My Jesus, My Gun, My Liability.

         While a slim majority of Americans favor tighter gun control, evangelicals form a super-majority of those opposed to stricter gun control laws. Despite 30,000 Americans being killed by gunshot wounds every year – a rate of some 80 people per day. Guns are ubiquitous and gun sales are skyrocketing. Almost half of evangelical Christians own them. Evangelicals are on the front lines to change the legal system to protect the unborn. But they resist legislation to reign-in the equally appalling murder of the post-born. It’s also true that evangelicals like Franklin Graham decry the “sin-sickened” state of America, while lobbying to make it easier for the same morally unfit people to use these weapons.

         We don’t have a gun problem, Mike Huckabee contends, since sin has gotten so bad “we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.” Huckabee’s point is made through a gun company which offers a kid-size assault rifle it proudly says “looks, feels, and operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun”.  Normalizing that kid/assault rifle relationship makes a mockery of the 20 dead six and seven years at Sandy Hook. I suppose praising that depraved life-destroying power is the brilliance behind marketing a kid-sized super-soaker that “Keeps the wow factor with the kids.”

         What he doesn’t admit, the immorality extends to evangelicals like God, Guns, and Grits Huckabee– who takes “a clear and decisive stand for principled issues”, yet sermonizes without accepting any responsibility for the suffering guns cause. Evangelicals have detached themselves from the grim consequences of military hardware designed with the sole purpose of killing multiple human beings. In fact, weak restrictions on gun ownership have become an evangelical article of faith. “You can’t be a Christian if you don’t own a gun,” a parachurch honcho preached to an enthusiastic Texas church.

         Gun manufacturing and gun ownership will never be abolished, but there are rational approaches to regulation that balance responsible gun ownership and public well-being. Americans pay for all sorts of liability insurance to protect them from harm caused through their property. Homeowners, renters, automobile, and toys like boats and motorcycles. Owners of these goods are pooled together based on relative risk.

         If neither Jesus or the government can provide meaningful answers to gun violence, perhaps we should look elsewhere. The only rational approach that seems open to Christians truly troubled by never-ending gun carnage is to encourage market-based solutions to eliminate its free-riding effect on society.  Nothing succeeds better than a good old American knee in the economic balls. I’m suggesting a firearm owner’s liability insurance requirement; a risk-based economic price to be paid like there is for driving a car.

         We all depend on our insurance policies to keep us out of the poorhouse. If for example, a tree on our property drops onto the neighbor’s roof, or our teenage son backs into a Porsche in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. We live by the rules of a free market economy, and have signed onto its risks and benefits. Vehicle liability insurance covers a risk-taking activity which can potentially result in grievous bodily harm. Very few evangelicals would dream of getting behind the wheel without it.

         Insurance companies subsidize the loss, not taxpayers. Nothing in the Second Amendment precludes the right to bear arms from being conditioned by market factors and similar risk distribution. Until now, there has been no risk-based economic price to be paid like there is for driving a car.

         That’s why I applaud the San Jose’s move to oblige gun owners in the city to carry liability insurance. Gun-humpers are already screaming like someone poked a needle in their eye. It may never make it through the courts. At least it serves as a prototype the rest of the nation should emulate. Maybe not yet for evangelicals. At least until their sincerest “hearts and prayers” reach the moral bottom, they repent and work to heal this wound instead of making it worse.

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