (had bbq guns and air rifles and honed his aim with batteries and soda bottle caps). He uses guys today for sports. He’d never even hunt, it’s not in his heart to hurt any living creature (not even a roach, to my dismay). The problem we have today is in the soul.

    Decades ago a 16 test old was about to start his or her own family. Youth worked long hours at family farms or businesses! Nothing was free, nothing came easy. And I’d say there were more guns bu available than nowadays (mostly shotguns or rifles). We need more of God, not just empty religion, but they real deal!

  11. by Joe Tally

    On March 16, 2018

    The advice Pence gave to Joy Behar he needs to give to Trump. It would be of more value for him to tell Trump it is time to repent and apologize. What line of morality does Trump have to pass before conservatives quit defending him and tell him to repent. How do we start to show others the way to Christ when the church supports and approves the childless acts of Trump and Pence. Gun control isn’t the root cause, the corruption of church would be a better place to start unwind what has been done in America. We make comments that the lack prayer in the school is the cause. Well, I work in a school and the purpose of school is to teach the common core subjects. The responsibility of prayer is the home front, not school. Also, anyone, teacher or students can pray silently in school, so prayer has not been removed. The bible states we are to be wise as serpents. So, christians need to quit looking for fault or passing the buck and start to live the life we are called to.

  12. by Suzy George

    On March 17, 2018

    I would like to thank Joe Tally for his response. It is so hard being a Christian woman listening to good, Bible believing Christians continue to stand up for and support Trump. He goes against just about everything Jesus stands for, like loving our neighbors and enemies, being honest, humble, and God fearing. He doesn’t respect anyone and has shown he cares about very few. I hate when the most judgemental people I know are fellow believers. We aren’t called to tell people how we believe they should live, we are called to show them what true joy and mercy looks like.

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