The Catholic Case for Guns (Guest: Rick Barrett)

Gun control is a perennially controversial topic in America, and many—if not most—Catholic bishops favor stricter gun control laws. But what is the Catholic position when it comes to guns?

Crisis Point
Crisis Point
The Catholic Case for Guns (Guest: Rick Barrett)
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Links

The Armed Catholic (website)

Daily Mag Dump (YT Channel)

Guest

Rick Barrett (aka “The Armed Catholic”) has a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security. He is a certified firearms instructor with the USCCA.

Transcript

Eric Sammons:

Gun control is a perennial hot topic in America and many, if not, most Catholic bishops favor stricter gun control laws than we currently have, but what is the actual Catholic position when it comes to guns? That’s what we’re going to talk about today on Crisis Point. Hello, I’m Eric Sammons your host, I’m the editor in chief of Crisis Magazine. Before we get started, let me just encourage people to smash that like button to subscribe to the channel. Don’t hit the notify bell because you have a life. I don’t think we should be notifying you every moment of your life when we post a new video. You can figure it out on your own. Also, follow us on social media, @CrisisMag is our handle at most places, Twitter and Facebook and Gettr and Gab, in all those different places.

Okay, so let’s go ahead and get started. We have today with us Rick Barrett, AKA the Armed Catholic. He has a master’s degree in Homeland Security and he’s a certified firearms instructor from the USCCA. So he’s going to talk to us about guns and I think from that introduction, his little bio, you’re going to know which way he’s leaning when it comes to gun ownership. So welcome to the program, Rick.

Rick Barrett:

Eric, it’s a huge honor and I’m very glad to be here, and I like to consider myself a submarine captain because I just don’t have time for nonsense. So it’s very straight to the point. Yes.

Eric Sammons:

Very good. Very good. Okay, so I want to get a little bit of your background, both the Catholic part of the Armed Catholic and the armed part of the Armed Catholic. How did you come to be known as the Armed Catholic? What’s your background in both those areas?

Rick Barrett:

Well, I’m a credo Catholic, born in the great state of Rhode Island, in Providence Plantations and moved to Texas when I was 25. Kind of the same story you’ll hear from a lot of people these days. I was a Catholic but a CINO at best, a Catholic in name only, where I didn’t really take things seriously. Only about 2013, 2014 did I really have a reversion back to the church. I actually go to Baylor up in Waco, which is about 45 minutes away from me here in Texas to attend their Latin mass now, nowadays. So I’m married to a beautiful Texas woman. I got married back in 2008. I hope she doesn’t listen to this now, because I don’t remember the date. We met in 2007 and got married in 2008 and we’ve been married for over 10 years and we actually just flew up to New York to be godparents for my brother-in-law’s first child.

So that was an amazing experience as well. So I am a credo Catholic from the Northeast that is not a Catholic from the Northeast, if that makes sense to a lot of people at this point. So for the Catholic side of me, my faith is ultra-important to me and it is the bedrock of how I look at the world. Now, the armed part is a little different. Like I said, I’m from the state of Rhode Island in Providence Plantation. I actually grew up, not surprisingly, in an anti-gun household where my mother was very anti-gun and thought they were awful and all these other kinds of things. So I didn’t really like guns until I moved to the state of Texas and I went to the range one time with a guy that I knew up in Fort Worth because I don’t live there anymore.

I originally moved to Fort Worth from Rhode Island and he is like, “Ah, just come to the gun range one time.” And I was like, okay. I think the first time I shot a gun, it was this explosion in my hand, but it was just the coolest thing ever and I’ve been digging it ever since. So from 2011 on I’ve been an FFL owner, a Federal Firearms Licensee. I was involved in a business up in Fort Worth for about six or seven years. So, I have a little bit of background on that. Then, I decided, since I moved to Texas to teach, I was a teacher in Fort Worth. I was a teacher in Dallas. I was a teacher at this little charter school in Euless, in social studies. I’m now a male social studies teacher. It was a huge shock.

I did that and I said I really liked teaching, but the public school system was not the answer for me, which is why I went back and got the homeland security degree. I thought I was going to teach at community colleges, but then the whole college system just imploded and became this … even more social justicey than it was before. So I was looking around, I said, “I’m a good instructor. I’m very good at teaching. I really like firearms.” So I started doing the firearm track and one of the things the teacher of the course said is, “You got to find your niche.” It always bugged me, Eric, that Catholics are just very icky when it comes to guns and I think that’s probably the best way I can describe it.

Our evangelical brothers and sisters, they have no problem talking about the God-given right to defend themselves, and I don’t want to get into arguments about like, “Oh, this, that and the other thing.” The point is they don’t shy away from it, and Catholics for one reason or another, the point of highlighting them is that we just don’t, we just always kind of crumple up when the topic of firearms comes to play. So I figured maybe I should start an organization that instructs people in the correct way to use firearms, proper handling, proper storage, the four universal gun safety rules, all that stuff. And if you look into the church history and if you check out the website, thearmedcatholic.com, I got tons of stuff from Popes, the Magisterium, all these kinds of things that support your right to self-defense and that includes a firearm.

Eric Sammons:

Very good. It’s interesting, I had a similar upbringing in the sense that … I wouldn’t say my family was anti-gun in the sense that we never talked about it, but what happened was a month after I was born, my cousin who was about 19 or probably in his early twenties at the time, he died in a hunting accident and it really kind of shook the family obviously, and a number of my uncles just stopped hunting, just stopped really using guns. I had one uncle who continued to. In my immediate family, it was the same thing, basically no access to guns. In fact, I remember when I was 12, we were visiting my uncle down in North Carolina and he took me and my two siblings out to shoot in the woods and boy … without asking my mom and dad.

