Friday, March 25, 2011

EDITORIAL >>Bibles, guns side by side

If Jesus chased the money-changers from the temple, would he have invited the gunslingers in?

It is a popular school of thought that the Prince of Peace wants churchgoers armed, or at least that he does not mind if they are. The Arkansas legislature has once again taken up the issue of fortified houses of worship and it looks like zanier heads will prevail this time. The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives approved a bill by Rep. Bryan King, the Berryville Republican, to repeal the law banning guns from churches and the full House promptly ratified it, 65-23.

Each church could designate the members it wants to carry guns to worship services or to Sunday school. Dissident factions would have to come to services armed only with their prayers. If the church leaders chose they could let everyone with a permit come armed.

Does this sound like madness? It does to us. But it is part of an expanding movement to put guns into as many hands in as many circumstances as possible. The idea, expressed repeatedly now in legislative committee meetings, is that the more weapons there are—on the streets, in churches, at public meetings, on the road—the less likelihood of violence. The theory is that thugs and the deranged will be less likely to attack people if they suspect that someone else may also be armed. The news every day from our own neighborhoods to the far corners of the globe suggest that it simply is not so. Weapons, concealed or open, prove to be more an invitation to violence than a deterrence.

This has nothing to do with the individual right to keep arms at home for self-defense or for sport or to bear them in defense of the country, as the Second Amendment intended, but rather the right of people to live in a civilized order. The vast majority of legislators know that bills like King’s are lunacy, but it is dangerous for anyone to vote against guns, no matter the question. You will be targeted by the National Rifle Association in the next election and few survive that in the South. We can still hope for sanity in the Senate, or the governor’s office. —E.D.