The National Catholic Review

Gun control is about the defense of life.  Those who consider themselves religious or pro-life must be invited to see that the desire to prevent gun-related deaths is part of the religious defense of the dignity of all life.  To put the matter bluntly, if one is in favor of protecting the unborn--and advocate for them, march in protest on their behalf, donate money to pro-life groups and encourage voting for legislators who protect the unborn—one should be equally in favor of protecting those lives six and seven years out of the womb, the ages of several of the children murdered last week in Connecticut. 

I am not a political person. I do not follow political campaigns or the ins and outs of various pieces of legislation as closely as some of my friends do. And I don't know which politicians have supported and opposed stricter gun control laws.  But I am a religious person. Many of my political opinions, then, are formed by my religious ideals: for example, a commitment to help the poor and marginalized, a desire for a peaceful world, and a respect for the sanctity of life from natural conception to natural death.

That is why I believe that gun control is a religious issue. It is just as much of what many religious people call a “life issue” or a “pro-life issue,” as is abortion, euthanasia or the death penalty (all of which I oppose), and programs that provide the poor with the same access to basic human needs as the wealthy (which I am for). There is a "consistent ethic of life" that views all these issues as linked, because they are.

All these issues, at their heart, are about the sanctity of all human life, no matter who the person is, no matter at what stage of life the person is passing through, and no matter whether or not we think that the person is "deserving" of life. The issues just mentioned are of course different. To take the most obvious example, the agonizing decisions surrounding euthanasia, with which loving families are sometimes confronted, are not to be equated with the twisted decisions of a mass murderer. But they are all, in one way or another, actions that impinge on the sanctity of human life. God gives life to every person, and that life is holy.

In the wake of last week's tragedy in Connecticut, every thinking person was appalled.  Many were moved to prayer. With them I grieved the loss of all who died in the shootings, and was, like most people, crushed by the deaths of the children. I have been praying for the victims, that they may enjoy eternal life with God; for the victims' families and friends, that they may feel God's consolation; and for the perpetrator, that he may somehow be reconciled with God and with those to whom he brought such agony.

But our deeply felt revulsion over these crimes, our sadness over the violent death of young children, and our sympathy for family and friends of the victims, is more than an invitation to prayer. Deep emotions are one way that God encourages us to act. Simply praying, "God, never let this happen again" is insufficient for the person who believes that God gave us the intelligence to bring about lasting change. It would be as if one passed a homeless person and said to oneself, "God, please help that poor man," when you could have helped him yourself.  It may help to frame the situation by using the old moral category of a "sin of omission," something that you should have done but failed to do.  What will God say to us if we fail to do this?  And last week's shootings, like many mass murders, could have been made less likely if the shooter did not have such easy access to firearms and ammunition. (Why, I wondered reading the reports last week, did one household need so many guns?) 

Religious people need to be invited to meditate on the connection between the more traditional "life issues" and the overdue need for stricter gun control. The oft-cited argument, "Guns don't kill people, people do," is unconvincing. Of course people kill people; just as people also procure abortions, decide on euthanasia and administer the death penalty. Human beings are agents in these matters. The question is not so much how lives are ended, but how to make it more difficult to end lives.  Over the years the government has legislated minute instructions on safety features for automobiles, to increase their safety for the driver, passengers, and others on the road.  Surely it is not beyond us to summon up the moral courage to intelligently regulate guns and rifles.

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.

Was Jesus naïve? I wonder. I often marvel how some Christians can say that in one breath, and proclaim him as the Son of God in the next. Apparently, some believe that the Second Person of the Trinity didn't know what he was talking about. But Jesus lived in a violent time himself, under the heel of Roman rule in an occupied land, when human life was seen as cheap. Jesus witnessed violence and was himself the victim of violence--the most famous person to suffer the death penalty. It was not only divine inspiration but also human experience that led him to say: Blessed are the peacemakers.

In July, I wrote almost the precise words in a column after the shootings in a theater in Colorado, and I am amazed to have to write them again just a few months later.  But the repetition of these shootings should not numb us, but urge us to act.  

I don’t have an easy answer for this life crisis: I’m not an expert in the types of rifles and automatic weapons that are used as assault weapons, which models are used most often by murderers, which ones are designed to penetrate body armor of police, and so on.  But clearly there are some regulations that would lessen mass murders, and still preserver people’s Second Amendment rights and their desire to hunt for sport. 

