‘God Wants You To Have An Assault Rifle,’ Argues Conservative Op-Ed

The conservative publication National Review published an op-ed arguing that the Second Amendment contains God-given rights, and that the Christian Bible can be used to argue that God is okay with people owning assault rifles. The op-ed has attracted criticism from a variety of left-leaning blogs and publications.

Legislation aimed at curbing gun violence constitutes “a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society,” according to the op-ed written by David French for National Review. He argues that it is God’s will for people to defend themselves with firearms, writing:

“Jesus even said in some contexts the unarmed should arm themselves…What does all this mean? Essentially that gun control represents not merely a limitation on a constitutional right but a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society.

“All rights — of course — are subject to some limits (the right of free speech is not unlimited, for example), and there is much room for debate on the extent of those limits, but state action against the right of self-defense is by default a violation of the natural rights of man, and the state’s political judgment about the limitations of that right should be viewed with extreme skepticism and must overcome a heavy burden of justification.”

Though French is probably, to borrow a popular phrase, “shooting fish in a barrel” with his argument among conservative supporters of gun rights, many of the left have taken issue with his interpretation of the Christian Bible and the words of Jesus Christ.

Zack Beauchamp, writing for ThinkProgress, countered French’s assertions, arguing:

“Even if French is right about the Christian view of self-defense (though Jesus did have choice words about “turning the other cheek”), it’s a logical fallacy to say this implies anything about restrictions on access to guns. Saying that people have a right to defend themselves if attacked isn’t the same thing as saying they should have a right to possess any conceivable means of defending themselves – presumably, French is fine with banning grenade launchers.”

What do you think? Is the right to bear arms a God-given mandate?