A Facebook photo showing one of the Duggar brood holding a shotgun as the family celebrated Christmas sparked dozens of comments arguing the wisdom of letting teens own firearms.
The photo shows Jedidiah Duggar, who turned 16 years old on Dec. 30, holding the 12-gauge shotgun in the family’s home.
“Worst present ever,” said commenter Linda Lawless. “I don’t care how much gun safety they teach their kids. All it takes is one time of not locking it up properly for one of the dozens of curious young kids in that house to get a hold of it and have an accident. Why take that chance?”
“Don’t understand why a Christian family who values life would want to own devices that were specifically designed to destroy it,” Lawless added.
Arkansas, where the reality TV show stars live, allows children under 18 to use a gun with a parent or guardian’s consent.
“Violence is the antithesis of Christ’s message,” said commenter Tamara Cedre. “The Duggars have let their political leanings mar their witness. They’ve indoctrinated their children with legalism and have missed the spirit of the gospel.”
“It doesn’t matter if this rifle is used for hunting,” Cedre added. “To glamorize a weapon on a Facebook page during a moment where children are being shot by police for brandishing airsoft guns and our country is being brainwashed into increased militarism is IRRESPONSIBLE.”
Many commenters, however, gleefully supported the Duggars’ right to bear arms.
“Haha, nothing says Merry Xmas like a clean shot to a beating heart!” said commenter Todd Norris.
“Great picture,” said commenter Robert Gould. “Not only can you enjoy shooting you can scare gun paranoid liberals at the same time. A win win.”
Pro-gun commenters suggested the Duggars would take unspecified measures to ensure gun safety in their home.
“Gun safty (sic) starts in the home with a few added hunter safty courses (sic),” said commenter Stephanie Servold-Schuman. “Also, with good, solid, Godly and biblical practices. Our children will learn to respect both. That’s what is wrong with our Nation. Trying to do away with Freedom of religion and the right to bare arms (sic).”
But Cedre, the previous commenter, suggested that Christians follow their faith more consistently, rather than picking and choosing which parts they liked.
“Hunting came after The Fall,” Cedre said. “So, if we are going to look at Adam and Eve as God’s ‘intentional union’ ignoring the climate that came after sin, we should also be looking at verses in Genesis that speak solely of plants as food. If we are going to look at verses that speak of a ‘quiver full’ and ‘multiplying the earth,’ maybe we should also look at COUNTLESS other verses that speak to another kind of pro-life stance that honors all life; loving the least of these, meeting people where they are and being salt and light in the world.”