What does the Catechism say about gun control?


The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not speak directly to gun control, but urges respect for all human life.

Gun control has been a hotly debated issue in the United States for many years, with debate increasing in recent years.

Many look to the Catholic Church for guidance on this issue, and in particular to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

What does the Catechism say about gun control?

Unfortunately the Catechism says nothing about gun control, but it does contain many passages about the dignity of all human life and the fact that murder is a grave evil.

2319 All human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person was willed for himself in the image and likeness of the living and holy God.

2320 The murder of a human being is gravely contrary to the dignity of the person and to the holiness of the Creator.

The Catechism also explains what the Church means by “self-defense”.

2264 Self-love remains a fundamental principle of morality. It is therefore 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 deliver a mortal blow to his assailant.

This principle always refers to “defense”, defending one’s own life against an aggressor. The Catechism does not state whether or not this includes firearms, only that each person must be able to exercise self-defense.

What are the bishops saying about gun control?

Local bishops across the United States have repeatedly expressed concern over gun violence and support gun control measures.

The USCCB has always supported the reasonable regulation, sale and use of firearms. On June 3, the USCCB sent a letter to all members of Congress urging lawmakers to “unite in their humanity to stop the slaughter of life” and to advancing vital legislation to address gun violence.

Gun control will continue to be a hotly debated issue, and while the Church offers some basic principles, it will be up to Catholics to use their conscience and arrive at a reasonable solution that respects all human life, while implementing reforms that keep the greater community safe from gun violence.


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