LASALLIAN ACTION Learn about legislation here.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION Call on your Senator to support universal background checks.
The House of Representatives passed HR8 the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, February 27, 2019. The Senate has yet to introduce it for a vote.
As a nation we are once again horrified by the violent actions that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the past weekend. As Lasallians, we will continue to hold all in our prayers, but also as Lasallians we are called to action on behalf of peace with justice.
“‘Following the most recent mass shootings, in which 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, allegedly by a white supremacist targeting Hispanics, and in a separate incident in Dayton, Ohio, where nine more people were killed, Catholics are being urged by church leaders “to pray and raise their voices for needed changes to our national policy and national culture.’ That is from an Aug. 4 statement from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Frank Dewane, who heads the U.S.C.C.B. committee on domestic justice.” (America Magazine)
As we consider the right that children have to live in safety, we must continue to be aware of the scores of similar senseless acts of violence that occur in our cities and communities every day. We must work for a just society for all. Given the current reality, one specific action that you can take is to contact your Senators and ask them to support universal background checks.
Associate Executive Director – Office for Mission & Ministry
“Mass shootings are not an inevitability. All human beings have the right to live without violence. To behave otherwise is to advance a lie. Stopping this lie begins with holding accountable our elected officials who have done nothing to address gun violence. Inaction only cements the idea that these tragedies are acceptable and that the weapons that enable them are simply common features of American life today.”
— Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, in an August 4, 2019 statement, who has spoken frequently about gun violence
Universal Background Checks are a proven and critical too to help keep guns out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others. Background checks help protect our children and communities. States with expansive background check laws have seen 52% fewer mass shootings, a 48% reduction in suicide deaths by firearms, and a 48% reduction in law enforcement death caused by gun violence. By requiring that firearms be sold and transferred through licensed sellers and subject to background checks, we can prevent future tragedies.
(source Sandy Hook Promise www.sandyhookpromise.org)
Write to Your Senator
Sample Message (The intent of this sample message is to provide facts–please add your personal sentiments)
I’m writing as a concerned constituent to ask you to update the background check system for purchasing a firearm. The House of Representatives passed HR 8: The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 on February 27, 2019. The Senate has yet to act upon this legislation. The time is now to do so.
The background check system works, and has stopped over 3.5 million illegal gun sales in the last 20 years. But under the current law, half of Americans live in states where a convicted felon, domestic abuser, or fugitive can purchase a gun through an unlicensed seller at a gun show or online. In fact, research shows that just one online firearms marketplace had over 1 million ads for firearm sales posted by unlicensed sellers in states where no background check was required. Moreover, an investigation showed that 1 in 9 prospective online buyers would not have passed a background check.
Updating our background check system to close this dangerous loophole is critical for public safety. States that have closed the loophole are seeing results. 84% of unlicensed online sellers from states with background check laws are directly stating the sale would need a check. I hope you will stand with 94% of Americans and support background checks on all gun sales.
For information on contacting your Congressional delegation and to track legislation: HR 8
PRESS RELEASE: FAN and CMSM Call for Immediate Legislation on Gun Violence and a National Examination of Conscience
Franciscan Action Network (FAN) and Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) Call for Immediate Legislation on Gun Violence and a National Examination of Conscience
“Out of the depths I call to you, God.” (Psalm 130)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Once again, our hearts break after this past weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio just as our hearts break over the gun violence that plagues many of our communities on a daily basis. Franciscan Action Network (FAN) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) continue to pray for all involved and recognize that we must also act.
The passage of HR8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 by the House was a good first step. The Senate must now take up this bill and we need additional legislation immediately.
As national Catholic advocacy organizations we call on Senator McConnell to bring the Senate back into session and commit to immediately bring to the floor legislation that includes:
- Universal background checks;
- Banning large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Banning assault weapons;
- Federal funding for gun violence research by the CDC;
- Preventing hate crime and domestic violence offenders from having access to guns.
We recognize that our national political discourse has gotten to the point that as a nation we must examine our conscience. As followers of the Nonviolent Prince of Peace, we know that:
- Our nation has been continually plagued by racism and bigotry that has given rise to hate speech and the violent actions of white supremacists like the shooter in El Paso.
- We must call out the racist and hateful rhetoric of our political leaders which has encouraged the resurgence and visibility of white supremacists, has led to a rise in hate crimes, and foments violence.
- The President’s call for gun violence legislation linked to immigration legislation is a further perpetuation of racism: most mass shooters are white and male and have a history of making threatening comments towards women, or worse. The majority are not immigrants or are Muslim.
- Many pundits are drawing an unproven connection between “mental health” and violence. We know that domestic violence is a much stronger indicator of gun violence. We do not have a mental health crisis: we have a much deeper crisis of the soul: a soul sickness fueled by violence in the forms of guns, white supremacy, and racism.
- It is well past time for a serious national conversation about our past and our present: our complicity in racism and bigotry and our current culture of violence that fans the flames of white supremacy and encourages toxic manifestations of violence.
Until we pass legislation, teach the skills of nonviolence, and come to terms with our current climate and culture, we fear that mass shootings will continue, as will the violence in our neighborhoods every day. We will continue to advocate for comprehensive gun violence legislation and work for a culture of peace that encourages nonviolence as we use the prayer attributed to St. Francis that calls us to “Be Instruments of His Peace.”
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