Gay Man Challenges Gun Control

NPR has an excellent story today, NRA Seeks to Overturn Handgun Bans Beyond D.C. San Francisco has a ban on handguns in public housing, and that negatively affects a gay man, who owns a gun to protect himself from hate crimes. Allied with the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups, he is challenging the anti-gun law in court. And he has that new Supreme Court decision to back him up!

How are liberals going to react to this? They claim to care about the plight of homosexuals. Well, are they going to let them defend themselves from homophobic rednecks, or will they continue to cling to their anti-gun dogma, regardless of whom it hurts? Sure, many (but not all) libs want to take Dr. Dobson off the air in their alleged concern for homosexuals. How about letting them own a gun for self-protection?

Gun control hurts many people from the Democratic Party’s own constituency. After the Civil War, Southern governments prohibited African-Americans from owning firearms. In the late 1960’s, the ban on cheap Saturday Night Specials deprived blacks of cost-effective means for self-protection. It’s refreshing to see that gun groups and a homosexual are allying on an important issue.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Current Events, James Dobson, Judiciary, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Gay Man Challenges Gun Control

  1. Pascalian Awakenings says:

    Wow…that’s interesting. I can’t wait to see what they do. The left will probably come out with a position that says only gays can own guns!

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  2. James Pate says:

    Yeah, that would be funny, Yvette! But, then again, the plight of African-Americans didn’t move them to reverse their position on Saturday Night Specials.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I find this a very odd argument. Suppose you disagree with me on a variety of social and political issues; that doesn’t mean you want me to be deprived of my legitimate civil rights, does it?

    I presume, for example, you believe I should not be deprived of the right to vote, even though I would certainly often vote in ways you don’t like. You probably also think I ought to be allowed the rights to due process, to exercise my religion freely and so on.

    You’re a true civil libertarian, then. But suppose I want an abortion. Are you committed to supporting my right to have it, just because I want it and you’re sympathetic to me? Of course not. You believe I deserve the same right to free exercise of my religion anybody else has, but I would guess you don’t believe I have a right to an abortion because you probably don’t believe abortion is right for anybody. That’s a perfectly reasonable and consistent position. Your support of my civil rights is completely independent of your views about my opinions on other matters.

    Now, why should it be different for me? Taking a position sympathetic to the interests of one group of the population does not mean I am held hostage to any opinion any individual belonging to that group may hold.

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  4. James Pate says:

    I think I’m getting what you’re saying, Anonymous. I’m a little unclear about your first three paragraphs, since, yeah, I support your right to vote and have due process, whether you agree with me or not. That’s what rights are–they apply to everyone. I wouldn’t say the same thing about abortion, though, since I see that as murder.

    But your last statement gives me more insight into what you’re saying: A person can believe in gay rights and yet still disagree with a gay person who wants to own a gun for self-protection.

    The thing is that a lot of liberals express concern about hate crimes, and yet they’re reluctant to allow a gay man to take the steps he deems necessary to protect himself from one. They’re letting their liberal dogma (gun control) get in the way of their concern for homosexuals.

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  5. steph says:

    Would Jesus carry a gun? I don’t think so. It is nobody’s “sacred and fundamental right” to arm themselves (as was endorsed by McCain) with a 13th century killing stick. It’s a shame you can’t just actually enforce gun control and equip your law enforcement agencies with stun guns instead of lethal weapons.

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  6. James Pate says:

    But then only the criminals will have guns, Steph. That old NRA saying is a cliche, but it has some truth.

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  7. steph says:

    It isn’t just criminals who kill innocent people, James. Also if guns aren’t so freely available, more criminals won’t obtain them. Existing weapons will have to have homemade ammunition because it won’t be able to be purchased. Less criminals would feel inclined to have them if ‘other’ people haven’t got them. Non lethal weapons are effective as are more police on the street. It works in other countries. No that I hold out much hope for America but I worry that its gun happy mindset is reflected in its involvement in places outside it and that affects us.

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  8. James Pate says:

    Hi Steph. I remember that John Lott challenged that whole “Oh, it’s so dangerous to have a gun in the house” spiel that we were fed in the 90’s. I don’t remember what his exact argument was, but I think he said that the number of gun deaths is less than the number of accidental deaths from other causes.

    I’m not sure if less criminals will have guns if others don’t have them. There’s still violent crime in areas that have tough gun control laws.

    Do you live in Canada? I’m curious because another Canadian on his blog was talking about how gun control works in his country. The thing is that Michael Moore on Bowling for Columbine showed that there are a lot of guns in Canada too. Has that changed?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    “They’re letting their liberal dogma (gun control) get in the way of their concern for homosexuals.”

