An armed Christian who was in a South African congregation and stopped a church terrorist attack in 1993, firing back at the attackers, says the solution is not to restrict guns as President Obama has suggested, but to encourage people to defend themselves and others.
“Many have adopted the pagan fallacy of animism – that evil lurks in things (guns), rather than people. Demonizing inanimate objects (guns) makes no sense! Guns can be used for good or evil. The heart of the handler is what makes the difference,” said Charl Van Wyk, whose Christian mission work focuses on Africa. Van Wyk was in the congregation in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1993 when terrorists burst into St. James Church loaded up with shrapnel-coated grenades and automatic weapons and attacked. Eleven people were killed almost immediately in the congregation of about 1,000. But Van Wyk, sitting only a few rows from the back, pulled out his snub-nose .38 revolver and fired two shots at the attackers.
One of the terrorists, who later admitted their intention was to kill as many as they could, was hit, but Van Wyk didn’t realize that until later, because he quickly withdrew from the building and circled around back, trying to get behind the terrorists. But they already were in a vehicle fleeing. His experience has been chronicled in book and DVD versions in “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense.”
“The moment of chaos and carnage unfurled is forever etched in my mind.” he says.
"The only person who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Unarmed victims are pretty helpless," he continued, "I abhor violence, i.e., the 'immoral use of force.' Defending the innocent is the righteous use of force."
He said the question is simple, "Is it preferable to have law-abiding, unarmed citizens die, than risk armed citizens harming a criminal? The only person who can make any difference when faced with a violent attacker is the person who is right THERE, right THEN."
He previously addressed the issue of Christians' responsibility when the state cannot halt violence. He also points to the dangers of "gun-free zones," as most churches and schools are.
"Worldwide, office buildings, hospitals, convenience stores, TV studios, chain restaurants and day-care centers, have all been targets of homicidal maniacs. Multiple victim shootings have taken place in such places after they have been declared gun-free zones," he said. "In 1999, John Lott and William Landes published a U.S. study of multiple shooting incidents. They showed that mass shootings occur less often in areas where responsible citizens may carry weapons.
"Do mass shootings ever occur in police stations, shooting ranges or at gun shows? Mass murderers select soft targets for their acts of violence. Expecting a suicidal individual to honor a law prohibiting firearms is sheer utopian fantasy," he said.
"Firearms surely make it easier to kill people, but firearms also make it easier for people to defend themselves," he continued, "Removing all firearms from Charleston's society risks leaving potential victims defenseless."
He argues that self-defense is not a contradiction to Christian theology - a subject I deal with here. Watch his story above and the incredible forgiveness and repentance that followed the tragedy.
Where Is Open-Carry Permitted In The United States? Detailed information on each state's laws is here.