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Rowan Williams: If all you have is a gun, everything is a target

Rowan Williams: If all you have is a gun, everything is a target

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams spoke out on gun violence in his comments on the BBC’s Thought for the Day:

In his final Thought for the Day this morning on BBC Radio 4, the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about the recent killings in Connecticut and discounts the argument often put forward that “it’s not guns that kill, it’s people” saying:

“People use guns. But in a sense guns use people, too. When we have the technology for violence easily to hand, our choices are skewed and we are more vulnerable to being manipulated into violent action.”

He acknowledges that “control of the arms trade, whether for individuals or for nations, won’t in itself stop the impulse to violence and slaughter” but argues that:

“If all you have is a gun, everything looks like a target. If all you have is the child’s openness and willingness to be loved, everything looks like a promise. Control of the weapons trade is a start. But what will really make the difference is dealing with fear and the pressure to release our anxiety and tension at the expense of others. A new heart, a new spirit, as the Bible says; so that peace on earth won’t be an empty hope.”

ABC News reports:

The spiritual leader of the world’s 80 million-strong Anglican Communion threw his support behind stricter gun laws in the U.S. on Saturday, saying the easy availability of powerful weapons drew vulnerable people toward violence.

Rowan Williams, who is stepping down from his role as the archbishop of Canterbury at the end of the year, referred to the recent massacre of 26 children and staff at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Williams said it was hard to get into the spirit of Christmas given the “lives cut so brutally short and of the unimaginable loss and trauma suffered by parents.” He made the comments on BBC radio program “Thought for the Day,” a slot devoted to religious perspectives on life and current affairs.

Full text of his talk is here.

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