Sisters respond to resolution by studying gun issue and discussing solutions
(October 2018) -- The Holy Spirit breathes where it will. In recent years God’s Spirit has inspired youth of our country to address the issue of gun violence prevention. Rightfully so, because a recent report issued by the Center for America’s Progress finds that youth are disproportionately impacted by gun violence (see “America’s Youth Under Fire,” at http://ow.ly/7YrH30lxCLe).
In support of our youth and in response to the Franciscan Federation’s 2016 Resolution, the Sisters’ Peace and Nonviolence Committee has studied the issue of gun violence and has taken action. Since spring 2018 members have attended workshops, hosted the film Making a Killing by Brave New Films, written letters to the editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, and recently, met with U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher to discuss federal legislative reform.
In their conversation Sisters Anne Margaret Carmody and Sally Ann Brickner sought to establish common ground, and expressed that gun violence prevention is a pro-life issue. Congressman Gallagher affirmed that the $1.3 trillion federal spending bill included legislation on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and also gave authority to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on the causes of gun violence in America. However, he acknowledged that funding for that research has not been earmarked.
The Sisters commented that Congress has been unresponsive to requiring universal background checks for all private gun sales and gun shows, which strong majorities of the public have long favored. Nor has this or previous Congresses supported other aspects of gun violence prevention such as keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill and banning assault weapons.
Gun control is a challenging issue. Many view a limit on access to guns as a violation of the Second Amendment, according to Congressman Gallagher. But does the right to bear arms take precedence over the right to life? It may be that fruitful dialogue on that question could “move the needle” on gun control legislation in our country, to the delight of numerous youth, parents and grandparents.