“I’m trying to figure out what I think about the 2nd Amendment. What does the Bible say?”
It is sad that, at a time in the States when “rights” are so often spoken of, there is so much confusion about actual rights. We’ve forgotten who gives rights, and why they’re given. And you see this forgetfulness played out in confusion as to why in the world those idiot Constitution framers put the Bill of Rights into an “otherwise decent” document.
The 2nd amendment, just war theory, self-protection laws, all that stuff, is rooted in Genesis and God’s covenant of creation. In the covenant of creation, God made man in his image, to rule in his world in faith and obedience to him, ruling for him and like him in his world. This is man’s job, and it is good that God gave woman to man to help him in it (especially because he cannot bear and nurture children on his own).
Man in God’s image is to fill, subdue, and keep the world for his Creator. Man in God’s image is given certain inalienable rights by his Creator.
He has the right to life. Because man bears God’s image, to wickedly, unjustifiably take another man’s life is to forfeit one’s own life (Genesis 9:6). Unrighteous killing, murder, forbidden by God, is an act of blasphemy against God, and so requires killing in response. Because man bears God’s image and lives to glorify God in his existence, his life has value and is to be protected against wicked attempts at it. His right to life is a right to protect his life and the lives of others who are wrongly threatened.
He has the right to property. Because man, made in God’s image, is to work and keep and exercise dominion on the earth, God has given him property rights. And so what is mine is mine, what is yours is yours, and what is his is his. You cannot take what is rightfully mine and I cannot take what is rightfully yours, without consent. No individual, and no institution, including the government, may take what is mine without my consent (that’s right—consent of the governed isn’t an enlightenment idea, but is a Biblical idea). To do otherwise is to steal. And, having the right to property, I have the right to defend my property—for rights in a world of evil are rights to defend and protect. This means when a thief says, “Give me that”, I have the right to say, “No”, if I so choose, and then work to stop him if he persists. If he insists on using force to coerce my cooperation, and my own life then becomes threatened, my right to life means that I can defend myself and kill him. My right to property means I can kill him if he makes the attempt at night (Exodus 22:2). My right to life means I can defend my life against him and kill him at any time, if the need arises from my refusal to comply with his theft.
This is why the 2nd Amendment should be considered a God given, government guarded, right. I have the right to protect myself and others and my property and the property of others, because I’m made in the image of God. I have the right to do so effectively. I have the right to bear arms.
This is why some wars, though not all, are good and just wars, waged by a nation in defense against foreign threat.
The above is not an exhaustive reply, but it gives you an idea of the framework with which I think about these things.
Here are some articles I’ve written that are related to man’s role in the world as protector and the goodness of war in an evil world:
Here are two short videos from a pastor I respect on the Christian and guns, why it is virtuous for Christians to bear arms:
A quick note on pacifism:
I used to be a pacifist. What that error comes down to is over-realized eschatology. Those who are pacifists rightly long for a world of brotherly peace that is not this world, but the next. In this world, under this sun, there will always be a time for war and a time to kill. That will not end until death itself is ended. Pacifists force certain texts to work with their system so as to justify their misunderstood desire. And they fail to understand the significance of the creation covenant, discussed above.