Protesters rally against gun violence on the steps of the old Florida Capitol in Tallahassee on Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

God, guns and Gen Z

(RNS) — One week after the Parkland school massacre, Florida’s House of Representatives voted 97-10 to pass a measure requiring every school in the state to display the motto “In God We Trust.” Outside stood about 100 students, chanting for stricter gun laws. The day before, when the students were inside, watching from the gallery, the House had voted 71-36 to kill a potential bill to ban assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. The lawmakers refused even to bring it to the floor for debate.

Days later, however, Florida’s governor signed a bill March 9 that the Legislature had narrowly approved to create new restrictions on firearm sales and, with a nod to the National Rifle Association, allow some teachers and school staff to carry concealed weapons after special training. The bill does not outlaw assault weapons and large-scale magazines nor does it require background checks on all gun transactions, but it is still a significant step.

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In spite of the multimillions the NRA spends on campaigns and lobbying, the students are making headway. These are the first gun restrictions endorsed by Florida’s Republicans since they took control of the Legislature in 1996. Clearly they’d rather leave the job to the Almighty and remind schools that they should do the same — “thoughts and prayers” — plus a shoutout to the "God We Trust." But the students’ heartfelt eloquence forced the lawmakers to act.

The number of atheists in Generation Z (those born between 1999 and 2015) is already double that of the U.S. adult population, according to a January 2018 study by the Barna Group. You don’t have to be clairvoyant to predict that those “In God We Trust” signs will drive more Florida students into the nonbelievers’ camp. After all, depending on a God who never seems to act is what’s been killing their friends and endangering their own lives. Why not depend on common sense, valid research and the concern they have for one another instead? It seems to be working better.

“U.S. Religious Identity 2018” Graphic courtesy of Barna

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Trusting God while attempting to ignore reality — gun violence, climate change, child poverty — has been a growing pattern for our legislators, especially lately. It may work fine for them, their families and especially their wallets, but it never seems to turn out well for Gen Z, or most of the rest of us either. The hefty tax cuts Congress recently passed will saddle our kids with $1.5 trillion in additional future debt, while the majority of the benefits go to corporations and the wealthy.

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“God made Republicans to cut taxes,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., after Congress passed the country's new tax bill. Apparently God also made them to cut Medicaid, anti-poverty programs, education support, biomedical research and other programs that help and protect God’s children. Funds to help low-income Gen Z kids pay for college? Sorry, we can’t afford them anymore because of the tax cuts. Unfortunately, the Almighty isn’t stepping in to make up the difference. Studies show that more than half of the needy kids who make it to college don’t graduate without aid. Their struggle to survive sabotages their education, and with it their chance to enter the middle class. Along with the lives they hoped for, a great human resource is wasted — but money is saved, for those already at the top.

It seems the God in whom Cole and his fellow legislators trust is the Almighty ... Dollar. Maybe the rest of us, instead of depending on their capitalized God, should look to god with a small “g”— to that still small voice that calls us to care for others beyond “me and mine”; to the inner strength that enables us to refute the NRA’s outrageous claims; to that impulse that inspires us to seek the common good, no matter what our religion or nonreligion happens to be; and to that feeling of love and awe that makes us grateful.

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This is what the incredible kids who survived the Parkland school massacre are doing: channeling their grief and love and rage for themselves and their own into a fight for others too, for the common good of this nation. And it’s working. In just three weeks, they’ve prompted numerous national businesses to act, and now this unprecedented step by Florida lawmakers. Others have joined them and they are not stopping there. In statehouses and marches across the nation, they are fighting on. For that, we should all be grateful.

(C.S. Pearce is currently writing “god with a small ‘g’” — working title — with theology professor Philip Clayton. Her last book was "This We Believe: The Christian Case for Gay Civil Rights." The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)


  1. Had it happened to me, I would feel the same way, except, in this era of subjective reality and morals, the answer is to change the morals, not make them subjective. The shooter chose the morals he was going to follow, as this culture dictates. Perhaps if they chose to teach what the God they profess teaches, that would be closer to alleviating the problem if we are all on the same page regarding morals.

  2. I’m not sure I follow. Aren’t we all on the same page in regards to many of the basic “rules” of morality such as killing innocent people? Also, my understanding is that Cruz may have had autism which would affect his ability to fully understand the moral implications of what he did.

