How United Methodists Can Respond to Gun Violence

Church & Society Offers Prevention Resources

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Legislation vs grace of God

The United Methodist Church is too focused in legislating the kingdom of God into existence--which is not the purpose of the church. Philip Yancy states it so very well in his book "What's So Amazing About Grace?": legislation can only change outward actions whereas the grace of God changes how we feel about each other! The UMC has lost sight of the Priority #1 that John Wesley never lost sight of: Creating an environment in which the grace of God can transform how individuals perceive themselves and each other.

Betsy 114 days ago

Gun Violence

I would like to suggest some of the points are almost unworkable.

The complexity of asking licensed gun dealers to handle the sale of all guns would be like asking all car sales to be handled through a licensed car dealer.

Second, if you had an 18-year-old daughter or son moving out to live independently, you may want them to be able to defend themselves in the event of a home invasion.

Third, we ask 18-year-old men and women to join the military where they will be asked to learn how to operate even more powerful arms. But, then you aren't going to trust them in their civilian life. Which brings me to a potential common sense solution. Require all guns purchased through a licensed dealer for the buyer to take an instruction course, prior to delivery of the gun. The NRA and other associations have the ability to conduct these at low cost or perhaps even no charge. The gun would be presented to the buyer upon successful completion of the course. This provides an unofficial waiting period as well.

Regarding the third item you advocate about signing the church as a gun free zone, just advertises you are unlikely able to stop a perpetrator. Churches are soft targets for the mentally ill, a disgruntled parishioner and possible terrorists. Churches need to have a plan and be able to execute it in the event there is an altercation or intrusion.

We can't pretend the guns already in existence aren't going to wind up in the wrong hands. And burglars target guns because they are easy to dispose. These are just a few thoughts and observations, but the scope of this problem is far greater than we might imagine. For, example, should we use the TSA approach to safeguarding schools? We do it now in many of our government facilities. Is the safety of the children worth the trade-off for freedom of movement? Do the school boards and districts allocate enough funds to keep children safe? Are school buildings being designed to protect students in the event of an intrusion?

The best offense is a great defense.

Jim 117 days ago