Consider Gun Ownership for Family Protection

The American Constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. According to the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision, District of Columbia vs Heller, this right extends not only to the military and law enforcement officials, but also to private citizens who wish to own firearms for lawful purposes. Guns play a significant role in American history and tradition, and our right to self-defense has long been respected here. As an American, then, it seems fitting to support responsible gun ownership.

Is this consonant, however, with our obligations as Catholics? Some think not.

Authoritative Catholic documents have very little to say on the subject of guns directly. That’s as it should be. A gun is a tool, which in itself is neither moral nor immoral; owning it might be ethical or not depending on how it is to be used. Clearly, guns can also be used in acts of unjust violence, and the threat they pose to innocent life should be taken very seriously. But guns can also be used to defend life, and there is no moral defect in shooting for sport. Thus, there is no reason to expect that Catholic moral teaching should make any pronouncement on gun ownership as such.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that it is permissible to do injury to another in an act of self-defense. Killing is to be avoided when possible; even if mortally threatened, incapacitating one’s attacker is preferable to killing him. Realistically, ordinary citizens will very seldom be in a position to reliably incapacitate an attacker without killing him, and some have suggested on these grounds that guns are sub-optimal as a tool for self-defense. The reality, though, is that criminals almost always have guns. An ordinary citizen stands very little chance of defending himself from an attacker with lethal intent, unless he too has a gun. The Catechism’s sanction of self-defense would therefore seem to stand as a substantial justification for owning a gun.

In recent years, many high-profile Catholics, including the American Bishops, have argued for stricter controls on firearms. Arguing that stricter gun control might increase respect for life, they supported the President’s failed gun control initiative following the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings. Individually and as a group, American bishops have emphasized on multiple occasions their support for sensible regulation of handguns, and also for the ready provision of treatment for the mentally ill.

It is important for American Catholics to understand that neither the Church nor the bishops have made definite statements condemning either guns themselves or civilian ownership of guns. Liberal Catholics sometimes confuse the issue by exaggerating the significance of those statements that have been made, as in this story by Carol Glatz, which claims that the Church’s position on gun ownership is “resoundingly clear” and that civilian ownership of firearms must be “strictly limited and eventually completely eliminated.” Examining her evidence, it becomes obvious that her claims are ludicrously overstated. She cobbles together a few obscure references from various documents, but puts the greatest weight on a footnote from the American Bishops’ November 2000 document on crime, stating that “we believe that in the long run and with few exceptions—i.e. police officers, military use—handguns should be eliminated from our society.” The fact that she leans so heavily on such an obscure and future-directed reference itself speaks to the weakness of her claims. Other attempts to make an authoritative Catholic case for strict gun control laws tend to be similarly unsuccessful.

In the end, then, it would seem that it is permissible for Catholics to support the Second Amendment, and to own guns. Insofar as gun control initiatives seem insufficiently respectful of the Constitution, that is reason to be wary of them. Gun ownership may not be a natural right, but in this country it is among our positive rights, and that is not a small thing. As respecters of well-constituted positive law, we should respect that both we and our fellow citizens retain our traditional right to bear arms.

Important questions remain, however. First: what sort of public policy would be most consonant with both the Constitution and Catholic moral principles? And second: how should we approach the personal decision whether or not to own guns?

Not all restrictions on firearms are unconstitutional. In Heller, the Supreme Court agreed that guns could be regulated in certain ways, which might include background checks (preventing felons and mentally unstable people from purchasing guns), carry laws (limiting the places in which firearms can legally be carried), and restrictions on what sorts of guns civilians may purchase. Legal questions remain, but on a moral level we can easily see that there are multiple prudential questions to be answered here.

Tailoring gun laws to protect innocent life is no easy task. That’s because the sorts of people who misuse guns typically aren’t scrupulously law-abiding. Most everyone can agree that it’s undesirable for the criminally insane to obtain firearms. But criminals normally obtain their guns illegally, so further background checks would likely have little effect on violent crime. Moreover, with more than 300 million guns already on the streets, total disarmament of the whole nation is not realistically possible. Sometimes the best deterrent to violent crime is a gun-owning Good Samaritan who is willing to shoot back, and candidates for that role grow scarcer when we enact strict carry laws or substantial restrictions on gun ownership.

We should of course do our best to evaluate the individual merits of particular proposed laws. Some may be genuinely useful in keeping guns out of the wrong hands. But we should not naively assume that all gun control laws serve to protect human life, or to move us closer to the violence-free world that the bishops (like all of us, no doubt) would so much like to inhabit.

On the second question, it should first be said that personal gun ownership is a serious responsibility. Families should consider their own particular circumstances in deciding whether to own guns. How strong is the need for personal defense? How likely is it that a personal firearm could fall into the hands of someone who would misuse it? How comfortable are you with the responsibilities of gun ownership? These are questions that particular families must answer for themselves. That being the case, it seems unwise to issue blanket recommendations concerning guns.

Catholics can make a strong argument for gun ownership, however. This is based primarily in the doctrine of subsidiarity.

Subsidiarity suggests that power and responsibility ought to be as decentralized as reasonably possible. If local authorities are capable of handling a particular problem, they should do so; larger organizations should become involved only when necessary.

With respect to the protection of families and children, who is the most local authority? I would argue that it is the father of the family, or, if he is not available, the mother. Parents should regard themselves first and foremost as the protectors of their children.

This of course does not mean that parents are the only ones authorized to protect children from harm. As with most other responsibilities, it is permissible to delegate, and assistance is sometimes welcome. I and my husband bear primary responsibility for our children’s education, but that doesn’t make it wrong for us to employ a Greek tutor. I of course would not be upset if I “caught” an uncle or aunt explaining a point of grammar or regaling them with tales from Roman mythology.

Still, it is our responsibility to consider the available educational alternatives, and to decide what course of study will be most advantageous to them. It is similarly up to us to consider how best to protect our family from harm. In modern society, a willingness to summon the police should certainly be part of any reasonable family protection plan. But it may be that a personal firearm can also contribute positively to family security. If so, that constitutes a compelling reason to own a gun, and a well-constituted society should at least acknowledge the legitimacy of that desire.

Gun control is a challenging issue, because it is undeniably the case that guns can be extremely dangerous. At the same time, arguments for gun control generally rest on the confident premise that “the police can keep us safe.” The harsh reality is that that isn’t always the case. Policemen can’t be everywhere at one time, and in an emergency situation, a few minutes may mean the difference between life and death. Catholics should give serious consideration to the arguments for stricter gun control, some of which have been actively advanced by our own bishops. At the same time, we should not disregard the moral imperative for ordinary citizens to take steps to protect their families and loved ones, and potentially to contribute to the protection of society as a whole.

Rachel Lu

By

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and four boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at rclu.

  • In a country that accumulated guns for more than 200 years LEGALLY because of her Constitution, it will be impossible to “control” gun ownership. It is too late.

    If the Constitution didn’t say anything about the right to bear arms, then like many or most countries, citizens wouldn’t have an easy access to guns and the number who own guns would be numbered in the thousands, also like other countries.

    But since every person, technically or theoretically, owns a gun or two, then, those who don’t have would be either an easy, defenseless target in case of self-defense. Here’s the thing, you either take away ALL guns or leave it as it is.

    The other point is the most important: FREEDOM.

    If the government, Federal or Local starts taking away what people OWNS, then tell me, what’s left? The government already is monitoring…no.. SPYING on its own citizens, it is taxing anything and everything and raising tax rates as many times and as higher as it can, it is flying DRONES over our cities, muzzling whistle-blowers and trying to do the same for its critics, etc.

    Do we really need to give the government an excuse to take away more of our FREEDOM?

    Do we really need to “nudge” or opening slightly the door for the government to start a major infringement on our LAST FREEDOM, which is OWNERSHIP? Heck, the government is already STEALING people’s lands under the guise of so-called “environmental concerns” or “public usage”, etc…

    Nobody likes guns, in principle. But in America, it is too late to do anything about it.

    Solution: Whatever happens, do not give the government the chance to take away your FREEDOM, no excuses.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Recall Rousseau, “Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign [the People] is sole judge of what is important,”

    • Carl

      I like guns and so do the vast majority of Americans! The Second Amendment protects the First. “Only used in war,” what is war? War is nothing but taking or protecting something. So the good guy needs to have bigger or more guns. End of story.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Here in Scotland, it could be argued that the Disarming Acts and the Proscription Acts, against those having, “in his or their custody, use, or bear, broad sword or target, poignard, whinger, or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon” saved more lives than it cost.

    They certainly rendered the individual more vulnerable to violence, but they greatly reduced its incidence. Large-scale forays and raids by whole clans became a thing of the past and the streets of the capital no longer witnessed such scenes as the famous tulzie between the Kerrs and the Scotts, two Border families, with scores of well-armed retainers,

    “When startled burghers fled afar,
    The furies of the Border War,
    When the streets of High Dunedin
    Saw lances gleam and falchions redden,
    And heard the slogan’s deadly yell—
    Then the Chief of Branxholm fell.”

    • Carl

      This is a very tired argument. Switzerland and Israel have on of the highest gun ownership rates and also the lowest gun crime rates. Mexico is the exact opposite having one of the highest gun crime rates to go along with their complete gun ban. Crime rate is mostly about corruption of government and culture.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        But my historical example allows one to look at the same country in the century preceding the Act (1647-1747) and the century following it (1747-1847), the former a period of bloody feuds and insurrections, the latter a period of public peace.

        That is a far better test than comparing societies as different as Switzerland and Mexico.

        • brians

          Post hoc ergo propter hoc, my friend. The point is more weapons does not necessarily equal more violent crime. Violent countries are violent with or without a gun ban. Should we ban meat cleavers and scissors too?

