Gun Control Statement
The Social Action Committee of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (CSJO), a federation of North American organizations and individual members dedicated to the continuity of the Jewish people and to their culture, supports comprehensive gun control legislation. As Jewish people, our tradition teaches us that the killing of one person is as if a whole world was killed, and saving one person is saving a world. We therefore have a moral obligation to do what we can to prevent senseless acts of gun violence and mass murders.
The United States is facing a gun violence epidemic. From Sandy Hook Elementary to Pulse Night Club, hundreds of innocent lives have been lost to people planning mass murders and executing those plans with weapons like the AR-15. As this gun violence continues, it seems as if the news of yet another horrific incident happens more and more frequently. Many of the people who perpetrate these crimes also have a history of committing domestic violence, as was the case in one of the most recent mass shootings at the time of writing this statement, the Texas church shooting on November 5th, 2017. Additionally, thousands of people each year in the United States die from gun violence or self-inflicted gunshot wounds. By comparison, the Canadian rates of firearm related deaths are much lower, due in large part to their strong gun control measures.
Let each of us dig deep and ask ourselves difficult questions: Why does anyone need semi-automatic weaponry or attachments to turn guns into automatic weapons? How do we keep guns out of the hands of those who have a history of mental instability and/or violence?
Gun violence affects everyone, and positive change can only happen if organizations made up of like-minded people work together. Join with others in your community and contact legislators to push forward sensible regulations to limit access to weapons and to investigate the rise of mass killings. We would urge legislators to take the following steps to reduce gun violence in the United States:
- Enforce universal background checks for gun purchasers
- Ban automatic and semi-automatic weapon sales to civilians
- Limit ammunition sales