  3. If we were all on the same page in regards to the “basic rules of morality” we would not have murders. The young man, for whatever reason, chose what his morality would be, in this era of subjective, do it if it feels good, morality. Our culture let he and the children he murdered down.

  4. I’m just glad they will allow a few teachers — some of the ones who are trapped or cornered in a mass shooter’s gunsights — one last chance to live (and maybe keep their kids alive too.)

  5. Assuming they have guns, want guns, can use guns, aren’t petrified by fear or shock.

    And assuming that THIS isn’t what actually happens.

    A teacher who also serves as a reserve police officer accidentally fired a gun inside a Seaside High School classroom Tuesday, police said, and three students were injured. Dennis Alexander was teaching a course about gun safety for his Administration of Justice class when his gun went off at 1:20 p.m. Alexander was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it fired. Pieces of the ceiling fell to the ground.

    A news release from the Seaside Police Department said no one suffered “serious injuries.” One 17-year-old boy suffered moderate injuries when fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged into his neck, the student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW. The teacher had just told the class that he wanted to make sure his gun wasn’t loaded, when the gun fired, according to Gonzales.

  6. Obviously not true since Christians have committed crimes and they supposedly were taught “God’s word”. I don’t know if the young man was capable of choosing his morality if his autism made him have a lack of empathy.

  7. You’re making a link that just isn’t there. The shooter ignored all rules of morality by doing what he did, just as every murderer has done in all of history. Many people from religious societies and raised with religious values have chosen to ignore those moral values and commit murder. Blaming it on the separation of church and state is unfounded, illogical, and just plain lazy.

  8. The shooter chose his morality by shooting those children.

  9. Christians make a lot of errors. We are not commanded to follow Christians, we are commanded to follow Christ.

  10. There are no morals more subjective than religious based ones. Any act, no matter how hateful, malicious or harmful is justified by claiming its God’s will. Sandi has demonstrated that on numerous occasions.

  11. Many others have committed murder precisely in line with the religious values they have chosen. 🙂

  12. Because anything can be excused if you claim it is God’s will.

  13. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

  14. The same way every murderer has, including those raised in Christian countries with Christian values. Teaching Christianity has absolutely no power to magically make people moral.

  15. Actually, the Holy Spirit will lead one into all truth. If the person is a Christian, they will be led into God’s direction.

  16. You just need to catch up to the last 2000 years, Ben

  17. Where does it say such in scripture, Spud?

  18. Where does it say that in scripture, Spud?

  19. You should see what some teachers do with automobiles, not to mention students.

  20. You apparently haven’t tried to pin Ben in Oakland’s morals down.

  21. Stalin managed to pull that off sans a deity.

  22. Funny, that was what I would say about your brand of Christianity. In any case, the last known person executed for witchcraft in Europe was in 1782. And of course, according to an article of religion news last year, people are still being murdered for practicing witchcraft and Christian Africa. So, all in all, I would say that you have a great deal of catching up to do.

  23. I think that Florida coach would have liked to have had a final alternative option. But he was only given one horrific option.

    His students watched him die in front of them, one bloody gruesome bullet at a time. A brave hero, but he deserved better than that one option. Now he’ll never go home to his fown amily, and those Florida kids will never be able to remove those mental scars.

    There are no perfect solutions here. No perfect teachers, no perfect students, and no perfect mass shooters. So lets just allow the teachers who wanna survive when it’s THEIR turn to get slaughtered in front of their kids, have one final option.

  24. Then why do Christian murderers exist? Or are you going to try and tell me they don’t?

  25. I think not. That is not indicating that it is Christians killing the people.

  26. Do you really need a list? Do the crusades ring a bell? There’s the Trail of Tears, which was imposed by Christians. The extermination of countless indigenous peoples, also done by Christians. Slavery was practiced by Christians, and was enforced through murder and torture. Do I need to keep going?

  27. Slavery was stopped by Christians. Just because one sits in a garage does not make one a car – same with Christianity. The proof is in the fruit.

  28. He made himself one.

    Complete with supernatural claims, saints, miracles, and even a form of theology. There is a reason it was called a Cult of Personality.

    Stalin was a seminary student in his youth. He knew was schooled in how religious belief, especially Christianity presented itself, was structured and believed.

