Gun Rights, Protestant History, and Modern Research
Protestants have a history of viewing a right to self-defense as a legitimate expectation. In 1688, the protestants leveled several charges against their king. This was formalized in the Declaration of Right in 1689. Of these charges against the king, included was this:
“…by disarming Protestants and arming Catholics contrary to law.”
This should not be surprising, since Protestants have generally held a pro-life position. It is impracticable and infeasible to protect life when you are unarmed and helpless. But modern research confirms this.
Criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University has developed extensive research that even opponents are impressed with.
Anti-self defense advocate, Marvin Wolfgang, who was acknowledged at the time of the research to be “the most influential criminologist in the English-speaking world,” was impressed by Kleck’s research:
I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. […] The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well.
What was the conclusion of Kleck’s research?
That guns are used disproportionately for the sake of preserving life, not crime. Approximately 2.5 million incidents of defensive gun usage took place in 1993, compared to only 0.5 million gun crimes.
Russell Kirk’s statement is apropo: “Deny a fact and that fact will be your master.”
Weapons protect life, far more than they destroy it.
This leads us to the question, why did Peter have a sword? “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)” (John 18:10). Nevermind the rebuke for what he did. Jesus did not seem to mind letting him carry it around, presumably for 3 years.
He did not carry the sword to fillet a fish. It was not a pocket knife in case he needed to cut a string. Maybe the sword was for slicing apples? But then, probably not. It was night time, and he was in a garden. Bad guys are out at night.
The word translated “sword” is machaira. Some point out that this could mean “long knife” and may be connected to his occupation as a fisherman. But when going on a long walk at night in a garden, far from the coast, you don’t normally bring fishing nets and fillet knives. Unless the fillet knife is the only thing you possess for self defense.
Most likely he would have been carrying a Roman short sword. Too short for a soldier who will face combat, perfect for everyday carry for defense against thugs.
In short, being a good Samaritan demands killing to protect, if the situation demands it.
This is because life is worth defending, even with life itself.
Daniel MasonSee More Essays
Daniel Mason studied theology in his undergrad, and currently pursuing graduate studies, with a particular interest in the Dutch statesman, Groen van Prinsterer. Daniel Mason is the co-founder of The Reformed Conservative.