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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

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What Does the Church Teach About Owning Firearms for Self-Defense?

Question:

What does the Church teach about the private ownership of firearms by the civilian populace for the purpose of self-defense?

Answer:

The Church does not have a definitive teaching on the private ownership of firearms. However, the Church does support the right to possess firearms for the legitimate defense of the common good of the family.

Unfortunately, however, it is impossible to ban all kinds of small arms and light weapons. In a world marked by evil . . . the right of legitimate defense by means of arms exists. This right can become a serious duty for those who are responsible for the lives of others, for the common good of the family or of the civil community. This right alone can justify the possession or transfer of arms. (Holy See Delegation to the International Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all Its Aspects, July 11, 2001)

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