E.J. Dionne, a columnist respected by many individuals of all political stripes, had a thoughtful suggestion for how to begin: “We should begin with: bans on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons; requiring background checks for all gun purchases; stricter laws to make sure that gun owners follow safety procedures; new steps to make it easier to trace guns used in crimes; and vastly ramped-up data collection and research on what works to prevent gun violence, both of which are regularly blocked by the gun lobby.”  Those who would oppose any regulations on the basis that it is impossible to stop person-on-person violence, it seems to me, are giving into the least religious of reactions to problems: despair. 

Last week's shootings absolutely horrified me, and reminded me of the need for religious people who stand for life, and for churches who stand for life, to stand for life at all times. Why haven't I written as much on other life issues? Because the Catholic Church's stance on most of those issues is very well known. By contrast, religious people have seemed relatively silent on this other life issue. Perhaps it is the kairos, as Jesus said: the right time, in this case for religious people to pray about these issues in a new light. 

Frankly, I wish the same intensity that is brought to bear on abortion could be brought to bear on this issue.  Perhaps it is because the church’s teaching on this often goes unnoticed.  As far back as 1975, the U.S. Catholic bishops called for “effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society.”  For those who would, and have, answered by saying that abortion takes more lives, I would say that this is not a matter of numbers.  Every single life is sacred. 

Some on the political right may object to my stance on firmer gun control. Some of the political left will object to my stance on abortion. But that doesn't bother me, because I am not political. I am religious. And so I am for the sanctity of life. And when I think of my seven-year-old nephew and what a bullet would do to his body, I can hardly bear it.  Therefore, I am for stricter gun-control laws that will protect lives, not end them.

If you want to defend life, defend it.  At all times.  And in all places.  In the womb and in an elementary school.

Show Comments (42)

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Landon Edwards | 1/5/2016 - 9:03pm

As a gun owner, I deplore gun violence. I WOULD support stronger laws and enforcement of current laws that keep guns out of the hands of anyone who would use a gun to commit mayhem or murder. I also deplore and despise the NRA for being part of the current problem, instead of part of a current solution. HOWEVER, there seems to be larger issue that no one is recognizing or addressing. Remove the word "gun" from this talking point. Consider, instead, the culture of VIOLENCE in this country. It permeates everything in our society. It's rampant in movies, on TV, video games, and nightly news. It's difficult to consume any kind of media, including much advertising, without ingesting at least a dose. If you look at the Middle East, much of what's directed at civilians is now and has been car bombs. Oklahoma City and Boston were bombings. Actually, bombings are more destructive than a few guns, when it's one sick person as a perpetrator. Sad fact is, it takes a sick person - whether pulling a trigger or detonating a device. We'd be better served to address the problem of general violence in all forms, rather than expending so much energy on a fraction of the total problem. Besides, if guns were totally removed from society, is it rational to believe violence overall would cease?

Annette Magjuka | 1/5/2016 - 2:25pm

Several FB friends de-friended me when I said about the most recent mass shooting, Pray, and then DO SOMETHING. It is so important to understand that praying is essential, but taking action as a moral human being is also essential. Action informed by an informed conscience and prayer--for me, this means gun control! Thank you, Mr. President!!

Jillian George | 12/27/2013 - 10:29pm

Excellent article. I completely agree: No one can call themselves pro life with integrity unless they wholeheartedly support gun control. The best argument for sane restrictions on gun is the Constitution itself. As the preamble makes
clear, the purpose of the constitution is "to insure domestic tranquility." A professor at Biola University lays out the case pretty well, and also addresses Christians who think that the Bible supports
unrestricted access to guns. Check out his argument on Thegoodbookblog at Talbot School of Theology (Biola University). It is by Hubbard, and is entitled "See the Welfare of the
City: The Biblical Argument for Gun Control." Pretty convincing--and
controversial from the comments. Here's the link if anyone is interested:

C Walter Mattingly | 12/26/2012 - 7:30am

While I personally have no problem with repeating what we did in the ten year span beginning in 1994, banning assault rifles, yet as an increase rather than a decrease in mass killings occurred during this decade long ban, I see no reason to expect it would be different this time around. In considering what might be a wise course of action, perhaps we should look to the example of President Obama and our senators and congressmen.

