Feb 222013
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Logo for the St. Gabriel Possenti Society

There was, in the 19th century, an Italian Monk named Gabriel Possenti. According to a legend, Saint Possenti saved a village from a marauding gang of soldiers by scaring them off with his hand gun prowess. So that was enough for a group of handgun enthusiasts to form the St. Gabriel Possenti Society to lobby to get the Pope to designate St. Possenti as the Patron Saint of handgun enthusiasts.

The legend goes that just before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 23, the group of renegade soldiers descended on the town of Isola del Gran Sasso with the intent to pillage and rape. With what was most likely a single shot gun, Possenti shot a lizard on the ground, and this alone was enough to scare off the 20 bandits.

The main problem is that this story is mentioned in only one of four biographies of Possenti, and the author of that biography, Rev. Godfrey Poage, acknowledged that “some of the accounts in his book were invented to ‘enliven’ the story.” In addition, since this supposedly happened less than 2 years before St. Possenti’s death from tuberculosis, he most likely would have barely had the strength to get out of bed, let alone care off 20 hardened criminals (trained soldiers at that) all by himself.

But, the gun lobby, in whatever form, has never been too concerned with reality.

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