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Dr. Greg Bahnsen on the fundamental right of self-defense

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Comment: transcribed from a Debate on the Civil Regulation of Firearms - Dr. Greg Bahnsen vs. Dr. James Atwood (51:55-55:50)

...government regulation of firearms in hopes of increasing the peace and safety of law abiding citizens is unscriptural because it is contrary to the law's explicit warrant that people have the right to defend themselves and to use weapons in the process of doing so.

Obviously we are to seek the goal of peace and safety, but the question is what is the God-ordained means or method for doing that. God has ordained the state for specific ends and has authorized it to use only specific means to achieve those ends. A state which transgresses those limits on its power and threatens individual liberty defies God's word; it is a state that is a monster. A state which acts as though the ends justified the means is not a minister of God for our good; it is a state that has assumed the prerogatives of God himself. God has not empowered the state to interfere in the citizen's right to pursue effective self-defense. Because scripture countenances and approves the possessing and using of weapons for self-defense, a state that interferes in that right stands contrary to God himself as He's revealed Himself in His word; and thus the state regulation of firearms is immoral from a Christian perspective, not simply unscientific, and will not accomplish its announced purpose; instead such regulation of firearms works against the safety and the political freedom of the people, threatening them with ineffective defense against criminals, because criminals will continue to have arms and they will not, as well as now threatening them with an intrusive political order which threatens their freedoms.

My opponent has said he doesn't hear much gentleness and concern of a neighbour in need in what I have to say tonight. I've said it so many times I don't know what I can tell you. I could preach a sermon to make it more clear and more compassionate. I don't want women getting raped, I don't want want them getting beat up and killed by their spouses, or their ex-spouses or their boyfriends. Women suffer the most from handgun control because women in particular need an equalizing situation against the violence that's done against them. Study the statistics; they are the ones that suffer. It's out of my compassion for women that I say handgun controls ought not to be allowed. We're told that guns will not keep you safe. The statistics tell you otherwise. Eighty-three percent of the time studies done on both sides of this question agree, eighty-three percent of the time guns are effective, either used by criminals or those who are defending themselves.

We've been called upon by my opponent to influence the political process. Absolutely. I'm all in favour of doing that. We must do so. But we'd better influence it for justice and righteousness and the peace of our society, and not vain speculation that will do no good in protecting people but only increase the burden of government upon them. The book of Deuteronomy says do not turn to the right hand or the left, from the law of God. That's what Kings are obligated to do. Sadly my opponent's position tonight would encourage the king, or the government here, to depart from the law of God by taking away a right that is granted by God, and encouraging the state to do something that God has not authorized. In answer to the question that was set before us, is civil regulation of firearms the scriptural norm for civil government, we haven't heard one shred of evidence that would tell you that it is. We've heard a great deal of evidence that would tell you that it is not.

Intrusion into our lives to regulate the use of weapons that can be used for self-defense is both unscientific, and sadly, and much worse, unscriptural.

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