Rick Barrett:

No.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, it was probably the only time I ever saw my parents really kind of get angry at a family member like that because they were pretty laid back. So needless to say, I had no real experience. It wasn’t until about maybe 10 years ago, I was like, “Well, I probably should learn. Maybe it was Obama that did it.” I started learning more about it and taking classes and also, getting my kids, my daughters and my son also to learn, like you said, how to handle it, the universal safety law, rules and all that stuff. So I know how it is that you don’t necessarily grow … it’s like you’re not surrounded by that culture when you grow up, but then you start to learn a bit more. Okay, so let’s get into a little bit about, you said Catholics being icky.

I kind of like that word because it’s somewhat nebulous and that’s the whole point. It’s like people … catalyst have an instinctive kind of, “I’m not comfortable with the idea of carrying guns.” And I think part of it … I think there’s a lot of reasons, but wouldn’t you say maybe part of it is, it is hard for the average person today to picture Jesus carrying a gun? I mean, I think that would probably be an argument you would hear. I couldn’t see … Obviously, Jesus accepted all … he didn’t use self-defense in his own case. He allowed himself to be killed for our sake. So how would you first of all, just respond to that, the idea of well, would Jesus carry a gun?

Rick Barrett:

Well, for me and let me just say it, you and I, Eric, we’re not the Godman. So that’s a very simple point. Our Lord and Savior didn’t need to do these things because he had his purpose. He knew what he had to do. There’s the quotes … when he was a pilot and he said, “If this was really my kingdom, my angels would come and defend me and do whatever they can, and my people would come and do whatever.” So if you hear that kind of talk, you realize that, well, he is not averse in that way. He said, “If this is my kingdom, truly people would be fighting to protect and save me and do whatever they need to do,” but that’s not the point. So the idea that well, he wouldn’t do it.

Well, there’s a lot of things that you and I and everybody listening do that he would never do because he’s the Godman. So to try and I guess to put you and I or anybody in that question on the same par with him, I think that’s a disingenuous framing of the argument.

Eric Sammons:

Also, the idea of Catholics being somewhat uncomfortable with guns is a very modern phenomenon in the sense of weapons, because if you look at the history … the Middle Ages, for example, popes are calling crusades. They’re clearly calling … I’m reading a book right now by about St. Pius V and he led the Holy League and of course, the Battle of Lepanto. Well, there was weapons at the Battle of Lepanto, and that’s how the Catholic League won, the Holy League won was through those weapons, but that being said, in recent years though, particularly here in America, the USCCB, I do know, by the way, for our non-American listeners, I realized that the whole issue of guns is very different in America versus outside America. We’re mostly talking about America here, but you sent me, for example Rick, this Handgun Violence: a threat to life, a statement on handgun control from USCCB back in 1975, which was one of their initial things.

So it says that … there’s one quote in here I wanted … Okay, it says, “We believe that effective action must be taken to reverse this rising tide of violence. For this reason, we call for effective and courageous action to control handguns,” leading to their eventual elimination from our society, which is a pretty bold statement. This is a very 1970s statement too, isn’t it? This idea of the age of Aquarius, we’re going to all of a sudden lay down our arms and I don’t know, link together in peace, but then they give a bunch of different specifics to get to that point, a several day cooling off period, a ban on Saturday night specials, registration of handguns, licensing of handgun owners, various things.

That was ’75, but it really hasn’t changed that much because in … I pulled one from the USCCB website from January, 2020, so this is just a few years ago, and I thought this was the statement I really want you to address. It says, “The church has been a consistent voice for the promotion of peace at home and around the world.” I think we’d all agree with that. “And a strong advocate for the reasonable regulation of firearms.” Now, that’s a pretty bold statement to say the church has been a consistent voice and a strong advocate for the reasonable regulation of firearms. It says, “The church recognizes that recourse of self-defense is legitimate, for one’s own safety.” You can already hear the however, can’t you?

Rick Barrett:

Yeah, the but. The but is coming.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, the but is coming, exactly. In today’s world, however, weapons that are increasingly capable of inflicting great suffering in a short period of time are simply too accessible. So let’s just get kind of to the crux of the matter first before we talk about more specifics. The USCCB is basically saying that the church supports regulation of handguns including up to their elimination it sounds like. How would you respond to that? How would you say, is the real Catholic position when it comes to gun control and guns?

Rick Barrett:

Well, there’s a bunch to unpack there, and it’s a great starting point. You mentioned to our international audience that it’s a very American specific topic that we should take that into account, that the Vatican is located in Rome and it’s outside of the United States, which may or may not be getting cues from. Now, there’s a quote that I want to set the table with from Father Pietri, if I’m saying his name correctly. Father, forgive me if I don’t say it right, but he said when he was asked about this in an article, quote, it’s important to say that firearms are something relatively modern to the life of the church and the history of the church. The church tends to think in terms of centuries and not in years.

So my initial position, my foundational position taking that is I wish he would say, we do think in terms of centuries and the idea of self-defense, the idea of defending yourself transcends times and technology. The idea is, as you mentioned during the crusades, nobody was like, “Hey, you can’t have the crossbow because it’s an assault crossbow and it kills too many people at once,” or they weren’t saying things like, there’s a high capacity sword, you have to put that away. No, it was in terms of you operate under the rules and we can get to it later of how to operate with self-defense. That is how you go forward. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gun, a knife, a bow and arrow, a photon torpedo from Star Trek.

You have to operate within the bounds of being a Catholic. If you are operating as a good faithful Catholic, then going forward you will satisfy the requirements of the church in regards to self-defense. Now, the USCCB, that article that you wrote, that one from the … just a couple years ago, if you look at the footnote, they cite that first when a handgun … called The Violence, that is the initial document from the Catholic church here in these United States about handguns and if you look at the list of things they talked about, and you mentioned some of them and you transported and you put them onto Joey B’s speech last night, who ironically is 80.

So the idea that they are the same, it doesn’t matter the time period. That foundational document has been the standard-bearer for every argument, and if you look at the USCCB website, every time they put some kind of statement out, this document is referenced, which is why I wanted you to see it, because nobody has and it’s a little ironic that when liberation theology kind of crept its head out in South America, that that type of ideas where the liberation idea started to creep its way up into these United States, and you see it manifested in that document. So my response is that the modern interpretation to self-defense … and that’s what it is, is what we’re talking about, is self-defense is in the nicest way, conflicts with the eternal views of the church.

