Poll: Religious groups divided on gun control, but united against guns in churches

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RNS photo courtesy iStockPhoto

RNS photo courtesy iStockPhoto

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WASHINGTON (RNS) A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Service finds that Americans are generally divided about gun control, but certain religious groups are far from ambivalent. By Lauren Markoe.

  • Tom Connolly

    As a former paramedic in the South Bronx of NYC, I find it hard to understand the notion that Catholics (of which I am one) would NOT want a legal gun carrier in the church. We have had evil men enter houses of worship & shoot people, and those churches that had legal carriers stopped the violence before too many were hurt or killed. To me it is a simple notion, as a concealed carry gun owner, I carry my weapon, even in church, as a means to protect my fellow man; women & children most importantly. I will go to the violence, so others may flee. How is that a bas thing?

  • Triptyx

    Alright, so you ban guns from your church. What are you going to do when someone bent on harming your parishioners ignores your rule, walks in with a gun, and starts shooting?

  • Abigail

    Why are mainline Protestants not referenced? We may not be as large a percentage of the population as Evangelicals, but we are not a tiny group either. Is it just easier (lazier) to create a binary of Catholic-Evangelical? Many mainline Protestants supporter greater gun control.

  • Abigail

    That is, we receive a mention but as an afterthought. I’m getting tired of being an afterthought when I belong to a major U.S. Christian denomination.

  • Doug huffman

    Catholics, were you not taught to revere Saint Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows equally, or only the approved canon of Saints? http://www.gunsaint.com/

  • Lauren Markoe

    Hi Abigail, Thanks for your comment. The story focuses more on Catholics and evangelicals because this study shows that their attitudes on gun control are far less ambivalent than Americans’ attitudes in general. They get more ink not because of their size or creed, but because their answers to these particular poll questions are more remarkable.

  • Stranger

    Beginning with the fact that violent crime rates in “gun free Europe” are up to six times higher than the US’s piddling 400 per 100,000: Continuing to the fact that guns are not the problem but active killers are; Why would any sane person NOT want at least a few armed people in the congregation?

    Particularly in light of the fact that at the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples – and by extension His followers – “He said to them, “From this hour, whoever has a money bag should take it and thus also a wallet, and whoever lacks a sword, let him sell his tunic and buy a sword for himself.” Luke 22:36 quoted from the Aramaic Bible.

    Swords have become passe since Sam Colt made the least slip of a girl the equal of the biggest, meanest criminal on the street. But Americans have purchased more than 150 million guns since 1992 – and our violent crime rates are half of what they were then. More guns mean less crime. As Europe’s enormous violent crime rate demonstrates.


  • John

    Im amazed that a Jesuit priest would say him control is good. Jesuits tend to be well educated but I’m confused at such a dangerous statement. Gun control doesn’t stop criminals from hurting people that’s why Their calle criminals they don’t obey laws. Guns will always be available and if not bombs or worse will be used. More people die from DUI shoul we ban cars ? The gun is a inapte object it does neither bad or good it’s the person who does it. Guns protect millins of innocent people from being murdered by crazy criminals , rapist , child abductees. Look at the world look at the Christians in countries where they have no guns their being murdered by the dozens and look at the dictator governments they control te people because they have no power to fight back. The leader of Korea I think asked why not invade the united states and he said because “behind every blade of grass is an American with a gun” as human being we are obligated to protect our lives and our family And that’s a doctrine of te church.

  • revgregory

    In response to ‘Stranger’s’ comments:
    I loved the selective reading of Luke 22:35-38 to equate that scripture says that christians should arm themselves. JC says that the ‘two swords’ that were at hand were enough to fulfill the scriptures that he would be called ‘lawless’. In other words, they were props to fulfill scripture (if one believes that he actually said such a thing). It is essential to understand that Jesus NEVER intended that they would be used. When a disciple tries to use one to defend him, Jesus removes the sword from the hands of all disciples when he cries “no more of this” (:50-51). Turtullian wrote c. 200 CE, “When Jesus disarmed Peter in the garden, he disarmed all Christians.” This was the way of the faith before the time of Constantine. Oh to recover that.