    On a related and entirely sincere note, just saw The Death of Stalin. I highly recommend it if you have a taste for dark comedy. Almost does to Stalin what Mel Brooks did to Hitler.

  29. Nope. His morals are worn on his sleeve. As are yours. 🙂

  30. Doesn’t matter. According to your theory they never would have started in the first place. If Christianity really made one incapable of behaving immorally, or even taught them to stop, we wouldn’t have had over a century if Christians practicing slavery, engaging in countless cases of murder, torture, and rape while doing so.

    How about all the other atrocities? Did you forget them? Why didn’t the good Christian upbringing stop Christians from committing those acts of evil?

  31. You think I’m god now? lol……boy, are you having a bad night……:)

  32. yup, you’re having a bad night. I’m off. night night Spud- btw – nice to see you again. 🙂

  33. His morals appear to be a list of things he likes and does not like. If there is a system to it, only he knows it.

    It does appear to be closely aligned with the platform of the Democratic party, as does yours, but I don’t think that can be classified as a moral system.

  34. Trying to palm off Stalin as a Christian is silly.

    Whether he studied Christianity, the Roman Empire, or Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is irrelevant – there are limited number of ways to configure and operate a dictatorship.

    Since he was an atheist, his approach can’t be critiqued from the standpoint of atheism sans natural right, sans an external moral order, or any other criterion external to atheism.

    Which, considering his success, means in those terms he was moral.

  35. “A teacher who is also a reserve police officer trained in firearm use ‘accidentally’ discharged a gun Tuesday at Seaside High School in Monterey County, Calif., during a class devoted to public safety, school officials said in a statement. A male student was reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.”

  36. “, in this era of subjective reality and morals,”

    Morals have always been relative.

    The Bible says slavery is fine…now we don not think this

  37. She turned me into a NEWT!.

    It got….got better.

  38. To be fair…Christianity is not as violent as it used to be centuries that it generally has no govt power.

  39. But murders are rare and the exception that proves the rule. 99% of people do not murder.

    I would only qualify marks statement by adding the word mostly

    “The young man, for whatever reason, chose what his morality would be”

    To what degree he had a choice mentally is unclear at this time.

  40. The vast majority of prisoners in the US are Christian..ergo….it stands to reason that most murderers in prison are Christian.

  41. Slavery was also promoted by other Christians. The Southern Baptist Convention (now the largest denomination) was formed to allow slavery/

  42. “let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice” When I looked at many of the faces and listened to some of the comments made by young speakers, I saw energy, hope, certainty and community.

  43. Unfortunately, this over simplifies the reality and a propensity to sin. I think the fact that the OT proscribes sacrifices by type of sin for God’s chosen people would suggest that even among believers, they fall far short.

  44. Not really Linda. We all have the capacity to sin – even as a believer. Believer’s have the help of the Holy Spirit to direct them, which unbelievers do not have. Some decide to sin anyway – the point is they usually know it is sin when they choose it.

  45. not at all. Why look at someone fallible and capable of sin, when you can look to the perfect one and what you can be one day?

  46. Which seems to contradict your last statement made previously. As someone else pointed out, an assertion of subjective reality does not ring true when it comes to murdering innocent people. It is not only a religious law common to all major faith traditions but a socially constructed law as well. And I would hazard a guess that even mass shooters know it is wrong given that their rampage is over generally quite quickly (in spite of ammunition left over and their actions after suggest a level of knowing the wrongness.

  47. Christianity doesn’t make one incapable of immorality, Christ does. If you listen to Him, there is no problem

  48. I would agree only if the issue of gun control is framed as a religious/moral issue. And that appears to be framed by religious affiliation (gun ownership) as well as views on gun control and the need to own guns.

    But if understood to exist within religious identity, I would hazard a guess that without change, eventually white evangelicals eventually risk becoming a future sect.

  49. And the young man chose the action to take in a world without any morality. O

  50. You didn’t read closely Sparky. Stalin was a seminary student. That is established and verified in numerous records.

    I am saying that Stalinism had state sponsored Christianity as a model to copy.

    The Russian Orthodox Church: Stalin, how could you?

    Stalin: I learned it by watching you.

    Cults of personality are a uniquely 20th Century innovation to dictatorship. The apex of divine right rulership. Stalin replaced state sponsored (and in some areas forced) Orthodox Christian faith with worship of himself and the state. Swap one religion for another.

