Darrow Miller and Friends

Guns Have Not Changed

  1. Guns Have Not Changed
  2. Guns vs. Scalpels: Which Kills More Children?


Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida has become famous. Seventeen students and adults were killed by a crazed gunman using a semi-automatic weapon. This was not the first such horror, nor will it be the last, because we are failing to address the core problem.

Modern school-shooting headlines began in 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School. In the last decade we have heard of similar horrors:

  • 2007 – Virginia Tech University (33 killed)
  • 2012 – Sandy Hook elementary (28 killed)
  • 2016 – Orlando nightclub (50 killed)
  • 2017 – Southerland Springs Church (27 killed)
  • 2017 – Las Vegas (59 killed – the most mass-gun deaths in US history)

guns used in mass shootingsFrom 1967 to 2017 America saw 146 mass shootings (four or more people killed by a gunman).

This does not include all the deaths in the US by gun violence. While 59 were killed in a few minutes in Las Vegas, the same number were killed in Chicago in 28 days and in Baltimore in 58 days. Such homicide numbers run continuously, but don’t make the headlines.

Chicago is the homicide capital of the US: 3,550 shooting incidents in 2016 (about 100/day) resulting in 4,331 shooting victims and 762 murders.

But the mass shootings gain all the media attention, and the guns get all the blame. The Left cries for one more gun law. But Chicago, with some of the most restrictive gun laws of any city in the US, also has the highest homicide rate.

The problem is not guns. The problem is not what is in the hand—gun, knife, bat, or grenade. The problem is what is in the heart and the mind. The great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy captures the real problem: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Following a shooting at Freeman High School in September 2017, Spokane County (WA) Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich argued that society has changed, guns have not. Knezovich described what things were like when he was a 15-year-old high school student.

I can tell you, folks, I carried a gun all my life. I hunted, I shot. My friends and I, when it’s hunting season back home, when I was in high school, every one of those rigs had a gun in the gun rack. Why? We went hunting on the way home. None of those guns ever walked into a school. None of those guns ever shot anybody …. You started glorifying cultures of violence. You glorified the gang culture. You glorified games that are actually giving you points for raping and killing people. A gun did not change, we changed.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevins, in response to the Stoneman Douglas murders observed:

the problem is deeper than gunsThere are more gun restrictions now. There are more rules about who can and can’t own a gun or how a gun might be acquired than there were 50 and 100 years ago. And yet, 50 and 100 years ago, children did not slaughter other children at school. What has changed? It isn’t the gun.

Today all the discussion is about GUNS. There is a societal divide on how to solve the school shooting problem. One side says we need to keep guns out of schools. Others say we need to harden schools, post more school guards and policemen, train and arm teachers and administrators. The problem is guns, the solution is guns.

This analysis is superficial but we keep it on this level because we do not want to face the real problem: our culture is rotting. The problem is inside our own hearts and minds.

As we have written here and here, there is a relationship between paradigm – principle – policy – program. The discussion is taking place at the level of policy, specifically, “gun policy.” Gun-free schools or gun-flooded schools, both are policy solutions. There is little discussion of the principles that drive policy.

We don’t have a gun problem, we have a moral, spiritual problem, one that cannot be solved with a gun policy. Neither banning guns nor proliferating guns will solve the problem.

The problem is rooted in the heart of the culture and the human heart.

As Sheriff Knezovich and Governor Bevins have so rightly observed, the culture has shifted.

  • Violence is promoted at every turn. Hollywood, rap music, TV and video games all promote violence.
  • The family has suffered profound shifts. Twenty-six of the 27 deadliest mass shooters had one thing in common: they were fatherless!
  • America’s ruling consensus supports killing preborn babies in the most gruesome ways, selling baby body parts for commercial profit, and commercializing women’s bodies. Does this not send a huge message to young people that life is cheap?
  • Americans, at a rampant pace, abuse drugs, legal and illegal, drugs that alter the state of mind and destroy rational thinking.
  • Integrity in our law-enforcement community is suffering. Police apparently hid themselves during the carnage. Officers stand down in the face of Antifa. The FBI is wracked with incompetency and dishonesty.

guns are not the problem; we have abandoned moralityOur problems are moral and spiritual. We have pretended to live in a universe without truth or moral framework. We have turned our back on God and embraced an atheistic framework. We have removed the Bible and 10 Commandments from the classroom and the public square. We live without purpose, cosmic accidents in a post-truth, post-reason, post-moral illusion. The dominant culture in the US and much of the West is without a moral north star.

We resort to more external laws because we are increasingly lawless internally. More law enforcement is required to keep order because citizens do not order their own lives.

