Time for a Meltdown?

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”

Is. 2-4


“A Farewell to Arms” now has new meaning since police departments have tapped into creative ways of getting guns off the street.  For the last several years, the New York City police have seized illegal guns and melted them down, recycling the resulting metal. In a short period of time, more than 3,000 guns were melted down, a major achievement in keeping guns off the street and saving lives.  The Los Angeles County police seized 7,044 guns, melted them down and used the metal for construction projects such as bridge repair.  Omaha police seized handguns and semi-automatic weapons, sending them to a steel melting factory to be used for something positive for humanity!

The late Rev. Louis Coleman paid $20 – $25 to individuals willing to give him a gun.  In one year, he purchased 300 guns and said, “For every ten guns melted, we feel it has saved at least one life.” One of the greatest privileges anyone can have in their life is to save the life of another.

As I listened to mothers who have lost young sons and daughters to gun violence, to ministers who gather families and communities for prayer in memory of those lost, and to the voices of concerned citizens in cities and rural areas who speak of the never-ending spiral of guns, gangs, and drugs, I think of those who are attempting to change the script.  Although the guns melted down around our nation represent a small fraction of guns in the United States, I believe this action has saved lives.

Many politicians have become tone-deaf to the cost of inaction on gun violence. They continue to do the bidding of the NRA and gun manufacturers, so responsible, common-sense legislation such as universal background checks, banning of military-style assault weapons, and red flag laws languish in the Senate.  The empty words of “You are in our thoughts and prayers,” with no resolute action are an insult to survivors.

When I view crosses and flowers in neighborhoods around the city and watch memorial prayer services in person or on television, I hope that one day, barriers to responsible gun legislation will melt down, political posturing will melt down, and misinterpretation of the second amendment end in a meltdown.

I feel a deep sense of gratitude to all the Louis Colemans around the country who have allowed creativity to overpower discouragement in the ever-present reality of gun violence.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

7 responses to “Time for a Meltdown?

  1. I, like many other Americans, am a responsible gun owner and a member of the NRA. I learned gun safety and how to shoot as a Boy Scout. I earned my collegiate varsity letter at Georgetown University as Captain of the Rifle Team.
    Universal background checks are already in place. I took my Hunter Safety course from the NRA. I was a NRA certified rifle instructor.
    In my opinion, gun safety needs to be a required subject taught in elementary school and reinforced in middle and high school. This would greatly reduce accidental shootings among our youth.
    Existing gun laws should be heavily enforced. Most gun crime is committed by felons released back into our communities who have total disregard for the law.
    The NRA is not the boogeyman. Criminals using stolen guns are the problem.

    1. The corporate stance of the Congregation: In the U.S., we will advocate for common-sense gun control laws such as requiring universal background checks before purchasing arms; banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines; promoting strategies to prevent gun violence; and providing adequate financial resources to establish mental health programs for victims and perpetrators and prevention programs for at-risk people.

      1. Universal background checks for gun purchases are already required. Assault weapons (fully automatic) are illegal to own in the US unless you have a special license to own one and those are very difficult to get. Semi-automatic firearms regardless of their cosmetics are legal. I’m all in favor of greater firearm education for our youth as that is a strategy that will reduce gun violence. Getting illegally owned guns off the streets should be a top priority in every community. But whoever turns in an illegally owned firearm should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

        1. I think many of us were raised with the idea that gun safety should be taught to children. I was surprised, then, to learn recently that children taught gun safety tend to have more gun accidents and improper use. Perhaps the course need to be revised? Also, our Columbus newspaper had an article that many gun dealers are not following the law about background checks and are not being prosecuted. It’s hard to study all this because for so long the NRA and other groups prevented federal money from being used to study gun accidents, violence, use, and so on.

  2. Thank you Judy! You remind us that there is hope and real action that can be taken to save lives. Time to get rid of the golden calves – NRA, Gun manufacturers, $$$$ for weapons of hate and death.

  3. Thanks, Judy. It is great that some police are taking the time to use the meltdown metal of the guns to good use.
    “You are in our thoughts and prayers” is really useless if no legislative actions back them up.

  4. Would that every place we live and minister could take one step that would take more guns off the street. Thanks.

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