Nothing is more important, Eric, than your life, my life, the life of your children. That’s why we fight so hard for the unborn because every soul is precious and nobody on this earth, nobody has the right to take your life, your wife’s life, your children’s life. Nobody does. That is God’s prerogative. We are from birth to natural death in many … and that’s why we oppose euthanasia. So guess what, the idea of using a firearm to protect yourself and defend your family, the lives of those families, the lives of those children is in line with the Catholic teaching. The unfortunate issue we deal with is that we are dealing with bishops that are not looking at it that way.

They’re looking through it through a political lens, and there are reasons that we can get into the political lens later on if you want, but the whole point of it is, just like that quote I started off with, the church has thousands of years, and you even just mentioned a couple, the Crusades and so forth, thousands of years of saying, “Listen, we don’t like to take life,” because remember, all life is precious, but if somebody is in the act of trying to take your life, they do not have that authority. Only God has that authority, and you must protect your life at all costs and with whatever you have at your disposal, so long as you operate it from a Catholic perspective or a Catholic … yeah, we’ll go with perspective.

Eric Sammons:

Okay, two things. One is I want to mention, did you know actually at one point the church did condemn cross bows?

Rick Barrett:

Okay. I’m a gun guy. I’m not a bow and arrow guy.

Eric Sammons:

That’s okay. It’s funny because it was actually an ecumenical council even, at one point, condemn cross bows but then of course, over time the church realized that was kind of silly and they stopped doing that, which I think is a little bit interesting for our current discussion because it was a case of a new technology that was being used for a fundamental principle of self-defense, like you said. So in a way, it’s almost a corollary to today that you see church officials condemning specific types of weapons that are relatively new, but they’re kind of forgetting underlying principle, and that’s the case with the crossbow back in the day. Now, of course, with the handguns. Now, one thing that I noted that is that a lot of these statements that talk about handguns, how they’re simply too accessible and things like that, you actually know what it takes to get a firearm because like you said you have your license. What is it? The FFL license?

Rick Barrett:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, and things like that. So explain real quick exactly practically, how accessible is it to get a handgun? How easy is it and what do you have to do to actually get one in America?

Rick Barrett:

So if you walk in … now, that’s a kind of broad question because 50 states operate differently. Let’s take the state of Rhode Island. In order to buy one, you have to go through a course, get a permit and then, you can go do all the other normal things that I would do here in the State of Texas.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Rick Barrett:

Blue states have extra regulations to carry or you need a permit to do so, so that being put on the table. We also have … if I was to go into here in the state of Texas to go buy … I believe in New Hampshire where you guys are too, or at least a free state like New Hampshire, you would say, you walk into a store and you pick out a firearm and you say, “I’d like to buy it.” And they give you this thing called a 4473, and it’s a background check from the National Instinct Criminal Background Check System, which is run by the FBI. It’s a series of questions. You got to fill out your name, your address, you can put your social security card in there or not. Then, you have to fill out … or answer yes or no to 10 basic questions.

They call, or they now use an online system. The FBI does a quick background check to see if you have any felonies or any kind of crimes previous or any kind of issues that come up, and you are either approved or denied. So, you have to go through a background check in order to get a firearm, regardless if it’s a red state or a blue state. Now, I have my license to carry here, so I don’t have to go through the background check, which is one of the nice things you have. You just kind of hand them my license and both my license and my CHL, they check off a special box, because I’ve already gone through the state of Texas. I’ve been fingerprinted, background, so the state of Texas is kind of vouching for me.

So that’s the case, you cannot walk into and get a firearm, no problem. You have to fill out a background check. You cannot buy a firearm online and have it delivered to your house. As you’ll hear often that, “Oh, people, they buy the gun on the internet.” Well, if you buy a gun on the internet, it has to go to an FFL and you have to fill out a 4473 because every gun has to be logged in their logbook, transfer from one store to another. That FFL transfers to another FFL. They exchange information and addresses. So that’s all checked up on by the ATF. So it is … and this was actually all before the Gun Control Act, I believe, in the 60s and then, the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act in ’86 kind of put more of these regulations on people’s ability to buy firearms.

So it’s not the way it’s made out. The caveat I will give is that in certain red states like Florida, Texas and others, once I buy it, once I have gone through it, I could then sell it as a piece of private property to somebody else. That does exist. I don’t want to say that it doesn’t. Everybody that I know in the gun community that sells firearms into private transaction, one of the main focuses is to have, I actually did it once and I only sold it to a guy that had. I said CHLs only and then, I took a picture of it, just to cover myself. So there is that caveat, but to buy a firearm, a new firearm, you have to go through the whole process. You have to get background checked, and that check stays with either the FFL and if that FFL closes, it’s got to go to West Virginia where the ATF is located. So they keep it forever.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. Now also, they talk a lot … I notice a lot of the bishops, they talk about safety regulations on making guns safer. That’s one of the things they talk about. I assume that means making sure they have a safety … I know there’s talk about the fingerprint where you hold it and it knows who the owner is, which considering how often my phone gets that wrong, I’m not really that confident in that technology and things of that nature. I know for example, in Cincinnati, they’re trying to pass one that has laws about how you store it, that there’s multiple layers so that a kid can’t get ahold of it. So what are the kind of … I know it’s different in every place, but in general, what are those laws … What kind of is the status of those laws like having … requiring to have safeties on gun or fingerprinting or locks on them and things like that?

Rick Barrett:

Safeties are an outside mechanism on what you would typically think. A safety is an outside mechanism that can prevent the hammer from coming down and hitting the firing pin. There are striker fired guns. Those are Glocks, those are SIGs and things like that and they generally tend to have a trigger safety system. I don’t want to get too technically babbling to have people’s eyes glaze over. So most of them have some sort of safety. For experienced shooters, they can pay a little bit more. They don’t have any safeties on them. Those are usually competition guns, things like that. So now, like you said, California, the only way you can buy a firearm, it’s got to have a safety on it.