    It was telling that he was more than willing to bring the church back when expedient. Ideology of a dictatorship is a convenience at best.

    “Natural right” has always been theological doublespeak for argument by stipulation and declaration rather than supporting a position rationally For the lazy. Especially Thomas Aquinas.

    Thank you for demonstrating that your moral arguments require spurious logic, nonsense preconditions and dishonest assumptions. An argument about morality using immoral means. Irony.

  51. You didn’t think it all the way through, Sparky. Stalin was not a seminary student when he joined the Communists. That is established and verified in numerous records.

    In fact it is also well established that he had completely rejected Christianity and belief in a deity altogether.

    I am saying that the notion that Stalinism used state-sponsored Christianity as a model to copy is fantasy. The Russian Orthodox Church did not maintain discipline by bloody purges of its hierarchy, among other notable differences.

    Cults of personality are not a uniquely 20th Century innovation to dictatorship. The supposed divinity of the Roman emperors is a well-known historical fact.

    Stalin swapped one religion for another so effectively that persecution of the Christians in the Soviet Union continued after his death.

    “Natural right” has never been theological doublespeak, which is why Thomas Jefferson – an anti-theologian if ever there was one – subscribed to it.

    Thank you for demonstrating that your arguments require spurious logic, nonsense preconditions, dishonest assumptions, and denying the historical facts.

  52. You made up your own argument based on deliberately misstating my position. Then ran with it. As usual.

    Instead of making up crap about the subject, learn it or find another point to make. My suggestion is read Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montifiore

    Stalin became a communist IN the seminary and was bounced from it for his views.

    “I am saying that the notin that Stalinism used state-sponsored Christianity as a model to copy is fantasy. The Russian Orthodox Church did not maintain discipline by bloody purges of its hierarchy, among other notable differences.”

    The church was the right hand of the Czars who ruled not much differently or less violently. Ivan the Terrible was the most commonly used analogy.

    “The supposed divinity of the Roman emperors is a well-known historical fact.”

    And only one emperor ever took it seriously and was branded insane by his contemporaries. 🙂

    Divine right existed before but the cult of personality took it to its logical end point.

  53. No, I mean in that you at point state that the shooter did what he did because of his bad morals, which you seem to imply are not Christian morals. Then you say that even real Christians end up committing terrible sins.

    So… is it not possible that this man’s moral code didn’t cause him to murder people, but that his doing this was simply caused by original sin that any of us is susceptible to?

  54. Yeah, that’s cute. Trouble is, that’s not what we’re talking about. You argued that teaching Christianity would be sufficient to prevent students from becoming murderers. Now you’re basically admitting that Christianity can’t do that. So why should we violate the First Amendment and force students to learn Christianity when it won’t prevent school shootings?

  55. Let’s look at this another way… changing of goal posts, as said.
    Let’s look at history – when, until now, with God taken out of the schools, have there been attempts at mass murder in the schools?
    Children have no absolute any longer. Morality is subjective.

  56. Frankly, given the positions you have supported and the way you support them, I will be polite here and say that you are certainly entitled to your opinion here and leave it at that.

  57. Christianity has no power but Christ does. Teach Christ in the schools again. When He was being acknowledged there, these things did not happen.

  58. 1. China doesn’t seem to have school shootings. Why do you think that might be?
    2. When public schools did have more religion taught in them, fewer school shootings, but more racial segregation. Are you saying that God supports Jim Crow?
    3. If you really are a True Christian, why don’t you believe in God’s omnipresence – that is, that God is present everywhere, including public schools?

  59. China – I don’t know. They were never a Christian country denying their Christian roots and confusing their children also.
    I don’t know Jim Crow, but that seems like a silly question. We’ve already been though that Christians ended slavery.
    He is in schools He is just ignored. You reap what you sow.

  60. And we’re circling back to the original point. Christ has been taught to people who have become murderers. It doesn’t work.

  61. Christ has been taught to many, and more have accepted and followed His morality than denied it.

  62. Frankly, given the positions you have supported and the way you have tried to support them, this latest fabrication about Stalin and Christianity being rather typical, I will be polite here and say that you are certainly entitled to your opinion here but your hypotheses about Stalin are right up there with “UFOs abducted me”.

