I think I should first point out that this is simply my personal opinion. It is not the position of the American Legal Alliance. We have lawyers affiliated with the American Legal Alliance who are anti-gun control, pro-gun control, and somewhere in the middle. This is simply my personal story and my personal opinion.
I grew up in rural Alabama hunting animals with guns, and I’ve owned guns my whole life. Many years ago I stopped hunting because, frankly, it made me sad when an animal died. I loved everything else about the hunt, and hunting is a sport with much to love. But, even as a teenager, I would feel a slight tweak of sadness whenever the animal I shot shuddered and died. I told myself to toughen up and continued hunting until middle age, but I finally gave the hobby up. Even after I quit hunting, I continued to own guns for personal protection.
Before I started the American Legal Alliance in 2000, I was a lawyer for people who had been injured or defrauded by corporate wrongdoing. During the 1990s, a defendant I had sued made a credible threat to sneak up on me and slit my throat before I could do anything about it. This man had served time in prison for assault with intent to kill, and he was out on bond for breaking into his current wife’s house to try to kill her. I confirmed these facts with the local authorities, and was told that there was really no practical way to prevent him from making good on his threat to cut my throat.
At the time, my 17-month=old son had recently died in an accident. My wife and daughters were going through the most heart-wrenching, depressing period of their lives. I reflected on the thug who threatened my life and (I distinctly remember this thought), concluded, “My wife and daughters have been through too much grief for some idiot to kill their Daddy.” I went and bought a 9-millimeter Glock semiautomatic pistol, along with a smaller pistol to serve as a backup weapon.
I carried two pistols with me everywhere I went for two years; until the man who swore he would kill me was no longer a threat. I can’t speak for everyone who carries a pistol for personal protection, but I can speak for me. And I will tell you this, carrying a gun and being prepared to kill a man (even under justifiable circumstances) changed me.
While and after carrying a gun I became less concerned about the widespread availability of guns in our country. I took it for granted that everyone in this country had a right to carry a gun, and I believed this would and should never change.
But over the years my opinions about guns have changed again. One reason is that I enjoyed watching the second Iraq war on TV, and the violence didn’t bother me. After watching the war nearly around the clock, I was so accustomed to seeing live violence on television in my den that it seemed as if I had walked into my den as one man and walked out as another–a man who no longer felt the same love for humanity. I found that I could not pray for weeks. I finally realized that I needed to repent of my enjoyment of the violence and my disregard for the innocent lives lost as we advanced on Baghdad. Pastor Brian Zahnd has written an excellent book about Christians and violence called, “A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace.” I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to think about Second Amendment issues from the standpoint of Christianity.
Another thing changed my opinion about guns. I read that, statistically, guns in the home cause more deaths from accidents and suicides than they result in self-defense killings. After reflecting on this, I rounded up all the guns in my house and took them to one of my brothers-in-law who was in law enforcement and asked if he would keep them in his gun safe for me. He has had custody of my guns since that time.
Now I want to make the point that caused me to start this blog post. I saw one of the TV “experts” on CNN recently saying that we can only reduce the number of guns in this country if we authorize much tougher policing. He said we would need to use “stop and frisk” to take guns away from people. He would be correct if we wanted to reduce the number of guns in this country by the end of 2015. But we probably can’t reduce the number of guns by the end of 2015 to make a significant difference in gun violence this year no matter how many people we stop and frisk.
This country has been around more than 200 years, and I figure we will probably be around for a lot longer. Now, at the age of 63 with seven small grandchildren, I’m starting to think about the kind of country this will be in twenty, thirty and forty years. If we restrict gun sales and put reasonable gun laws in place, we may not be able to see an immediate reduction in the number of gun crimes. But we can do a lot to reduce gun violence in twenty years if we begin now to take reasonable steps to reduce gun ownership. We should do it for our children and our grandchildren.
The pro-gun lobby loves to argue that, because we can’t reduce the number of guns in America, the solution is to sell more guns so that people can defend themselves. This argument has the advantage of increasing the gun lobby’s business, but it makes no sense if you’re willing to take the long view for America. We can, and we should, begin reducing the number of guns so our children and grandchildren will live in a safer world.
Michael J. Evans
Lawyer and CEO
American Legal Alliance, LLC