    I don’t have any particular concern for gay people, except that I think they’re people like anybody else who do face unusual challenges to the exercise of ordinary civil rights most of us take for granted, and I would like to see their rights assured of protection. That does not commit me to advocating that all gay people be allowed to do whatever they want, even if that desire is based on a genuine belief that their security requires it. Nor does it mean I must take whatever one gay person wants as necessarily acceptable for all of us.

    You’ve found someone — a single individual — who happens to be gay and happens to take a more negative view of gun control than I do. Why should that make me change my mind? Would you drop your argument if I could find a single gay person who felt the other way?

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  10. James Pate says:

    Hi, Anonymous. Thanks for your comments.

    No, I wouldn’t drop my argument. There are all sorts of people who believe in all sorts of different things. But whatever happened to freedom of choice? If someone believes he needs a gun to protect himself, why can’t he have it?

    I thought this story was interesting because it showed an unusual alliance. Many have a stereotyped view of who is on the left and who is on the right, and there are times when the lines are blurred.

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  11. steph says:

    I live on the other side of the world from Canada where gun control works and our police are not armed and we don’t live in fear of guns. I have never been to Canada. Perhaps its a bit too close to America.

    I am happy here. I am a pacifist and there are many like minded people around me. I also believe that you should not kill.

    Also people with guns can not only kill criminals but they can kill the wrong person, they can also kill committers of petty crime and are liable to be used in anger. But there is no point discussing it with you. You have a mindset and we will never agree.

    Stop making guns, stop selling guns, confiscate guns, “do not kill”.

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  12. steph says:

    I don’t see how a gay person represents an “unusual alliance”. Sexuality doesn’t dictate one’s beliefs or political persuasions. I think it more reflects your own prejudice perhaps.

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  13. James Pate says:

    Sure, there are gay Republicans, but you don’t find too many on the religious right. In that sense, being gay does influence how a person thinks politically.

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  14. steph says:

    Perhaps gay people tend to be creative. They are actors, writers and artists. All my gay friends have been very creative people. Creative people tend to be liberal. One gay friend’s partner is involved in business. He’s definitely not a socialist. My artistic friend tends to his viewpoint these days. Gay people don’t fit into a mould all the time and neither to heterosexuals. I think it’s more to do with our environment – our childhood and adult experience, where we live and work etc.

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  15. James Pate says:

    A lot of it also depends on what people feel their options are. Homosexuals who are concerned about gay rights often will not seek refuge in the Republican Party. Sometimes they may, since there are prominent pro-gay Republicans, and many Democrats are critical of gay marriage. But, overall, the Republican Party caters to the religious right.

    Homosexuals who may feel that they can be successful without gay rights legislation may cater to the Republicans. For them, tax cuts and national security are more important than the government being friendly to homosexuals per se.

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  16. steph says:

    Which goes to show that your example is not an “unusual alliance”.

    How do you feel about the two escaping burglars shot in the back by a neighbour who was later pronounced not guilty of murder? To me it was premeditated murder. He was angry, debated with police and fired, against their command, two victims who were not threatening his life, shooting them in the back. Aiming to kill. If only he had not had a gun.

    I thank God I live so far away. Mind you he’d never have been let off here.

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  17. James Pate says:

    But he felt they were threatening his life. And Texas law allows a person to use force if someone’s property is in danger. AHN’s story on this says, “Horn’s attorney, Tom Lambright, said that Horn only shot the men when they threatened him and came onto his yard. He killed the men in self defense, Lambright said.”

    Of course, I don’t know how that’s consistent with them getting shot in the back, but I haven’t heard that evidence.

    How do I feel about it? It’s sad when people lose their lives. But one reason it’s good that people have guns is that it can discourage criminals.

    How would your sector of the world handle something like this? Just wait for the cops? Beat the thieves down with quarterstaffs? I mean, without guns, it is pretty much survival of the physically fittest.

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  18. James Pate says:

    I’d like to add a few things. I think it’s horrible that people got killed because they were stealing. Property should not be put above human life. If they were trying to murder someone, however, then that’s a different story.

    Your comment, Steph, made me think about Exodus 22:2-3: “If a thief is found breaking in, and is beaten to death, no bloodguilt is incurred; but if it happens after sunrise, bloodguilt is incurred.”

    Maybe killing a thief is allowed at night because there’s no telling what the thief would do; plus, the neighbors are asleep, no they can’t help. But, during the daytime, there are other options besides killing him to take care of the situation. And those men were shot in broad daylight (if I got the story right).

