October 30, 2015

Be Our Guest / Mark Gasper

Reader: We cannot ban guns in a vain attempt to rid the world of evil

I am disheartened to read letters which, while heartfelt by the writers, are off-topic for The Criterion, are devoid of facts, and which do not engender a Catholic Christian viewpoint. The letter in the Oct. 23 edition is a prime example.

The author decries our God-given freedoms articulated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment. I am not a gun owner, have never held a gun in my hands, am not a member of any lobbying or trade organization representing guns or owners or manufacturers.

The author in the letter argues that no one should own guns because there is no 21st-century need, and no “well-regulated militia” basis for ownership.

However, the author ignores the context of that phrase when used at the time our Constitution was written more than 200 years ago. According to Constitution.org: “The phrase ‘well-regulated’ was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the Second Amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.”

As for deaths by gunfire, specifically homicides, a simple look at deaths per capita (that is, per 100,000 population) shows that in 2013, there were 3.55 homicides in the U.S.A. per capita (source: GunPolicy.org). In comparison, there were 10.345 auto fatalities in the U.S.A. per capita that same year (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

What does this mean? There were three times as many deaths by auto than by guns used in a homicide. Three times as many.

Is the author advocating the ban of all cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s? Based on his contentions, if something is 300 percent more dangerous than a gun, then it should be.

Guns don’t kill people. Cars don’t kill people. People kill people, sometimes by accident and sometimes with intent. Evil exists, and all Catholic Christians should acknowledge this. The devil is real, evil is real—and we cannot ban guns or cars in a vain attempt to rid the world of evil.

Let’s be civil and fact-based in our efforts to make our viewpoints known.

(Mark Gasper is a member of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.)

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