Yes, we can make schools “gun free zones” and lawless individuals will continue to shoot innocent children. Or we can turn schools into forts with walls, barbed wire, metal detectors and armed guards. But more laws and gun policies will only leave us more insecure.

To deal with the issue of gun violence, we need to reverse the decay of a culture which has severed its roots in Judeo-Christian theism. We must forsake a culture of victimization and return to a culture of personal responsibility.

The human heart cannot be legislated. It must be internally self-constrained. Citizens need to learn to control themselves.

Do we really want to save our children and their futures? If so, are we willing to pay the price?

First, we must acknowledge and repent of our rebellion, a concept mostly lost in our culture.

Second, we must restore God’s word and moral law (Ten Commandments) to the heart of the classroom and the nation. Schools must prepare children to think critically, to reason from scripture, and to live in virtue.

Third, we must turn from godlessness and discipline ourselves unto godliness. We must relearn the classic virtues of integrity, personal responsibility, hard and excellent work, thrift, and generosity. We must honor the sacredness of the marriage bed and the family.

Fourth, we must abandon the language of license (entitlements, victimhood, identity politics, intersectionality) and restore the language of freedom, words rooted in the Judeo-Christian worldview: truth, virtue, family, justice, wisdom, sin, life, happiness, faith, responsibility.

Will Christians follow the lead of an increasingly pagan world into slavery, or will we lead the world into a culture of liberty?

  • Darrow Miller


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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).


  1. Ayila Ishaku

    March 3, 2018 - 4:05 am

    It is so unfortunate that our society today is only concern about tackling the fruits of the real problem. Our problem is far guns but moral corruption. The church should pilot in bringing remedies that not only deal with the fruits but the roots. For when the root is dealt with, the fruits must definitely assume a different taste.

  2. Phillip

    March 4, 2018 - 7:56 pm

    Ever wonder why the Chinese use or came up with chopsticks ?
    The morality of their society had gotten so bad that they banned eating utensil such as knives from the table because people were violently miss using the utensils so they decided just to use sticks instead.

      • admin

        March 8, 2018 - 9:25 am

        Hi Ron
        Sorry if there was confusion. This was not about China. It was about instruments of death. Today it is guns in the US. Evidently at one point in Chinese history it was knives that were used to kill people.
        The point is that the root of the problem is not guns or knives, it is what is in the heart of human beings that hatred and violence is birthed.

  3. marlon batoon roldan

    March 8, 2018 - 7:31 am

    comment from a Filipino based in Phoenix: he starts by saying “There has been a lot of change in guns since the framing of the US Constitution until today…” After I replied that we should try to read more carefully and discern what Darrow wants to say…guns and other stuff like spears, arrows, knives, sticks and rocks have not changed,… he said ” …Yup, I have [read carefully] . As have others who have studied the issue comprehensively. Darrow has fallen into the same category as those who say ‘Guns do not kill people. people kill people”. One of the go to slogans and arguments of the NRA. The real situation is “Guns are used by people to kill people.” Let us be clear that the issue being tackled is the problem of the mortality rate due to gun violence with particular focus on mass killings. There have been no mass killings wherein knives/spears/arrows, sticks, rocks were used. And Darrow does not examine this problem as a particularly American problem. The closest logical comparison is Canada. The neighbor to the north has essentially the same moral/spiritual situation as the US yet they do not have as nearly serious problem with guns as here. Japan has a much lower percentage of committed Christians yet gun killings are hardly heard about. Even with their Yakuza and all. And if Darrow wants to present all this as a purely spiritual problem as it is within his purview, then he must realize at least for the sake of law enforcement purview that A SPIRITUALLY FALLEN SOCIETY AND EASY ACCESS TO GUNS PARTICULARLY GUNS DESIGNED FOR WAR IS INDEED A VERY DEADLY MIX.

    • admin

      March 8, 2018 - 9:46 am

      Hello Marlon

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. And yes, you did read carefully, it is not just guns, it is knives, spears, arrows, and bayonets, bombs, sarin gas and gas chambers.

      You are correct, some instruments are more efficient at killing. And some guns are more effective in killing numbers, i.e. a single shot rifle or pistol is not as “efficient” as a simi-automatic or automatic weapon. So yes and yes to what you have said.

      There is a place to discuss the weapon used in violence. But to make the whole discussion around gun violence or bomb violence without looking inside the heart of man is a mistake. At its root, it is a MORAL and spiritual problem. This
      brokenness inside of man manifests itself in violence outside of man. So, yes, talk about guns, but don’t think adding one more law will solve a problem that is a moral problem

      Thanks again, Marlon, for your thoughtful comments.