Values at heart of gun debate

By Richard Nelson

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January 17, 2013

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Guns have been the hottest topic of debate since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown Connecticut. In response to the horrific tragedy that has gripped our hearts, President Obama  issued yesterday 23 executive orders which expands background checks, increases school resource officers and addresses mental health issues. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has called for school personnel to be armed. Critics will see this as turning our schools into battle zones, but the truth is that so long as gun ownership is legal, students in mandatory unarmed schools remain vulnerable.

Guns are the focus of this debate, but ownership by citizens is protected by the Second Amendment. The issue of how they are used is another story. Our second president, John Adams said “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” At the heart of the issue is moral and spiritual breakdown. Inordinate focus has been placed on material objects of destruction as if the human soul had nothing to do with how that object was used.  Government might impose outside restrictions, but it cannot change hearts.

The most explosive thing that could be done to protect our children, not just to change the dynamic in our schools but in our culture as well is the introduction of the gospel; teaching truth and compassion, mercy and justice—values necessary for a culture to remain healthy and prosper. If we aspire toward a better society, then the next generation must be taught moral absolutes come from a Creator who desires not just our safety but for us to abide in Him. It’s not a simple fix, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center