That is a requirement, that if you ever look at a website, it’ll say California Compliant. It’ll have less rounds. It’ll have a safety on it. So manufacturers have to play around with specifics depending on the state and so there’s that. There is no federal law, because you can’t have one on the books about gun safety. It’s very interesting that Ohio just passed that because the Gun Storage Movement is banging … the drums are banging very hard across these United States about it. You’ll see … many different places are talking about guns being stolen out of vehicles because people keep them in there, as a truck gun or something like that.

The idea is, if you’re going to take the responsibility, as a firearms instructor, I’ll just speak from how I would talk to a class of students. If you’re going to take the responsibility and actually exercise your right to have a firearm, I think that’s great. I dig that. That’s awesome. You got to be smart with it. You can’t just leave it around. You got to buy a safe, especially if you have kids or if … my wife and I, we don’t have any kids, so I have them all in a room and I have a lock to it. So, I’m the only person I can access it. So there are tons of different kinds of safe, biometric safes, quick action safes, all these … getting a safe and having it be available for you is not a problem because a lot of people used to say, “Oh, well, it’s so hard to get a safe open if somebody breaks in.”

They have so many new safes with biometrics or quick pin release codes. Now, you could do that. My worry is that as they highlight incidents … there was an incident in Virginia where the kid at the elementary school brought his mother’s gun and shot the teacher, and you’re going to see more of those stories highlighted by an anti-gun narrative driven media, that the Republicans will fold and there will be some kind of mandatory law applied to all 50 states, and that just doesn’t work because no, it’s not designed to do that. If states want to do it, I can’t talk back about it because it’s the 50 states. Each state can do their own thing. You got to have those gun storage laws if the people in that state want them.

There is no national law about it, but it is something in the gun community where we’re like, don’t be dumb. If you’re going to have a firearm and you’re going to keep it loaded, put it in a safe, keep it out of the hands of somebody who doesn’t know how to use it. Let me reiterate this point, Eric, you made this earlier. You taught your kids about it. One thing that is a problem is that guns have this magical mythic status in culture because of film and because of the absolute dread that people who are anti-gun speak about them. It naturally peaks kids’ curiosity and if you as a gun owner and you have kids, you do not, at least in a safe environment like a gun range or someplace where you can do everything safely, take that curiosity away from your children.

They’re only going to go by the negative influences and the misrepresentations that they see. So it’s up to you, that is really the first line of defense. Safes are great, safeties are fine, but if you don’t introduce your firearms to your children and you don’t say, “Listen, this is dad’s tool, don’t touch it,” and make those rules clear and then, of course, lock them up, obviously. You have to introduce it. You have to take that curiosity away from them. You really have to treat your kids in that responsible manner, which is, “Hey, listen, this is a tool that dad uses.” These are the four universal gun safety rules, which means always treat it as it’s loaded. Never put your finger on the trigger. Never pointed at something you don’t want to destroy and always be mindful of what’s behind the target. If everybody is taught those four universal rules, there’ll be a lot less incidences that take place.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, it’s interesting because like I said, I didn’t really have exposure to guns until about 10 years ago. Before that, I really had somewhat of that myth, it’s kind of a fear of guns. Also, I thought of gun owners, I think just instinctively, I thought of gun owners almost like gunslingers, and they’re just firing away, and stuff like that. Then, when I started taking classes, I go to classes, I go to a gun shop and I’ve taken classes on a couple places, boy, you will find nobody more serious about gun safety than gun instructors. I mean, they will just … I took a gun class recently, and I remember at one point, it was outdoors, we’re at the line and he had said, “If you drop something, you don’t lean forward to pick it up.” Stuff like that.

Some guy leaned down to pick something up while we were firing and man, he just … I didn’t lose it. He was very professional by it, but he very quickly yelled out and made sure that the … and the guy said, “I’m an idiot,” and he just made a mistake without thinking. He goes, that’s the whole point is you have to always be thinking. You can’t do things without thinking when you have a gun in your hand or people around you have guns in your hand. So I think there’s also this idea among people who don’t have familiarity with guns, that people with guns are just kind of fancy-free with them and don’t care, but really the opposite is true. The people who are the safest … the safest person to be around is a gun instructor or somebody who knows guns well because they know, like you said, the four universal rules.

They have it imprinted into their brain. Okay, so let me take … I want to change directions a little bit and go back to, what the USCCB is saying. We also hear Pope Francis has just recently … you sent me this, let me just-

Rick Barrett:

Yep.

Eric Sammons:

He was just interviewed, and one of the things he talked about was he really expressed the idea of the large number of guns in civilian hands. Honestly, his quote didn’t really make sense, but I guess that just happens sometimes.

Rick Barrett:

Well, when he gets a rambling, sometimes it get-

Eric Sammons:

I know, in these interviews it’s not always clear what he actually means, but clearly-

Rick Barrett:

I don’t mean to interrupt, that’s the AP. The AP teed him up for that, and I don’t think he was ready for it.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Rick Barrett:

So they just wanted that instant reaction from it.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, and I think the Pope has spoken out against the weapons industry, the gun industry. He’s spoken out against basically trafficking guns and ownership of guns even. Basically, on one level, of course, he’s right in the sense that Catholic should always be first and foremost, he should be thinking peace, should be thinking nonviolence, things like that, but he does seem to go further at times and make it sound like a Catholic really shouldn’t even own a gun. So what I would ask you then is where do you get the idea that the Catholic Church itself is actually taught that it’s okay to own, let’s say a handgun?

