Faith leaders speak out on gun control

Published: Saturday, Jan. 5 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Supporters of gun control gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, during a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., and to call on President Obama to pass strong gun control laws.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

A wave of religious leaders has voiced support for increased gun control in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Three committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently released a statement calling for “our nation to renew a culture of life in our society.”

The bishops spoke specifically to legislators, asking them to support measures that control the sale and use of firearms, make guns safer, sensibly regulate handguns and protect society from violence associated with easy access to assault weapons.

As reported by Religion News Service, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a group of 39 Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh organizations, is pushing to renew a ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004.

“The faith community is committed to doing this and it makes sense and it will happen,” said Vincent Demarco, the coalition’s national coordinator.

On the other hand, Joseph Mattera, presiding bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition, believes that gun control will do little to solve what he sees as the larger problem of increased secularization in U.S. society.

Writing in Charisma magazine, a monthly periodical aimed at Pentecostals and charismatics, Mattera said, “Blaming guns would be to skirt the deeper issues the humanists don’t want to touch, i.e., blaming guns for this and other tragedies like Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres would be like blaming automobiles for the thousands of deaths that occur every year due to accidents on highways and streets.”

According to a CBS News poll conducted Dec. 14-16, 57 percent of Americans favor stricter gun control laws, compared to just 39 percent in April 2012. Even so, only 42 percent believe that more stringent measures would have helped prevent the Sandy Hook shooting.

Only 44 percent of Americans support a ban on assault weapons, according to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.

President Obama stated on Dec. 30 that gun control legislation is one of his top priorities for 2013.

David Ward is a writer living in Salt Lake City. Contact him at dward@deseretnews.com.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS