What do I think of Guns and Gun Control?

1) I HATE THE ISSUE. It is such a non-issue, on both sides. It’s absurd. Yes, the Demonocrats want gun control so they can establish a grand Communist tyranny. Yes, Republicans oppose gun control because they want a grand Libertarian anarchy. It’s a complex issue, with various complex moral layers, and each side tries to drastically oversimplify it, stating the problems in the other side’s position without seeing the problems in its own.

2) As far as the Second Amendment goes:
a) It says “well-regulated Militia” Much has been made of how people in Switzerland have lots of guns and very low violent crime in recent weeks, but it was pointed out to me the other day by a FB friend who lives in France, the people in Switzerland have to undergo yearly tests to retain their gun ownership rights.
b) It can be amended.
c) If we are to take the Founding Fathers’ word that it is to protect the people *against* the government, we must also remember that they were Masons, with an attitude of opposition to traditional forms of government.

3) Catholics like to quote Catechism 2265:

Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life. Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. To this end, those holding legitimate authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their charge.[66]

Without including its qualification in 2264:

Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
“If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful…. Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.[65]” (emphasis added)

So when someone says, “I wish they’d have shot that guy dead before he even got into the school, they are not following Church teaching regarding legitimate self-defense. The Mississippi shooter who has been discussed as a parallel case–who killed his own mother before coming to a school but was stopped in progress and later said he did it as part of a Satanic cult–was stopped by an assistant principal using a private handgun. And that assistant principal never fired a bullet. Indeed, in many of these mass shootings, the shooters stopped when confronted by either a private citizen, security guard or police officer with a gun–and either surrendered or killed themselves.

It may not even be necessary to fire a gun to stop an assailant. More on this later.

Here are some other passages from the Catechism that gun fanatics ought to consider. First, the passage from _EvangeliumVitae_ which led to the _Catechism_ being almost immediately revised:

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
“If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
“Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’ [68]

While 2265 is taken by some as saying there’s a moral obligation to use violence, 2306 offers a different perspective:

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.[103]

Again, when “pro-gun” people speak with glee about the notion of killing a would be assailant, they’d do well to remember these passages:

2302 By recalling the commandment, “You shall not kill,”[93] our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.
Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution “to correct vices and maintain justice.”[94] If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.”[95]

2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”

And the following passages, while specifically applying to war, should be taken into consideration by those who “stockpile” weapons, especially in “preparation” for a hypothetical societal collapse or government oppression:

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;[110] it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.

4) I never understand what a gun can do that a knife, a sword, an arrow, a spear or a throwing star cannot. Indeed, in terms of the Church’s teaching on disabling rather than killing an opponent whenever possible, these weapons would be far more effective.

5) I also do not understand why Christians are not more eager for the opportunity to try and convert a would-be assailant, to confront someone obviously in the grip of the Devil with holy water, prayer and preaching, and the power of Sacramentals, and not with violence.

6) The situations in my life where I’ve been most afraid for my life, having a gun in the house wouldn’t have helped, and may have actually allowed the individuals the opportunity to kill someone.

7) I know a lady who has lived for many decades in an older neighborhood where because of trees, sidewalks, etc., there are a lot of prowlers. On several occasions, she has protected her house merely by the threat of having a gun (yelling, “I have a gun, and I’m going to shoot you” at prowlers whom she could see but could not see her). This on the one hand shows how actually having a gun is not necessary and, again, killing the criminal is not necessary. It also shows how having the *ability* to own guns protects people.

8) Criminals by definition don’t follow laws: if they want guns or any other weapons, they’ll get them.

9) There are several websites that discuss the Texas “concealed carry” law and how many crimes have been committed by people with concealed carry permits, how many crimes have been committed by people *without* concealed carry permits, and how many crimes have been prevented by people with concealed carry permits:

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba324
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/index.htm

Note, however, that by definition “concealed carry” is a form of “gun control”: requiring licenses to own weapons is a form of gun control, and is the form of gun control I support.

10) I think gun control has been a contributing factor to the mass murders of the past 20+ years, because gun control advocates have convinced families to keep guns away from their children. So children in households *with* guns, who used to be raised to hunt and to know how to use a gun and how to respect it, have been taught that their parents’ guns are a mysterious taboo waiting to be explored. On the other hand, they watch violent movies, and mommy says, when the person dies on the screen, “You know that’s just pretend, right? And he’s coming back. He’s not really dead.” They play video games and get to “kill” people and monsters, and have them “come back,” and if they get “killed” in the video games, they get to “start over,” and for certain kinds of personality types, this can be very damaging.