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            In Scotland It is illegal to:
            • sell a knife of any kind (including cutlery and kitchen knives) to anyone under 18
            • carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife
            • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
            • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)

            Perhaps, this is why our police are unarmed.

            • RufusChoate

              England imposed this form of suppression on Ireland as well and they are free while Scotland is debating independence from their conqueror. Citing the imposition of force by a foreign Conqueror and the diminution of popular Rebellion is a fascinating argument to deploy against a nation founded on the right to rebellion that severed the relationship with the same English-Germanic Crown.

              “Dr. Samuel Johnson commented that “the last law by which the Highlanders are deprived of their arms, has operated with efficacy beyond expectations… the arms were collected with such rigour, that every house was despoiled of its defence”.”

              • DE-173

                Would this be the same Samuel Johnson who once quipped “the law is an ass”?

            • DE-173

              What a dismal place.

              • slainte

                No A-B,

                You are mistaken. Scotland is beautiful and bleak with a history of bloody conquests and retributions not unlike Ireland.

                Of course, I am partial to the Gaels.

                Have a look: http://youtu.be/WQASLU8-A1s

                and here: http://youtu.be/gnCI_kFuG3g

                • DE-173

                  Looks lovely, too bad it’s ruled by petty tyrants.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            “more weapons does not necessarily equal more violent crime”

            That is plain nonsense. Had they not already had arms and been skilled in using them, it would have been manifestly impossible for the Earl of Mar to raise a rebellion, assemble 10,000 men from the Clans MacDonald, MacDonell, MacKintosh, and MacLean between 6 September and 13 November 1715 (68 days) and defeat 4,000 regular government troops in a pitched battle at Sheriffmuir.

            The government plainly thought so, for it promptly passed the Disarming Act 1716.

        • slainte

          Wasn’t the real reason for the “peace” from 1747-1847 the result of the Highland Clearances…the eviction of the Catholic Highlanders from their ancestral homes?

          I suppose gun violence would decrease if one could make those who own and use the guns disappear.

          Divide the interests of the chiefs from the clans and use enlightened self interest to conquer both?

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            The main Clearances are usually dated from the Sutherland clearances between 1811 and 1820, organized by their factor, the notorious Peter Sellar, although some landlords had displaced tenants, usually from one part of their land to another, before then. Not a few of the landlords who evicted tenants to make way for sheep were of Jacobite families, such as Cameron of Lochiel and MacDonell of Glengarry.

            Before that, the picture is very mixed. As late as the beginning of the 19th century, the Passenger Vessels Act 1803 was largely promoted by Highland landlords, anxious to discourage emigration, an early example of “Health & Safety” being invoked for ulterior purposes.

            What is certainly true is that, after Culloden, the clan chieftains’ standing and security no longer depended on possessing large numbers of tenants, skilled and practiced in the use of arms.

            • slainte

              The target of the Proscription and Disarmament Acts was the suppression of the Catholic Gaelic Highlanders.

              The Protestant Germanic Lowlanders were largely unaffected by the Acts as this group was sympathetic to the German Hanoverian Protestant crown which replaced the ousted Stuarts in England. The German lowlanders also enjoyed the economic benefits of groups aligned with the English power structure; a benefit firmly and uniformly denied the Highlanders because of their race and Catholic faith.

              Thus the Acts you rely upon were not designed to reduce crime in the streets as much as they were designed to suppress a political movement to restore the Stuart monarchy and to marginalize, if not annihilate, the cultural identity of the Highlander opposition.

              When sheep occupy the lands formerly occupied by the troubling Highlanders, “crime” rates do recede.

    • slainte

      MPS, it could also be argued that more and better weapons in the hands of the Scottish Highlanders might have assured victory at the Battle of Culloden (1745), thus restoring the Crown to the Jacobite House of Stuart and a policy of tolerance for Catholic subjects.

      The Act of Proscription (1746) which affirmed the earlier Disarming Acts and the Dress Act (eff. 1747) were little more than vindictive counter-attacks by an English Parliament intent upon punishing and crushing targeted groups of British subjects (ie., Catholic Highlanders) by destroying their economic, cultural, and social identity. Under these Acts, Parliament stripped the Highlanders of title to their landed estates for the benefit of the protestant Hanoverian crown and then outlawed the wearing of the kilt and the clan tartans. These acts supplemented the ill effects of the Penal Laws.

      From long experience with a vindictive English monarchy and Parliament, the U.S Founders knew that a well armed citizenry in the United States was a necessity, not an option, to counter an unruly and over-reaching government.

      Power checks power.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        The first Disarming Act (An act for the more effectual securing the peace of the highlands in Scotland) was passed in 1716, in the aftermath of the ’15 (Lord Mar’s rebellion) and the second (An act for the more effectual disarming the highlands in that part of Great Britain called Scotland; and for the better securing the peace and quiet of that part of the kingdom) was passed in 1725 and was enforced by General Wade, who built a number of military roads and strengthened the fortifications of Fort William and Fort George.

        As for the ’45, the Prince brought large quantities of arms from France and the Jacobites went on to seize large quantities of English weapons, including cannon during their advance, notably after Prestonpans and the taking of Carlisle

    • RufusChoate

      Interesting observation that is the most positive proof of the necessity of being an armed.The Scots were a conquered people in 1746 and these act imposed by their conquerors the English to subdue them. When you speak of rebellion you are referring to the right of all men to self determination.

      If England didn’t suppress Scotland’s desire for self determination and self rule would Scotland have been better or worse. I don’t believe you can attribute the Scot Enlightenment to anyone but the French and the Jacobite romanticism for the Stuarts and their cultural alignment.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        RufusChoate

        The picture was much more mixed than you suggest.

        The old Covenanter heartland of Dumfries and Galloway in the South-West, with its memories of “Bloudie Clavers” (Bonnie Dundee to others) and the Wigtown martyrs was solidly Unionist. So was the Central Belt, from Glasgow to Edinburgh. So was the entire Fife coast, evangelised by John Knox and George Wishart. In the West, so were the Campbell counties of Argyllshire and Buteshire, where their chieftain, the Duke of Argyll – “MacCailein Mòr” [Big Colin’s son] raised a force of 10,000 men to support the government The North-West was mixed, but the cities, Inverness and Aberdeen were Unionist. In Ayrshire, only six out of the 44 landed families (my forebears amongst them) were “out” in the ’45.

        Less than a quarter of the nation was Jacobite in its sympathies, not least because of the mingled fear and contempt with which they viewed the Highlanders. The slogan, “No Pope and no Pretender, to bring us wooden shoes and brass money” caught the mood of many.

        The situation was much closer to Ulster today than is commonly imagined, but with a much larger Unionist majority.

  • Paul

    Guns are weapons, per se, but so are knives and just about anything one can lay one’s hands on. I have witnessed a stabbing in a school yard by a boy using a ballpoint pen ! Inmates in prisons regularly sharpen their toothbrush handles and use them as shanks for stabbing others.
    More to the point, the Swiss have the same number of guns per capita as in the US (possibly more due to their compulsory national service) yet they have the lowest gun crime rate in the whole of the Western world (i.e. Europe, North America, Australia & New Zealand). So what does this amount to ? It’s all a matter of culture and education – the Swiss are very civic minded and conservative.
    Sadly, we are witnessing present day mass-culture of North America, and most western European countries being driven by a liberal, godforsaken agenda which knows no bounds and is founded on tearing down hard-won traditional values (the permanence) and replacing them with material riches & the self-indulgent will of the individual (the impermanence) without any consideration given to the community/society with regards to the implications & consequences. Our educational system no longer honors conservative values such as God, the traditional family and the sanctity of life, so no wonder modern life has gone awry.

    • Aldo Elmnight

      If you take gun crimes commited by blacks and hispanics out, then the rate of gun crime in the US is lower than most countries. This higher crime is not due to race but to the progressive liberal culture that espoused pride as a virtue and has turned its back on God.

    • BobTrent

      It’s easy to make a stabbing knife out of gooey “wonder” white bread and toilet paper.

  • Don

    I grew up in a small farming town in Nebraska with a high school class of only 60 kids – 56 of whom where Catholic. When I was a freshman, I took a poll of my classmates regarding gun ownership (yes, I was a nerd). On average, there were 6 guns per home among my classmates. Every person in my class had fired at least one gun. In the history of the town, there was not one instance of anyone being shot – intentionally or by accident. Now I know my experience is different than those who may live in cities but my experience does show that firearm ownership is safe in a well-ordered, respectful community.

    And by the way, I wouldn’t want to be someone with ill-intent wandering into that town . . .

    • BobTrent

      I’d rather live where people shoot holes in highway signs rather than in one another.

  • Daniel McKenzie

    I agree completely. I’m a contemplative kind of guy and love to spend time in silence and spiritual reading. Yet, I’m also a gun owner and have a concealed carry permit. If only the world were as we wished. The philosophy of “be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you” doesn’t hold true 100% of the time. It’s for those rare instances that violence is forced upon us that I “carry”. I, like most concealed carry supporters, hope I live to be 100 and never have occasion to pull my gun. But, like having a spare tire in my trunk, I want the ability to protect myself and others if the unthinkable should happen. In the rare instance that I’m in a public place and a “crazy” comes in and starts shooting, I don’t want to the guy who can do nothing but sit there and watch him kill people.

    • MaryL

      I so agree with the author and with you, Daniel. We can be people of peace but still have a way to defend ourselves from those who could care less about our peace or well-being. Responsible gun ownership is a vital right and we need to support it against those who would disarm us and leave us prey to things too terrible to consider.

    • NB

      ‘The guy who can do nothing but sit there and watch him kill people’ exactly describes the population of much of Europe between 1939-1945. Since Americans have never had such a war on their own turf, and since they don’t know history, they don’t realize that it’s not just about ‘the crazy with a gun in the mall.’ The whole COUNTRY can be over-run by a ‘crazy’ with plenty of guns.

      In Poland from December 1981 to July 1983 the government declared the country in a state of martial law. There were soldiers patrolling the streets of every major city. The national borders were closed; airports were closed; you couldn’t travel from city to city without permission (I know of families cut off from their children who were visiting relatives in the countryside when martial law was declared). Though few people had private phones, lines were disconnected. People’s letters were opened and censored. Martial law had been planned for more than a year in advance and was very carefully orchestrated without the people having a clue.

      Could such a thing happen in the US? In any part of the US? NOT without factoring in an armed populace used to having the right to assemble and protest and bear arms. It could happen in Poland – could still happen anywhere in Europe – because the people HISTORICALLY have been defenseless against invaders and defenseless against tyrants.

      Forget about the idea of a foreign tyrant (Canada?) over-running the US. Let’s just look at what our own government has done when it had the weapons, and ‘the people’ did not.

      Our government rolled over the Native Americans easily until they were armed – and then it became a whole lot harder. It might have been a lot harder to round up and intern thousands of Japanese-American citizens during World War II if they hadn’t been trying so hard to prove they were law-abiding, unarmed citizens. It’s because the victim is powerless to fight back that a bully has his day.

      Imagine if slave-owners in the South had allowed their slaves arms to go hunting with! They would NEVER have put a gun in the hands of a slave, precisely because they knew what would happen if slaves ever got their hands on weapons. You can’t keep armed people enslaved for very long.

      Europeans have always been ‘the guy who can do nothing but sit there and watch’ the killing of family and neighbors. Americans have always had the ability to ‘do something.’ In the US, one of the most effective ‘checks’ on our government is the fact of an armed population. And I suspect this fact is not lost on those elements in our federal government who want to restrict the constitutional right to bear arms.

      • Carl

        The worst day to invade my home state of Pennsylvania would be the Monday after Thanksgiving. One million deer hunters with high powered rifles are roaming the state and roads. That would make PA one of the largest standing Armies in the world. Now imagine the whole nation of deer hunters! Invading in November would be a bad idea.

        • The Truth

          That’s why the pen is mightier than the sword. The socialist in the White House and his secular humanist followers pass laws to take away gun rights. They pass laws to weaken Christian principle’s.

      • BobTrent

        You err. Many slaveowners allowed some of their slaves to have hunting guns (muskets, “fowling pieces,” which we today call “shotguns”). Slaves had the use of many kinds of weapons. Cane knives, scythes, sickles, plus improvised weapons such as wood clubs, hammers, you name it. Farms are well equipped with tools that make good weapons. House slaves had ready access to butchering tools, kitchen knives, various beating implements.

  • Shaun G. Lynch

    This has to be the most infuriating opinion piece I’ve seen yet in Crisis! It’s one thing to be a slavishly rule-bound Catholic, frightened that any criticism of the hierarchy and the Magesterium will condemn you to an eternity in hell. But to suggest, as this author does, that Catholic doctrine is supportive of individual ownership of handguns for self-defense is both hypocritical and unconscionable.

    Don’t be swayed by the obedient acolytes of the gun lobby, who make solemn pronouncements about rights and freedoms, and who promote the fiction that handguns are an effective means of self-defense.

    Look to reliable evidence, not hyperbole-riddled sermons from the gun-obsessed. For instance, the Harvard Injury Control Center is an excellent source of objective, reliable information. Click the following link to read a page that summarizes research findings on gun threats and self-defense gun use.

    The bottom line? Guns are not particularly effective as a means of self-defense, and guns in the home are far more likely to be used to threaten and harm intimates than invading strangers.

    The Bible has nothing to say about gun ownership per se, but Jesus’s attitude about violence in general is undeniably clear, in particular his admonition to “turn the other cheek” (Matt 5:39, Luke 6:29). Not only is that good theology, it’s good practice too. If someone threatens you with a gun, you are far more likely to survive unscathed through submission than through any attempt to defend yourself.

    If you want sport guns for hunting, that’s one thing. But don’t delude yourself into believing that a gun will be an effective means for protecting yourself.

    • NH-Conservative

      Balderdash! Guns in private hands have saved the lives of thousands. Even a minimal level search can turn up stories of lives saved, mayhem stopped or prevented due to the presence and actions of an armed citizen. Hysterical anti-gun rants backed by dubious statistics from progressive propagandists do not a rational argument make.

      • Shaun G. Lynch
        • brians

          First, we can hardly expect objectivity from Harvard University, or like minded institutions.

          Second, is use of a tool to incapacitate an attacker morally legitimate, or not? The Catechism says so, so it’s so.

          There’s an ever increasing number of bad guys in our society, and I’m not sending my daughters, or sons for that matter, out into this world under-prepared. Would a truly Just and Catholic society require such measures? Of course not. But it ain’t 13th century western Europe. It’s a Dark Age, and I want my family name to survive.

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            If you think Mr. Lynch’s arguments about gun ownership are nutty, just read what he has to say about sodomy: “[L]ove the person who may (or may not be) engaging in behaviours that
            make you feel uncomfortable, and get over the notion that such behaviours are sinful.” His many other comments in favor of the “normalcy” of gay sex are no less bizarre. He has complete confidence in whatever “research” is produced in defense of perversions.

            • Sign

              Inverted thinking is a sign of the times. They see a morally neutral object like a gun as fantastically evil, yet they view intrinsically evil acts as “love”.

            • Shaun G. Lynch

              Have you run out of rational arguments on the subject of this discussion, thus necessitating a resort to ad hominem attack through reference to discussions in completely different contexts?

              First, I stand by statements I make here and elsewhere, but would prefer that they be read in their original context. Although it couldn’t be less relevant to the subject matter of the current discussion, my point with regard to gay rights is that the Catechism specifically calls upon us to… well, here’s what it says, specifically:

              2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

              You know, I don’t think I’ve written anything here specifically intended to insult anyone or to impugn their credibility or reputation. Why do you think that such personal attacks are in any way appropriate in the context of what should ideally be a civilized, rational debate?

              • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                Please don’t string up your violin here, Mr. Lynch. You are a defender of vile immorality. That is not a personal attack. It is a factual statement. You mascarade as a respecter of Catholic thought, Catholic practice, and Catholic charity, and you understand none of the three. You are contemptuous of the Church and her teaching, and you know it and lie about it. Anyone with an internet connection can uncover your real contributions to “civilized, rational debate.”

              • Aldo Elmnight

                The individual should be respected not their disordered acts or lifestlye choice.
                http://www.tanbooks.com/doct/church_sodomy.htm

          • Shaun G. Lynch

            If you don’t trust a world-renowned academy of knowledge like Harvard University to be unbiased, I’m afraid there’s no possibility of our engaging in a rational discussion.

            “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

            • Sign

              If you think they are unbiased, our most of science is unbiased, you have never been involved in science.

            • brians

              If you take Harvard’s say-so over the Magisterium, don’t be surprised that you’re swimming upstream on Crisis Magazine’s comment threads.

              You should take another look at the teachings of the Church. Perhaps you, like Chesterton, will find yourself in error, and the Church to have been right all along,

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              Here’s a fact for you: Moynihan was a pro-abortion “catholic.” But hey, you’re entitled to your own opinion!

              • Shaun G. Lynch

                Moynihan was a Catholic. Period. No quotation marks required or appropriate. Deciding who does or doesn’t qualify to called Catholic is not your call to make.

            • Aldo Elmnight

              Correct. It is irrational to believe Harvard is unbiased.

            • DE-173

              A world renowned academy that just had to be badgered out of having a black mass.

    • Sign

      Anti gun propaganda.

      • Shaun G. Lynch

        …and the article itself is pro-gun propaganda. What’s your point?

        • Sign

          The piece seems a response to the usual anti gun propaganda. It is balanced unlike your comment which is total propaganda.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Did you read the article? It does not even advocate gun ownership. It merely states that the Church has no anti-gun position, and that Catholics are therefore free to consider the pros and cons of such ownership.

          • Shaun G. Lynch

            Dr. Timothy J. Williams: did you read the article? It does not even advocate gun ownership.

            Insofar as gun control initiatives seem insufficiently respectful of the Constitution, that is reason to be wary of them. Gun ownership may not be a natural right, but in this country it is among our positive rights, and that is not a small thing. As respecters of well-constituted positive law, we should respect that both we and our fellow citizens retain our traditional right to bear arms.

            Please! The entire article clearly advocates for the Second Amendment and for gun ownership. To claim otherwise is specious.

            In any event, what’s at issue here is not whether or not the article or my response constitute “propaganda,” but the extent to which either is accurate. I’m standing by my confidence in the research results published by Harvard University, which I consider unbiased, valid and reliable (i.e. the opposite of propagandistic.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              The article simply mentions the fact (well-established, by no less authority than the Supreme Court) that Americans have the right to gun ownership. It does not “advocate” that anyone run right out and buy a gun. You apparently cannot even read about rights you wish to deny others without having a fit of apoplexy. And if a Harvard study is your idea of “unbiased, valid and reliable,” you are either extremely naive, or merely a left-wing propagandist yourself. Reading your many other bizarre comments on other sites (such as your stirring defense of sodomy) I suspect it is the latter.

              • Guest

                Apparently we have a Bloomberg paid…

            • Sign

              How is that advocating buying a gun?

    • Carl

      “you are far more likely to survive unscathed through submission than through any attempt to defend yourself”

      The last thing I would tell my wife or daughter is to be submissive to a rapist. Really, they should say, OK as long as you are clean and safe I’ll permit it?
      Should Israel be submissive to Radical Islam?
      Joel 4:10 Hammer your plowshares into swords your sickles into spears, let the weakling say, “I am a fighting man”
      Joel chapter 3 describes the treachery and debauchery of Phoenicians and Philistines, chapter 4 is about ending it.
      Only the perpetrator should be submissive!

