I commend it to you:
Should we ban guns?
Repeal the Second Amendment?
There’s a lot of talk about guns these days. Kids are marching in cities, cursing older Americans, ostensibly to urge political action. And just today, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called for the “REPEAL” of the Second Amendment in the New York Times.
What’s a Catholic to think?
The Church does not have a definitive teaching on the right to own a firearm. At least not explicitly. The social doctrines of our Church are grounded in common human reason. And thus, much of what the Church does say is relevant and helpful.
For example, the Catechism states:
“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.”
In America, our Constitution enshrined the right to bear arms in our Second Amendment. The purpose of the Amendment was not to protect the right to hunt deer -- as wonderful and environmentally responsible as hunting can be.
Instead, the Second Amendment was created for a free people to protect themselves from the possibility of an aggressive government that would seek to deprive them of their fundamental freedoms to live, speak, assemble, pray, worship, or petition their own government.
Mention this truth today, and people think you are a wacko!
In short, the Second Amendment was created to defend, if absolutely necessary, the dignity of every human life, and the inherent freedoms that extend from that dignity, from those that would use violence to take them away.
We have the right to defend our life, our families and children, and our right to worship the God who created us.
And not merely with a butter knife…
In our view, the right to own a firearm is not merely a convenient “right” that we can now dispense with in our so-called enlightened age. On the contrary, the right to self defense, as the Catechism affirms, is grounded in the fundamental sacredness of life, endowed by our Creator, for which we are bound to defend. And that right implies access to proportionate means to render aggressors incapable of harm.
But, but -- what about the recent incidents of violence?
Insuring the safety of our children is paramount. And measures to protect our kids are needed -- starting with the courage to call out our culture -- including abortion -- for the disregard for human life it instills in our children. Violent video games and movies, broken families, widespread access to pornography, misuse of drugs, mental illness, and much more all contribute to the recent spate of shootings.
Americans have owned guns for centuries. And school shootings were once unthinkable.
So what has changed?
Are we still good enough to be free?
Certainly there is room for debate on background checks, waiting periods, age limits, and certain limits on the features of guns. But let’s not fool ourselves. The debate underway is much larger.
REMEMBER: the gay marriage debate started as simply “the right to marry the person I love.” Today men are in women’s bathrooms, the government is paying for sex-changes, while corporate and governmental policies seek to dictate even the pronouns we are allowed to use.
The campaigns of the political Left increasingly have a way of concealing their ultimate goals. So we must be vigilant.
Gather the real and relevant facts.
And think clearly about the first principles that inform both our Faith and the Constitution.
I am eager to get your thoughts on this important debate.
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Brian Burch, President