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Such is the title of a novel by Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms." Civilians in our country could very well say goodbye to all weapons that do not have a strictly defensive purpose, such as small caliber pistols. Possession of small arms would only be justified in the hands of those at risk of becoming victims of robberies, such as jewelry store owners.

So-called assault rifles would be absolutely reserved for the military. In no way should non-military personnel be allowed to possess these automatic weapons that fire so many bullets per minute.

The fallacies spread by members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) should be outright rejected. They say that guns do not kill, only those who pull the triggers. But if such deadly weapons were not in private hands, no one would pull such triggers.

Another mendacious catchphrase from members of this pro-gun association is that if military-style weapons were made illegal, only illegals would own them. There is no logic to this reasoning. If anyone who possesses them goes to jail, both those who have criminal intentions and those who do not have them will go to jail.

It is not enough to investigate the background of those who aspire to buy guns. Some people only suggest not to sell guns to those with mental health problems. Unfortunately, there are very sane people, without psychic illnesses, who harbor homicidal hatreds in their hearts and are willing to vent their moral malice by perpetrating the slaughter of innocents.

Here we come to something that is not usually taken into account. There is a widespread belief that those who commit crimes are just mentally ill. This suppresses the moral responsibility of humans. The moral conscience within each person acts to encourage good and curb evil. Sadly, there are those who disregard the voice of conscience and freely choose to do evil. Deliberately procured evil is called sin, according to Christian theology.

Gun control is equally insufficient to prevent homicidal violence. Education must become an important part as well. This begins at home, the indispensable nursery of human values; then schools and churches should also instill these values around the main one of all: love for our neighbor. This is done most effectively when values are given a theological basis, because "God is love" (1Jn 4:8-16).

This blog was first published as a column in the February 2024 edition of La Voz Católica.