      • Carl

        Luke 22:36 “Jesus said, if you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one” Jesus didn’t deny all use of weapons in the next verses, he said scripture is being fulfilled in his being arrested and not to stop it. (Arrest at the Mount of Olives) He let himself be taken for a criminal.

      • Shaun G. Lynch

        I knew someone would respond to my post with an appeal to the catastrophic, so please allow me to encourage you and your family to go to a site that discusses, in detail, how to avoid rape and how to react if rape is attempted. The wikihow.com page How to Prevent a Potential Rape provides an excellent set of instructions with which every woman should familiarize herself. Please don’t ignore this advice just because I’m one of those evil left-wing “cafeteria Catholics.” Even if you disagree with everything else I have to say, if you are concerned about protecting your loved ones do follow up on this. (By the way, these instructions do not say not to carry a weapon, but do specify that if one chooses to a carry a weapon she should be well trained in its use, and should regularly practice with it.)

        On the other hand, evidence shows that at least two-thirds of rapes are perpetrated by acquaintances of the victims, not by strangers. Ability and willingness to use a gun in self-defense in that situation would likely be severely compromised.

        • Fred

          Shaun, no doubt differences are brought about by experiences, upbringing and world views. I don’t see where citing 2/3’s makes a difference in the argument, are the other 1/3 supposed to acquiesce because they are in the minority. A gun is not for everyone, and certainly not every situation, and if you aren’t sure of your capability or confident in your ability to use it you shouldn’t own one. Personally, I’d rather die trying to defend myself or loved one even if it got turned on me rather than be slaughtered defenselessly. I know it had to do with the death penalty, but I still want to vomit when I replay Michael Dukakis’s inability to articulate defending his wife from a rapist or murder. That’s how most of who cherish the 2nd amendment on the point of self-defense view most liberals as bed wetter’s. I pray for both of us that we never have to face that, and I mean that with all my heart. If I did though, I’d rather face the judgment of the Lord knowing I tried to defend the innocent rather than live a lifetime with the guilt knowing I did nothing but sit helpless. None of the knee jerk gun control measures proposed would have had any impact on the crimes committed, and in fact make things worse in creating gun free zones. The mind of a criminal does not respect the law, and is happy to take advantage of hapless victims.

        • Carl

          “Ability and willingness to use a gun in self-defense in that situation would likely be severely compromised.”

          So….submit to a relative violently raping you?! How about shot to disable?
          “appeal to the catastrophic” is very common in today’s society and replete in history. Even Jesus said to arm yourself. Luke 22:36

        • Aldo Elmnight

          If you are a “cafeteria catholic” then you are not a catholic. Go to confession and come back to the Church.

    • Fred

      Well Shaun, you’ve repeated the talking points flawlessly – did you have to look them up first or have them memorized. I pray for you that you never have a Michael Dukakis moment and are confused or feel impotent in your ability to defend yourself, a loved one, or even an innocent stranger against evil, because there is plenty of evil in this world despite wishful thinking about living in a bubble. I pray that I never have to be in that situation either, but I know that it is possible and I don’t wish to feel helpless if it does – even if the situation turns out contrarian or against me. Guns aren’t the problem Shaun, they are tools. The people on the other end of them who wish to do you harm are the problem. I don’t where you are from, but I can guess that your experience is much different that Don’s from Nebraska above. You might want to also educate yourself about the number of tyrannical regimes who disarmed their citizenry before signing the orders for the mass execution of people who had contrarian views to them.

    • Carl

      Let’s reflect upon Saint Maria Goretti, should she have submitted to Alessandro’s sexual advances? Should there have been a cry for knife control? Should the poor receive Gun Welfare? Should unwanted sexual advances be made legal, safe, and rare like abortion?

    • Sign

      “This has to be the most infuriating opinion piece I’ve seen yet in
      Crisis! It’s one thing to be a slavishly rule-bound Catholic, frightened
      that any criticism of the hierarchy and the Magesterium will condemn
      you to an eternity in hell. But to suggest, as this author does, that
      Catholic doctrine is supportive of individual ownership of handguns for
      self-defense is both hypocritical and unconscionable”

      What silliness you spew here. Where do you get this idea the Church has some doctrine proscribing gun ownership?

      You do know there are priests who carry guns?

      • Shaun G. Lynch

        It’s one thing to permit something. It’s another to encourage it. The Church may not have any specific objection to Catholics arming themselves and acting in self-defence, but I hardly think a valid case can be made to the effect that the Church encourages us to do so.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Nor does the article. Remove your pink glasses for a more accurate reading.

          • Shaun G. Lynch

            The title of the article is “Consider Gun Ownership for Family Protection!” How is that not advocacy of gun ownership?!

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              “Consider…” I see you were unable to understand even the first word of the title. Not a promising beginning, Mr. Lynch.

    • Rachel Lu

      Christ told us to “turn the other cheek” when we have been struck. Does it follow that we should humbly submit ourselves and our families to people who want to rape and torture and kill them? I’m not being glib here; I think there are times when submitting to evildoers, even to the point of death, actually is the right course of action. Great prudence and prayer are needed to discern when that is God’s will. But the Church has never preached out-and-out pacifism, to all believers and under all circumstances.

      Meanwhile, I never claimed that support for personal gun ownership is the one, clear, obviously correct Catholic position. I suggested that support for the Second Amendment is harmonious with the relevant Catholic teachings that we have, and I offered an argument for personal gun ownership that draws on Catholic principles.

      • Shaun G. Lynch

        Thank you for the measured response (unlike some others here).

        I’m not disputing your interpretation of Catholic doctrine vis-à-vis the Second Amendment. You are, in fact, absolutely correct.

        I’m questioning the responsibility of suggesting gun ownership as a viable option for self-defense at all. The weight of evidence strongly indicates that the widespread ownership of firearms in America is a significant source do increased personal danger, rather than a protection from it.

        • Holy Cannoli

          “The weight of evidence strongly indicates that the widespread ownership of firearms in America is a significant source do increased personal danger, rather than a protection from it.”

          Only to a libtard who relies on “research” from that bastion of liberal dogma, Harvard U.

          Put down the beer and take off the pink glasses Shawn. Get a clue regarding gun ownership. http://www.amazon.com/More-Guns-Less-Crime-Understanding/dp/0226493644

          Laws
          that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are
          neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. ~Thomas Jefferson~

        • Fred

          In my opinion America has a much bigger challenge to it in the form of growing secularism and loss of spirituality which does have a connection to the subject of this article. Maybe one thing we can all agree on is that we as Christians need to awake from the slumber and our timidity to recognize that we have work to do beyond our comfort zones in spreading the good news of the gospel. I believe if more people had a connection to Jesus Christ the need for self defense will diminish, but it will never be zero.
          I agree with Mr. Canoli (ha), your citing of a article from Harvard I could have scripted in advance – thanks for confirming. People are naturally inclined to liberal and conservative views, I get it. Don’t print it and use the report as a shield if you are unfortunate to experience an attack.
          If you can, are willing and are able then carry, and if not then don’t – it’s about that simple, and don’t infringe the rights of others to. It might be you someday they help.
          Finally, you should read Mr. NB’s personal experiences in this chain of responses, he made my other point perfectly.

        • Aldo Elmnight

          “widespread ownership of firearms in America is a significant source do increased personal danger”
          See the cities of Chicago, Detroit and Washington DC…
          as well as the bible:
          http://www.barnhardt.biz/the-one-about-jesus-and-guns/

    • DE-173

      “hyperbole-riddled sermons from the gun-obsessed”

      Such as those from Reverend Lynch.

    • Guest

      Zimmerman is alive and Trayvon is dead.
      Handguns seem like a pretty effective means for protecting oneself after all.

  • Since the insipid and vapid desire an end to any right … life, liberty, etc the conversations seldom ever include the responsibilities that are part and parcel of every right. Lose one you lose the other. The need for government, police and even the church is dependent upon sheep. Teaching people how to be sheep and requiring it is the path to perdition.

  • Arizona Mike

    Saint Gabriel Possenti used his skill with a handgun to stop the gang-rape of a woman by a mob. He pointed the weapon at them, and when that did not dissuade them, he shot a lizard off a wall and his obvious proficiency with the weapon caused them to release the woman and flee. He is, infallibly, in Heaven and as a canonized Saint, is regarded as having lived a life of exceptional holiness. If we say Saint Gabriel Possenti was morally correct in his ownership and use of his weapon to save an innocent life, who is any Catholic to say such ownership is morally wrong?

    • MaryL

      Great point, Mike! St. Gabriel Possenti pray for us and protect our country from those who would disarm us.

    • BobTrent

      Ohhh! Eeeekkk! He murdered a poor liddle lizard? To stop human males (ooh! icky!) from raping a human (ughh! gackk!) female? What a waste of a poor innocent liddle aminul doing nothing but sunning itself.

  • Fred

    · Thanks Rachel for another wonderful article. One of the things that I really enjoy about Crises is that it addresses some of the tough and complicated issues of the day in a thoughtful way that often aren’t elsewhere, including in our homilies. There are many insightful comments that have gathered already that I can’t add to. Don’s experience which he shared below speaks volumes about the utility of guns and responsible ownership. It’s a tough issue for me because I have self-doubts about my ability to fire and kill another in self-defense, though I don’t think I’d have any problems if my family or even a stranger were in mortal jeopardy. Then there is what is at the heart of the 2nd amendment which is rarely mentioned about how the most tyrannical political regimes in history dis-armed it’s citizenry before the mass execution of classes of people. I don’t want to believe that America could get to that point but I have to admit that I have come to wonder recently, and I never before in my life thought that it’d be possible of me to wonder that. It really makes my skin crawl when liberal politicians especially offer knee jerk solutions on gun control to appease knowing that they do nothing to solve the core problem of moral decay which leads one to kill another. It is hard in light of yesterday’s gospel and Jesus instruction to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. The Catechism I know affirms the right to defend and incapacitating is noble though not realistic. As Daniel said well, I don’t want to be the person who when forced to be in an unfortunate situation can do nothing but sit there and watch another kill innocent people.