  63. I actually paraphrased you.

    My suggestion is that you get your facts together next time.

  64. Spuddie (who does not read books but can make very speedy beer-runs to Wikipedia when cornered) borrowed this “cult of personality” nonsense from RationalConclusion’s previous incarnation here, Max, who in turn cribbed it from Christopher Hitchens, who invented the idea in order to try to distance atheism from its record of atrocities. Apparently, when Christians do rotten stuff, it’s because they’re Christians. When atheists do rotten stuff, it’s because they’re really Christians. Or something.

    Of course by that same logic we would have to dismiss a good many of our atheist apologists here as “really Christians,” including RC/Max himself, and that would no doubt cause some heads to explode.

  65. LOL! You can’t make an honest argument to save your life. This is your usual shtick. Whatever.


    Maybe you will come up with original responses. Maybe you won’t feel the need to deliberately misstate others and make strawman arguments. But I doubt it. 🙂

  67. But plenty of those who were taught his morality have still been horribly immoral people, guilty of murder, torture, rape, biological warfare, etc.

  68. But, how do you know they were Christian?

  69. I began to take my post and yours to which I responded and place them in the format:

    Spuddie: XYZ

    Me: xyz response

    to correct the malarkey you’re attempting to peddle that in any way I was not responding directly to what you wrote or was making anything up.

    As I recall I have already done this once on another topic so that I could cite it again.

    Then I realized I could be doing something productive.

    No, I did not misstate your positions or make strawman arguments.

  70. Cause it’s not like anyone else ever calls you out on that stuff. 🙂


    You you repeat my points back to me, only in a slightly more brain dead fashion.

    You flatter me with your poor imitation. 🙂

  72. Same here.

    The best approximation I have found comparing their thumbs ups and thumbs downs on various topics is here:

    known to the winning side in the 2016 presidential election as “Mush from the Wimps”.

  73. If I absolutely have to take the time to pull the wings off your silly nonsense, I will, but if you’ll grow up I can avoid the effort.

  74. LOL. Your delusions and egotism are almost endearing.

  75. There’s really nothing about your ideas that are endearing.

  76. Really? Are you going to sit here and pretend slaveowners weren’t Christian? That the American settlers who wiped out the native Americans weren’t Christian? That the armies fighting the crusades for Christianity weren’t Christian? Are you honestly going to pretend that’s not the case?

  77. Matthew 22:14 – Matthew 22:14 King James Version (KJV)
    14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
    Christ does not advocate murder.

  78. I’m not saying he does. I’m saying that telling kids that is not going to stop them from becoming shooters. Stopping those kids from getting assault weapons in the first place is what’s going to stop it.

  79. Christianity is a bankrupt dinosaur. It was tried; it failed. Even now, as the evil wing of religion takes power, the good christians who disagree sit on their hands in their fancy tax-free churches and do nothing to combat it because it might challenge their tax-free status to live the life of Christ.. Shame on you all, bought and paid for by the devil.

  80. Yeah it only took like 150 years 😉

  81. No. I never said to tell kids it would stop them from being shooters. What I said, is it will stop kids from coming up with their own morality because no one taught them any.

  82. And that’s going to do what? Because as I’ve repeated many times, people taught Christian morality (or Christ morality, if you want to be *that* Christian) still murder, enslave, torture, etc. Nothing about being taught it prevents anyone from becoming a killer. You just admitted it wouldn’t stop that. So what’s the point? What measurable, secularly beneficial outcome will be the result of teaching kids your version of religion? Give me a reason good enough to warrant chucking the First Amendment out the window, because that is exactly what you are proposing.

  83. LOL! You are just as bad as Bob when it comes to goalpost shifting, snide comments in lieu of arguments, evasions of simple positions statements and deliberate misreading of sources.

    You two should just get a room.

  84. Now you’re just being a bigot. Typical Christian.

  85. Where does Christ murder?
    If being a bigot by showing you how the violence that is loved by our culture is hurting our children, then guilty. If we don’t teach children the value that life matters and is to be valued, then, this is what you get. You want to cry because of the ethnicity of the person, go ahead; It does not take away from how the problem occurred.
    This culture (North America) lives for murder and immorality. Children’s games, movies, books are predominantly about murder and killing. Our culture no longer values life – euthanasia, abortion, etc.
    If we don’t teach children values and rely on “subjective morality” this is what you get.

