Should Christians Own Guns for Self-Defense? A Global Snapshot

Should Christians Own Guns for Self-Defense? A Global Snapshot COMPILED BY MORGAN LEE for Christianity Today

Leaders in nine nations explain how they think theologically and biblically about personal safety as mass shootings plague the world.

Last week, a former police officer killed 36 people, many of them young children, at a daycare in northeastern Thailand. The shooting and stabbing spree came weeks after a gunman shot and killed 17 people at a school in central Russia. In July, terrorists attacked a Sunday church service in southwest Nigeria, killing dozens of worshipers.

The United States has experienced many mass shootings this year, including at a July 4 parade in suburban Chicago, where seven people were killed; at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were killed; and at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people were killed.

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In the US, white evangelicals were more likely than members of other American faith groups to own a gun (41%) and more likely to say it made them feel safer (77%), according to the Pew Research Center. More than half of white evangelicals (57%) said protection was the single most important reason they own a gun.

Pew’s 2017 study found that 38 percent of white evangelicals worry about being the victim of a mass shooting, 61 percent worry about being a victim of violent crime, and 66 percent worry about being the victim of a terrorist attack.

Yet Americans who attended religious services weekly were less likely to own a gun than those who attend less frequently (27% vs. 31%), the Pew study also found. And Americans with high levels of religious commitment were less likely to own a gun than those whose commitment was low (26% vs. 33%).

CT recently reached out to church leaders from nine countries to learn more about gun ownership in their nation and their thoughts on the subject, theologically or biblically. Their answers are arranged (top to bottom) from those who believe Christians may own guns for personal safety to those who believe it violates their faith:

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