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Slim Volume Chronicles History of Gun Saint Effort

Review by
Joseph P. Tartaro
Executive Editor

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 unmistakable.

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 the Vatican.

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 movement.

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 people.

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.

© 2014 St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc., P.O. Box 183, Cabin John, MD 20818