Sidney Friends, the Quaker religious school where Obama's and many congressmen's children attend school, has no less than 11 armed guards protecting these children from such harm. Perhaps that's one reason why killers have bypassed such schools, preferring instead schools and public targets that they knew were gun-free zones.

In the case of the recommendations of our president and our congressmen, perhaps we should attend not so much to what they say as to what they do. And should we wish to address the root cause of the problem, allowing religious instruction in schools as Norway and other European countries do might well provide the sense of self-control and social responsibility that would assuage the sort of social isolation that troubles many of these young male killers.

Vince Killoran | 12/26/2012 - 11:46pm

That '90s ban was pretty weak stuff--there were so many assault weapons already in the manufacturing process and on store shelves that it was meaningless.

But, really, are you advocating 11 armed guards per school? Be prepared to pay higher taxes. BTW, Columbine had an armed guard; Fort Hood was a military base for gosh sakes (sorry for the strong language). That is not the answer.

Re.: Europe and religious instruction: a double "really?!" on this whopper! Conservatives malign Europeans for being a Godless people. All of a sudden it's religious instruction that is saving them from gun violence! In Norway only 32% of the population believes in the existence of God. Jeesh.

James McParland | 12/28/2012 - 12:24pm

According to the FBI, there were 14,612 homicides in the U.S. in 2011. Of these, a grand total of 323 murders were committed with any kind of rifle. Murders committed by assault or semi-automatic rifles were fewer. More than five times that number were committed with knives. More than twice that number were committed with bare hands.

Vince Killoran | 12/31/2012 - 9:49pm

Never mind, I just found the figure: fully two-thirds were killed by firearms.

Vince Killoran | 12/31/2012 - 9:45pm

How many were committed with guns?

J Cosgrove | 12/23/2012 - 10:24am

I do not know much about guns, have never owned one and only fired a real one when in the military. In the military I was not required to carry a weapon but was assigned a hand gun which I never used or even practiced with except during a few short sessions while in officer training in the Navy. Actually I abhor guns and would only have one under extreme circumstances. I do know some gun owners and a couple who collect them who have several. They feel comfortable with guns, I do not.

In reading about this situation from a pro-life consideration, my reaction is that firmer gun control is anything but a pro life policy. I am not sure what is meant by "firmer"or "stricter" gun control but if it means the elimination of hand guns from our society, I believe more people will die, not less. The evidence seems to point to that and for an extremely comprehensive discussion of this read

This article discusses in detail, such terms as "automatic", "semi-automatic", "assault" and other concepts used in the debate as well as some of the history on the subject. I suggest anyone wanting to comment on this topic, read it.

The discussion points to concealed carry as the safest form of gun control with strict instruction and control of who gets permission. It seems to prevent the most deaths of any policy though nothing is foolproof. And there are schools in this country where concealed carry takes place so it is feasible. So is the pro life position, CCW. The debate should be rational, not emotional.

Paul Nichols | 12/20/2012 - 12:10pm

If America, and Fr. Martin, are saying that gun control is a pro-life issue, then it is fair to point out that many gun-control advocates embrace the Culture of Death via their either support of or wink-wink toward abortion.

With all this talk about "protecting children", are we just talking about protecting those who were lucky enough to have been born?

It truly is "rich" for those who support abortion to point out that those in favor of the 2nd Amendment are somehow not "pro-life enough". The pile of bodies that the pro-abortion crowd stands on is monstrously larger than the pile of that any pro-gun ownership crowd stands on.

America Magazine supports and embraces ALL of the tenets of the sexual revolution, which IS the Culture of Death, and then has the gall to sieze on gun control as a "pro-life" issue? As Scrooge said to Bob Crachit, "I'll retire to Bedlam".

Vince Killoran | 12/20/2012 - 12:36pm

This issue is really hitting a nerve, e.g., "America Magazine supports and embraces ALL of the tenets of the sexual revolution, which IS the Culture of Death."

The desperate tone of these pro-gun lobby comments gives me hope that, at long last, there is a real opportunity for serious gun control.

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas!

Paul Nichols | 12/20/2012 - 1:11pm

Vince - if the tone is "desperate", are you saying that America *doesn't* support all that that?