  • LarryCicero

    Our Declaration says we have an inalienable right to life and a gun would be a means to protect life. But Luke 22:36 would indicate a right to protect possessions: “He said to them, “But now one who has a money bag should take it, and likewise a sack, and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.”” Our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness includes our right to protect our property.

  • Doug Moore

    I was raised by a responsible gun owner parent who used what used to be understood as common sense.

    Guns are special tools, useful for recreation and self defense in very serious circumstances.

    Every gun was & is loaded until proven to not to be. They are not to be played with or pointed at anything you don’t intend to shoot at. By making my sisters and I familiar with responsible use of firearms, the fascination that seems to develop in some was avoided.

    All this alone won’t do any good without a formation of right and wrong.

    • Guest

      Common sense. The problem is relativists have decided guns are a special form of evil. Abortion is good to them. Sodomy is a “right”. But, guns are evil.

      • Carl

        Gun’s are a reverse evil because the day will come when the State will force abortions and sodomy upon defenseless people. Oh wait, countries like China already force abortions upon defenseless citizens. And I’m sure we can find instances of human sexual trafficking of defenseless people—it’s just not a the State level yet. Or is it?

        • hombre111

          Can’t argue with paranoia.

          • DE-173

            Which is why the only response to you is to treat you as “Pinata111”.

    • hombre111

      Excellent.

  • Dick Prudlo

    The people with the loudest voices on this subject are those who have personal bodyguards. I am old enough to remember Carl Rowan, one of the loudest voices of gun control. He shot his pool guy for just being where he belonged, cleaning his pool. These creeps are all about themselves and care not a wit about the other guy. Love they neighbor simply does not occur to them.

    • pja

      I remember this incident very well. It took place in Washington DC, a jurisdiction with some of the strongest gun control laws in the country. Mr. Rowan actually shot an unarmed teenager who was “pool hopping” one hot summer night. The gun used was unlicensed. In an ironic twist, Mr. Rowan’s son is a former police officer and now on the Board of Directors of the NRA.

      • Dick Prudlo

        Thank you for correcting my mistake on the pool guy.

        • BobTrent

          Rowan shot an unarmed teenage trespasser, Neil Smith, who was on his property illegally. “The interloper was a near-naked [in undershorts] teenager who had been skinny-dipping with friends in Rowan’s pool, and the columnist’s weapon was an unregistered, and thus illegal, .22 caliber pistol.”

          Rowan said he “had the right to use whatever means necessary to protect himself and his family. He also said the pistol he used was exempt from the District’s handgun prohibition law because it belonged to his older son, a former FBI agent.”

  • NB

    I’m an American who has lived in Poland for the past 22 years. I’ve read a lot of Polish history and especially a lot of 20th-century European history. It has opened my eyes to something that Americans chronically miss when discussing gun control. Americans react to the latest headlines – Sandy Hook, for example – and do not or cannot take the long view of things, put things in a broader historical perspective, especially if it takes into account the experiences of people in other countries.

    To be brief, one could re-write 20th-century European history and come up with a dramatically less bloody account if say 1/3 of Europeans had a privately owned weapon in their possession even before 1939. If the Nazis who perpetrated Kristallnacht had tried the same thing against, for example, Hispanic store-owners in Los Angeles, would they have been so sure of helpless, terrified victims? Or would they have to have factored in the possibility that the person they were attacking might be armed?

    Could Hitler and Stalin have been so sure of rolling across Europe and making Poland a bloody battlefield (and concentration camp) if as many Europeans had a personal firearm as Americans do? Or would they have had to factor in an armed population in each country?

    A few years ago a Polish student (college) told me, ‘Americans have too many guns and it’s too easy to get one.’ After asking him if he’d ever been to America (no), if he knew any regulations in any city or state for acquiring a gun legally (no), if he knew any Americans (me) and if those Americans were personally armed (no), I asked him another question. I told him, ‘Think about your own family’s experience in Poland in 1939-1940 (when Germany invaded Poland from the west followed shortly by Russia invading in the East). Think about what happened to the people in your family, to their neighbors, to the towns and villages.

    For those of you who don’t know what happened, here’s an example that was repeated across the country in one rural village and town after another: Troops enter the village/town in the middle of the night. If it’s the Germans, expect knocks on the door, house to house, soldiers bursting in, and you have 15 minutes to gather your family members and ‘pack’ and get out of your house. Within 1/2 hour the people are in trucks or marching at gunpoint ‘in an unknown direction to an unknown destination’ – generally a prison camp or concentration camp. Any Jews have either been shot or rounded up for ‘special treatment.’ Any resistors or hysterical people or people who refuse to leave or demand their rights have been shot. If it’s the Russians who come bursting in, expect the ‘intelligentsia’ – the priest, the post-master, the school-teacher and anyone who looks rich to be rounded up and shot immediately. The rest are ordered at gunpoint to transports and sent to Siberia (I know survivors; this is a composite story). The village is set ablaze (Germans) looted to the last doorknob and set ablaze (Russians). (Some villages were so effectively wiped off the map that people who survived and returned to the region couldn’t find a single landmark to locate the village). By the way, if it’s the Russians, the women will be systematically and repeatedly raped, from the elderly down to the youngest girls.

    Now go back over that situation and imagine any small town in the USA. The invaders have no idea how many residents might be armed before they hammer on the door and burst in demanding that people pack up in 15 minutes, or march for days to a transport ‘to the east’ or rape every female in sight. They have no idea the kind of resistance they will meet with from the population. Their strategy is going to have to be quite different.

    I asked my student – and the rest of the class who were listening, ‘In 1939, if 1/4 of Polish citizens had a privately-owned firearm, how would your family’s personal fortunes have been different between 1939-1945? What would Polish history look like if every farmer had had a rifle?

    There’s always silence in the room when I ask that question. These people are too ‘heavy’ with history not to see the point. Walk down the streets of Paris and look for the plaques commemorating the painfully young people who died trying to defend Paris – a hopeless cause because they had too few arms to have a reasonable chance.

    Look back over the history of our cousins in Europe, and you can see that while it may look like history is divided between ‘kings and queens’ and a lot of ordinary slobs, history is also divided between ‘those who had weapons and the money to buy them’ and ‘those who had no weapons and no money or right to buy them.’ The people with the arms are the ones who decide the fate of EVERYBODY.

    A glorious – and terrifying – thing about the United States is that it seems to be the first society in history idealistic enough to decide that the people were virtuous enough to be trusted with arms. Then men who organized this country had tremendous faith in the ability of the common man to regulate his own life and to contribute to the regulation of the life of the country – for example, by voting. They could have seized power for themselves and said, ‘Only the elite know best; the rest will be ruled by us.’ Instead, they decided that the common man not only could vote, but he could also freely raise his voice in protest and gather with other men to discuss and protest against the government. The right to bear arms is an act of faith in the common man: that he is virtuous enough to use a weapon wisely and prudently. It was also confidence that the common man could know a good government from a bad government, and that if necessary, the common man could – once again – rise up and throw off a tyrant by an act of war.

    It frustrates me enormously that in the gun-control debate people allow themselves to be distracted by ‘what if your daughter was being raped’ scenarios or ‘such-and-such a country has less violent crime and also has no guns.’

    The WHOLE POINT of allowing citizens the right to bear arms – as well as to vote, to speak freely, and to assemble freely – was to act as a check on the government! NONE of those rights existed in England. When the signers of the Declaration of Independence gathered together, they risked execution for treason; when they spoke of breaking with England, they risked execution for treason. Printing and distributing the Declaration would have been a treasonous act, punishable by death. They were NOT going to hamstring their own descendents in the same way, should their descendents find their OWN government corrupt and tyrannous and need to take up arms in order to throw it off.

    The right to assemble, to speak freely, to vote AND the right to bear arms are all guarantees of the same freedom: the freedom to break free from a tyrannous government, either by banding together (for example, in passive resistance) or by protesting, or by voting bad governors out of office, OR, if all else fails, by taking up arms, and by opposing, ending a bad government.

    Gun control cannot be taken out of context or the other three freedoms lose their teeth.

    • Carl

      Amen

    • hombre111

      Whew. A lot of words to make an argument makes me suggest the strength of the argument. Will a gun protect me if my government decides to turn on me, as the Nazis did? We are living in today, not 1938. I can barricade my house or join my fellow patriots in a better house protected by sandbags and mattresses, and prepare to do battle with whatever armored car, tank, cannon, or missile the government sends against me. Good luck.

      • Aldo Elmnight

        “Wish me luck.”
        See US Revolution, Afghanistan, Iraq and every other asymetric war ever fought.

        • hombre111

          You forgot to mention War of the Worlds, Red Dawn, and Independence Day.

          • JP

            And Waco as well as Ruby Ridge

            • hombre111

              Drove past Ruby Ridge on my way to vacation in Canada. Stopped at a little restaurant by the highway. The lady there said the hero of this story was crazy, but his wife was the crazier of the two. They were glad to see the family gone. Still, the Feds made a huge mistake in the middle of a lose/lose proposition.

              • RufusChoate

                It is interesting that you find the murder of an innocent Woman and her Son by the State without due process on a fabricated crime. Sorry but you are a truly odious moral cretin.

                • DE-173

                  “Sorry but you are a truly odious moral cretin.”

                  That’s an insult to truly odious moral cretins.

                • hombre111

                  I didn’t know the innocent woman and her son, but the neighbors did. Just relaying their heartfelt opinion. Still, the confrontation never should have happened.

                  • The Truth

                    Opinions are like…

              • DE-173

                “The lady there said the hero of this story was crazy”

                I’m sure people say the same of you.

