Bishop Blaire Urges Senate To Support Policies That Reduce Gun Violence, Build Culture Of Life

April 8, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

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 inhomes and communities throughout our nation."

In an April 8 letter, Bishop StephenE. Blaire of Stockton, California, addressed provisions in S. 649, the SafeCommunities, Safe Schools Act of 2013,including the expansion of backgroundchecks for all gun purchases and strengthening of gun trafficking provisions,which the bishops deem "a positive step in the right direction." He also urgedSenators to support an assault weapons ban and limits on access tohigh-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." Thebishops especially supported efforts to keep guns out of the hands of childrenor anyone other than the owner.

Bishop Blaire asked the Senate notto expand minimum mandatory sentences as punishment for gun violations, callingit a cause of rising incarceration rates. "One-size-fits-all policies arecounterproductive, inadequate and replace judges'assessments with rigid formulations. Punishment for its own sake is neverjustified," he said.

The fulltext 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

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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 CriminalJustice (2000)

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