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What 5 Christian Leaders Have Said about Gun Control

What 5 Christian Leaders Have Said about Gun Control

The issue of gun control has long been a major issue for many Americans. While some Americans believe the U.S. needs more comprehensive gun control laws, others believe increased restrictions will hinder their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Here is what five Christian leaders have said about gun control:

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gun on the ground

Samuel Rodriguez

In a 2013 interview, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Pastor Samuel Rodriguez argued that gun control is not a political issue but an issue of protecting God's creation.

"As Christ followers, we must show no commitment to a donkey or an elephant, but exclusively to the lamb. Gun control is not political, without a doubt," Rodriguez said.

"We must champion the imago dei, the idea of the Image of God, which is that everyone is valued and every life has great worth. It is easier to pull a trigger if you don't recognize the image of God in the person in front of you," he added.

Also, in 2013, Rodriguez joined more than 4,000 religious leaders in signing and sending a letter to U.S. lawmakers asking for the introduction of gun violence prevention legislation.

Following the 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 people dead, Rodriguez spoke about mental illness and gun control at a revival called "The Plow of Hope" in Boston.

“We have to keep pushing the plow of hope. The number one crisis in America is mental illness and young people embracing a virtual world and attempting to bring it into the real world," Rodriguez said.

“The loss of the most vulnerable speaks to the fact that we live through dark times. There is a collective sense of despair. … This young man (the Uvalde shooter) was living in darkness. What defeats darkness is the light," he added. "We must pray with actions. We can't expect our elected leaders to provide solutions."

In a subsequent interview with ReligionUnplugged.comRodriguez called the rising number of mass shootings "an awakening for us" and offered three steps toward protecting young people.

“Churches should hire a mental health minister; schools should work toward having a single entrance; and thirdly, the age to obtain a gun should be raised to 21," he asserted.

"We believe in the Second Amendment, but we must have prudent and common-sense approaches." 

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bullets

Franklin Graham

In a 2021 Twitter thread, Graham also argued that gun violence is an issue that starts with one's heart.

After four people were shot dead in Chicago, Graham took to Twitter to assert that "gun control isn't the answer—heart control is."

He said, "It's a matter of who is controlling the human heart. People need a heart change, and the only One who can transform the human heart is the Lord Jesus Christ when we surrender to Him in repentance and faith."

"The Bible says, 'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come' (2 Cor. 5:17). That's the kind of help our cities and our neighborhoods really need—help that comes from turning to God," Graham continued.

"As churches and Christians, we have the responsibility of sharing the hope that comes through Jesus Christ, and we need to be sharing it with urgency because time is running out. We are to be the light that shines in the darkness of the world around us," he added.

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a fire arm, what christian leaders have said about gun control

Eugene Cho

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, evangelist Eugene Cho wrote a blog post on his website asking, "What Would Jesus Do with Guns?"

"Would [Jesus] own guns? Sell guns? Perform miracles and multiply guns for 5000 people? Would he use guns? Would he ask his followers and disciples to own guns?" Cho asked. "I'm no expert on the topic of Jesus and guns, but I do know Jesus, and for this Jesus who encouraged people to 'turn the other cheek' and gave encouragement to be 'peacemakers,' my guess is that he wouldn't be a member of the NRA," he wrote.

"I know that Jesus has many names, but he is also the 'Prince of Peace,' Cho added before calling gun violence in America an "epidemic problem."

"And while people can go on and on in the debates about guns, I'm convinced we can't just do nothing. What I'm suggesting is not being reactive but rather, to push for common sense gun regulations," he continued.

Cho then laid out a list of seven steps we could take to combat gun violence. The seven steps include: 

  • "A ban on all assault and assault-style weapons, including a buyback of such weapons.
  • A ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Universal background checks, including at gun shows
  • Requirements for trigger locks and safe gun storage.
  • Microstamping technology on all firearms sold, bought or delivered in the state to improve bullet tracing by law enforcement.
  • Investment in the state's mental-health system to promote well-being among those at risk for committing acts of violence.
  • An end to the glorification of violence in the media and in games played by young people."

The list was created by Cho and several other faith leaders who gathered to discuss gun control following the Sandy Hook shooting.

In 2018, Cho took to Twitter to urge people to commit to change.

"Our common responses to gun violence: 1. Apathy, 2. Thoughts & Prayers, 3. Paralysis. Don't know what to do, 4. Frantic Anger. Defend our politics. Then, we often just MOVE ON...until the next shooting. We need a soul-searching deep lament & righteous anger that commits to CHANGE," he wrote.

Then, in 2022, he lamented the continued gun violence in America.

"It's tragic that it feels as we've normalized gun violence and mass shootings in our country. This is not normal. This is not okay. Be sad…but also be angry," he asserted.

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Dan Darling

Dan Darling

In a 2012 article, Chicago-based evangelical pastor and author Daniel Darling wrote, "As Christians called to care for the common good of our communities, we should be willing to endure the inconvenience if it saves one child from death. Evangelicals should not defend the use, proliferation and availability of assault weapons with as much vigor as they defend their faith. In spite of some who insist the Second Amendment is drawn from the Bible, there is no clear-cut Christian position on gun control." 

Then, following the 2022 Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Darling took to Twitter to urge legislators to work together for practical change.

"What we should be asking is what both parties can do together that might actually solve this epidemic of mass shootings in a meaningful way. I’m not sure what that is, but let’s pray we can do something."

He then shared an article by commentator David French about the importance of red flag laws. According to the New York state website, red flag laws prevent "individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm." Just 19 U.S. states have such laws in place.

Darling also urged his followers to pay attention to alienated young men, commonly the assailants of mass shootings.

"One more thing: we’ve got to get serious about paying attention to, as families, communities, churches, disaffected and alienated young men who are getting radicalized in all sorts of ways toward random and senseless violence," Darling wrote.

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9mm glock

Shane Claiborne

Christian author and activist Shane Claiborne shed light on the staggering guns-to-humans ratio in the United States in a Twitter thread following the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.

"Saying that it's 'not the right time' to talk about gun control after a mass shooting ... is like saying it's not right to talk about train safety after a deadly train wreck. #ElPaso This is exactly when we need to talk about it," Claiborne wrote.

"We have more guns than people in the U.S. In fact, we have about 5% of the world's population, but almost half of the world's guns.

"We have nearly 5 times more gun dealers than McDonald's restaurants," Claiborne asserted.

"We manufacture 9,458,172 guns per year. 25,912 guns per day. 1,079 guns per hour. 18 guns per minute. 1 gun every 3 seconds," he pointed out before adding, "We have a problem."

Claiborne then argued that "Where there are more guns, there are more deaths... and suicides. 105 lives are lost each day, over 38,000 per year. Since 1979, the number of gun deaths has not dropped below 32,000. That means in 40 years, we've lost 1.2 million lives.

"We had more Americans killed domestically in 2 decades than in 250 years of foreign wars. And in 50 years, we've had more gun deaths than in all the wars in American history," he asserted.

"After Sandy Hook, when 20 kids and 6 adults were massacred in 2012, many people said: 'NEVER AGAIN!' But it has happened again. And again. And again. There have been nearly 2000 mass shootings since Sandy Hook," he concluded.

Following the 2023 mass shooting at a Nashville, Tennessee, Christian elementary school, Claiborne again called for change.

"It will be a beautiful day when we decide to protect kids rather than assault rifles," Claiborne wrote. "The Nashville shooter had '2 assault rifles and a handgun.' Military weapons don’t belong on our streets. They are designed for one purpose: to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible … and that's exactly what they keep getting used for," he added.

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Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.

What 5 Christian Leaders Have Said about Gun Control