To be open - I have a little .22 pea shooter that has been fired twice. Ever. I don't own anything else, and certainly don't hunt.

But also to be open and honest - I'm not "against" the banning of "assault weapons", but the idea that somehow that would prevent wackos from going off the deep end is laughable. It might make us all "feel" better and make us think we're all doing "something", but will it prevent this stuff? I don't think so.

Vince Killoran | 12/20/2012 - 6:31pm

Of course I don't believe that AMERICA "supports & embraces the Culture of Death." That's why I wrote that they didn't.

Please read some of the scholarship on gun control (I provided a couple of links above). It's not much of a dialogue or debate when one side is citing facts and the other raw self-assertion.

Paul Nichols | 12/21/2012 - 8:28am

And I believe that America Magazine *does* support the Culture of Death, so we'll not see eye to eye on that one.

The question was not whether gun control qualifies as a "pro-life" issue. What some of us would take issue with is a magazine that supports Democrats and their agenda - the Culture of Death - taking the "pro-life" wording and applying it to gun control.

I don't see how you can say "We're pro-life, but only on this issue; abortion and birth control and the sexual revolution are all okay with us". That's like someone lobbying for ending all welfare programs and calling it "social justice".

Vince Killoran | 12/21/2012 - 8:48am

Why do you think "abortion and birth control and the sexual revolution are all okay" with AMERICA? I think what you mean is that you don't agree with the way they address these issues. You do know that you can be pro-Life and not embrace the Republican Party's call for the immediate re-criminalization of abortion? In fact, given the posturing and lack of considered policy on this issue the GOP really doesn't have a pro-Life strategy.

So, no, we don't see eye-to-eye--but to label this magazine as a proponent of "the Culture of Death" is inaccurate at best.

James McParland | 12/21/2012 - 11:05am

Overruling Roe v. Wade is not recriminalizing abortion. Allowing the voters in the states to decide democratically what they want their abortion laws to be is not re-criminalizing abortion. Requiring parental consents, waiting periods, education and informed consent are not recriminalizing abortion. Requiring doctors and hospitals to give medical care to living fetuses who survive the abortion procedure is not recriminalizing abortion. Cutting off funding for Planned Partenthood, the largest abortion business in the country, is not recriminalizing abortion. Who is "posturing" here?

Vince Killoran | 12/21/2012 - 1:52pm

Actually all those things you outline are re-criminalizing abortion. It's a process and these are all important steps toward the full re-criminalization, i.e., denying access and place substantial barriers in the way of women seeking abortions.

But let's pretend that they aren't and all those things do come about. Many states would keep abortion legal. What next? Would you stop there? Of course not--please be forthright and admit that you seek re-criminalization. If you do then you must support the criminal prosecution of women who undergo abortions. Please lay out a plan for how this would work.

James McParland | 12/21/2012 - 3:48pm

Vince, just be honest. You are in favor of the status quo, which eventuates in about 750,000 aborted children a year in the U.S. It's okay. You're allowed to say it.

Vince Killoran | 12/21/2012 - 4:46pm

Please don't answer questions with a question. You made the claims about AMERICA magazine and broad claims about the pro-Life movements so you are the one to defend the claims.

I'll ask you what I ask all those self-identified with the pro-Life movement: what are you doing to stop abortion? A march? May a pro-Life Mass or donation to a politician or some fund? Thirty years on from the ROE decision, and the 750,000 p.s. figure you cite, that doesn't seem like much.

Gerald McGrane | 12/20/2012 - 12:44am

I'll give gun control serious consideration when Catholic Democrats start standing up to the Party on abortion. Until that happens any argument made from a pro-life stance by Democrats is empty.

Fr. Martin, I am sorry. You may be religious rather than political, but the obvious political leaning of America damages the credibility of your statements.

I will admit I have been asking lately, "Are we simply too broken for guns?" Most of us are not, but as long as some of us are, and a long as those few are going to use guns with such tragic ends then we need to at least have the discussion.

The middle ground would seem to be not to ban certain weapons, but to take a closer look at who has access. Background checks are actually ineffective in recent tragedies. Perhaps we need mental health screenings and mandatory safety courses in order to purchase certain weapons.