                • BobTrent

                  Yeah, people who don’t behave the way I would prefer them to behave should be shot. Women, children, babies, all of ’em. Teach him not to become an informant when he is so commanded.

                  After a U.S. marshal was killed in a shoot-out (a marshal shot the family dog and then the boy) at the Weaver home, the FBI put out the following order: Do not demand a surrender; do not try to arrest; we do not want a jury trial here; instead, take them out; kill them all; shoot them until they are dead; teach them that no one kills a federal official, not even in self-defense; but make it look good by ensuring that the victims were armed. So, after having shot Weaver’s 14-year-old son in the back, the feds shot Weaver’s wife Vicki in the head as she held their baby at the door to the Weaver shack. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful in killing Weaver and were humiliated by the jury at Weaver’s trial.

                  To be fair, most of the Marshals and FBI refused to follow the revised rules of engagement. One, however, was willing and ready to do the job. — Adapted from Jacob G. Hornberger

                  Weaver was no hero. He was a foolish man. With his background in Special Forces, he ought to have known what likely would happen.

                  By the way, it’s not against federal law (ignoring that federal infringement of the right to keep and bear arms is illegal) to have or to make a “sawed-off” shotgun.” You can saw the barrel(s) off to just over 18″ and it’s quite legal (untaxed). You can saw the stock off to an overall just over 26″ over the barrel(s) and it’s legal as well. If you really want a shorter barrel or overall length, the Gun Control Act of 1968 requires the purchase of a tax “stamp” for $200 and to pass a background check before cutting the gun down shorter.

                  Apparently there are Congressmen, Senators and officers of the federal government that believe a man’s life is not worth $200 (or $400 in the case of 2 guns). Or his 14 year old son and his wife. What kind of people think that spending millions to murder someone, and his wife and child, for not paying $200 or $400 tax is the right thing to do? We suffer from seriously warped, perverted, degenerate rulers.

                  Other unpaid taxes, penalties and interest can be collected by snatching it from a bank account or seizing property and auctioning it to obtain the taxes. Why does the NFA/GCA excise tax have to be collected by slaughtering otherwise innocuous, if odd, citizens?

      • michael susce

        lol, I suppose the strength of all encyclicals should be doubted because of the use of so many words to make an argument. lol, lol……

        • hombre111

          Encyclicals are written by the pope. You are not the pope.

      • RufusChoate

        The Left are always comic and smugly dismissive when they discount the only sane response of any responsible and aware adult to their long history of mass murdering unarmed innocents.
        200 Million dead at your political philosophy impetus and you still think you and your ilk can be trusted with anything more dangerous than a clod of mud?

      • C

        It’s a history lesson, not an argument. Well presented, imho. I agree with the author’s intent.

      • DE-173

        Hombre to the drug instrustry: Exciting new business opportunity as government lovers take the next logical step For the truly committed statist a nice euphoric that allows is to accept the servility the true believers have planned.

        Of course they could just find something with psychotropic effects to relieve suffers of the delusion of the onmiscient, omni-benevolent state.

      • Personally I don’t hate local government at all. It’s the federal government that more often than not seeks to strip us of our constitutional rights.

        • hombre111

          Before I agree with you, I need to get a list of those endangered rights.

          • The Truth

            Using taxes to support immoral acts.

      • BobTrent

        The idea is that the guys in the armored cars and tanks have to come out sometime.

        Materials found in millions of homes wreak havoc on military vehicles: gasoline, oil, “Styrofoam®,” glass bottles, cloth.

        It’s the possession of hundreds of millions of deadly weapons that is such a restraint on mass oppression. Maturing tyrannies don’t just suddenly attack an armed populace. Little by little they more and more strongly discourage the possession of weapons by registration and licensing (permits) so that only those strongly motivated to obtain and keep their weapons will hang on to them.

        • hombre111

          The usual paranoia. And your example of this maturing tyranny is?

      • Quiet_Professional

        You’re right. Resistance is futile. So we might as well surrender all of our liberties now. Why hold out?

      • Thomas Joseph

        “We are living in today, not 1938.”

        No, YOU are living in 1938, because you have not learned its lessons. The ignorant always mock, and so you define yourself.

    • BobTrent

      “A glorious – and terrifying – thing about the United States is that it seems to be the first society in history idealistic enough to decide that the people were virtuous enough to be trusted with arms.”

      Naahh. The thing about the United States is that it seems to be the first society in history realistic enough to decide that the people were wicked and corrupt enough to be trusted with arms. It is because people are inherently wicked that we all need to be able to make it so dangerous for the less-restrained among us to prey on others that most will refrain out of their self-preservation instinct. And the ones who are not sufficiently self-restrained can be shot down, solving that problem.

      Or they can go to a nearby roadhouse (tavern) to beat and to be beaten, to cut and to be cut, to stab and to be stabbed, and to shoot and to be shot, if that’s their choice.

    • Quiet_Professional

      Outstanding post!

  • la catholic state

    With the growing threat of Jihadism…..I believe it is the right of everyone to bear arms. I hope the Pope will support this. Think how many Nigerian and Kenyan Jihadi attacks could have been foiled had members of the public been armed. In the UK, the terrorist threats grow due to British Jihadis returning from the Middle East and threatening carnage. It is a great evil not to allow citizens the means to defend themselves and their families.
    I feel the Church has been negligent on this, especially in Africa where many Christians are at the mercy of Islamists from Nigeria to CAR to Kenya. How long can the carnage go on before the Church recommends that people arm themselves?!

  • Bill Russell

    I am all for the Constitutional right to bear arms, but prudence is required. Recently, that fine young priest in Phoenix, Arizona had a hand gun which he grabbed to thwart a burglar. and the burglar grabbed it and killed the priest.

    • Carl

      Hence, the true meaning of Gun Control. Know how to operate, and shot actuarately

    • Aldo Elmnight

      The burglar had already beaten the priest over the head with a metal bar. If the priest was not injured it would have turned out for the better. So would you deny the right of everyone own the means to protect themselves because some criminal gets the drop on a victim? By that logic police should not carry guns becasue a couple of officers in Las Vegas were murdered and had their weapons taken.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        In Britain, police on patrol or called to an incident do not carry guns, not least for this reason.

        • Aldo Elmnight

          So you disarm your police and take away the means to protect themselves because they might be attacked?

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            No, but because carrying a firearm would make police officers a target for those who wanted to rob them of it. The same would be true of arsenals of weapons in police stations.

            There are three specialised firearms units, who can be deployed by the Chief Constable with the approval of the Minister of Justice, who is responsible to Parliament for his decisions.

            In the case of serious violence, such as occurred in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, the military would be called out to aid the civil power.

          • DE-173

            And our police are armed to the teeth. The line is blurring between military and constabulary. Perhaps MPS has it wrong. Maybe if the police would disarm, we would disarm as well.

  • texasknight

    Gun control is not a challenging issue; stopping the advance of socialism in our country is. The liberal cry for gun control is simply a tool of the socialists. It has nothing to do with His Church. One cannot be liberal (as the word is used today, i.e., socialist) and Catholic.

  • hombre111

    I am glad Dr. Lu asks us to follow our prudential judgment on this issue, instead of being compelled by the paranoia foisted on us by the NRA in its bid to help the gun industry sell yet another Glock to husband, mother, teenage daughter, and baby in the crib.

    The Harvard Injury Control Research Center might have some advice for anyone who really wants to make a choice based on prudence. The research shows that having a gun in the house raises the risk. Unlike the non-gun-owning family next door, your family will up the chance that somebody in your home is likely to die by gun-related accident, suicide, or homicide. Doesn’t matter how the gun(s) is stored, or its type.

    The study tells us that children 5-14 are ELEVEN times more likely to die from an accidental gunshot wound than children in other developed countries. Nonfatal accidental shootings were usually self-inflicted, most involved handguns, and 1/3 required hospitalization.

    An average of 46 Americans suicide each day with guns. (In my state, suicides outnumber fatal car deaths). Gun owners are not more suicidal than others, but guns do a great job.
    2/3 of all murders in the U.S. are by the gun. THIRTEEN times higher than other developed nations. For ages 15-24, FORTY-THREE times higher. The presence of a gun makes quarrels, disputes, assaults, and robberies more deadly. (The priest in Arizona who went for a gun in the face of the robber, who took the gun and used it to kill the other priest in the house). Most of the homicides in the home occur during arguments with family, lovers, friends, or acquaintances over love, money, and domestic problems. Alcohol is often involved. The presence of a gun raised the thing to a new level.

    Do guns save the homeowner and his family from crime? The Harvard study could find no credible evidence. Only 5% of violence perpetrated by strangers occur at home. In the 7% of burglaries where violence occurs, the burglar is more likely to be an intimate or known acquaintance than a stranger. The study cites 2 national surveys that most use of a firearm in “self-defense” is illegal. “Stand your ground” guys better be prepared to spend a whole lot of money on lawyer fees, to defend themselves during the criminal and then during the civil trial.

    To read the study in full, check the “American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine,” online.

    • Aldo Elmnight

      “the paranoia foisted on us by the NRA in its bid to help the gun industry sell yet ”
      You should do some research on where the NRA gets most of its money. It is not from the gun industry.
      Some other references:
      http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/armed-citizen.aspx
      http://www.thewellarmedwoman.com/women-and-guns/survival-stories
      http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp
      http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cdc-study-use-firearms-self-defense-important-crime-deterrent

      • hombre111

        Heh. I got a warning from Foxfire that your message might be a scam! According to Business Insider, less than half the NRA’s revenue comes from program fees and membership dues. Since 2005, the gun industry has given from 20-52 milion to the NRA through its Ring of Freedom program. According to the IRS Form 990, in 1210, the NRA earned 20.9 million by selling advertising to the gun industry in its publications. Ruger gives the NRA $1 for every gun sold. The NRA and the gun industry are twined together in bed, making new guns by the minute.

