While many observers watch in horror the continuing onslaught by terrorists from the Islamic State, formerly an al-Qaida offshoot, in Iraq, and the killing of non-Muslims including Christians, the leaders of Christianity's largest denomination -- the Roman Catholic Church -- continue to advocate international gun control to prevent the arming of civilians.
The Pope's and the Vatican hierarchy's position on gun control and private gun ownership is quite clear: the Pope, Catholic Cardinals, and Bishops in The United States believe firearms in the hands of civilians should be strictly limited and eventually completely eliminated, according to a news report.
However, according to news reports, you'd be hardpressed to find that opinion by religious leaders in a newspaper headline. It’s practically hidden in a footnote in a document on crime by the U.S. bishops’ conference and it’s briefly discussed in some Vatican position papers on the overall global arms trade.
"Gun-grabbing policies promoted by Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officials endanger victims of violent crime and terrorism," gun rights expert John M. Snyder said on Tuesday. "Such policies should be renounced and reversed."
Snyder, who also serves on the advisory board of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and is a former editor for NRA magazines, believes that "[given] the reality of the world in which we live, Vatican support for small arms trade limitation is unrealistic, to say the least." Snyder argues that terrorists and insurgents hell-bent on killing Catholics would not obey gun laws. However, limitations on access to firearms would affect adversely the victims' ability to get the weapons necessary to defend their families, homes and property.
The almost daily news reports of murderous Islamist terrorist attacks on Catholics and other Christians especially in the Middle East proves that these victims -- and potential victims -- of terrorism need considerable firepower in order to protect themselves from terrorist attacks, according to firearms experts, some of whom have trained or educated police and security officers.
Snyder said, "The real effect of the Vatican policy is to undermine the victim's right to self-defense and strengthen the position of those who persecute Catholics. The Vatican should back away from this misguided policy. Instead, it should encourage the arming of the innocent for self-defense."
He also has a message for the Catholic leaders in the U.S. as well as the Vatican: "There is a moral obligation to fight evil. 'The man without a sword must sell his coat and buy one,' said Jesus Christ (Luke: 22:36)."
Snyder also cautioned that: "Here in the United States, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence, and others have warned that terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) likely will come to our shores and attempt to replicate their brand of Middle East terrorism here in America."
"USCCB officials should deep-six the organization's gun-grabbing policy. It should replace it with support for the right to keep and bear arms in order to defend life and the right to life," Snyder added.