The discussion needs to happen, but if this magazine is going to argue for greater gun control from a pro-life point of view, then it also needs to call on its left-leaning readers to stand up for the unborn in the Democratic party.

James McParland | 12/20/2012 - 11:43am

Mr. McGrane is right: It is hard to take seriously a Catholic magazine which tells its readers to support gun control legislation as a "pro-life issue" while it remains virtually silent about the Democratic Party's zealous pro-abortion agenda.

It is also curious to claim, as Fr. Martin does, that numbers don't matter when it comes to prioritizing pro-life issues (i.e., , abortion versus guns). Every life is valuable, so the massacre of a few dozen victims by deranged gunmen demands the same response as the systematic, willful destruction of 750,000 lives per year by abortion? Huh? That is a non-sequitur. I can agree that every life is valuable. That is why the destruction of 40 MILLION lives under Roe v Wade is a more pressing issue than the tragic shooting of a few hundred or a few thousand unfortunate murder victims by mentally ill gunmen. When it comes to "social justice," issues, numbers seem to be all important, as Fr. Martin likes to point out. But numbers are suddenly deemed irrelevant when anti-abortion activists use them to justify their priorities? That's an interesting mental slight of hand.

Yes, we need discussion and action to try to prevent New Town tragedies. But that need pales in comparison to the monstrous evil of abortion in this country, By failing to stand up to the abortion party, America magazine has lost much of its credibility as a Catholic publication.

Vince Killoran | 12/20/2012 - 7:58am

Let me see if I have this correct: you'll address a serious moral issue only if some Catholic magazine takes your exact view of another serious moral issue?

Wow. That fails on so many levels.

Greta Green | 12/19/2012 - 12:20am

Schools are gun free zones by law and we have turned the schools into lock down safety zones. Despite laws, we still have these situations. States with very restrictive gun laws have higher incidents of gun violence than states with right to carry. Obama administration did not go after the violations of already existing gun laws at much lower rate than did W. Bush. Obama administration cut funding on school safety by over 200 million dollars last year. Obama administration had their justice and ATF departments putting guns on the street which resulted in gun deaths in a horrible sting gone bad. 30,000 gun deaths had over 17,000 of them as suicides. Who does not believe someone trying to kill themselves will find another way. of the 13,000 homicides, how many would have found another way to kill if gun was not readily available. Of those with guns, many were by those who were released from jail for other crimes. If we have more gun laws and do not enforce them and keep the people in jails and out of society, why bother other than to create problems for law abiding citizens? Why not pass a law that says the use of a gun in a crime or the possession of a gun by someone not legally able is now a federal crime and it means life in prison? This seems like a good start.

Vince Killoran | 12/19/2012 - 7:51am

Greta Green claims that "States with very restrictive gun laws have higher incidents of gun violence than states with right to carry."

According to the University of Pennsylvania's Firearm & Injury Center, however, states that have the highest gun ownership and loosest gun laws also often have the highest rates of gun death. Their "resource book" ( addresses the other myths the gun lobby churns out.

James McParland | 12/18/2012 - 3:58pm

(1) Whenever a person advocates for or against changes in our laws and public policies, one is by definition taking a political position. Advocating for political change is not made "non-political" merely because one claims to be inspired by religion. It is disengenuous to call such positions "non-political." (2) Automobiles kill thousands of people in the U.S., but we don't see America Magazine publishing columns calling for stricter controls on cars, or chiding people in the Pro-Life movement for failing to taking up that cause. Why not? According to this column, it is "not a matter of numbers" and "every single life is sacred." Yet, you have nothing whatever to say about cars, knives, bats, swords, or any other objects that are regularly used to kill people! Could it be that gun control just happens to be a pet political issue for the political left ? And so, what does this tell us about the columnist's allegedly "non-political" views or his supposed "consistent" approach to valuing the sanctity of life? (3) Is mass murder by deranged gunmen an intolerable evil? Of course. There is an intellectually honest, democratic and politically legitimate way for gun control advocates to address the Constitutional roadblock: i.e., persuade our citizenry that that the Second Amendment no longer adequately serves the needs of modern society and needs to be changed through a constitutional amendment.

Vince Killoran | 12/18/2012 - 4:21pm

Gun control is a "pet project" for the political left? I didn't know that.

