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Asking the Clergy: What does your faith say about gun ownership? by Rev. Linda Anderson

Asking the Clergy: What does your faith say about gun ownership?

The Rev. Linda Anderson, Stony Brook Unitarian Universalist
The Rev. Linda Anderson, Stony Brook Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Photo Credit: Margaret Allen 

The Valentine’s Day shootings in Parkland, Florida, have forced Americans to re-examine issues such as interpretation of the Second Amendment and gun control. This week’s clergy discuss how the faithful should interpret gun rights within the bounds of their religious teachings. 
The Rev. Linda Anderson
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook

Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal faith with Protestant roots. Among its foundational principles today are an honoring of the individual’s search for truth and meaning, the right of individual conscience, and respect for the inherent worth of every person. These are among the principles guiding decisions on moral and life issues, including gun ownership. Therefore, Unitarian Universalism would leave decisions about gun ownership up to the individual. Where we would have something to say would be in the arena of the responsibilities of such ownership, both individual and societal. Unitarian Universalism asks each of us to consider the purpose of owning a gun and the suitability of the gun owned to its purpose. When the type of gun we want would do nothing but harm to others and ourselves, the law must step in to protect human life. For instance, we would consider whether assault weapons in the hands of private citizens, however legal, serve any purpose other than destruction of life. It would ask us to “understand how we can reduce the likelihood, or at least the frequency, of mass shootings by understanding the factors that lead to gun violence, what changes in public policy might mitigate or reduce gun violence, and how we and other people and communities of faith might advocate for such changes” ( In other words, what is the purpose of the guns we own, and do the guns we own reasonably suit that purpose?


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