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Philadelphia Archbishop on Gun Control: 'Only a Fool Can Believe That [It] Will Solve the Problem'

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In the wake of the mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, many on the left have been quick to call for increased gun control measures to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.

But gun control won’t fix the underlying problems that motivate these mass shooters in the first place, the Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia wrote in a column this week.

Archbishop Charles Chaput knows about gun violence.

After all, he was the archbishop of Denver in 1999 when two teens went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Colorado and killed 13 people.

According to Chaput, who assumed his current position in Philadelphia in 2011, it’s foolish to believe “gun control” will make mass violence go away.

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Instead, he said, it’s necessary to look at the causes of the problems, not just the symptoms.

“In separate incidents over the past two weeks, gunmen have killed three persons and wounded 13 others in Gilroy, CA; killed at least 20 and wounded 26 others in El Paso TX; and killed at least nine and wounded 27 others in Dayton, OH,” Chaput wrote in a Monday post on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s website.

“These are just the latest in a long pattern of mass shootings; shootings that have blood-stained the past two decades with no end in sight,” he said.

Chaput then took note of what usually comes next, that is, before the public moves on to something else.

Do you think more gun control will prevent mass shootings?

“Now begins the usual aftermath: expressions of shock; hand-wringing about senseless (or racist, or religious, or political) violence; bitter arguments about gun control; heated editorials, earnest (but brief) self-searching of the national soul, and eventually — we’re on to the next crisis,” he wrote.

Chaput went on to say that burying some of the Columbine victims taught him to support certain gun control measures.

“Assault rifles are not a birthright, and the Second Amendment is not a Golden Calf. I support thorough background checks and more restrictive access to guns for anyone seeking to purchase them,” he wrote.

But while he supports such measures, Chaput does not think they’ll solve the underlying issues that cause mass shootings.

“It also taught me that only a fool can believe that ‘gun control’ will solve the problem of mass violence,” he wrote. “The people using the guns in these loathsome incidents are moral agents with twisted hearts. And the twisting is done by the culture of sexual anarchy, personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and perverted freedoms that we’ve systematically created over the past half-century.”

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He concluded his column by writing, “Treating the symptoms in a culture of violence doesn’t work. We need to look deeper.

“Until we’re willing to do that, nothing fundamental will change.​”

Chaput’s words echoed his testimony before the U.S. Senate in the wake of the Columbine shooting, when he pointed out that our culture is desensitized to violence.

“When the most dangerous place in the country is a mother’s womb and the unborn child can have his or her head crushed in an abortion, even in the process of being born, the body language of that message is that life isn’t sacred and may not be worth much at all,” he said at the time.

“In fact, certain kinds of killing no longer even count officially as ‘killing,'” Chaput said. “Certain kinds of killing we enshrine as rights and protect by law.

“When we live this kind of contradiction, why are we surprised at the results?”

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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