As for the cars=guns argument, we do have "automobile control"--they are much more regulated than guns in the USA. Actually, we shouldn't be driving for a number of reasons, mostly having to do with the environmental damage of cars but automobile travel serves compelling societal and individual interests. Assault weapons do not.

James McParland | 12/18/2012 - 5:01pm

Vince Killoran: I didn't say "cars = guns." I wrote, accurately, that cars kill thousands of people. E.J. Dionne and James Martin, S.J., do not write columns criticizing the "car lobby" or telling members of the anti-abortion movement that they are essentially hypocrites if they don't support the elimination of cars. The value of gun ownership is debatable. And, as I understand it, the shooter in New Town, CT, did not use an assault weapon.

Stanley Kopacz | 12/18/2012 - 7:38pm

As far as I understand he fired a Bushmaster AR-15. Your criticism of Fr.Martin and America is lame. 20 kids were just executed one by one, with the others watching bullets penetrating their friends before it was their turn. We are, well, most of us, are reacting in an appropriate manner to this tragedy. So is America Magazine. As for cars, they should be phased out as they are an impractical and ecologically destructive technology. It also makes people nasty. If you go through America's archives, you may very well find criticism of the automobile. But stop trying to change the subject.

Vince Killoran | 12/18/2012 - 7:35pm

You made the argument that case that the banning of guns was the same as banning cars. Please re-read my previous comment. You've made a fallacy of false equivalency.

p.s. Please review the information on the three guns used. The Bushmaster is identified as a .223-caliber assault rifle (designed for military and police use with a 30-round magazine).

Thomas Rooney OFS | 12/18/2012 - 4:39pm

I for one would welcome firearms ownder control based on the model of owning and driving a car. Written test and practical exam before one can legally use the instrument. Registration. Regular license updates. Mandatory insurance. All enforced vigorously.

Can any 2nd Amendment purist tell me how this infringes on your rights? Do you believe that regularly testing, registering, licensing, and insuring the use of firearms in the same fashion as we do the use of automobiles is "too much government interference", or does not address to most common sense public safety standards???

And I must agree with Vince. The primary function of an assault weapon is to cause harm or to threaten harm...come on, it's right in the name of the object!!! Cars, baseball bats, axes, fountain pens, etc. can all be used as weapons, but it ain't what they're built for.

Virginia Moyer | 12/18/2012 - 2:57pm

Thank you for this

I’m a teacher, and the mother of a kindergartener, so this tragedy hits home on multiple levels. I want to thank Fr. Martin for this piece, which I’m sharing widely.

To all those who think that arming teachers and administrators is the answer, I can only clutch my head in frustration and amazement. I teach at a high school with about eighty classrooms. Are these people proposing a gun in each classroom? Eighty guns on a campus – that is supposed to make us more safe? It’s only a matter of time before a student gets hold of one, and accidentally (or, God forbid, intentionally) harms or kills someone. Imagine the tragedy if a student whom a teacher doesn’t know slinks up to a classroom and the teacher gets freaked out and fires. And what about when I am out sick? Should the substitute have access to the weapon in my absence? And though my credential training was rigorous, it did not include firearms training along with information about ESL and adolescent psychology. Are teachers then supposed to go through the kind of training received by the military and law enforcement officials? Because if we have that added responsibility, we should get a heck of a lot more pay than we do now (we should anyway, but that’s a separate topic).

The whole suggestion is ludicrous, on every level. We need stronger gun control. And this is not politicizing a tragedy, and it’s not a knee-jerk response to what happened last Friday. I can trace my pro-gun-control stance back to being eight years old and seeing news reports of the attempted assassination of President Regan. That leaves an impression. And I feel a personal responsibility to those sweet children and their heroic teachers to do whatever I can to be a part of the solution.

John Loeffler | 12/20/2012 - 12:02pm

It worked very successfully in Israel when their schools were being constantly attacked by terrorists.

Lynn Breaux | 12/18/2012 - 6:52am

You can't defend life in a public school if you don't have anything to defend it with. Chicago and Washington DC have some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the world (and have had for some time) and also have some of the highest gun-related crime rates. By your reasoning, good Catholic policeman should give up their guns and not use deadly force to bring down a bank robber who is killing bank employees. Faulty reasoning. By comparison, a shooting rampage in Mississippi was stopped when an assistant principal retrieved his handgun from his car and confronted the shooter, who was planning to shoot many more people. What needs to happen is that good Catholics need to stop voting for the liberals who want the government to control every aspect of our lives while promoting behavior that is directly opposed to Catholic teaching.