        • JP

          And where pray tell do you get your information from?

          And what on earth does your comments have to do with the gist of the essay? It has nothing to do with the NRA, which is, by the way, a legally established 501c4 PAC.

          • hombre111

            From the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Google it. I mentioned NRA because most of the gun-nuts in my state believe the NRA like it was the voice of the Holy Spirit, and the NRA is, be very afraid and buy another gun. I suggest an alternate voice to anybody trying to decide whether or not to bring a gun into the house.

            • DE-173

              Note to the unacquainted:
              Hombre the hypocrite once bragged about going through a couple hundred rounds at a shooting range in a single afternoon.

              • hombre111

                I love to shoot in competition with my brother-in-law and his son. Excellent sport.

                • DE-173

                  You are a gun nut extraordinaire.

                  • hombre111

                    Not really. I don’t care about my guns, one way or another.

                    • DE-173

                      And you can stop drinking anytime you want…

                • The Truth

                  Are you a parish priest?

                  • hombre111

                    An old retired guy. But I help out when called upon, and I have a ministry in the state penitentiary.

              • hombre111

                Note to the unacquainted, DE-173 used to be TheAbaum, used to be Abaum, and whoever he was before I noticed this third name change. I remain, forever your faithful servant, Hombre111.

                • DE-173

                  And I’ve disclosed that several times. It went from “Adam Baum” to the “The Abaum” because too many brain-dead leftists couldn’t figure out that it was meant to be an obvious pseudonym.

                  On the other hand nobody believes you are a Priest, why is that?

        • Aldo Elmnight

          In 2010 the annual revenue of the NRA was $227.8
          $115M from royalties (e.g. putting NRA logo’s on hats), sales and advertising.
          $100.5M from dues
          Other sources included program fees, sales of assets, investment income and subscriptions.
          More than 50 firearms-related companies have given at least $14.8 million to the Fairfax, Virginia-based group, according to the NRA’s own list for a donor program that began in 2005.
          That is less than 2% per year coming from donations from gun manufacturers.

          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-29/nra-raises-200-million-as-gun-lobby-toasters-burn-logo-on-bread.html

          It is surprising though, that a gun rights organization would be selling advertising to gun companies.

          “making new guns by the minute.”
          I hope so

          • hombre111

            Thanks for the statistics. There are three hundred million guns in the U.S.. The interesting thing, according to an article in Huffington, is that the number of families owning guns has actually dropped by more than twenty percent. That means more and more and more guns in fewer and fewer hands. Take me. I currently own eight and almost bought a ninth. My brother-in-law and I were at a gun show. He is a past master of handguns, and tried to talk me into buying a Ruger 380 as a backup weapon. I stopped to think: Backup for what? Except for a fall from a raft in a Class IV rapid, my life has never been in danger. I’m too old for paranoia. Besides, I am a priest. I would rather die than kill another human being, even to save what is left of my own life.

            • Aldo Elmnight

              “the number of families owning guns has actually dropped by more than twenty percent. That means more and more and more guns in fewer and fewer hands. ”
              That statistic is biased by the fact that most gun owners will not tell a pollster (strangers) whether they have guns. More people own guns than the stats show.

            • BobTrent

              “I would rather die than kill another human being, even to save what is left of my own life.”
              That’s your choice. Glad you don’t have any dependents to defend.
              Still, I’d bet you wouldn’t put a sign out in your front yard advertising that.

              • hombre111

                Saving dependents or another life is different. When I was in So. America, I tried to kill someone with an iron bar, because it seemed like the only way to save the life of our watchman. Fortunately, the guy ducked and ran. He wasn’t as crazy on drugs as I though he was. The next day, the neighbors gave the Padre a strange look.

    • DE-173

      “Do guns save the homeowner and his family from crime?”

      Why don’t you enter my house @3:30AM and find out.

      Think of the value of this experiment. We can determine the veracity of this claim and help with “overpopulation”.

    • Don

      Gun ownership certainly isn’t wise for everyone – and can be harmful for some. If you intend to kill yourself, you will get it done with or without a gun. For a time, I had a job that required me to view suicide events for possible criminal investigation . . . while guns may be the means of choice, trust me – there are many other inventive means.

      While guns are not for everyone, for those of us who have been trained, guns are a very effective way to protect the home. Trust me.

      • hombre111

        “Harmful for some?” In America, more people have been killed by the gun during the last thirty years than in all the wars we have ever fought. And multiply that by three or four-fold to count the injured.

        • DE-173

          Right on. Now let’s talk about those evil automobiles.

          • hombre111

            You have to have a license to drive a car.

            • DE-173

              And a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

              Are you suggesting that government licensing is ineffective at protecting the public?

              • hombre111

                :>) Not bad. To get a driver’s license, you have to show you know how to drive a car. A car needs a license to keep dummies off the road. But you can walk in and buy a gun, no question asked about whether or not you know how to deal with the thing safely. Take our priest who was disarmed by a criminal, who then emptied the .357 into the other priest. He could have used some good advice about what weapon, (a .357 is a cannon! It is expensive to shoot and hurts like mad, which means the priest only took a few shots), along with solid counsel about when and how and whether. But all he needed was his 500 bucks and a form to fill out. He then loaded the monster and kept it by his bed stand. Discovered when push came to shove that he didn’t really know what to do next. At least those who opt for conceal carry have to undergo some training. In some states, a lot of training. In my red state, some training.

                I have made up my mind about my own guns, mostly lying unused in ages in my closet. I love the sport of target shooting with a .22. But shoot to kill another person? I think I would rather be dead.

                • DE-173

                  “But shoot to kill another person? I think I would rather be dead.”

                  Must be nice to be insulated and ideological. More of your phoney pseudo-morality.

                  I have a wife to protect, and if you were to look at her twice, you’d get your wish before I blinked twice.

                  • hombre111

                    Hmm. You don’t need a life or death situation to kill someone? Prepared to kill someone who looks twice at the woman you love. Another word for that is jealousy. Well done, oh good and faithful follower of Christ.

                    When I am target shooting, a couple hundred rounds is about average. Can’t get good if you don’t shoot a lot. Well, truth be, even though I shoot a lot, I am not that good. But my brother-in-law is really, really good.

                    • DE-173

                      You are an idiot. Breaking into somebody’s house at night IS LIFE OR DEATH.
                      I said if YOU looked at her twice. You’ve demonstrated a profoundly disordered mind and hostility to people of our

                    • hombre111

                      Mmm, you belatedly realized the stupidity and moral depravity of your previous comment: “Look at my wife twice, and….” Desperate need to revise a foolish statement. Now it’s a home invasion in the middle of the night. “Kill or be killed.” Rarely happens, especially in the suburbia most of us call home. The usual paranoia. And I don’t care if you are the Hulk. You sound like the biggest kid in a schoolyard, making threats.

                      Alan Alda did something wonderful in Mash: He helped millions understand the stupidity of war, and his re-runs are teaching a whole new generation.

                    • DE-173

                      “Look at my wife twice, and….” Desperate need to revise a foolish statement. ”

                      Are you really that ignorant of idiomatic speech?

                      “My job is to protect my wife–kill or be killed, if necessary.” Read that part of your letter to your wife, and watch her roll her eyes.”

                      No. On the other hand, it is kind of amusing for you to call the game from the parking lot. Thanks for the laugh.

                      Alan Alda did something wonderful in Mash: He helped millions understand the futility of war, and his re-runs are teaching a whole new generation.

                      Yeah right, an actor on TV told hundreds of thousands, if not millions of WWII veterans about war. Sort of like a failed celibate telling a married man about his wife’s reactions.

                    • hombre111

                      Seriously, read the “kill or be killed, if necessary” part to your wife and watch her reaction. But she probably figured out your bluster a long time ago. Did she teach the kids to humor the old man?

                      No, Alda and brilliant comedy taught the next generation about the futility of wars we did not have to fight. Lesson failed to stick, because pretty soon we were in Vietnam. Didn’t stick again, and we found ourselves in Iraq. And now the neocons want us back in Iraq for a permanent occupation. When asked how long we should stay in Iraq this time, Paul Bremer gave the example of Germany, where we still have military. Obama wants to send in military advisors. Those of us who observed the debacle of Vietnam remember how that all started. Yep, military advisors…and then the Special Forces…and then…and then…Nixon thought about nuclear weapons, but was afraid of the American reaction.

                    • Guest

                      If possible, please send me an email so I may contact you.
                      xpIHS@hotmail.com

                    • DE-173

                      She’s heard it more than once and it doesn’t bother her a bit.

                      Then again, I live with the woman and you live with your demons.

                    • hombre111

                      She’s inured. Maybe she endures.

                    • DE-173

                      She’s a happy well-adjusted competent and faithful professional, whose efforts are life and soul sustaining who brightens the world and especially my little corner with her presence.

                      In other words, your polar opposite .

                    • hombre111

                      Nice words for your spouse, which I hope you read to her. In the meanwhile, enough with this. I am bored. See you somewhere else.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    All studies suggesting than gun ownership is more dangerous to the owner than to criminals suffer from the same obvious bias. They do not measure deterrence. We cannot know for certain how many more crimes would be committed – especially of the home break-in variety – if it were known by criminals that no citizen is armed in his own home. However, I suspect the number would be very high indeed. In my case – residing as I do out in the country, at least 20 minutes from any potential police response – living without a firearm would be not only irresponsible, it would be an immoral negligence of my duty to protect my family. People in the countryside are very heavily armed compared to city folks, and there is very little crime in rural areas compared to the cities, much less than what a mere difference in population would imply. This is because any criminal with half his wits knows better than to attempt to burglarize a family home in a rural setting. In fact, when a break-in occurs, it is invariably committed by someone strung out on drugs and who cannot compute the folly of such a move.