  86. Where does Christ say that you should have semiautomatic weapons? I seem to recall him saying somthing about those living by the sword dying that way.

    To answer your question, the Old Testament. Your god murdered people all the time. He told people to commit murder, even genocide. It’s your holy book, shouldn’t you know this?

    You’re a bigot for ignoring Christianity’s long, extremely bloody history, including murderers like son of sam and Jeffrey Dohmer. You think that pointing out a Muslim murderer changes that in the slightest? That’s what makes you a bigot. You think stoking some Islamaphobia somehow changes anything.

  87. No. He cleansed the land of people wanting to hurt His plan, and His people. That is what He will go through for those who belong to Him.

  88. How convenient. When he does murder people and order genocide it’s “cleansing”. Who’s the one with the subjective morality now?

  89. Anyone who doesn’t understand how Christ will protect His own

  90. Uh-huh. Who you think you’re convincing?

  91. Your lack of self awareness is staggering, but still typical for a Christian.

  92. It was a Generation Z guy who did the shooting, so maybe they should all take Jordan Peterson’s advice and go clean their room first…or have a walk out where they don’t trash a Wal-Mart or have 20 fistfights break out, as happened during two of them.

  93. Every level of government authority failed in the Parkland shooting, starting two years before and right up to during the shooting. But yeah, let’s depend on somebody else to keep us alive when we see they have a horrible track record. That way we don’t have to feel guilty when we don’t take responsibility for ourselves and those around us.

  94. When people start calling names and denigrating others, it means they don’t like what is being said but have no arguments or facts to refute it. Your insult is really you saying “checkmate”.

  95. So worst case scenario is one wounded. What’s the worst that has happened when a teacher wasn’t armed?…Sandy Hook, wasn’t it?

  96. You worry about you, Christians will answer to Christ. You aren’t Him, are you?

  97. I think Stalin’s and Lenin’s and Mao’s and Pol Pot’s morals were more subjective. We will have to disagree on this one.

  98. Nope. They had none. Just like darlings of reactionary churches Hitler, Franco, and Pinochet. Morals and absolute dictatorship don’t mix. But spirituality is very useful. Like in North Korea and Imperial Japan where leaders were literally deified.

    Plus every modern terrorist these days killing in the name of their faith.

    You are trying to pretend communist dictators were immoral slime for being atheist when a more honest person would ascribe it to being dictators in general.

    You have taken a line of argument which makes religious belief look very bad or its proponent as immoral as those they decry.

  99. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

    So, Spuddie, Christ said you are par for this course and we are to expect people like you and not to look for anything good from you. Carry on…or not, what you do is immaterial to us. Last word is yours.

  100. No worst case scenario is this dumbass teacher could have raised or lowered the gun just a bit and killed a student.

    You cannot demonstrate with any evidence that an armed teacher would have helped the Sandy Hook situation. Given the lack of crisis training and marksmanship ability of civilians, the odds are better they would have shot an innocent.

    To try to use Sandy Hook as a rally cry for armed teachers is to spit on the victims and their families. Ask them if they think arming teachers would help.

  101. Show us how you figured those odds that an innocent person would more likely be shot. Show us the figures that more innocent bystanders are shot than bad guys when people use guns for self defense. Otherwise, I caught you in a lie.

  102. I say “the odds” as an informal guess. You take a scared, untrained armed teacher with little training in marksmanship (not even close to what police would be required) and you are likely going to get innocents shot.


    Now a new study from researchers at Mount St. Mary’s University sheds some light on why people don’t use guns in self-defense very often. As it turns out, knowing when and how to apply lethal force in a potentially life-or-death situation is really difficult.

    The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: “carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level,” the authors wrote in a statement.

    They recruited 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearm experience and training, and had each of them participate in simulations of three different scenarios using the firearms training simulator at the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland. The first scenario involved a carjacking, the second an armed robbery in a convenience store, and the third a case of suspected larceny.

    They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn’t take cover. They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.

    ” Mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 33 years: 0″

    “”. Statistically 77 percent of shots fired in self-defense situations will miss their targets”

    Fact-check: In 2014, according to FBI data, nearly eight times more people were shot and killed in arguments than by civilians trying to stop a crime.
    • In one survey, nearly 1 percent of Americans reported using guns to defend themselves or their property. However, a closer look at these claims found that more than half involved using guns in an aggressive manner, such as escalating an argument.
    • A study in Philadelphia found that the odds of an assault victim being shot were 4.5 times greater if he carried a gun. His odds of being killed were 4.2 times greater.