The liberals tell you it's okay to have sex with as many people of either sex as you want and that we, the taxpayers should pay for your contraceptives. They teach that no one's actions should be judged, not only by other people's actions, but by any One Truth. They teach that you shouldn't have to do anything so menial as work to receive food and shelter and cell phones and flat-screen tv's. Still, Catholics vote them into office. So they produce a kid who's been told all of his life that he should be able to do whatever he feels like he wants to do. And that kid is a miserable kid because God put in each of us the desire to be one of His own, which requires following His rules which in turn requires discipline. So the kid is a ticking time bomb, and eventually the bomb goes off.

And now, since the moral depletion of many of our young people is almost complete, you want to go one step further and let the ticking time bomb kill as many as he wants without those innocent children having the benefit of armed protectors. Look at actual facts. GUN LAWS DO NOT KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS. Chicago and Washington DC are only a couple of many examples of that.

You just keep your head in the sand, and keep telling Catholics that it's not a mortal sin to vote for the people who have created this environment. I wouldn't want to have to look Jesus in the eye when my time comes and try to justify that.

P Welch | 12/28/2012 - 10:27pm

I didn't expect to read Fox talking points here. Colombine had an armed police man.We are not talking liber v. conservative here so omit those snarky comments about liberals and sex, etc. When you generalize about Liberals you display a lack of thought.

Jim McCrea | 12/18/2012 - 8:19pm

If we mandatorily arm everybody then we will be 100% safe. Right?

Vince Killoran | 12/18/2012 - 12:09pm

Teachers packing heat?! Why stop at schools? Why not make it mandatory that clergy, mall employees, postal workers strap on a weapon? My favorite suggestion was the one made in the aftermath of the Colorado movie theater shooting: movie goers, the argument went, should have all had guns to respond to the maniac. Can you imagine a darkened theater with shots going off in all directions? More mayhem and death.

As the debate over gun control is renewed in coming weeks there will be plenty of misinformation recycled from the gun crowd. One of the most persistent is that Australia's crime rate soared with control measures. It's not true, but the internet is filled with the myth. See the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center's research findings setting the record straight (

Stanley Kopacz | 12/18/2012 - 9:26am

One actual fact is that, since Australia banned semiautomatic weapons, and bought them from the gun owners, there have been no mass killings. To say that isolated cities that ban guns are ineffective is only to attest to the fact that they are islands in a sea of automatic weapons. Another problem is disparity in wealth in the US, with so many people in various levels of economic stress. If this were not the case, gun deaths might decrease just due to the improved overall mental health.

James Martin | 12/18/2012 - 9:19am

Dear Ms. Breaux:  

Gun control laws do not mean that the police won't be able to carry guns. 

James Martin, SJ



Stanley Kopacz | 12/17/2012 - 1:24pm

Incidents like this make people question the existence of God. We should, all of us, at least be moved to question the present status of gun regulation. I am speaking as a gun owner.

Greta Green | 12/19/2012 - 12:11am

Since God is banned from our public schools, not sure why someone should question where God was in school shooting.

Olivia Cook | 12/20/2012 - 8:43am

God was present in that school that day.

God was watching all, and making a place at His table for twenty holy innocents without spot, and six courageous warrior saints who tried to protect them.

God was waiting to extend his mercy to one terribly damaged young man and to his mother.

Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Robert Burke | 12/19/2012 - 7:34am

This is a factual error. What is banned in the schools is mandatory prayer organized by a public entity, namely the school district or state or federal government. There is prayer all the time in the schools, only done by individuals. Imagine the hue and cry from hard-right fundamentalists if the school district, offering individual students the chance to offer a daily prayer during the school announcements over p.a. or closed-circuit television, had a student say, "Today our prayer comes directly from the Bible: Hail Mary, full of grace ..."

Further, unless the new catechism says otherwise, God is everywhere, including places where there is no organized public prayer. Claims about the absence of God having some effect in this horrible event are stuff and nonsense.