Should I Carry A Gun?

After the horrific attacks in Paris in a kosher supermarket on innocent shoppers, hours before Shabbos, we are all nervously asking ourselves the same question; ‘How prepared do we really need to be?’

So what does the Torah have to say about Rabbi’s, or any innocent civilians, carrying guns?

On the one hand:

Talmud, Bava Kama 46a:

  1. Nathan says: From where is it derived that one should not breed a dangerous dog in his house, or keep an impaired ladder in his house? From the text [ Deuteronomy 24:8 ], “You shall bring not blood upon your house.”

I.e., it is forbidden to have anything likely to cause damage about one’s domicile.

Our Commentaries deduce from here that a gun, like a dangerous dog, is intended to hurt others and therefore something we are not allowed to own. Even if the dog is chained, we may not own it, the same argument would apply to a gun that is supposedly locked away.

On the other hand:

We are commanded to be proactive when it comes to self-defense:

“If someone comes to kill you, kill him first. Derived from Exodus 22:1

“You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow’s blood. Leviticus 19:16 [I.e., do not stand by,] watching your fellow’s death, when you are able to save him; for example, if he is drowning in the river or if a wild beast or robbers come upon him. — [Torah Kohanim 19:41; Talmud, Sanhedrin 73a]”

Indeed we find in Genesis 4:20 an enigmatic debate between a man called Lemech and his two wives about the metal tools that he invented. Our Sages explain that the wives were rebuking him for having introduced weapons of death into the world, to which he responded that it is not the tools, but the man that inflicts damage unto others.

Whilst this is not resolved, we do see that some things never change!

What do you think?

About the Author
Dovid Vigler blends together the African culture in which he was raised with the esoteric Chassidic pulse of his passion. He serves as the Founder and Spiritual Leader of Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens FL together with his wife Chana. He is host of Schmooze Radio, South Florida's only Jewish Talk Radio Show. Archives, Blogs and more available at