Comments from readers

John Ritter - 02/21/2024 04:34 PM
Fr. Barrios, I am writing to express my deep disgust regarding the content of your recent blog post on the topic of arms. While I acknowledge your commitment to advocating for peace, I must point out that your post contained glaring inaccuracies and displayed a clear bias towards a particular political ideology. While it is undeniable that the misuse of arms has led to countless tragedies and conflicts throughout history, it is also important to acknowledge that responsible and regulated use of arms can serve as a deterrent against aggression and protect the innocent. In many cases, armed militia have been instrumental in safeguarding communities and upholding justice in the face of tyranny and oppression. Moreover, the right to self-defense is a fundamental human right that should not be discounted. In certain circumstances, individuals may find themselves in situations where they need to defend themselves or their loved ones from imminent harm. In such cases, having access to arms can mean the difference between life and death. It is unacceptable to present misinformation and politically charged rhetoric as fact, especially on a platform that reaches a wide audience. By doing so, you risk misleading and misinforming readers, ultimately undermining the credibility of your message and the integrity of your platform. I urge you to immediately rectify the inaccuracies in your post and refrain from injecting political bias into your content in the future. It is imperative that we uphold the principles of honesty, integrity, and objectivity in all forms of communication, particularly when addressing sensitive and complex issues such as arms. Failure to address these concerns promptly will not only damage your reputation as a credible source of information but also that of the Archdiocese of Miami as a whole. I implore you to take corrective action without delay and demonstrate your commitment to responsible and ethical discourse.
Pedro Delgado - 02/21/2024 10:35 AM
This article is full of incorrect statements being pushed by the left as facts. I find it shameful that a religious leader is not looking to address the root cause of what is ailing our country which is the removal of God from our society. When was the last time you saw a gun running around shooting? it take a human to pull the trigger. Otherwise lets ban cars because of DUI, Lets ban knives because of stabbing's. Keep focus on the real issue as evil will find a way to accomplish what it wants despite your effort to unarm civilians. Our only hope is a return to God in the hearts of all mankind.
Gustavo - 02/20/2024 10:42 PM
While I’m no fan of guns, the idea that only the military or Government can have access to firearms is laughable. As others have pointed out, the military, with the full backing of the Government, has killed more people than any gang banger could dream of. Think about it: do you think a Government that is pro-abortion and pro-sodomy cares about life.?
Brian Turner - 02/20/2024 07:08 PM
Fr. Barrios, First of all, it would seem you should be addressing social media and influencers that corrupt the minds of many of our youth. Mental illness should be your target when it comes to the lack of access to mental Healthcare and treatment. Churches now, must hire law enforcement to be present during worship services. Assault rifles and any gun can fall into the hands of the mentally ill and demented. If I want to go to a gun range and fire an automatic rifle, I should have that right. What differentiates us form Cuba and Venezuela is that we will not give up the right to own assault rifles and have them when ready. Law enforcement and military are not readily available in cases of a shooter or mob when and if that time arises. We have also have seen heroins (gun owners) law abiding citizens prevent the killing of more innocent lives at public places when there is an active gunman firing into crowds. I know you are not suggesting guns, but you are offering gun control and this is not the solution. Father, you are specifically singling out assault rifles, not a good idea. If we so desire to keep a gun safe and purchase rifles to protect our homes, we have that sanctity. It all goes back to the collapse of the family. Morality. Thou shall not kill. Do not punish gun owners who are morally responsible for having arsenals and ammunition. Millions of Americans do believe in owning these weapons and are not going to create havoc and mass murders. It is that one person who has been subjected to unstable behavior and lifestyles that destroys lives and gets publicity. I would rather have an armed Christian be it assault rifle, and live in peace than to know we are subject to the criminality of the mentally immoral illnesses of a few lurking around the corner.
Giuliana Gage - 02/20/2024 01:27 PM
THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU father Eduardo In public High school in Italy we had teaching of religion one hour/month, optional. The teacher came from the seminary, where he taught phylosophy and theology. He constantly reminded us that we belonged to the aristotele/tomistic tradition. If I understood correctly, logic and morals were ingrained in our colture. I read some of the objections made by your catholic readers and I do not understand how they think. How many people are killed in the shootings ad how many are protected by the weapons? In most cases, when the police arrives, the shooters have already killed themselves.or they used up the bulletts, stopped for some reason and they can be killed by the police.
