The issue over the 2nd amendment and gun control is a hotly debated issue. It is bad enough to think we need more gun control but to call it a religious issue and ‘pro-life’ is controversial. As a Catholic myself, I know there are quite a few Catholic priests, including Jesuit priest Father James Martin, who makes such claims. After the recent shooting that took place in Oregon, Martin went to his Facebook page, posting that this is a tragedy, and that gun control is a ‘pro-life’ issue.
This is not the first time he made this claim. He made a similar statement after the Aurora shooting in Colorado in the summer of 2012. He’s also written on the issue of American Magazine and the Huffington Post.
There are a few problematic things with Fr. Martin’s statements. First, he said it is ‘pro-life’ to support gun control, which sounds insulting to loyal 2nd amendment supporters as if they’re not pro-life. Second, he assumes it is pro-life because it would lead to more gun confiscation and, therefore, lower crime.
However, study after study has shown that more gun confiscation doesn’t work. It is a direct and simple correlation, in which gun free zones have higher crime rates, whereas areas where law abiding citizens that are able to have a concealed carry have seen lower crime rates. A Harvard study conducted by two criminologists, Prof. Don Kates and Prof. Gary Mauser, vigorously studied American and European gun laws, their crime rates, and concluded the following: Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not.
Not only do we have studies to support our side, but we numerous cases of law-abiding citizens that used a gun to either prevent another violent act taking place, or neutralized a situation that could have gone worse.
In another case, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, called for automatic weapons to be out of the hands of private citizens in response to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting in 2012. However, the Cardinal failed to make a distinction between criminals and law-abiding citizens. Plus, stats have shown most mass shootings are used with handguns, not the so-called ‘assault rifles’ that liberals claim.
I respect Catholic priests and bishops, but I feel these individuals that are supporting more gun control are missing the point. We’ve tried more gun control, and it doesn’t curb crime, with Chicago being an example, having some of the strictest gun control in the nation, yet has the most shootings taking place. It is important to note that Catholics are free to take a stance on either side of the gun control issue, and the Catholic Church doesn’t take an official position on it. I would advise that Catholic priests and bishops who think more gun control is the solution to refocus on the mental health and the culture as a whole. Violence is not only done with a gun, but can be used with a knife, rock, baseball bat, fist, or anything else. It is a violence problem, not a gun problem, and hope that the clergy can focus on this moving forward.