Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gun Control is a Pro-Life Issue

Rev. James Martin, SJ, writes in America magazine, "If you want to defend life, defend it. At all times. And in all places. In the womb and in an elementary school."

Pro-life religious people need to consider how it might be made more difficult for people to procure weapons that are not designed for sport or hunting or self-defense. Why would there be opposition to firmer gun control, or, to put it more plainly, laws that would make it more difficult for mass murders to occur? If one protests against abortions clinics because they facilitate the taking of human life, why not protest against largely unregulated suppliers of firearms because they facilitate the taking of human life as well?

There are some cogent arguments against restricting access to firearms. People enjoy guns for sport and hunting. The Second Amendment permits the private ownership of guns (though I doubt that the need for a "well-regulated militia" envisioned by the framers of the Constitution translates into such easy access to assault weapons or the need for multiple guns in a house with children or adolescents.) But there is nothing to say that more stringent gun control laws that could lessen the frequency of such horrible crimes cannot be judiciously balanced with constitutional rights.

But the Christian outlook on this has less to do with self-defense and more to do with the defense of the other person. Jesus asks us to love our enemies, not to murder them; to pray for them, not to take vengeance; and he commends the peacemakers among us, not those advocating for more and more and more weapons.

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