Catholic bishops gave a shot in the arm to President Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday that his administration will require all gun sellers to register as dealers and complete background checks on all buyers.
“Thank God that someone finally has the courage to close the loopholes in our pitiful gun control laws to reduce the number of mass shootings, suicides and killings that have become a plague in our country,” Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
He called Obama’s proposal “modest,” but slammed Congress, saying it has “unabashedly sold itself to the gun lobby.”
Farrell announced that even though Texas now allows gun owners to carry firearms openly, guns would be prohibited from diocesan-owned property.
“This policy is rooted in the belief that our churches, schools and other places of worship are intended to be sanctuaries — holy sites where people come to pray and participate in the ministry of the Church,” he wrote.
In his Tuesday White House speech, Obama said gun violence was infringing on religious liberty, pointing to several shootings at houses of worship in recent years.
“Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them,” Obama said. “Because our right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was deniedMuslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights, too.”
Obama announced that in addition to background checks, his administration would invest in research for gun safety, including apps to locate missing guns, as well as devote $500 million to mental health treatment.
The head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on domestic justice joined Farrell in offering support Wednesday.
“While no measure can eliminate all acts of violence which involve firearms, we welcome reasonable efforts aimed at saving lives and making communities safer,” said Miami’s Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski.
“We hope Congress will take up this issue in a more robust way, considering all of the varied aspects involved,” he continued.
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