As a result of the many mass school shootings that have become commonplace within America, many are advocating for tightened gun control. While the response to gun violence and ownership is predictably left or right, many do not know what one prominent institution (the Catholic Church) has to say about it.
The Vatican, known for its strong stances on global warming and other prominent social issues in recent years, has yet to officially comment on calls for gun control. And given the well-known pro-life stance of the Catholic Church, it begs to question where exactly it stands on the issue.
To help comprehend what the Church believes in regard to gun control, I asked Mr. Schueler, theology teacher, what he believed the answer to be.
“I doubt there’s really a Magisterial document saying ‘no bump stocks, no assault rifles,'” Mr. Schueler said. “I guess it’s going to be more generic. Promoting justice and peace, but also promoting individual rights and liberties is a priority of the Church.”
We can argue that the Church does not need to take a stance on gun control because of the various countries it represents. America does have an affinity for its Second Amendment rights, though. As a result, a chief source for the Catholic view on gun control in America is none other than the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.
According to their website, the USCCB says they have supported a “number of reasonable measures” that includes “a total ban on assault rifles.” However, the USCCB does not stop there. They also call for other gun control, such as limiting the sale of “high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines,” laws that criminalize the trafficking of guns, background checks, handgun regulations, and child locks on guns. The USCCB goes deeper, encouraging “increased resources” and access to mental healthcare, which is often used as a factor in mass shooters’ decisions.
The USCCB offers insight into how the Catholic Church views gun control, as it has backing from the Vatican. However, the Vatican has yet to officially endorse any specific gun control laws in America.
The Catholic Church is not opposed to the Second Amendment, but it emphasizes a respect for life. If the Second Amendment interferes with life, then we, as Catholics, should take notice.
So while the Church does not adhere to a far right or far left stance on gun control, it encourages finding a balance between preserving life and preserving personal rights.
To find out more about the USCCB’s stance on gun control, see http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/criminal-justice-restorative-justice/backgrounder-on-gun-violence.cfm