Morgan Lee, reporter at The Christian Post, reports that a 51-year old pastor named John Kee, who happened to be a former drug dealer and gun owner, is hosting a gun buyback campaign in an attempt to "clean up" the streets.
A North Carolina church has completed its seventh annual gun credit card exchange program, though its numbers were down sharply from previous years.
John Kee, 51, who now pastors New Life Fellowship Center in Charlotte, started the program based out of his own experiences of carrying around guns as a young adult selling drugs.
Kee told The Charlotte Observer that the program emerged out of a sense of personal responsibility that he felt toward his own community and out of another ministry that offers young men an alternative to being on the street.
"I want to clean up what I poisoned," said Kee, who used to hit the streets with a .38-caliber pistol, a 9-millimeter handgun or a sawed-off shotgun or "chopper."
The church pays $25 to $50 in Walmart gift cards for handguns and up to $100 for assault rifles and shotguns. It collected 41 guns this year, down from the 120 that it had consistently collected annually in the six years prior.
The church works with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to destroy turned in firearms and advertises the program throughout the city. There is a no questions asked policy for anyone who turns in weapons.
While I understand the desire for this pastor to fix up some of the bad things he did and help young people get off streets, I don't see this as the right way to do so. I feel that this gun buyback program is stupid, for it is an attempt to work with the government to take away the guns of law-abiding and non-criminal citizens who own guns both for recreational and defensive purposes. I am opposed to any church action to discourage this type of gun ownership. In fact, such things could actually be hurting lower class persons who need guns the most to defend themselves against violent thugs who want nothing more than to prey upon innocent people. Not only is self-defense a natural right, but also it is oftentimes a responsibility and a way of showing love, for if one defends another human being through the use of violence, it not only shows a respect for human life but also shows a disrespect for crime and aggressive violence.
And another thing: let's legalize drugs. Wait, you might say. But won't that increase drug consumption and damage communities? I would answer that, apart from the fact that legalizing drugs is a freedom issue first and foremost, legalizing drugs has many practical benefits, as the libertarian theorist and economist Walter Block has shown here, here, here, here, here, and here. Much has been written as to how drug criminalization hurts people and fails in its purpose to get rid of drugs (though it does succeed in putting nonviolent people in jail who do no crime except to ingest poison into their bodies). Laurence Vance, a Christian author, has shown the evils of drug criminalization in many of his writings on this topic. Mark Thornton, an economist, also has written against drug prohibition (and prohibition in general) and shown the harms it causes. See here, here, here, and here for his writings. And another thing: the war on drugs and the war on guns are both responsible for the erosion of civil liberties and the burgeoning police state which is detrimental to civilization.