Sensible Gun Control

Why is this a public position for us?

Will we forget the 26 children and adults who died in 2012 as a result of a mentally ill boy’s violence in Newtown, CT? Ask the parents if they believe mental illness and gun control are related issues in the United States. Ask the parents of all who have died in the 91 school shootings since that time.

According to the US Center for Disease Control, more than 31,000 people in this country die of gunshot wounds every year, and more than a half million are injured. “Gun violence in particular acts very much like a social contagion. It spreads like a virus,” said Daniel Webster, Director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University. The homicide rate in the US is seven times higher than the combined homicide rate of 22 other developed countries.

Gun violence impacts communities across our country, in the form of suicides, drive-by shootings, and random mass killings. Women and children particularly suffer from the effects of gun violence. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, in 2010, 2,694 children and teens died from gunshot wounds in the US. This is nearly five times the number of US active military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan that year. Gunshot wounds are the second leading cause of death for those under age 19  years.

Sensible gun control does not advocate taking away the Second Amendment right to bear arms, in fact, a majority of gun owners support reasonable gun control laws. The Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace are joined by many religious and justice groups around the United States in calling for reasonable gun control laws, including the National Council of Churches, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.

Actions we have taken:

The Dominican Sisters of Peace and their Associates pledged in a public position that: “In the US, 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.” (2013) 

Our public position on this issue is a collective effort, born of study and reflection, to focus our attention on some of the more urgent and compelling needs of our world. A public position requires that the members vote on the issue after careful study and prayer and make a special commitment of action, advocacy and resources to respond to the issue.