Following recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, President Trump indicated a willingness to consider a number of laws to reduce gun violence, including improved background checks and red-flag laws, although he has since backed away from that support. Many rabbis and other Jewish scholars have cited Jewish laws and traditions as arguments for or against gun ownership or use. Which of the following is one of those arguments?
A. The Talmud states that “one may not raise a vicious dog in his house, and that one may not set up an unstable ladder in his house,” both of which would be dangerous. Some Jewish scholars maintain that the same restriction would apply to gun ownership, as that would be similarly dangerous.
B. The 13th-century Spanish commentator Nachmanides says that when Lemach (Adam’s great-great grandson) taught his son to smelt metal, his wives protested that this would enable the making of swords, which would be destructive. Some commentators cite this as a reason to forbid the making and owning of guns.
C. The 13th-century Spanish commentator Nachmanides says that when Lemach (Adam’s great-great grandson) taught his son to smelt metal, his wives protested that this would enable the making of swords, which would be destructive. However, Nachmanides went on to say that Lemach’s great grandfather Cain killed Abel without a sword. Some commentators cite this as a reason not to forbid the making and owning of guns—in other words, swords (and guns) don’t kill people, people do.
D. Many gun advocates point to the Talmudic dictum from Abba ben Joseph bar Hama, known as Rava, that if someone comes to kill you, you should kill him first. They argue that this is a clear justification for owning and when necessary, using guns in self-defense.
E. Most Jews considered the use of guns to be acceptable within Judaism, until the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral. The OK Corral was the kosher slaughterhouse operated by the OK Kosher Certification Organization. One day a dispute began as one group of rabbis claimed that an animal which was about to be slaughtered was a horse, while an opposing group of rabbis claimed that the animal was a mule. The argument quickly turned into a shouting match. “Horse.” “Mule.” “HORSE.” “MULE.” “HORSE.” “MULE.” Suddenly, guns were drawn and rabbis began dancing in circles and firing indiscriminately into the air, until the head shochet, Rabbi Uzi ben Kalashnikov, intervened and restored calm to the OK Corral by saying “We must live in simple peace and harmony. Otherwise our lives would be as shaky as... as a firearm on the roof!”