US Bishops Pushing Gun Control

News: US News
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by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 12, 2019   

First day of meeting promotes more restrictions on firearms

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BALTIMORE (ChurchMilitant.com) - Gun control is again one of the main issues U.S. Catholic bishops are discussing, while faithful Catholics are calling them out as hypocrites for choosing politics over religion.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is gathering in Baltimore this week for its yearly Fall General Assembly and among the first subjects discussed on Monday is gun control.

Bishop Frank Dewayne of Venice, Florida, and chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, delivered a 20-minute presentation pushing bishops to pressure state and federal governments to legislate "common sense" gun laws.

In his presentation, Dewayne showed a list of "gun policies supported by the USCCB," including:

  • assault weapon ban
  • universal background checks
  • limit large capacity magazines
  • federal law to criminalized gun trafficking
  • improved access to mental health care
  • limitations on handguns
  • gun locks and safe storage
  • assessment of violence in media

He also noted, "Such regulations are helpful, but they will not ban gun violence completely," adding, "For that to happen, we need new ways of thinking. At the heart of the epidemic is a shooter. That shooter somehow in some way turns inward on pain or isolation or illusions that it becomes possible to become desensitized to others, that he loses all empathy."

It's not the first time the Dewayne, or the USCCB, has spoken about gun control. In its March 2018 document "Backgrounder on a Mercy and Peacebuilding Approach to Gun Violence," the USCCB pushed the same talking points. 

Following the Aug. 4 shooting in Dayton, Ohio, the USCCB issued a call to change "national policy" regarding firearms, declaring, "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."

Dewayne also said the USCCB could modify its financial investments by divesting from gun manufacturers and encouraging Catholics to do the same, according to its Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines, noting such moves "would send a strong signal."

The guidelines report that USCCB investment policies cover the these areas: protecting human life, promoting human dignity, reducing arms production, pursuing economic justice, protecting the environment and encouraging corporate responsibility.

In 2016 the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) and other women's religious orders purchased stock shares in American Outdoor Brands, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Dick's Sporting Goods in an attempt to bring gun control activism to the boardrooms of American firearm companies.

Bishop Robert McElroy, a prominent supporter of homosexuality, claimed in 2017 that gun control is a social justice issue. He claimed, "One of the problems is the organized opposition to gun control, taking the position that any limitation against guns is a limitation on the core rights of individuals," adding, "The notion that to restrict automatic and semi-automatic weapons is a restriction on personal rights that should be given to society, to me, seems unacceptable."

Catholics on social media are slamming the USCCB:

Meanwhile, siding more with Democrats than average Americans, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) continues to issue statements calling for so-called "common sense" gun laws, issuing nine statements as of Sept. 1 this year (an average of one each month) and totaling 20 altogether.

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