11) Just as with guns as such, blanket suppression/condemnation and blanket permissiveness of TV/movies/video games are equally to blame. Instead of parents telling their kids “this is OK to watch/play, but this isn’t,” and explaining *why* the “not OK” is “not OK,” parents either ban everything or permit everything. A while back, a nice lady on Facebook was concerned that her kids were invited over to a friend’s house to play _Super Smash Bros_. “It sounds horrible” she said. I explained that, while I’ve never seen or played it directly, the game is really no more harmful than _Wii Boxing_: it’s just basically a boxing game featuring a mix-up of classic video game characters, particularly from the Mario franchises. Parents ought to have such basic, minimal knowledge about TV, movies and video games, especially when it’s as simple as looking something up online. If they really don’t know this stuff, then they’re not participating in their kids’ lives. And THAT is the thing to be concerned about in terms of societal causes.

12) People who want to do evil will do evil. As several Facebook memes are pointing out, Timothy McVeigh did it with fertilizer. The guy in China stabbed a classroom full of kids with a knife. The 9/11 terrorists used plastic knives. As my wife pointed out this evening, in the past few days, while she was driving the kids to school, two different idiots tried to kill her and them with automobiles. What ultimately infuriates me about the gun control “debate” is that it’s about epiphenomena.

You can ban and round up every legally owned assault rifle, and criminals who want assault rifles will get them (and apparently with the help of the Obama Administration). You can put TSA agents at every public venue, and strip search everyone, and those with wicked designs will find ways to get around it.

Unless you directly take on evil, all the rest of it is useless. More on that later.

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7 responses to “What do I think of Guns and Gun Control?

  1. Switzerland: Yearly tests? Do not know. Yearly militia training. Might normally include testing as a side effect.

    • Maybe I misread what you told me, but I can’t find the discussion on FB. It’s no longer on my Notifications list, and I can’t find it on your wall.

    • You:”The Swiss system IS a well regulated militia. All citizens belong to it, all own exactly one gun, all repeat the exercises each year – in so far as they are men. But the gun is hanging in the home, not in some militia bunker.”

      • Exactly. “all repeat exercises each year”. And the gun hanging in the home is obviously very much what it was like in US before gun controllers had parents lock guns up out of sight of the children.

  2. 4) I never understand what a gun can do that a knife, a sword, an arrow, a spear or a throwing star cannot. Indeed, in terms of the Church’s teaching on disabling rather than killing an opponent whenever possible, these weapons would be far more effective.

    Not if you know how to aim properly. One shot in a leg, one shot in an arm holding malefactors gun. No shot at his vital organs. Unless it is sufficient to aim and ask him to give in, and if he does no shot fired at all.

    5) I also do not understand why Christians are not more eager for the opportunity to try and convert a would-be assailant, to confront someone obviously in the grip of the Devil with holy water, prayer and preaching, and the power of Sacramentals, and not with violence.

    First that is supposing all of the malefactors are more or less possessed. In Tibherine monks – who obviously did not defend themselves with guns, since they bear the brunt of turning the other cheek – were killed by people although they had sacramentals.

    Second, as to those who are, I think some would not have have been that if there had been people praying the Rosary regularly at school or if those had not been isolated. And some would be “protected” by the evil spirits from being stopped by like that by avoiding a day, hour and place where they could be confronted with someone using Holy Water and Rosary.

    Third, the legal question must provide for the rights of every innocent citizen, not just the Catholics.

    10) … gun control advocates have convinced families to keep guns away from their children. … On the other hand, they watch violent movies …

    First part totally granted. Second part – you never know what will damage someone. But yes, showing violence in a graphic way rather than offstage can be bad while growing up. In The Last Battle it is at least no gloating over the blood and gore, but several practical things about battles, like the fact that concentrating on one’s defense keeps one away from being afraid and so.

  3. Of course, arrows will do as well, but wearing a bow and quiver is less practical than wearing a gun.

  4. As I wrote on Caelum et Terra a few weeks ago, a pump action BB gun won’t kill anybody- but the mere pump action of it makes the same noise as a shotgun and I’ve scared intruders away that way.

    Besides that point, I’ve written a blog posting on this same topic this morning: 5 laws we could pass, governmental programs we could pass, that would make a bigger difference in this topic than gun control.

    http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/2012/12/5-laws-that-would-work-better.html

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