Rick Barrett:

Okay, so my entire basis of owning firearms is rooted in the concept of self-defense and there’s nothing … and we can get into the talk of proportionality, and that’s really where … it’s one of the five keys of self-defense, law, innocence, proportionality, and so forth. I think that’s where a lot of anti-gun people try to say, “Well, you don’t need … Joe Biden. You don’t need the 60 round man because the deers don’t wear Kevlar,” and all that kind of … that awful joke. The idea that, “Listen, you don’t need a gun to defend yourself. Why don’t you do karate or hit them with a taser,” or something like that. I don’t know if … you’ve never met me, but I’m not really a big guy. So if somebody was to break into my house and they are of average build, I’m already at a disadvantage.

So for proportionality’s sake, me using a firearm to defend myself and my wife is completely within the wheelhouse. Also, there’s the idea that if you are jumped or if somebody breaks into anybody’s house, regardless of size, those people have already made the commitment to commit violence against you, either your property, you or whatever. So you have a duty to defend yourself, and you already at a disadvantage because you don’t know how many there are or whatever the case may be. So firearms fit under the banner of self-defense. The Pope is big on trafficking. I think we should all obviously support the idea that we don’t want guns trafficked into the wrong hands. At the same time, it’s that European view of us, because they think that I’m walking into Bobby’s Gun Shop here in Texas.

I’m walking out with a chain gun, and as much as the Second Amendment and the Texas Constitution would technically make that okay, and that would be awesome, I just can’t. I can’t do that kind of thing. There are rules and there are regulations, and I have to go through the legal rules and regulations in order to obtain a weapon. I am not trafficking anything. I am not a criminal. So, there’s no criminal intent in my heart when I buy this firearm. Most of the time, I’m like, “This gun looks wicked cool, and I think it’s going to look awesome on my wall. Maybe I’ll go shoot it once or twice a year. I mean, I got a couple of them standing on my wall over here.” The idea that when he makes these statements and a lot of others, there was actually … I did an article this morning from New Mexico.

They’re trying to do AR-15 bans and waiting periods, and what did they do? They decided to trot out the executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, and all he said is, “We bury the victims. These are real people with real morning families,” and obviously, he’s on the side of the promoting gun control. We want these bans because we’re burying the bodies. I said to the people listening to my show, in a state like New Mexico that is promoting abortion and the LGBT alphabet mafia things, does the bishops really … is there a concern with legal gun owners and legal gun owners accessing things that they have … so that’s the problem here is that we’re finding bishops not tackling real issues. Now, yes, gun violence, people dying by guns is obviously a terrible thing.

Just like with suicides, that is a symptom of a larger problem that the Catholic Church has abdicated her duty in, and that is creating a culture of life. If you have a culture of life … I know, I’m not saying the 50s and the 40s were the greatest times and whatever, but in the late 40s, early 50s, you could walk into a storm and buy a Thompson submachine gun, which in my very humble and very lackluster opinion is the coolest looking gun in the history of the world. You didn’t see people … it wasn’t like the Dick Tracy movie where people were just buying Tommy guns and having shootouts in the middle of the streets. So weaponry has always existed. I didn’t know the crossbow thing. I might have to put that for further research and things.

Weaponry has always been there. It has always been up to the person and their responsibility as the person and their actions. So that’s the problem with Pope Francis. Pope Francis is probably … when he is coming from South America where they have a huge trafficking problem, I’m assuming they have a huge trafficking problem with the cartels and drugs and so forth. So that is his reference point. Unfortunately, that reference point is being directed to the rest of the bishops and so forth.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, I think that … yeah, because basically, it appears to me that the bishops do seem to abdicate their actual responsibility, which is to encourage the culture of life to encourage conversion, because if somebody has had a conversion to Jesus Christ, their chances of going to the mall and shooting everybody up are almost non-existent. Whereas the person who has lived a life, a desolate life of drugs, of addiction, of problems, maybe abuse, all those things, they’re much more likely for those things to happen, for somebody like that to do something like that. So, I think gun had nothing to do with either of those two things. It just was a matter of the problem behind it. Also, why don’t you speak to the fact of guns that have been used to prevent these things from happening?

I know in Indiana a few months ago, that guy, I mean, what a shot he’s got, first of all. I mean, I’m amazed because I’m a terrible shot. I mean, I try my best. In fact, maybe I’ll get you to do some instruction with me later.

Rick Barrett:

Of course.

Eric Sammons:

I mean, for those who don’t know, in a mall, in Indianapolis area, a guy came into the food court basically and started firing. This guy, this kid … I mean, he’s in his early 20s, I believe, who wasn’t a policeman, had no firearms, he wasn’t a military or police or anything like that. He basically took a shot at … he had his handgun with him, and he shot the guy from 40 yards, I think it was. Yeah. I noticed, because in my class that I took not too long ago, he had us at the end of the class, shoot from that distance because he wanted us to see how impossible it is for somebody like us to actually hit that target. Sure enough, I mean, I didn’t even … the huge target, I didn’t even hit the whole thing. In fact … okay, I got to tell a story.

My son was taking it with me, he’s 19. The way they did it was they had two people at a time taking the shot from 40 yards, and there was these two big targets, 40 yards away. So we each get two shots at it. So when we walk down the sea, mine is completely blank. His though has a shot on it that’s kind of low and stuff. So, he’s so proud of himself. I said, “Peter, I think there’s a good chance that’s mine.” I actually hit his target because I was going low to the left all day, and that was very low to the left. So he’s like, “I think you might be right. I don’t think I actually hit the target. I think you hit my target.”

Rick Barrett:

Well, I think you were just being a good father and defending your kid, right? You shot-

Eric Sammons:

That’s right. Exactly. That was the guy going after my kid, so I went after him first.

Rick Barrett:

That’s right. That’s right.

Eric Sammons:

There we go. I’ll go and tell him that.

Rick Barrett:

That’s exactly what, you fatherly instincts took over and you’re like, “Forget that I’m going left.”

Eric Sammons:

That’s right. I’m going left. I’m going to the guy going after my kid, but anyway, the point is that this guy took down the shooter, and this has happened before. So why don’t you talk about the idea of gun ownership, not in this negative light of, “Okay, if you own a gun, you’re going to go out and shoot everybody up,” but in the positive light of actually preventing that from happening.