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  19. steph says:

    His phone call to the police had him arguing “they’re getting away” and then he shot. I saw a documentary including an interview with Horn. They were hardly threatening his life. In our country the police attend to the matter. Guns aren’t needed. If any force is necessary to apprehend fleeing thieves, they have dogs and pepper spray. In some special circumstances they are using stun guns on trial. In your country you not only condone the death penalty in some states but you personally condone the death penalty for burglary it seems although you say its horrible. This isn’t an isolated case and many more of these will happen with you all arming yourselves.

    Apart from the fact that they weren’t his thieves breaking in, Exodus was written in a historical context were people were slaughtered at the command of God. But as I’m not religious it only has purely historical interest to me.

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  20. James Pate says:

    Hi Steph,

    I don’t personally condone it, but I wouldn’t use that as a reason to take away people’s constitutional right to bear arms. All sorts of rights can be abused, but they should still exist.

    You asked if Jesus would carry a gun. Why would that matter to you, if you’re not religious?

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  21. steph says:

    Because you are religious and I believe Jesus is historical and much of his teaching in the New Testament is historical. My PhD thesis is on Aramaic sources the of the New Testament and more specifically, the problem with Q.

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  22. steph says:

    You never answered the question. Mind you it was probaby rhetorical. He wouldn’t. It does matter to me because my concern is with history.

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  23. James Pate says:

    That sounds like a deep topic. I know there are some Aramaic sayings in the Gospels. Is that what you’re investigating, or are you looking to see if there are Aramaic sources behind the Greek text?

    On guns, I don’t know if Jesus would carry one. He said we shouldn’t live by the sword, and we shouldn’t. But would he be against all forms of self-defense? I mean, pacifists can look at “turn the other cheek,” but being smacked is not the same as having one’s life threatened? Yet, wasn’t Peter trying to save Jesus’ life when he was whacking his sword around?

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  24. steph says:

    Precisely what I wrote: Aramaic sources of the New Testament – the Greek texts – specifically the Greek texts of the synoptic gospels. Peter wasn’t right in doing what he did.

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  25. steph says:

    Turn the other cheek is a generally rule, not a literal reaction to being smacked.

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  26. steph says:

    general rule (correction)

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  27. James Pate says:

    No, but he still had a sword with him. And Jesus didn’t tell him to get rid of it. Sure, we shouldn’t make violence a habit, but there are times when a sword may be needed.

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  28. steph says:

    We don’t have everything Jesus said and I think from what we do have it shows that he was not violent. But apart from Christian belief and justification, I find the “sacred right” to use guns, immoral and revolting.

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  29. steph says:

    And seeing you’re pleading for evidence from absence, Mark 14.48 is as good as a rebuke by Jesus for sword carrying. Also you show signs of harmonising by accepting John’s naming of Peter as historical. If had been Peter the synoptics would have mentioned it, particularly Mark.

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  30. James Pate says:

    Hi Steph,

    I’m not pleading for evidence from absence. They were carrying swords. Jesus obviously didn’t make them get rid of them as a prerequisite to following him.

    And I’m not harmonizing. I’m appealing to the one Christian tradition in which it was Peter. I haven’t memorized the Gospel Parallels. But your comment does highlight a problem I have with biblical scholarship: It’s argument of “if this were historical, then he would have written it.” How do you know what he would have done? Can you base that much on a hypothetical?

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Steph, you must live in a perfect country and a perfect world. I would be interested to know what and where it is in order to do my own research on the history, policies and government of that perfect area on our earth. As a liberal, I should agree with your point of view, and in many aspects, I do. However, as an AMERICAN, I really am grossly offended by those from other cultures and countries “advising” AMERICANS on how OUR Constitution should be interpreted and applied, especially when it comes to the interpretation of OUR freedoms. We were founded on historically different tenets, by a multitude of different peoples in both culture and belief, and we are still a relatively young and growing nation when compared to, perhaps, YOUR perfect country. Our diversity, in politics, religious beliefs, et al, and the attempts of our government to interpret and re-interpret that Constitution as situations develop, is part of what makes us so different. While this topic can be argued from both a political and religious viewpoint, the fact that it can be argued is, in itself, a freedom. And, as an American, I do hold out hope for America, just as, as an inhabitant of our planet, I hold out hope for our planet.

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  32. James Pate says:

    That reminds me of a Yogi Bear song: “We’re on our way to the perfect place, the perfect PLACE…”

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  33. steph says:

    I’m tiring of this – I don’t know how you have time. I only have dial up and you’re now on page 2 and I have my own writing to continue and I don’t like conflicts.

