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Partners in Crime

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.

The Tucson carnage (six dead, thirteen wounded) caused by a young madman in Arizona has set off another round of insane propaganda against gun ownership. Joining the frantic voices in temporal society calling for gun control is the New Church.

A report on a Vatican Letter dated January 14, 2011 reads: “Gun control: Church firmly, quietly opposes firearms for civilians.” (1) Writing for the Catholic News Service, Carol Glatz reports on the Church's position on private gun ownership: “Firearms in the hands of civilians should strictly be limited and eventually completely eliminated.” (2)

The Vatican statement in fact repeats one issued by the U.S. Bishops in November 2000 titled “Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.” In it the Prelates stated, “Handguns should be eliminated from our society.” (3) I have no compunction in saying that the shared objective of the Vatican, the U.S. Bishops, and the anti-gun lobby makes them Partners in Crime.

Sophisms from the secular press

Two days after the Vatican Letter appeared, I came upon a piece of Gonzo journalism bylined by gun hater Tammerlin Drummond. She objects to the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that affirms private gun ownership was the intention of the Founding Fathers. Her rhetorical swill reads:

Vatican sides with gun control

The Vatican adds its voice to the anti-gun forces
“Who in his or her right mind really believes the Founding Fathers intended for the Second Amendment to be used as justification for encouraging the unchecked proliferation of the kinds of weapons of mass destruction that they could not have envisioned in their wildest dreams?” (4)

Drummond would do well to consult a dictionary before writing her column, and also to take some short courses in American history and fundamental logic.

First, she calls small arms (as possessed by civilians) “weapons of mass destruction.” This is nothing but pure hype. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have been clearly defined for many years. They are large-scale weapons that use current technologies to produce weapons such as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear.

Second, her statement is a clumsy sophism that pretends to divine the state of mind of the Founding Fathers over 200 years ago (as do virtually all opponents of private gun ownership). She implies that if the Founding Fathers had a time machine to look into the future, they would not have drafted the 2nd Amendment. This is pure nonsense. In truth, the Founding Fathers formed the 2nd Amendment because (among other things) they knew that an armed population is the only guarantee against tyranny.

Drummond's point is all emotion and hysteria. She pretends to make her case by listing statistics on gun deaths attributable to what she thinks are lax gun laws. The material she cites simply do not provide the evidence needed for what she wants, which is “sensible gun laws.” Strangely, she is silent on what these laws should be, but I would venture to guess that her objective is “first registration, then confiscation.” Signs with these words were carried at the Million Mom March in Washington, D.C.

When collective insanity takes hold, it causes catastrophic effects in the public domain. We find a good example of this in 1920. The 18th Amendment was adopted, authorizing Congress to prohibit the manufacture, transportation or sale of all beverages for intoxicating purposes.

The flagrant violations of this law led to gangsterism, racketeering, bootlegging and bloody carnage. “Prohibition” created such a wave of public protests that it was later repealed in 1933. But during those 13 years, crime and violence raged. The law made an outlaw of every person who enjoyed a glass of wine with his meal.

The facts on firearms

protesters against prohibition

Past and present protesters against anti-natural and un-enforceable laws

protests against gun control
The State of Vermont has no laws whatsoever about carrying concealed firearms, and it boasts of having the second lowest crime rate in the nation. In 2009 they had zero deaths from firearms. Today 35 States have laws that make it mandatory to issue concealed weapon permits as long as they can meet certain criteria (residency, age, no record etc.). According to the FBI, these States have a 24 % lower violent crime rate than the other States without such laws. (5)

Statistics showing the utility of citizens bearing arms are endless:
  • Gun deaths in the U.S. run about 31,000 per year, but over half of these are suicides. (6)

  • Traffic accidents take many more lives than guns, over 37,000 per year. (7)

  • 195,000 Americans die each year from doctors' negligence, exponentially more than gun deaths. (8)

  • The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has repeatedly shown that guns are the most effective means of self-protection. (9)

  • “Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as do police every year.” (10)

  • Nearly 2.5 million times a year a gun is used in self-defense. (11)

  • Since January 1, 2011 until, January 15, 2011, guns have already been used in the U.S. in self-defense 98,336 times. (12)

Catholic doctrine supports the right of self-defense

Returning to the 2011 Vatican's Letter and the U.S. Bishops' statement of 2000, I believe that they do not transmit the true Catholic doctrine on the topic, but rather the stance of the UN pacifist utopia. True Catholic doctrine backs the Natural Law that every man has the right to a legitimate defense.

This is what we read in St. Robert Bellarmine, the great Doctor of the Counter-Reformation: “Just as Natural Law permits an individual to return, even by violent means, an unjust aggression against his life, his fortune, or his honor, for a stronger reason the same is permitted to a nation, which constitutes a political body and forms a moral and public person.” (13)

St. Thomas Aquinas is equally clear when he supports the use of deadly force by civilians. He stipulates that the intent to kill must not be there, but immediately advises individuals not to be so afraid to kill attackers in order to protect themselves. (14)

This is what Catholic Morals teaches us to do.

In closing, I must say that we should not have any problem in resisting this Vatican Letter and the US Bishops’ statement. Let us strongly support the right of every single citizen to have his gun to protect himself, his family and possessions.
1. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1100159.htm
2. Ibid
3. Ibid
4. Contra Costa Times, January 16, 2011, p. A15
5. American Rifleman, March 2004, p. 76.
6. Mike Strobbe, “Surprising Fact: Half of Gun Deaths are Suicides
7. Ibid.
8. Medical Malpractice, Wikipedia.
9. Edgar A. Suter ,“Guns Save Lives,” cited in The San Francisco Chronicle, July 12, 1994, p. A17.
10. John Gaven, “Action America,” and “Guns and the Untold Truth”
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.
13. II Controversis generalis. De membris Ecclesiae militantis, 1. III, De laicis, chap 14, Opera ommia, 8, Naples, 1872, vol 2, p. 327, apud A.S. Guimarães, War, Just War, Los Angeles: TIA, 2003, pp. 58-59.
14. Suter, “Guns Save Lives”
Posted February 9, 2011

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