Rick Barrett:

Yeah, the kid in Indiana was amazing. I know I’m still struggling at 15 to 20 yards. I can get maybe six out of 10, and things like that, but this kid learned his shooting from his grandpa. That’s what he was told. He said that’s how I learned. I learned from my grandpa. When you actually broke it down, he leaned against one of the pillars in the mall, they have all those pillars. He leaned against it to stabilize himself, so he would actually have … so he wasn’t just standing upright so he could absorb some of that recoil. Either way, it was absolutely … it was a very brave thing to do. Crazy thing is that we just found out recently that the CDC had been encouraged by gun groups, like Everytown and Moms Demand to not report defensive gun use.

So we actually don’t have a really good database of defensive gun use because we were told that if you do include that, it’s going to destroy every narrative that the gun industry has. The way they do it real quickly, when they tell you, there’s been 55 mass shootings this year, 60 mass shootings, that’s actually not correct. They use this … their methodology comes from the Gun Violence Research Archive, which is an offshoot of this leftist publication called Slate. They retooled their definition of what a mass shooting is. They said it was four more people shot or injured. The Congressional Research Office in the early 2010s came out with their definitive one, which was three or more people shot and killed. Now, that may not seem like a big thing at the surface, but when you break it down, there’s not 55 mass shootings in the month of January. It’s more like 10.

The 10 are still awful, but the way that they promoted, there’s just gun violence everywhere, it’s a different methodology that they’re using. We don’t have the data for defensive gun use. We do see things like the guy in Houston, the taqueria man, where somebody came in and there was a threat and now, there’s questions about how many shots he should have took. I don’t want to get into that, but he did use his firearm to protect the people around him because there was a threat. We see these things every once in a while where a mother is able to defend … there was a mother in New Orleans, I think in January. A man broke into her house and she was able to defend herself and her two kids to do it. So the thing is, Eric, if these people use a knife or a taser to defend themselves, nobody would care or they wouldn’t make a big deal out of it.

It’s the fact that, they say people who own guns have this obsession with guns. Well, I could also say the people that want to disarm you and I are obsessed with the firearm itself as well, because if it’s done in any other manner, if there’s a crime committed with bats or cars or hammers or whatever the case may be, nobody blinks an eye. Of course, people will say, well, it’s because the disproportionate amount of people who are killed by firearms, that speaks to a whole cultural difference, inner city gang violence and so forth that nobody ever wants to discuss when you bring that up. A lot of those places, Chicago, LA, Baltimore … Baltimore has a higher crime rate and a higher murder rate than Chicago, but just nobody wants to talk about it.

It’s just as blue and just as many gun regulations. So the idea that somebody who is carrying a firearm has not made the conscious decision to say, “Listen, if there’s a person in my area and they are threatening to take life, I am going to stand in the gap and I’m going to potentially lose my life, but I’m going to try as best I can to stop this evil from taking place.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. So now, what would you say, just your personal opinion, do you think there are any … in your world, are there any reasonable restrictions on gun ownership? If you were the king of the world and you could set that up, how would you set up? Would it just be anybody and get anything they want, or would there be any restrictions on it?

Rick Barrett:

You’re trying to get me in trouble, aren’t you?

Eric Sammons:

I am. That’s exactly why I asked the question.

Rick Barrett:

It’s a great question. The purest in me would have to say, if you have a culture of life … Bishop Tobin put out a tweet from Providence, from my home state.

Eric Sammons:

By the way, for me, that’s the good Bishop Tobin.

Rick Barrett:

Yeah. Yes, the good one. He said something to the effect of, “While I’m all in favor of restricting firearms, but we should do more to cultivate a culture of life,” and so forth. I of course, did the thing that anybody does, I quote tweeted him. I said, if you focus on the Second, which is the culture of life, then you wouldn’t have to worry about the First. So let’s say I am the king and how it goes, there would be an emphasis on the culture of life and how precious life is. In that response, my joke used to be when I used to host a radio show is that, “I don’t mind if you had a chain gun to defend your home. I mean, if you’re responsible with it and you never use it, but you have it. I don’t really care.” The fact of the matter is kind of like I was speaking to my point earlier, in the 50s and different time periods, people have had access to this weaponry.

This weaponry was not used in an overly pretentious way or in such a violent way that it was an issue. Also, if we really want to get historical about it, I mean, when the Second Amendment was written, you could buy cannons. So they weren’t like, “Well, we can’t have the Second Amendment because somebody might buy a cannon and rob a bank with it.” No. So nope, no restrictions.

Eric Sammons:

I think ultimately, you were talking about this earlier, is that we have to see a gun, any type of gun, as a tool and some tools … so, the morality of a tool, there is none, technically speaking. However, some tools are more dangerous than others. So for example, a spoon versus a steak knife, the steak knife is much more likely to do harm than the spoon is. So therefore … but does that make a steak knife more immoral than a spoon? No. Instead, I would say basically what it means is we have a greater responsibility then, the person who uses that tool, who uses the steak knife has a greater responsibility than the spoon. So for example, my little kid … when I had little kids, I would hand them a spoon, no problem but I wouldn’t hand them a steak knife because I knew my three-year-old is going to harm somebody, probably herself, probably me, if I do that.

So I think the same thing would apply when you go up to even more dangerous, so for example, a handgun is more dangerous than a steak knife, obviously. So that increases a person’s responsibility who owns that tool. So I think that really is … a better way of looking at it, that our responsibilities do increase based upon the tool and how dangerous it is and the harm it can do. So leading into that, let’s say there’s a couple, they have some kids. They’ve never really owned guns, but me, maybe 10 years ago, they’re like, “You know, I think it would be a good idea.” I saw what happened in the riots of 2020 and other things going on. Joe Biden, his State of the Union this week was saying, let’s ban all assault weapons.