    So – the gospels record Jesus neither condemning nor condoning the sword carrying. Perhaps he was preoccupied with his forthcoming arrest. John substitutes the unnamed one with John. It is part of the harmonising technique to include from John what the others have not got.

    Anon and James: I never said my country was perfect. I said I felt happier here as we have gun control and our police are not armed and its a long way from anywhere else. Guess. And I never advised you on how to interpret your Constitution. I’ve never read it but I’m quite sure it is supposed to say you can bear arms and that McCain interprets (or advocates the interpretation that) it as your “sacred fundamental right”.

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  34. steph says:

    I do wonder and worry if the American culture of guns or whatever you call it, has an influence on the rest of the world and the attitude on imperialism and war.

    Peace.

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  35. James Pate says:

    Sure, Jesus was under a lot of pressure while he was being arrested. But Peter/unnamed disciple was carrying his sword long before that!

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  36. steph says:

    I think Jesus was under alot of pressure long before he was actually arrested. He anticipated his death and betrayal and arrest long before the actual event of his arrest and the last supper was preparation for his them.

    Second, it wasn’t a disciple who was armed, it was the crowd with Judas. And of course Jesus did question why they came with arms as if he was leading a rebellion. This is hardly approving it.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Jesus did use a whip to drive the merchants out of the temple–he didn’t just shoo them away–and Luke does give the impression that self-defense is acceptable. However, in light of the known teachings of the historical figure who was Jesus, it seems like only self-defense would be a reason for a regular citizen to carry a weapon. My question is: Just what is “being threatened”? Walking down the street of a “bad” neighborhood? I really don’t think carrying a gun would help in that case. Common sense would seem to be of better use. Defense in the home? Well, we just keep a baseball bat by the bed and the doors and windows locked. I actually have plenty of things I could use as a weapon. And if someone pulls a gun on me? How will my having one help? A stand-off? Who shoots first? Playing “chicken”? I seriously doubt if I would have the upper hand just because I was able to reach a gun. Regarding our Constitutional right, I quote Justice Antonin Scalia, for the majority in District of Columbia v Heller (U. S. Supreme Court 2008)

    “We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

    The Right to Bear Arms was essential at the time of the founding of our country. Swords and whips were used in Jesus’ time. Maybe, just maybe, there is a time and a place for everything and this issue just cannot be boiled down to “do” or “don’t” on either religious grounds or legal grounds. Circumstances, the time period, and the individual all have to come into play–I agree with Scalia that, while it IS a problem, one cannot just throw out an amendment. Who knows if and when circumstances may arise that civilians SHOULD AGAIN be encouraged to “bear arms”. Yes, criminals will always find a way to have a weapon. People who hunt have the right to do so (my apologies to vegans, but the right is there). However, many crimes are committed without guns, just as murders are committed without guns. In a country as large and diverse as this one, even geographic location can make a difference. It is a tough issue, which makes it so debatable.

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  38. steph says:

    Anon – John reflects the tendency once again of later tradition to embellish the tradition. It is only in John that the “whip of chords” is mentioned. Luke has Jesus instruct his disciples to carry nothing – not even a staff.

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  39. steph says:

    Happy Independence Day – it’s nearly tomorrow here but dawn there.

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  40. James Pate says:

    Luke has them not carrying anything, but Jesus may be changing that policy in Luke 22:33ff:

    “He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.'”

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  41. steph says:

    Yes – that’s where historicity comes into question. But one of the reasons I’m not a Christian is that Christians will always find a way to justify violence (and hatred of homosexuals and other things) by appealing to their Bible.

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  42. James Pate says:

    Why’s it come into question? Obviously at least one of the disciples was carrying a sword. SOMEONE whacked off that one guy’s ear.

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  43. Anonymous says:

    But that is my point: maybe the inconsistency comes from different circumstanaces requiring different actions, thus the different interpretations. And, Steph, EVERYONE appeals to some type of philosophy to uphold their views, whether it be those who want to condone violence against enemies, condemn such actions, etc. Even slavery in American was both condoned and condemned by using the Bible! As well, even in the gay Christian community, appeal is made to the Bible (the relationship between David and Jonathan, the relationships between Jesus and certain disciples). And the “anti-gay” community appeals to the same book for the stance it takes. There are many works to which people appeal: Tao, Torah, New Testament, Quaran, the IChing, Wiccan philosophy, the works of Plato, Aristotle, and later philosophers and scholars, “lost” books of the Bible, historical documents, and so forth. How can one even defend a thesis or an idea without appealing to another’s scholarship and/or philosophy? I doubt that many of us could stand alone, or would even be considered to be such an authority that we COULD stand alone. So, appealing to a source considered to be a higher authority in order to justify and/or authenticate one’s own philosophy is perfectly rational. In the case of the Christian community, one such source is the Bible. I am not a Biblical scholar: my field is African American History, and my specialization the role of women in religion in the 19th century (or was many, many years ago). Even I had to appeal to the Bible as a source to make sense of the arguments within the AME, as do other scholars in the field. So, it is natural that pro-gun and anti-gun would do the same.

