One of the major reasons why people own firearms is self defense. The Supreme Court has held that this is one of the core reasons for the 2nd Amendment. Yet, if one listens to the mainstream media, one wold think that all religious figures are opposed both to the ownership of firearms and the use of deadly force in the defense of self and others. In reality, many religious figures have spoken in support of self defense and the right to keep and bear arms. Consider these quotes:
“If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed;" Law of Moses Exodus 22:2-3 (NIV)
"He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Jesus Christ, Luke 22:36 (NIV)
"Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men."
- St. Augustine
"Without doubt one is allowed to resist against the unjust aggressor to one's life, one's goods or one's physical integrity; sometimes, even 'til the aggressor’s death.... In fact, this act is aimed at preserving one’s life or one’s goods and to make the aggressor powerless. Thus, it is a good act, which is the right of the victim."
- Thomas Aquinas
It is written [in the Taoist classic "Dao De Jing"] that weapons of war are ill-omened, and he who follows the Way of Heaven shuns their use, save when necessary. But those who take up arms when this is necessary, are also following the Way of Heaven. If you ask me why this is so, I reply that flowers and greenery bloom among the spring breezes, but they wither and fall in the frosts of autumn.
—Yagyû Munenori, sword instructor and Buddhist scholar
“If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - The Dalai Lama
Gun control is “a long-term assault on your Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.” Richard Land, then the chief public policy spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention
"….legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the state. Unfortunately, it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life.” Pope St. John Paul Evangelium Vitae
"There is one principle which is eternal; it is the duty of all men to protect their lives and the lives of the household, whenever necessity requires, and no power has a right to forbid it, should the last extreme arrive, but I anticipate no such extreme, but caution is the parent of safety." - Joseph Smith (HC 6:605.)
“Violence exercised merely in self-defense, all societies, from the most primitive to the most cultured and civilized, accept as moral and legal. The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi.” - Rev./Dr. Martin Luther King
(It should also be noted that Rev.King applied for a carry permit under a Southern "may issue" system and was turned down because he was black.)
Those of us among the clergy who take a stand in favor of the 2nd Amendment and the right of self defense are in good company. Many people who advocate the disarmament of the American public might be shocked to discover that many people they admire disagree!