I don’t want to go into the whole what’s an assault weapon, but what would you say to them, they’re like, “I am interested in gun ownership, but I really don’t know what I’m doing. I have kids in the house.” What do you think are the practical steps they need to take?

Rick Barrett:

First of all, assault weapon is a made up term from 1992’s assault weapon ban.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Rick Barrett:

There is no actual … there’s no such thing as that. So, if you are thinking about firearms, any good … not even instructors, but anybody who’s been in the gun world will say, “Go to an introductory gun class,” or I have a class on my website, the Armed Catholic, Introduction to Firearms. We just talk about what a gun does. You get the plastic gun and you hold the plastic gun and you’re not worried about it going off in your hand. So, you just learn about what it does. You learn about the characteristics of it, and if you have questions about, “Hey, I have kids, well, do you want to do a quick action safe? Do you want to keep it in the closet, locked behind?” An instructor can walk you through all these things.

We actually love these kinds of questions because these are more people that’ll spread the good word, so to speak, about firearm ownership and responsible firearm ownership. So the easiest way to do that … I bet people email me, “Hey, I’m thinking about this.” It’s real tough online to go back and forth. Firearm ownership is such a personal experience that you’d have to have it in person and actually ask those questions to the instructor. The easiest, and it sounds like a cop out, is to find a class, to find an instructor that you like, because not all of them are great. I wish I could say that they were and really, just ask away, because if you find a good instructor, you can ask them a million questions and they’ll make sure that they can get as many of them answered as possible.

I think the last point I’ll make with somebody who’s getting into guns is to leave everything that you’ve heard about them … especially, if you’ve ever fired one, and you only … leave everything you’ve ever seen in a movie, leave everything you’ve ever heard in an article out the door, and try to go in with as clean a slate as possible so that way you can absorb as much knowledge to be as prepared as possible to use them.

Eric Sammons:

One of the problems though, about learning about guns is it does ruin a lot of movies for you, because once I learned about guns and actually fired them myself, all of a sudden I started noticing in movies, like they can’t actually do that. You can’t do that with … I mean, that’s just not possible physically. I mean, the 110 pound girl with guns on both hands shooting at one, and no … I mean, she’s just, no problems at all. She’s falling down and she’s doing it. I’m just like, that’s actually not physically possible to do what you’re doing.

Rick Barrett:

No, the only movies that ever get a pass on that are the John Wick ones. Even those take a little bit of liberties, but those guys … that’s as close as you’ll see the accurate gun handling, because you’ll see Keanu, if you ever Google or if you ever YouTube him, the dude is out there, he’s running, he’s training, he knows what he’s doing. Instead of a certain actor on a certain Western last year who decided not to go to firearm training and then, accidentally took the life of somebody. That’s a prime example right there of somebody not obeying the four universal gun safety rules, not treating a firearm, even a fake firearm with the respect it deserves. That is a prime example of what bad things can happen, and all of us, when that event first took place, we went, “This is it. This is why we scream about the firearm rules.”

This is why, like your instructor was on the range, immediately safety … put the guns down, magazines out, put everything on the deck, make sure it’s face up so I can see the chamber and all this other kind of stuff, because as great of a tool as it is, it’s no joke. You have to treat it with the respect it deserves.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, I know when we were first learning with my kids, I remember telling them, I’d even quiz. I’m like, “Okay, let’s say I have a gun in my hand. You see it. You see me take the magazine out. You see me open it up. You see, I look at it, I check it. I know it is completely free and clear. No problem and then, I hand it to you, what do you do?” Of course the answer is they do the exact same thing. They do this check. They don’t care if … I was like, I don’t care if you just saw me do all that. You still do the check yourself because you’re responsible, and that’s what Alec Baldwin had to learn the hard way is that ultimately the person holding the gun is responsible for following those four safety rules and sadly, he didn’t. Okay, so just last question here, we’re going to wrap it up here soon.

So if somebody though is getting into guns, what do you recommend? How do they get … what gun, for example? Should they start with an AR-15 or should they start with a 22 pistol or whatever? Guide them in general, what they … let’s say it’s just for self-defense. Self-defense maybe they won’t even carry, maybe just for home defense even, but how should they start?

Rick Barrett:

So that would be an interesting question of do you live in an apartment, a house? Do you live rural, suburban? Because I don’t know if … a lot of modern houses are not built quite sturdily. So a 556, a standard 556 round is going to go through everything. Then, of course, there are hollow points, it’ll eventually stop. Now, that’s all just semantically nonsense. I would actually … if somebody came up to me and said, “I’ve never fired a gun before. I’d like to learn the basic safeties,” I would take them to a range and use a single action revolver, because you have to pull the hammer back. Everything is a conscious decision with a single action.

That’s loading. That’s the pulling back of the hammer. All of it and also, because single action revolvers are heavier than your typical polymer firearms, the recoil is almost going to be non-existent, because that’s the thing that a lot of people … they just cannot anticipate and I’m sure you can attest to this. That first bang is something that you can’t even … all right, maybe if I hear a car back or you just can’t understand it with the way your hand is reacting and you see the flash and you hear it, it’s an attack on all five senses. So I would say a 22 long rifle revolver, because it’s got great recoil management. You have to pull back the hammer. You have to work on your trigger control, and the recoil will not be something that is as scary.

I would also do 22 long rifle in Carbine form. They have AR-15s that are chambered in that. Once again, it’s something … I mean, the AR-15 doesn’t have really bad recoil to begin with, but just to a newbie, somebody, it’s just less scary when you see the little 22 long rifle and you’re like, “Yeah, this is what it is,” versus the deadly 556, which they’ve heard can disintegrate animals, at its near mention. So you’re like, “This is a 22 long rifle and it’s a rimfire cartridge and you pull the trigger and it goes down and it gives people confidence.” And that’s the thing people need to have, is they need to be confident in what they’re doing, which is the grip and their press and the recoil control, and keeping their eye on the target and not squinting as soon as it happens.

