WASHINGTON—In the aftermath of the recent and horrific attacks inLas Vegas, Nevada, and the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas,Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee onDomestic Justice and Human Development, urged national leaders to engage in atrue debate about solutions to gun violence.
The full statement follows:
"For many years, the Catholic bishops of the United Stateshave been urging our leaders to explore and adopt reasonable policies to helpcurb gun violence. The recent and shocking events in Las Vegas andSutherland Springs remind us of how much damage can be caused when weapons—particularlyweapons designed to inflict extreme levels of bloodshed—too easily find theirway into the hands of those who would wish to use them to harm others.
Violence in our society will not be solved by a single piece oflegislation, and many factors contribute to what we see going on all around us.Even so, our leaders must engage in a real debate about needed measures to savelives and make our communities safer. The USCCB continues to urge a totalban on assault weapons, which we supported when the ban passed in 1994 and whenCongress failed to renew it in 2004.
In addition, the bishops have supported:
- Measures that control the sale and use offirearms, such as universal background checks for all gun purchases;
- Limitations on civilian access tohigh-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines;
- A federal law to criminalize guntrafficking;
- Improved access to mental health care forthose who may be prone to violence;
- Regulations and limitations on thepurchasing of handguns; and
- Measures that make guns safer, such aslocks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using thegun without permission and supervision.
While acknowledging the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitutionand related jurisprudence, we live in a fallen world with daily advances inmodern technology. Some weapons are increasingly capable of easily causing massmurder when used with an evil purpose. Society must recognize that the commongood requires reasonable steps to limit access to such firearms by those whowould intend to use them in that way."
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop FrankJ. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, First BaptistChurch, Sutherland Springs, Texas, gun violence, Las Vegas, high-capacityweapons, gun trafficking, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution, commongood.
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