For the members of the Saint Gabriel Possenti Society, the right to bear arms carries a spiritual significance that goes beyond its legislative implications.
The society, named for a gun-wielding saint, tries to highlight what it views as righteous use of firearms. That's exactly why society founder John M. Snyder awarded Sergeants Mark Todd and Kimberly Munley honor medallions recently for their heroic actions to apprehend Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan in the midst of the Nov. 5 Fort Hood shootings.
The awards were presented following a luncheon event, in which the two police sergeants were inducted into the American Police Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida.
Snyder said he has always been interested in the use of firearms for self-defense, and when he ran across an article in a religious magazine about the gun-wielding Saint Gabriel Possenti, he saw many parallels to the world we live in today.
The story of Saint Gabriel "is quite apropos, I think, because here was a holy man who used force legitimately to save the lives and the property of decent people," Snyder said.
According to the story, as told by Snyder, the Saint was able to disarm and run out of town a group of renegade soldiers, who took to ransacking local villages after the battle of Pansaro in Italy.
Snyder points to the story of Saint Gabriel as an example of how "the use of firearms can be perpetrated by a very holy person." A message he believes Jesus Christ himself to be a proponent of.
"I highly object to the extreme pacifism of some church officials, who seem to think, as evidenced by their attitudes, that it is not according to the religious principles to use force," Synder said.
The Saint Gabriel Possenti Society is currently leading an active campaign to have the Vatican name Saint Gabriel as the official patron saint of handgunners.