Slim Volume Chronicles History
of Gun Saint Effort
Joseph P. Tartaro
GUN SAINT, by John Michael Snyder
© 2003. Published by Tellum Associates, 401 12th Street,
South, Suite 2218, Dept. GWK, Arlington, VA 22202; phone 703-418-0849;
online: www.gunsaint.com. 128 page, soft cover, illustrated.
Price $12.95, plus $2 S&H.
This unusual book chronicles two connected
stores that start in two different countries in two different
centuries, but the linkage to the lawful use of firearms is
Gun Saint is both the story of a young Italian
seminarian whose extraordinary courage and marksmanship helped
him save a village from marauding troops in Italy 1860, and
of the international, non-sectarian movement in his name launched
by firearms civil rights activists in the US in 1987. It is
also the story of how different elements of the media and
church world-wide have reacted to the movement.
Newspaper, magazine, television and radio
reporters around the globe have found the entire story fascinating,
in part because it unfolds outside the box of popular perceptions.
The young seminarian, Gabriel Possenti,
was proclaimed a saint by Roman Catholic Church in 1920 for
reasons other than his exemplary use of handguns to become
the savior of Isola a few years before his death. The Vatican
named him a patron saint of youth, but when Americans steeped
in the debate over the value of handgun ownership for self-defense
learned of his providential display of handgun use in the
name of righteousness, they petitioned the Vatican to also
name him the patron saint of handgunners.
This was not a frivolous adventure. It was
steeped in the belief that most major religions of the world
authorize and support the concept that defense of innocent
lives from life threatening predators by lethal force is the
supreme virtue. They not only petitioned the Pope, but they
formed an international, non-denominational society, and have
pursued their goals in American and right to the gates of
Using a reportorial style, John Snyder retells
no just the story of St. Gabriel's dramatic "high-noon"
encounter with the marauders, but the young man's life story,
including an explanation of how he became such a proficient
marksman. He also enumerates how prominent people in and out
of religious orders have helped or hindered the Gun Saint
There are great episodes in the modern saga,
including: the confrontation with a bishop in the US over
the dedication of a gun range/shop to St. Gabriel (what eventually
happened to the bishop is reminiscent of the "Curse of
the Gunnies"); the opposition of leaders in Possenti's
religious order; the visit to the church in Isola linked to
St. Gabriel that is featured among the artistic and photographic
illustrations, and the Italian nobleman who had silver medallions
struck for the St. Gabriel Society to distribute to pro-gun
Gun Saint makes a great and even inspirational
read for gunowners, especially those who have grown weary
of being equated with evil by the anti-gunners.