Bishops Pushing for Gun Control

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by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 19, 2019   

Increasing push to make churches 'gun-free' zones

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While some Protestant churches are encouraging members to carry firearms and train with them, Catholic bishops are banning law-abiding citizens from bringing firearms into church.

It's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. In 20 years, there have been about 18 church shootings but only a tiny fraction of these shootings have happened on Catholic property.

In 2002, two people were killed during Mass at Our Lady of Peace in Lynbrook, New York. The pastor and a woman in the congregation were killed by a mentally ill man with a 22-caliber rifle who was soon after apprehended by police.

The other shooting was in 2017 in Fresno, California, where a man killed his estranged wife and her boyfriend in front of St. Alphonsus parish after they left morning Mass.

Disarming law-abiding members of the congregation and turning these church properties into gun-free zones would not have done anything to save these people.

According to statistics from the Crime Prevention Research Center, since 1950, a whopping 94% of all shootings occur in gun-free zones.

Following the Aug. 4 shooting in Dayton, Ohio, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a call to change "national policy" regarding firearms. It goes on to declare, "The USCCB continues to urge a total ban on assault weapons, which we supported when the ban passed in 1994 and when Congress failed to renew it in 2004."

The USCCB goes further to demand things that are already state or federal law, including:

  • Measures that control the sale and use of firearms, such as universal background checks for all gun purchases;
  • Limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines;
  • A federal law to criminalize gun trafficking;
  • Improved access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence;
  • Regulations and limitations on the purchasing of handguns; and
  • Measures that make guns safer, such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using the gun without permission and supervision. 

But while the bishops make moves to keep legally owned guns from churches, the diocese of Fort Worth decided last year to take down it's "gun-free zone" signs in St. Patrick's Cathedral after security advisers warned the signs would "advertise … that your location is vulnerable."

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