Carrying A Gun...

Hi,

New here with a question about firearms. Is there any teaching about Catholics carrying guns? Specifically concealed carry permits?

I am a private citizen and while I am just getting the permit to be covered more legally for transporting and possessing guns. I travel interstate and most states recognize each others. There are exceptions but the states I will frequent have a reciprocity agreement. This way I do not have to concern myself with each states basic citizens laws. That’s it in a nut shell.

More may be revealed if the thread grows legs but I am curious if any others here are CCW.

Thanks,

El Paso
with a lower case “a”

Hi. I haven’t run across any specific Catholic teaching on gun carrying.

I own several guns, 2 hand guns and a shotgun. I used to use the hand guns to keep my practice up, as I was in the Marine reserves at the time.

I think maybe some principles could be worked through.

What’s your intention to carry? Have you made the carry of it part of your prayer with God, going over your reasons, concerns, with Him.
How can you minimize unnecessary angst among your family and friends (minimize fascination) with it
How much care do you put into practice with it, weapons handling, in the unfortunate case that you had to use it.
How to talk with your friends about the subject if it comes up, helping them use their intellect to think about such matters.

So I think if we carry guns as Catholics…we should do it very well, with the proper tone, sober approach, with utmost professionalism. Quietly, calmly (no sounding the alarm disproportionate to the real threat).

Taking care of the gun well. Keeping it very safe. Maybe learning about weapons, and licenses and handling so that if other folks have the same need, you can help them very well as a service to their or their families safety.

Check the Catechism, sections 2263-2267, and 2319-2321. For self-defense and the defense of other innocent human life, it is entirely permissible. Under this same section, Catholics may morally be armed police officers, bodyguards, security, business owner/employee or simply a head of household.

Yes!

This is what I was getting at; having to answer hard questions and very much rely upon Gods guidance! More than usual it seems as I often get taken away with the trivial aspects of life.

I have taken care of the safety issue; live alone no little ones but guns are locked up solid.

But yes….it is forcing me into a more pacifist mode as if I wasn’t already! I don’t seek confrontation and can’t recall an instance when I wish I had a gun.

Thanks,

El Paso

This is something to ponder soberly before entering into. Contact your local police or a larger gun shop and inquire about training classes. In addition to safety and proficiency, many classes will also address the psychological and potential legal issues involved. I view concealed carry as I do any other form of insurance - hoping and praying never to need it.

There is nothing wrong in Canon law against carry a weapon. The apostles all carried swords. However, you need to consult a lawyer that is familiar with each states guns laws and federal gun laws. It is very easy to run a foul of gun laws when going from state to state.

"What’s your intention to carry? Have you made the carry of it part of your prayer with God, going over your reasons, concerns, with Him.
How can you minimize unnecessary angst among your family and friends (minimize fascination) with it
How much care do you put into practice with it, weapons handling, in the unfortunate case that you had to use it.
How to talk with your friends about the subject if it comes up, helping them use their intellect to think about such matters.

So I think if we carry guns as Catholics…we should do it very well, with the proper tone, sober approach, with utmost professionalism. Quietly, calmly (no sounding the alarm disproportionate to the real threat).

Taking care of the gun well. Keeping it very safe. Maybe learning about weapons, and licenses and handling so that if other folks have the same need, you can help them very well as a service to their or their families safety.

This is a wise post from an obvious professional.
In Australia we cannot carry guns as ownership by private citizens, except within the confines of a gun club, is illegal.
I understand the importance of gun ownership within the American Zeitgeist, so I don’t want to make issue with this right to bear arms under your constitution.
However, the right has to be found in the purpose you personally have in carrying a gun , its proper storage and its ammunition, and the respect shown within your family of these concomitant responsibilities. God bless and pray you never need to use it.

I have a carry permit and so I carry. One afternoon my nephew asked me to come to his college apartment when I got off work. I went knowing it would be dark when I left and the apartments are in what we refer to as crack city so I put my S&W .38 Special in my purse. When I left his apartment it was in my hand in my coat pocket. I do not wish to be prey.

