“Pro-lifers don’t carry guns. Ever.”

… That’s not my opinion, mind you. It’s a reader’s opinion, left for me in the comment section of this post.

Since I’ve encountered this statement before I thought I’d talk a little about what it means to be pro-life and what actively being pro-life looks like.

pro life

For context, here’s what I wrote.

“If someone told you that you were going to meet a complete and total stranger for coffee what would you do? You would be extra cautious, of course … meet in a public crowded place, and perhaps carry some type of weapon.”

The word “weapon” triggered this reply,

“… seriously, “If someone told you that you were going to meet a complete and total stranger for coffee what would you do? You would … perhaps carry some type of weapon.” – you cannot be serious! No wonder your country has so many pointless deaths. Pro-lifers don’t carry guns. Ever.”

I wasn’t specifically referring to guns, just a weapon in general for self defense like mace or a taser, but I am not opposed to women carrying a firearm on their person. So does that mean I a not pro-life? Or does that mean that she is anti-self defense?

If the only reason you’re opposed to guns is because they have the potential to kill couldn’t this be applied to, well, anything. Because in the right hands anything can be potentially lethal. A local real estate agent fought off a would-be rapist with a Montblanc pen. She won and walked away un-raped. My cooking is potentially lethal. As someone else noted a high heel shoe can be deadly.

If being pro-life means defending life, can I not defend my own?

Let’s say hypothetically I carry a gun but never load it and use it only to scare off would be attackers or muzzle thump them real good. Would I still be anti-life by default of gun ownership?

To be honest, I definitely would kill someone if they were trying to kill me or my son. If the only way to cease them from causing me or my son harm was to end their life then their life would end.

The Catholic Church isn’t opposed to self defense. It’s not opposed to the death penalty either per se– in the rare instance of public protection from an aggressor and where there are no other means available to keep the public safe (Legitimate Defense 2263-2267). So if I save my own life by killing an attacker does that mean I am not pro-life? Does that mean the Church isn’t pro-life?

Can a person who has taken a life call themselves pro-life?

I am going to say yes. Just look at the staunchly pro-life women of the “I Regret My Abortion” campaign from Silent No More. Women who have had abortions are some of the most powerful pro-life witnesses in the media right now.

If pro-lifers don’t carry guns. Ever. Does that mean that there are no pro-life military personnel or police officers?

Of course not.

I can understand the aversion people have to guns because they can be potentially more deadly than other types of “weapons.” I also appreciate the sentiment that all lives matter, even attackers lives matter. Wouldn’t that make a catchy hashtag?

Too often when people say they are pro-life they really just mean they are pro-baby. So it’s refreshing to see someone willing to extend their definition of pro-life beyond the pre-born.

To me being pro-life means feeding the homeless, not throwing your elderly parents in a nursing home just to be rid of them, not making the sick or disabled feel like they’re burdens and making euthanasia seem appealing to them. It means holding the door open for the mom whose hands are full of groceries and children. It means giving up your seat on public transit for the pregnant or elderly. It means not giving the evil eye to the parents of the rambunctious kid that won’t shut up. Being pro-life means treating everyone with dignity.

I fail to see how carrying a gun would negate that.

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