American Jews divided if right to bear arms is ‘Kosher’

Gun group & club affirm the`importance of armed self-defense,’ and the Rabbinical Council of America “condones” people learning to use weapons.


A Jewish gun-rights advocate and a gun club, affirming the right of law-abiding citizens to own weapons, have taken argument with the stances of two rabbinical groups, which they said called for greater gun control.

Itamar Gelbman helps Lea Rosenfeld take aim

A shooting class for Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Los Angeles. – Photo: Anthony Weiss/JTA Photo Service

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership said it joined with the Golani Rifle & Pistol Club to oppose the rabbinical groups’ positions and “affirm the importance of armed self-defense by Jews and all Americans.”

The Rabbinical Council of America in July 2014 issued a statement saying it “condones” people learning to use weapons for “justified purposes such as self­defense, when undertaken with appropriate gravitas.”

The statement also called for “restricting Americans’ easy and unregulated access to weapons and ammunition” and urged people not to engage in “recreational activities that desensitize participants to, make light of, or glorify war, killing, physical violence, and weapons.”

The RCA said it was responding to “the terrible proliferation of fatal shootings in the U.S. that result in part from Americans’ easy access to lethal weapons.”

The JFPO, based in Hartford, Wisconsin, also said it took issue with an April 2013 Orthodox Union statement that backed federal legislation to “prevent gun violence” and supported “common-sense gun-safety legislation, including banning assault weapons.”

The rabbis’ statements are “rife with platitudes, [ignore] basic facts, and [fail] to recognize Judaism’s strong support for the value and practice of armed self-defense,” the JFPO and the gun club said.

The gun-rights advocate and gun club said in their joint statement that gun control has “proved ineffective at stopping crime”; “gun owners stop criminals and save lives every day”; “Jewish history supports self-defense” and Jews “have a duty of self-defense under Jewish law.”


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