  • … if there is no law commanding or prohibiting something for everybody, many actions which are evil in one man will not be evil in others. For example, if there be no law prohibiting the carrying of weapons, the carrying of weapons will be evil for him who is easily provoked to anger, and who has enemies whom he desires to kill; but it will not be evil for a peaceable man, who only desires to defend himself; yet, if the law forbids it, then it is evil for all, for the law should not consider what is good or evil for this one or that one, but what will profit or harm the State. *(St. Robert Bellarmine, de Laicis, ch 11)
    Ender

Thanks you all for your thoughtful replies.

Yes it is a serious matter. I have been paying attention to my reactions in situations the past few weeks and just the idea of it has made me…I don’t know…feel more part of…

It is a strange spiritual place I have been put as I consider this step.

I will try to remember to post back withe my progress.

EP

There is a book which might help:" “In The Gravest Extreme” by Massad Ayoob. He has written of and taught personal defense issues to police and civilians for decades now.

A bit off-topic, but I would encourage you to reconsider carrying your gun in your purse. I realize that coming up with a comfortable method of on-body carry can be harder for women, but if a thief grabs your purse, he would have your gun too.

Just to be clear on this point, the CCC sections on legitimate defense and just war could only be used by Americans to justify private citizens carrying concealed weapons as there is no specific reference to the rights of private citizens there.

In Australia, Catholics by dint of law (and some say reason), view guns in the context of war, sport and rural necessity only. Private guns for self defense would constitute ‘peace keeping’ at best however in that context the Catechism says…

2315 *The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;111 it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation. *

If the church has not proscribed something then there is no moral objection to it, although if something is banned by a particular nation the citizens of that nation are morally bound by their laws. In this case the church does not forbid private citizens from carrying weapons, and the laws of individual nations are irrelevant to the moral question.

Ender

Do you have a firearm for an immoral reason?
Have you taken the necessary steps to limit any danger you having the firearm would present (such as a safety class, understand when it is moral to use one)?

If your answers are no and yes, I don’t see how simply having the firearm violates anything the Church teaches.

How is this quote relevant here? This seems to me to be talking about arms control at the state level. No one is spending enormous sums to acquire a handgun for personal defense.

The Church does proscribe the excessive use of force in self defense though. We are talking about the purpose of a weapon, not the weapon itself as the subject of this law. Guns are a part of civil society as tools of national and civil defense and for sporting and farming purposes. Those purposes have a natural law basis. They serve the common good without need of justification and the purposes are inherently good.

Privately owned guns *for the purpose of self defense *of an individual and his family are morally debateable because of the Church prohibition on the excess of force in defending oneself.

“If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful.”

An individual may not be morally culpable if owning a weapon for self defense is civilly lawful and he mistakenly believes it to be a divine ‘right’ protected from moral examination, but a law itself has to be morally accountable in relation to the common good which it serves. Therein lies the moral dilemma. Do privately owned guns for self defense constitute an excessive use of force (considering that most other countries believe so) and do their presence do more harm than good to the peace and security of the community.

CCC

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor… the one is intended, the other is not."65

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore 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:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful… Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life. Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. To this end, those holding legitimate authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their charge.66

It was to give context to the errors that can arise in the defense mentality that make them excessive measures. When you consider the private gun ownership rates in the US constitute 88% of the worlds private gun ownership rates, that means an awful lot of guns serving the defense needs of Americans. Do they aggravate the causes of violence? Do they ensure peace and better safety? Do they thwart the development of peoples? Do they increase the danger of escalation of violence?

These questions that apply to the arms stockpiling, ask universal questions about the business of defense and peace keeping at all levels.

I think it is good to remember that pacifism and complete submission to attackers was the practice of many early Christians, and that Christ himself did not raise his hand to those who striked him during his passion.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.