Valli Leone - 02/20/2024 08:14 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Father Eduardo, for this common sense article and for searing the consciences of all those who love semi-automatics, automatics or guns in general. This love affair with weapons is sickening to my soul. It is killing our children and people everywhere. Catholics, wake up! Do you really think that Jesus Christ, our Savior, would endorse our ownership and such misplaced dependence on weaponry such as this? No! The weapons of our warfare are spiritual. Read Ephesians 6. In my opinion, fear is driving our nation and our church; and fear is not from God. If we truly treasure the Word and the Eucharist, there is no justification for all of this gun nonsense. This controversy is a call to growth in holiness — not to the collection of guns which senselessly hurt and kill God‘s people. The only “arms” we should depend on are the arms of our Lord and the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things that are right and who reminds us of who and Whose we are. Again, Father Eduardo, I agree with every one of your well-written and thought-out points made in the article. Let’s not let the turkeys get us down! Let us not allow the NRA, weapons or money become our gods. We will soar with wings, as on eagles, when we start to do the right things. Jesus, we trust totally in you — not in armaments or weapons. With you, oh Lord, all things are possible! Amen. 🔆🕊🔆
FELIPE A SEDILES - 02/19/2024 06:12 PM
Entendido, la meta de todos nosotros, como cristianos, es un mundo sin violencia. Esta utopia, sin embargo, no es posible, antes de la segunda venida de Jesus. Hasta que esto no suceda, las calles estan llenas de predadores, de gentes malas, que no dudan en usar la violencia para obtener sus objetivos. Esta falta de asco a la violencia no es solamente con las armas de fuego. Un cuchillo de cocina o un bate de beisbol apagan vidas, igual que una cuerda electrica. Como le decia al principio, le entiendo: su diatriba pastoral es perfecta en su contexto. Me gustaria, sin embargo, que al igual que cuando usted escribe sobre temas religiosos, hace una investigacion, obtiene fuentes fidedignas y razona sus argumentos. Si estudia las estadisticas, la inmensa mayoria de los asesinatos por arma de fuego ocurren con armas cortas. El pensar que al prohibir las armas largas se van a minimizar las muertes a tiros es, en el menjor de los casos, ingenuo.
Carlos Rafael Bustamante - 02/19/2024 05:39 PM
Excelente mensaje querido Padre Barrios. Sería bueno que llegara a todos los representantes de la nación. Ellos tienen el poder para hacer el cambio, pero porqué no lo hacen? Solo Dios sabe lo que hay en sus conciencias. Bendiciones Carlos
Concerned Catholic - 02/19/2024 05:20 PM
This is a very bad take and understanding of Gun Control Issues. Guns are an extension of individual sovereignty. The right to bare arms doesn't exist in many Catholic dominant countries, i.e. South America. You can very plainly see that there is something perverse in this teaching which yields such catastrophic results for the common people. This is the same logic that made churches close down during the pandemic, effectively bending the knee to the false idol of Science and Safety.
Rafael María Calvo Forte - 02/19/2024 05:08 PM
Gracias, P. Barrios, mi esposa y yo tenemos el mismo punto de vista expuesto por usted respecto de las armas. La venta libre, la no aplicación de un test psicológico del cliente, la propuesta de comprar armas de asalto, son realmente , las causantes de tanta mortalidad en la pobkación.
JOE CARRINGTON - 02/19/2024 04:20 PM
YOU SIMPLY DON'T KNOW WHA YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT & SHOW A SEVERE DETATCHMENT FROM REALITY! I WULD NEED PAGES TO ADDRESS ALL YOUR ERRORS BUT WILL GIVE JUST A FEW: 1) THE GUNS YOU REFER TO ATE NOT "AUTOMATIC"! AT BEST THEY ARE "SEMI-AUTOMATIC" AS AUTOMATICS ARE ILEGAL! 2) YOU MENTION ONLY "DEFENSIVE" WEAPONS. IT IS THE "SITUATION" NOT THE WEAPON THAT DETERMINS DEFENSIVE OR AGRESSIVE. YOU THEN REFER TO ONLY SMALL CABIBUR "PISTOLS" FOR DEFENCE IN CASE OF A "JEWELERY STORE HOLDUP"! ACCORDING TO YOU, MUGGING VICTIMS, RAPE VICTIMS, VICTIMS OF HOME INVASION, CARJACK VICTIMS, VICTIMS OF RANDOM VIOLENCE, RACE RIMES, HATE CRIMES ETC WOULD ALL BE DEFENSLESS! YOU THEN REFER TO ONLY THE MILITARY HAVING "ASSAULT WEAPONS" FOR WHICH THERE IS NO SUCH CLASSIFICATION! YOU PRESUME THAT "THE MILITARY" ARE ALL HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY...TELL THAT TO THE JEWS, RUSSIANS AND COUNTLESS MILLIONS OF CIVILIANS THROUGHOUT WORLD HISTORY WHO HAVE BEEN MURDERED OR WORSE BY THEIR OWN "MILITARY"! YOU ALSO REJECT THE 2A THAT MADE NO DISTINCTION TO GIVE MILITARY SUPERIOR ARMS, BUT RATHER, MET PRESENT MILITARY WITH LIKE ARMS! A GREAT PICTORIAL IS OF JEWS BEING LOADED ONTO BOX CARS WITH THE CAPTION "ARMED PEOPLE DON'T GET ONTO BOXCARS WILLINGLY"! IT'S CLEAR YOU HAVEN'T COMPREGENDED ALL THE POSSIBILITIES AND LIGITIMATE USES OF ARMS OUR 2A OF OUR CONSTITUTION PROTECTS US FROM, ESPECIALLY TO TAKE DOWN A TYRANNICAL CORRUPT GOVERNMENT SUCH AS WE ARE DROWING IN TODAY! YOU ARE CERTAINLY MOST SUPERFICIAL AND UNINFORMED IN YOUR PRESENTATION! YIU NEED TO DIG MUCH DEEPER INTO ALL THE LIGITIMATE NEEDS AND SITUATIONS PEOPLE HAVE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES, PROTECT OUR COUNTRY, PROTECT FRIENDS, NEIGHBOR AND FAMILY AND THE VERY WISE AND THOUGHTFUL INSIGHTS OUR FOUNDING FATHERS SHOWED IN GIVING US THE 2A! JOE CARRINGTON

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