Gun Control

This resolution was prepared with reference to the Rabbinical Assembly’s 2016 resolution.

GUN CONTROL

Background

Gun violence is an acute public health and global concern, but the United States is a tragic outlier on this issue. America’s violent gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than those of 22 other high-income countries.

Women are disproportionately affected. Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that abuser owns a gun. Having a gun readily accessible also makes suicide attempts easier and more successful. However, a 2017 gun violence study reports that background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases are consistent with lower suicide rates

Another extreme example of gun violence is the epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S. These horrific incidents are often committed with military-style assault weapons. According to a 2016 poll, a majority of the U.S. population prefers an assault weapon ban, and that they feel less safe when more people are carrying guns.

Besides death, other consequences of shootings include medical treatments, criminal justice proceedings, security precautions, and a reduction in quality of life, all of which cost an estimated $100 billion annually. These losses are tragic and the vast majority of them are utterly preventable.

Whereas Jewish tradition affirms the inherent worth of each person, each created in the Divine Image; and

Whereas statistics strongly affirm that gun laws, when properly enforced, reduce gun violence; and

Whereas personalized, or “smart gun” technology can minimize accidental shootings, prevent law enforcement agents from being shot with their own service weapons, and make stolen shipments of guns useless to those who steal them; and

Whereas the increasing incidents of mass shootings show that everyone is at risk; and

Whereas Women’s League for Conservative Judaism has taken strong positions on gun control in the past, most recently in 2014; and

Whereas Jewish teaching commands us to not stand idly by the blood of our neighbors,

Therefore, this responsibility calls upon us to send a message to our elected officials at all levels of government that we care deeply about gun violence and will become actively involved in this cause; and that Women’s League for Conservative Judaism:

Encourages its members to advance the cause of requiring: background checks on all public and private gun sales; bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and legislation making gun trafficking a federal crime with severe penalties; and

Commits to deepening our gun violence prevention advocacy efforts; and

Urges its members to work with their state and federal representatives and senators to enact effective gun violence prevention legislation.

Further:

Whereas a synagogue is a house of worship, fellowship, and peace; and

Whereas training requirements for obtaining a license to carry a gun vary greatly and, in some states, require no training or marksmanship skills; and

Whereas negligent discharges of firearms have occurred in synagogues and churches in the past; and

Whereas children are at synagogue and are prone to explore during services,

Therefore, be it resolved that Women’s League for Conservative Judaism encourages congregations to prohibit guns being carried in synagogues by non-active law enforcement, congregants, or visitors.

RESOURCES

  1. Rabbinical Assembly: 2016 resolution.
  2. The Guardian, 2016, March 14 (Source: The American Journal of Medicine, Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010).
    The American Journal of Medicine, March 2016, Volume 129, Issue 3, Pages 266–273, Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010.
  3. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, The Brady Center averaged the most recent five years of complete data from death certificates (2011-2015) and estimates of emergency room admissions (2010-2014) available via CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/.
  4. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, smartgunlaws.org, (Source: Everytown for Gun Safety, Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings 3, July 2014).

Additional Sources

  1. U.S. News and World Report, U.S. Gun-Related Murder Rate 25 Times Higher Than Other Nations, Feb. 2, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.
  2. TIME, America’s Gun Homicide Rate Is 25 Times Higher Than Other Rich Countries, Daniel White, Feb 03, 2016.
    from American Journal of Medicine, from 2010 mortality data from the World Health Organization for 23 high-income nations.
  3. Elsavier, Gun Deaths in U.S. Remain Highest Among High-Income Nations, Gun Deaths in U.S. Remain Highest Among High-Income Nations, Philadelphia, PA February 1, 2016.
  4. New York Times. Some Gun Laws Tied to Lower Suicide Rates, By Nicholas Bakalarmarch, 15, 2017.

FACTS

  1. U.S. has 80% of all firearm deaths, 86% of all female gun casualties, and 87% of all children’s firearm fatalities (up to age 14), relative to 22 high-income countries.
  2. Some individuals (over 14, and up to 25 years old) are 49 times more likely to die from gun violence than their counterparts in those developed nations.

One thought on “Gun Control”

  1. Rita says:

    This is an amazingly well done, well presented resolution.
    I am 100% in favor of WLCJ addressing & passing this as soon as possible. I am aware that we have addressed this issue in past resolutions, but because of the recent instances of mass shootings, and the fear we have for the safety of our children & adults alike, I think it is time to address this issue once again. I am proud of WL for bringing this issue forward once again.

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