So I would use 22 long rifle in a variety of different styles, in the Carbine, maybe a bolt action, maybe a single action and then, eventually a semi-automatic chambered in 22 just because it is the easiest on your senses and it’s the easiest for me to diagnose as quickly, if there’s an issue. So that would be the way I would do it. It would be a little bit of time. There’s no way … and by the way, when I talk about different instructor levels, right now, I’m certified in home defense and conceal carry. If you come to me, you’re going to learn introductory stuff. You’re going to learn how to handle, your trigger pull, press, how the gun functions, but you’re going to be a commando when you’re done with me.

So I think a lot of people … Seriously, I think a lot of people expect that they’re going to walk out like a John Wick or a movie star guy when they’re done with one training classes. No, no, that’s like eight classes a year for maybe five or six years before you can get to that level of proficiency. You want to go, you want to learn the fundamentals, you want to learn the safety rules, you want to learn how your gun operates, you want to be good with your gun. You want to know what happens if it jams. How do I clear it, how do I clean it? All of these other things. When you go to the range. You want to be proficient with that. That’s how I focus. I’m more of an entry level instructor. Then, you can move on to guys who are a lot more … who do the specific things a lot better. So that’s another thing when you’re getting into guns is making sure you find somebody that’s not out over their skis.

There are examples of instructors who are trying to cater, “Oh, well, I’ll teach you how to do all these other things.” It’s like, “How about I teach you how to hold a firearm and make sure that when you press the trigger back, the gun is not moving all over the place, it’s in the same place.” Obviously, it’s going to move because of the recoil, but you get your sight acquisition back on target much quicker, and everybody kind of wants to jump through that and I don’t want to. It would be a lot of fundamentals. It’d be like learning how to shoot a basketball. I don’t take you to the three point line and say, “All right, chuck away and we’ll see how it goes.” You go under the basket, you form the L in your hand, and you do this for two, three, four days until you move back five feet and then you get that with the extension in your toes and then you go back to the free throw line.

So that’s how you have to take, getting into this specialty. It’s fun. I love doing it, but it’s like a golf swing or anything else that required … to be good at it requires practice. It’s a perishable skill and in order for you to be successful at it, you need to drill those fundamentals. So if you’re coming to me, we’re going to be fundamental. It’s going to be a lot of fun in those fundamentals because we are just going to drill those suckers until you … I can look at you at the range as the range safety officer and not say, “Oh, what are you missing? What are you doing? Finger off the trigger. Where’s your hand?” I don’t have to do any of that stuff.

Eric Sammons:

Very good. Okay, so we’re going to wrap it up here. Obviously, people can go to thearmedcatholic.com to find out about the different things that you offer. So thearmedcatholic.com, of course, I’ll put a link to it in the show notes, but also, I know you have a new YouTube channel, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about that.

Rick Barrett:

I launched it last week. It’s called the Daily Mag Dump and essentially, it’s a live stream every morning from 9:00 AM East to about 10 AM. I go about an hour. I pick five stories. I talked about the State of the Union today. I talked about this poll that came out from the Washington Post that 51% of Americans oppose assault weapon bans. I talked about this incident in Arizona where a rancher shot and killed an illegal immigrant that had crossed his property multiple times. There was another story that I forgot. I usually do five stories a day, it’s about an hour and it’s gun news at the federal, state and local level. I try to find the stuff because everybody covered the State of the Union, yeah, I did that too. There’s stuff happening in every state, every day, like I was talking about the gun storage stories.

Narrative is being crafted and I expect in the fall something to kind of come about with that, where they’re going to try with new legislation, try and push that somewhere. I see in Ohio, they’ve already done that but I’m thinking then on a federal level, they’re going to try that. Florida, that’s it. Florida is having this huge battle right now on what kind of carrier are they going to have? Are they going to have full open quote, unquote constitutional carry. Are they going to have permitless carry for concealed weapons? It’s a big deal because Ron DeSantis … this is the one glaring example right now in his resume, is that he has a super majority and that he’s having a problem getting some kind of permitless open carry through, when Alabama, Texas, everybody else in the south has done it.

So kind of watching that as well, so it’s a gun news live stream and if you want to subscribe to it, that’d be awesome. Also, it’s not just on YouTube. If you’re an anti-YouTube person, I get that. It’s on Rumble and Odysee as well. The entire streams are loaded up every day. As soon as I get on Spiritist TV, I’ll start uploading them there as well.

Eric Sammons:

Very good. Yes. We’re also on Odysee and Rumble, along with YouTube. I’ll definitely put a link to the YouTube channel into the description as well, so people can go subscribe to that. I encourage you to do that, if you want to keep up with what’s going on in the gun world, from a perspective that’s not insane. That’s how I’ll describe your show.

Rick Barrett:

Just want to manage expectations.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Exactly.

Rick Barrett:

Exactly.

Eric Sammons:

Well, Rick, thank you so much for being on … real quick, before we end, I’m going to reveal a secret here, which is that Rick Barrett is writing a book for Crisis Publications. We reached out to him and he’s going to be basically writing a book on the Catholic case for guns, Catholic defense for guns, something of that nature. We’re very excited. I mean, literally, just signed the contract on this. It’s going to be obviously, wild until the book is actually published, probably next … my guess is probably hopefully early 2024, something like that. We’ll see, these things sometimes get slowed down or picked up. Anyway, so we’re very excited at Crisis that Rick is going to be writing this book for us.

I think it’s going to be a great resource for Catholics who, they are gun owners, they’re Catholics and they have a lot of their Catholic friends telling them, and family members saying, “Oh, that’s awful.” Well, now you’re going to have the book to explain why it’s not. So thank you very much for writing that for us.

Rick Barrett:

Thank you guys for the opportunity. I’m incredibly honored and humbled and blessed for being able to do so. Thank you.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, so when the book comes out next year, we’ll have you back on, to talk about it some more.

Rick Barrett:

I’m looking forward to it.

Eric Sammons:

Okay, everybody. Thanks a lot for joining us. Until next time. God loves you.

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