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WASHINGTON—The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development urged the U.S. Senate to promote policies that "reduce gun violence and save people's lives in homes and communities throughout our nation."
In an April 8 letter, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, addressed provisions in S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013,including the expansion of background checks for all gun purchases and strengthening of gun trafficking provisions, which the bishops deem "a positive step in the right direction." He also urged Senators to support an assault weapons ban and limits on access to high-capacity ammunition magazines as they consider amendments to the bill.
Bishop Blaire cited the U.S. bishops' 2000 pastoral statement on criminal justice, which voiced support for "measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer." The bishops especially supported efforts to keep guns out of the hands of children or anyone other than the owner.
Bishop Blaire asked the Senate not to expand minimum mandatory sentences as punishment for gun violations, calling it a cause of rising incarceration rates. "One-size-fits-all policies are counterproductive, inadequate and replace judges' assessments with rigid formulations. Punishment for its own sake is never justified," he said.
The full text of Bishop Blaire's letter is available online: www.usccb.org/about/domestic-social-development/upload/2013-April-8-Letter-to-Senate-on-Gun-Violence-from-Bishop-Blaire.pdf
Keywords: U.S. Senate, Catholic Church, U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gun violence, assault weapons, safety, Newtown, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, S. 649, Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice (2000)
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