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  44. steph says:

    Luke 23.35-38, it is only attested in Luke and sytlistic consideration renders it a Lukan creation (especially Michael Goulder on Luke) It was one of the crowd with Judas who cut of his ear, not a disciple. The crowd were armed as Jesus himself remarks, not the disciples.

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  45. steph says:

    Anon – you think I didn’t know that? That is why I have no religious ties. I act according to my conscience and don’t feel the need to appeal to any book to justify that. And just for the record, I have never been Christian or any religion, I never believed in God (my questions as to what he stood on when he made the world and then why he made such a mess of it with wars, were never satisfied) but I was always interested in the idea, religions, and what other people believed. I’m not “anti-Christianity”. There are many Christians who believe in the things I do and find support for it in the Bible. Dr Michael Westmooreland-White is one of those good people in my view.

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  46. Anonymous says:

    But you appeal to your conscience, which in it’s collectivness has formulated an ethic…same thing, different phraseology.

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  47. Anonymous says:

    please excuse previous typos.

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  48. steph says:

    haven’t a clue what your point is

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  49. steph says:

    anon I am not denying I have my own principles but these are my own, eclectic and flexible – they are not bound by, for example, a book which has writings advocating genocide and a Jesus who apparently advocates weaponry. These are against my principles.

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  50. Anonymous says:

    The Bible, like many other stories which reflect particular lessons, at least to many historians, is a recorded set of ethics, moral guidelines, and teachings, which reflect other ethics, moral guidelines, and teachings collected throughout the long evolution of spoken and written human history. It has been used to uphold doing good, as well as used to condone bad (the Inquisition, slavery, the Crusades). Some people appeal to the Bible or another written form of these teachings. Others appeal to their personal consciences, also part of the collective whole. That was my only point: one should not condemn another for appealing to something written when one appeals to oneself, which is still part of the same collective moral and ethical history (do not kill, do not steal, do not harm, and so forth). One person’s interpretation of Jesus’ teachings, as we have seen by this discussion, can be quite unlike another person’s. Not all Christians are alike, or interpret the Bible alike, just as not all agnostics or atheists or Buddhists or Muslims, et al, are alike. Some may choose to uphold bad doings, and even evil, by going to a writing or to their own sense of conscience and interpreting that writing or sense of conscience in a particular way. Most will choose to uphold good. It is good your conscience is flexible and eclectic, but some people’s reliance on their consciences and opinions may not be so solid. If some choose to appeal to the Bible, or another writing, and it keeps them on the straight and narrow, is it a bad thing? And, most Christians I know are pacifists, interpreting Jesus’ teachings thus. Even on the issue of gun control: most who support it are not about violence, although some, naturally, would be. It is good that many Christians interpret Jesus as the son of a loving and peaceful God. Not all of them see the Bible, especially the New T., as “a book which has writings advocating genocide and a Jesus who apparently advocates weaponry.” I’m sure none of this is new to you. This has been an interesting discussion, and makes me miss my teaching/lecturing days, but like you, I tire of it (even though I am semi-retired, I still have other things to which I need to attend). I will, however, check responses. And reply, if I feel the need. I am on this blogsite a lot because I find it stimulating and interesting in many ways. But, I hope this explains my point a bit. I am not pro, or anti-Christian, or any other religion or philosophy, including the choice to not believe in subscribing to a set of religious rules. I just feel that everyone has the right to make their own decisions based upon interpretation without condemnation. Only true pacifism will result in eventual agreement on issues such as gun control. Harsh and condemning words never solve anything on either side.

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  51. steph says:

    Oh my goodness … I know that and I am not “condemning” anyone else’s principles but I justified my own anti violent stance on my own principles while everyone else was justifying guns on their principles based on the Bible. Just because they try to persuade that the Bible – or Jesus specifically – allows guns, makes ao difference to me. I had my own principles before I looked at Jesus. It would make no difference to me if Jesus didn’t agree with me, although I think in this case still, that he demonstrates an anti violent stance. So it wouldn’t matter if I was a Christian.

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  52. James Pate says:

    But, Steph, you were the one who brought Jesus into the discussion.

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  53. steph says:

    And you defended your stance on guns on the basis of Jesus’ teachings.

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