A few last bullet points
First things first, I said this down below in the comments but I wanna make sure y’all see it:
Let me take this opportunity to apologize if I have hurt anybody’s feelings with my rather flippant tone (“Gun Nuts” “Jefferson worshippers”). I was being light-hearted as among friends, not contemptuous. But it didn’t come out that way and, I think, got the discussion off on a bad footing by making people feel belittled. Mea culpa. Please understand that I am voicing my own prudential judgment, not issuing a dogma and not rejecting the right of other people to have different opinions.
Second, I posted the catechism reference, not to say, “The Church sides with incrementalists (such as myself, if I was only honest enough to admit it) who seek to repeal the second amendment and leave helpless citizens naked before Leviathan” but to point out that the Church does not administer its unqualified blessing upon the Absolute Right to Bear Arms. More than one of my commenters have asserted something very much like this absolute right, saying things like “The right to life — all human life — is only secured through the right to bear arms — all arms”. The Catechism reference provides a bit of balance to a position like this. I don’t argue that “True Catholics support gun confiscation.” I do argue that Catholics can be True Americans and not endorse the Absolute Right to Bear Arms.
I continue to think that CCC 2316 is not so conveniently explained away as having nothing to do with domestic regulation of arms and the need to provide for the common good. In a post-9/11 world, the international juridical order and the domestic order and not so neatly distinguishable. It’s precisely here that I think the barrel fingerprinting technology, if reasonably workable, could be reasonably asserted as a Good Thing outweighing the Bad Thing of more gummint power. It deprives nobody of the right to own a gun. It doesn’t even inconvenience a buyer (beyond probably raising the price a bit to cover fingerprinting costs.) It simply makes it easier for the cops to know where a bullet used in a crime (or an act of terror) came from.
I’m still getting mixed signals on the technology itself. Some readers say “It won’t work in every instance”. Okay. Fine. Shall we get rid of all forensic technologies without a 100% success rate? Others insist that it will work so well that Big Brother will track us down and pin us like bugs to cards. I’m dubious. I think it will be reasonably useful in catching a certain percentage of dumb criminals (and lots of criminals are dumb, which is why they are criminals.)
Finally, let me reiterate that I don’t regard the second amendment as Sacred Scripture (which was one of my original points). It is a classic example of a human tradition. One of my readers (speaking for many others, judging by the comments boxes) says, “I think some worry that what you are doing is using Catholicism to justify ignoring the law.” No. I’m using Catholicism to take the measure of the law and to question whether the law is worth keeping in its present form. As long as it is the law, I believe it should be enforced. Obey Caesar when he promulgates law not directly repugnant to the law of God, is the basic Catholic position, and the 2nd Amendment is not repugnant to the law of God. But neither is it Holy Writ. It’s a prudential judgment which is not set in stone and which other prudential judgments may well impinge on. The Catechism gives us a clue (not a programme) for how that might play out in a post 9/11 world.
That’s pretty much all I have to say.