As the debate rages over gun control, I find it interesting, if not compelling, to see what our Jewish tradition might bring to the discussion.As the debate rages over gun control, I find it interesting, if not compelling, to see what our Jewish tradition might bring to the discussion.
The Torah tells us: “Take utmost care and watch yourselves scrupulously.” For our sages, that commandment calls upon us to take all reasonable steps to free our dwellings of dangerous conditions.
The Talmud expresses that it is forbidden to sell or otherwise provide weapons or other instruments that can be used to kill or maim, to anyone who can be suspected of intending to use such instruments to do violence to innocent people.
And there is this relevant statement: “If you are able to protest wrongdoing in your family and you do not, you become liable for your family’s wrongdoings. If you are able to protest your city’s wrong and you do not, you become liable for the wrongs of your city. And if you are able to protest the whole world’s wrongs and you do not, you become liable for the wrongs of the whole world.Imagine: Last year, 15,590 people were killed by guns in the United States.The rate of gun homicides in the United States is almost twenty times the rate of other advanced countries in the world.Approximately two children under the age of twelve are killed in the United States every day.
At least for me, the obligation to protect the public from dangerous weapons must take precedence over an absolute right to bear arms. As I have written before, our forefathers who wrote the Second Amendment could not have imagined the kind of deadly weapons that we would invent. Nor did they envision a time when even children had easy access to guns and even military assault rifles.
The great sage, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel expressed: “In a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”
I wish you Shabbat Shalom and hope you will join us for a Shabbat evening of beautiful music and a time to renew ourselves.