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When Did God Give People The Right To Own Guns?

I’m not an expert on the Bible, so I’m looking for help in understanding a little bit of the Jewish / Christian tradition that I had never heard about until today. This morning, I read a speech given by Kathy Dahlkemper, a rather unprogressive Democratic U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, in which she claimed that efforts to limit hunting rights on public land were a violation of the second amendment. She said,

“In our home State of Pennsylvania, we believe that the second amendment is not only a right but a way of life. Hunting and fishing are important American outdoor traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Therefore, we have an obligation not only to defend our God-given right to self-defense but to protect against any encroachment on the rights of our sportsmen and women. Therefore, I am proud to stand in support of Mr. Altmire’s amendment, which will ensure that lands currently open to hunting, fishing, trapping, target shooting, and other forms of traditional recreation are protected.”

Dahlkemper’s arguments are confusing to me on a couple of levels. Clearly, the second amendment protects the right to bear arms, and that amendment can be interpreted as giving that right to individual Americans. However, I don’t see anything in the second amendment that protects the right of people go shooting off their guns wherever they like, killing animals wherever they like. A well-regulated militia is not a hunting free for all. Dahlkepmper’s claims that hunting rights must be universal – so does that mean I don’t have the legal right to stop people from bringing their guns onto my front porch to shoot at the squirrels in my trees?

Even more strange is Representative Dahlkemper’s religious claim: That Americans have a right to self-defense that has been established by God. I can’t claim to have read the Bible cover to cover, but I can’t think of any piece of scripture in which God declares that people have the right to self-defense. Which passage would that be? The one where Jesus says to turn the other cheek? Is it in the Psalms, which declare “God is my defense”?

10 comments to When Did God Give People The Right To Own Guns?

  • Jim

    Anybody who has lived in rural America, as I have, knows that the “rights of sportsmen and women” do a fair amount of encroaching on the ability of others to use the same space. For long periods of time — months on end — it is not safe to go for a walk in the woods, because hunters are out there shooting off their weapons. In some states, people have to affirmatively plant NO TRESPASSING signs on their own land to keep hunters from coming in for a bit of shooting (sometimes even shooting from the road). A fair amount of the time those signs are ignored anyway, making it unsafe for people to walk in their own woods.

    I am not against responsible hunting or responsible hunters. But let’s recognize that in their activities, “the rights of sportsmen and women” limit the ability of others to use the same land.

  • Jim

    And hey, if owning guns is really a God-given right, then why did God wait to give them that right until just before the Renaissance?

  • Tom

    and yet stem-cell research is OPPOSED on religious “principles” . . .

  • I have positively no use for Mrs.Dahlkemper.
    Just so you know, the 2nd Amendment was put into The bill of Rights to assure that the People will be able resist a tyrannical government.
    It has nothing to do with hunting.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, ,b>that they are endowed by their Creatorwith certain unalienable Rights,/i., that among these are <b.Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    • Anonymous

      Incorrect, the second amendment was created to decentralize the nation’s army. If you really think it was created to give Americans the right to rise up with arms against their own government, I suggest you research the Whiskey Rebellion. You know, that time when Washington rode into battle himself to knock down an armed American resistance. Our founding fathers did however give us a weapon to use against tyrannical politicians, its called VOTING.

  • I have positively no use for Mrs.Dahlkemper.
    Just so you know, the 2nd Amendment was put into The bill of Rights to assure that the People will be able resist a tyrannical government.
    It has nothing to do with hunting.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  • That quote you give, Granny Miller, is not from the Constitution. It’s from the Declaration of Independence, which has no legal weight as a source of rights in the United States.

    The idea that God is the source of rights seems to be an effort to get around the actual legal system in the United States, and to enable statements like that one you provide from the Declaration of Independence as an alternative framework.

    It’s interesting that this selection from the Declaration of Independence declares that God gives everyone the right to pursue whatever makes them happy. That’s a rather relativist version of God – and one that American history could not maintain as a source of founding principles.

  • roscoe

    why do police have guns its because theres many evil people in the world police have no choice in that regard. ppolice are still shot and killed by evil doesr as they have guns too. knives are dangerous to so are hunting bows and arrows, all the got has to do is ban the sale of amunition a gun is useless without bullets see, people have a right to on guns but not to do evil with guns,that korean student who kille 32 students was evil and so to the hot place he went. the bible is true.

  • Simon

    I don’t mean to come off as a smart a** but simply typing in “bible self defense” in google will yield plenty of good results.

    Here are some:
    “If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” -Exodus 22:2

    “And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.” -1 Samuel 25:13

    Here’s the best from Jesus’s very mouth and the one that is most clear:
    “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” -Luke 22:36

    Two of these passages are many thousands of years before the Renaissance, Jim. The last is “only” 1400 years before the Renaissance.

    Roscoe: Banning “bullets” won’t stop crime. A majority of crimes are done without guns anyhow. With the rise of “right to carry,” in most of the states in the union, and the non-coincidental drop in crime in those states, I find it hard to fathom why anyone would want to ban or limit the rights of the people in terms of self defense and gun ownership.

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