“To have or not to have; that is the question.”

Hope you don’t mind me borrowing and changing a bit that question Hamlet asked in Act III, Scene One Shakespeare’s play named after him. But, I felt it was appropriate in looking at the ongoing controversy over gun control in our nation.

The recent rash of school shootings and the subsequent “red flag laws” being passed in various states have certainly raised concerns. And rightfully so — for these laws allow police agencies to confiscate guns from someone deemed to be “dangerous” BEFORE he/she has committed any crime. Likewise, they prevent 18-20-year-olds from purchasing guns. And, they even charge the gun owner a storage fee for confiscating and storing his guns!

While I, like everyone else, know that something needs to be done, I don’t think such laws are the answer. Why is that? Because they are a violation of our Second Amendment right to “bear arms.” Secondly, they open the door to the beginning of a totalitarian government that determines who is “dangerous” and who is not — which is highly subjective and a removal of due process by law as defined by the Fourth Amendment.

Simply put, in an attempt to “do something” and hopefully prevent future Columbines, Sandy Hooks and Parklands from happening, we’ve moved closer to the Marxist-inspired practices of Hitler. In fact, Seattle’s police department became the first law enforcement agency in the state to force the surrender of a firearm under their “extreme risk protection order.”

Needless to say, the ramifications of this are mind-boggling.

Just recently, a resident who lives in Belltown, Wash. was disarmed when neighbors said he’d become “intimidating” to them. Some said he even stared at them through store-front windows with a gun holstered at his side.

Even though he was a licensed, concealed carrier, the complaints led police to confront the man, ordering him to surrender his weapon. He refused; so, they obtained a warrant and forcibly took the pistol from him.

Now, I’ll be the first to agree that those like Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, with a history of apparent mental illness shouldn’t own a weapon; however, wholesale confiscation of someone’s pistol or rifle because he/she “looks” dangerous has crossed the line.

And, that’s wherein the problem lies in all of this.

Laws are written to protect society as a whole. But, when they’re kneejerk reactions to emotional situations they become detrimental, not beneficial. And, I’m convinced these newly-passed red flag laws — soon to likely be passed in at least 30 states — fit that description.

I still remember when I was in high school that it wasn’t uncommon for classmates to come to school with their deer rifles mounted on gun racks in their trucks. Sometimes they didn’t even lock their trucks while in class, even as we didn’t our cars or houses at night.

But, times have changed; or, is that society as a whole?

Yes, we as a society have changed. Our views-and-values have changed. Our respect for those in authority have changed. Our respect for the sanctity of life has changed. Our trust in God, belief in His Word and Absolute Truth has changed.

And, that’s why we’re in the mess and moral malaise we’re in.

So, the question is “What can we do?”

The answer is not in gun control, the passing of red flag laws, student protest marches and sit-ins, etc. It’s prayer and the enactment of some common sense measures to help protect us.

Although quite expensive, the installation of metal detectors and the posting of security guards at school entrances is a start. Likewise, red-flagging individuals with a documented history of mental illnesses through a nationwide data base — which would (hopefully) keep them from buying a gun — is another.

But, saying guns are the problem is to miss the real problem: a sinful heart. Likewise, disarming law-abiding citizens is also not the answer — for criminals are always going to find ways to carry out their devious deeds. And, woe to the rest of us if we have no means to defend ourselves when the time comes. God bless you.

NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com).