    • The Truth

      Government “figures” are always suspect at best. As in polls it depends on the question and in what context it is asked. Numbers can be made to state anything you want if you don’t clarify their actual meaning. Unemployed. What does that mean? Unemployed as in want to work? As in refuse to work? As in wanted to work but quit looking? As in I’m on welfare my entire life and will never work?

    • BobTrent

      The Left only counts dead burglars found lying on porches and foyer floors. Ones who survive or escape do not count.
      However, anyone who hears a gunshot, or a noise resembling gunshot, in the distance is a victim of “gun violence.”

  • joxxer

    Our families have had weapons in our homes since the 1800’s–nobody has ever used them for criminal activities, nor has anyone ever been injured by them. So, learning the proper handling of a weapon is necessary. I read many stories where the having of a weapon has put a stop to a criminal’s crime and saved lives..

    • DE-173

      So, learning the proper handling of a weapon is necessary.
      And stoves and cars and household chemicals.. guess the anti-gunners will be after that next.

  • Aldo Elmnight

    Everyone should remember that the Apostles carried assault weapons and the first Pope knew how to use his.

    • JP

      And your point is what exactly?

      • Aldo Elmnight

        Weapons are not bad.
        Owning weapons is not bad.
        Using weapons in the proper context is not bad.

        Gun control statists often claim that the only purpose of AR-15’s and other so called “assault weapons” (modern equivalent of swords) is to kill human beings.
        The only purpose of a sword is to hack human beings to death.

        The apostles carried these instruments and Christ instructed them to procure these instruments. It is lawful to own these instruments (and their modern equivalents) and to use them within in the proper context and for the right reasons.
        http://www.barnhardt.biz/the-one-about-jesus-and-guns/

  • Neminem

    It might be helpful in expanding on your excellent article — or perhaps a follow up on the same theme — to dwell on the resources in the Catechism and Scripture regarding the nature and place of force and the threat of it.

    For reference, I would point to the Catechism Sec. 2306: “Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death.”

    “Means of defense available to the weakest” could almost be a loose paraphrase of the old saw regarding the levelling effect of firearms: “God made all men; Sam Colt made them equal.”

    When Jesus commissioned his disciples and sent them out he commanded them to buy a sword and sell their cloaks if necessary to buy one. The reason is subtle but powerfully charitable. One cannot in charity tempt those disposed to the temptation of gluttony by providing them with many sweets that they must expend much effort resist. Likewise, there are always some who are tempted to the sin of intemperate and violent domination. By ensuring that the ready means of defense amongst the faithful is avaialble and effective helps to deter those violent temptations, and so being armed is a calling toward evangelical charity — to aid our violently-tempted brothers — keeping from the way of sin and on the way of life– in every sense.

  • Deacon Joe

    You make some good points. But I disagree with what you say about shooting for sport, unless you simply mean target practice, etc. The church has always taught that killing animals for sport is immoral. One of my closest friends and my former bishop is now a Greek Orthodox priest. Part of their examination of conscience before confession asks: “Have you taken ANY life unnecessarily?”

    • Carl

      LOL, I hope your a vegetarian, otherwise your statement is ridiculous, is it necessary to eat animals?
      If you’re assuming the average hunter kills and let lay that would be calumny.
      But even killing to cull the population can be justified, should we allow disease carrying rats roam free? Should I eat the mice I catch in my Victor snap trap? My pest control contract makes me an acessofy to the murder of ants, ticks, and termites?!

  • Joseph Volpe III

    Having the right to do something doesn’t mean that it’s right to do it.

    Long-time financial columnist Joe Nocera has run a gun report for more than a year. He just recently ended it, having decided he had made his point. You can find his last report here, along with previous reports: http://nocera.blogs.nytimes.com/category/gun-report/ It’s mind-numbing and yet instructive to read day after day of the many incidents of gun violence in this country, including a lot of deaths and serious injuries from firearms acquired for self-defense that ended up being used for very different purposes.

    Paul tells us to “do everything in the name of Jesus.” Col. 3.17. I’m struggling to imagine acquiring a firearm to use against another human being “in the name of Jesus.”

    • Can you imagine Jesus sending out His disciples with swords, because they were to be out among “transgressors”?

      Luk 22:35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.”
      Luk 22:36 He said to them, “But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.
      Luk 22:37 For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was reckoned with transgressors’; for what is written about me has its fulfilment.”
      Luk 22:38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

    • bill b

      You come home and your wife is being strangled by a very large man. Will you be hitting him with the NY Times? With a pistol, you could rush to their side and and shoot him away from her direction. Pacifism is based on betting that nothing grave ever really happens to your loved ones. Many pacifists in the suburbs…none in the ghetto. Probabilities are different in each area.

    • Quiet_Professional

      I was an active commentator — on the side of gun rights — in that forum under the moniker Quiet Professional.

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  • Lisa

    Thanks for this article! My husband is a police sergeant and is always armed. Yes, even at mass. He always brings his service weapon home. He is a member of the NRA. We also have other hand guns and rifles in our home. We have six kids ages preborn to 20 to whom we have or will teach gun safety and accuracy with weapons. Because of my husband’s job, it is prudential for us to know how to defend ourselves while he is at work. None of my children have ever acted irresponsibly with a gun. I don’t see the big deal or understand the hysterical controversy. If you don’t want to own guns then don’t exercise your right to do so, but kindly please leave the rest of us alone. To our family, it is an essential part of life.

  • WalterPaulKomarnicki

    Costa Rica did away with its military in 1949, I think, and has not fallen victim to its more aggressive and better armed neighbors. Is it providential? Are they as a society any more violent than say, Venezuela? but by doing away with their militia, they put those foregone taxes to better use.
    Maybe that’s why Quakers like the place so much.

    • bill b

      Their murder rate is 8.5 per 100,000…almost twice that of the US and 28 times that of Japan. The Quakers should choose Japan. Venezuela is worse than Costa Rica….53.7 murders per 100,000. See wiki’s list….it refutes the catechism in that Catholic countries are the two worst on earth and have no operative death penalty.

  • RufusChoate

    It is odd how the Left finds the ownership of firearms by innocent people offensive with their history of mass murder but can seem to muster the will to categorize people who misuse their sexuality in any manner to produce disease (CDC reports 110 million infections of STD and annual deaths exceeding all gun violence), illegitimacy (70% of the Live births in certain ethnic groups and a guaranteed life of poverty) , murder of unborn children (55 Million since 1973) and sexual abuse as worth of the same idiotic opprobrium as people who have the protection of the Constitution for a God Given Right.

    I am very curious why a political philosophy with a long history of totalitarian mass murder would want a heavily armed state (The Department of Education has a SWAT division) and a disarmed populace. I wonder could it be out of a special compassion and concern the Left is always telling us about, for the well being of the innocent… Not bloody likely.

    • Quiet_Professional

      “I am very curious why a political philosophy with a long history of totalitarian mass murder would want a heavily armed state (The Department of Education now has a SWAT division) and a disarmed populace.”

      A heavily armed state and a disarmed populace is precisely what I would expect a totalitarian philosophy to want.

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  • Quiet_Professional

    Good article on the topic of “Arms and the Christian Man”.

  • Mike

    NB, Great comment. Exactly. My good firends over in Poland don’t understand the importnace of the right to bear arms. maybe I didn;t do enough to explain my point to them.

  • Theo

    Beware the NRA and pro gun forces trying to Repackage their radical pro-gun stance i In Catholic covering.

    Few Catholics have a problem with people owning a handgun for their own ends. Most Catholics believe this is clearly covered by the Second Amendment. Most Catholics and the majority of NRA members do however feel that there should be a ban on assault rifles. No one needs an assault rifle Or any military grade firearm that can fire multiple rounds per second.

    The devil as always is in the details.

    The home protection arguement is nonsense. You are far more likely to be raped/murdered/ harmed by someone in the home than by the mythical home invaders from outside. Crime statistics show this.

    Ms Lu also pushes the since we can never stop the flow of illegal guns therefore we shouldn’t stop flow of guns at all argument. The truth the matter is the two most horrific school Massacres in US history (columbine and sandy hook) were committed by people with no prior convictions and with legally purchased firearms.

    • Quiet_Professional

      Who are YOU to decide what type of firearm I do or do not “need” to defend myself and my family? Especially given your obvious ignorance about firearms and how they operate?

      A semiautomatic AR-15 can, in fact, be highly suitable for home defense. Especially for owners of large expanses of property: farmers, ranchers. Its ergonomic design and low recoil makes it especially suitable for women gun owners.

      As for your argument that nobody should be worried about a home invasion, tell it to this woman, for starters:

      http://abcnews.go.com/US/okla-woman-shoots-kills-intruder911-operators-shoot/story?id=15285605

      • Theo

        Ok if the North Korean army is attacking you then by all means grab an M-16, slam a 100 round clip in, and fire away.

        Who are you to say that I have tolerate my daughter’s elementary school retrofitting the front door to guard against high powered rifles so that a woman rancher in rural can feel safer on her 100 acre spread?

        You know who had an assault rifle to make her feel safe ( in Connecticut of all places!) was Adam lanza’s mother…and she got a bullet in the back of her head for her troubles…not from a home invader but oh yeah that’s right her deeply mentally ill son!

  • lifeknight

    Sorry to post so late. I had saved the article to read after traveling. Dr. Lu has tackled a topic that has relevance within Church teaching as well as in the secular world.

    After reading all comments, I am still struck by what I know is true. As seen in my identification photo: a well trained, BIG dog is probably one of the best home defense “tools” for any family. Beyond that, the shotgun seems a most reasonable item for women who may not have the stomach to shoot to kill, or who are poor shots.

    On a similar topic, I would like to see a Crisis article on the death penalty. Not a politically oriented article, but exactly what the Church teaches/or permits. Seems it would go hand in hand with gun ownership. Would you please tackle that, Dr. Lu?

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