    You’ll want to cut out the name calling me a liar BS or you’ll be blocked. I do not converse with rude people.

  103. The problem of making schools “more secure” (whether by locked doors, security guards, bullet-proof glass or armed teachers in the classroom) is that it puts only a band-aid on the problem. It says “we are helpless to stop the guns from threatening schools and other places (theaters, political gatherings, places of worship, etc.). The main issue is that we allow military type lethality on the streets of America. It used to be (before the GOP and Bush 2 ended it) that assault weapons were illegal. To start the rehabilitation of America, assault weapons of all types must be declared illegal.

  104. One data point proves nothing whatsoever. On the other hand, we have tens of thousands of data points among Gen Zs who oppose guns. They will be voting this fall, and in 2020, and each year after that. A new revolution like that of the 60s may be under way. I hope so!!!

  105. ???? You are parroting the “Trust in God” types that this article is criticizing. Guess what? What God there is does not interfere with this world. We have to solve our own problems. And the evidence from the civilized world is that getting rid of guns is a very good thing. The USA could then become a civilized nation..

  106. But it tries. All those KKK killers considered themselves to be good Christians. And they did have the tacit support of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, etc.

  107. But to be fair…they are in the minority.

  108. He denigrated himself by his insane comment. Learn some basic social skills, then get back to me.

  109. I didn’t say Christ had failed; I said Christianity has. Indeed, you will answer to Him; you have a lot to answer for, I’m sure.

  110. Because the 1960s were so peaceful and unifying and civil? Good grief.

  111. Gen Zers were born between 1999 and 2015.

    How could a three-year-old be an atheist?

  112. This article, and the comments, are a confused muddle of thinking which ignores facts and irrationality relates differing agendas. Consider the Parkland school massacre (ignore Republican tax policies, the national debt, climate change and probably dandruff.) The person who slaughtered the innocents could never have legally purchased a weapon if a number of government agencies, at several levels, and their employees had done their job. At a young age, he had dozens of run ins with police, school officials, and complaining neighbors. But no one took definite action to stop his aberrant conduct e.g. cutting himself repeatedly while writing “Kill. Kill.”. Apparently both his lawyer and the prosecution state that he legally meets the sanity level so as to go on trial for his life. (I find that beyond odd.)

    Given this performance, the state government could out-law every known weapon since the match lock rifle and he could have still purchased his semi automatic rifle, one that is rarely used in crime. Killers do not obey the law.

    We, a religious nation, are poor at contending with evil and violence, in a world soaking in evil and violence. The essential question which all citizens, particularly the young, is: When may you use martial force to stop evil? When and how can you kill? It is a two part question, morality and competence. You learn right and wrong at home, church, or synagogue. You learn fighting ability on a gun range, martial arts dojo, or weapons course. And, in both educations, you must confront error by human beings, particularly in sudden violent situations. This is the best we can do.

    IMHO, a plow should be run through every government agency which fouled up. People should be fired. The national registry is a disgrace, known violent people were never entered (the USAF admits to several thousand who were ignored). Our mental health support systems are lousy. The one positive outcome in Florida is a legal standing to take a weapon away from a adjusted high risk individual, by LEOs with admitted concerns for violations of Constitutional rights. (I know of a case in which a shrink flunked a cop in a mental stability test because he wanted to be armed while on duty. The doc hated guns. She should be fired for incompetency.)

    We must have far clearer debate on a difficult issue.

  113. The Yippies at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 did not use violence. The police did. The Freedom Riders in the South did not use violence. The KKK and the police did. Martin Luther King did not use violence. His assassin did. But violence did not stop the peaceful revolution.

  114. Note that the gun supporter, deluded Christian nutcase, and NRA shill
    presenting himself in this thread as “Bob Arnzen” variously and
    dishonestly uses a variety of names on RNS such as Bob Arnzen, José
    Carioca, and others. However, there is actually no real Bob Arnzen, and
    there is no real José Carioca.

  115. LOL. Not as bad as you are, Sandi Luckins, with that itchy leg rash…

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