Despite the fact that 58 percent live in a household with guns, most Evangelical leaders support gun control.
Well, that’s true if you believe the August Evangelical Leaders Survey, a poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).
Fifty-five percent of Evangelical leaders favor stricter laws, 40 percent believe the current laws are sufficient and only five percent want laws to be less strict, according to the survey.
When responding to the question, participants voiced support for further limiting sales of so-called “assault weapons” and handguns, and instituting universal background checks. Additionally, they favored a stricter enforcement of existing laws.
“Evangelical leaders have nuanced views on guns. Many own guns for hunting or protection. Some own antiques with no bullets. They accept the Second Amendment, but also deeply grieve when weapons are used to take innocent lives,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), in a press release.
The Board of Directors of NAE include the “CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches,” according to the website.
“Christians should start with the Bible when considering social issues,” continued Anderson. “While the Bible doesn’t say anything specifically about gun ownership, I appreciated that many of our leaders noted principles they find in Scripture and were concerned about the victims of gun violence in America.”
One member complained that there is an increasing percentage of gun owners who are acting irresponsibly.
“While I support the Second Amendment, we clearly have a growing citizenry that is incapable of the responsibility necessary to keep and bear arms,” said Carl Nelson, president of Transform Minnesota.
It’s hard to know exactly what he’s referring to because concealed carry permits have soared over recent years and gun-related violence has decreased, not increased. The law-abiding citizenry isn’t the problem. It’s the thugs and drug dealers in the streets that are responsible for the majority of gun crime.
Another member touted the merits of teaching gun safety, which is the only form of gun control that actually works.
“We have chickens, cows and coyotes. We owe protection to the animals in our care. We have a gun safe, and everyone takes classes from certified instructors before ever getting to touch a gun,” said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of Presbyterian Lay Committee. “We are responsible gun owners with carry permits, and we are evangelical Christians.”
Without digging into the weeds of the survey (I tried, I didn’t find much beyond what was presented in the press release), it’s hard to really know how these leaders come out on the specifics such as bans on black rifles and one-handgun-per-month laws.
My guess is that it’s a matter of geography. Those Evangelical leaders who live in free states are likely to embrace the 2A whereas those leaders who live in and around big cities in places like New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois are likely to be anti-gun.