Guns Save Lives

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  November 13, 2017   

Catholic Catechism: "Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty"

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Gun control is being pushed by U.S. bishops who fail to present Catholic teaching that the legitimate use of firearms for self-defense is a citizen's moral right and at times even a "grave duty."

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago made headlines this fall when he announced the archdiocese won't allow any firearms on archdiocesan property. Defending his decision, Cdl. Cupich said his concern was to afford the "greatest possible protection for children, the elderly, and otherwise vulnerable people in our society."

Such prelates fail to acknowledge, however, Church teaching affirming that the use of lethal force for self-defense is not only permitted but may be a moral obligation when defending others. Paragraph 2264–5 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church reads,

[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: ... Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.

Mass shootings typically take place in gun-free zones, where law-abiding citizens are disarmed, taking away their ability to exercise their right to self-defense. Some 20 times, guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens have been used in self-defense to stop armed criminals. More importantly, there are a dozen incidents when armed citizens stopped a mass shooting by using a firearm in the defense of others.

Bishops are right to express moral outrage over the hundreds of victims of mass shootings. Far more outrageous, however, are the 3,000 innocent victims who die every day from abortion. Where's the daily outpouring of moral outrage from U.S. bishops over that ongoing massacre, legally permitted in the United States and around the world?

Watch the panel wade into the discussion in The Download—Gun Control Debate.


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