Gun Control

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



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.

Comparing the United States to Canada and Israel reveals discrepancies in the way the US and these two countries approach the question of gun ownership. The US has no licensing procedure for this. Presently, Canadian law classifies firearms into three categories: prohibited (such as AK-47s and sawed-off shotguns), restricted (such as handguns and AR-15s), and non-restricted (usually rifles and shotguns). In addition, Canada requires anyone wishing to purchase a gun and/or ammunition to obtain a valid license under the Firearms Act. This license requires a screening process, which includes a safety course, a criminal history and background checks, a provision of personal references, and a mandatory waiting period.

Israeli gun laws are even stricter. There, too, a license is required. Preconditions include a minimum age, being in good physical and mental health, and having no criminal record. Israelis are permitted to own only one gun at a time, and must even ask permission to sell their gun. Moreover, the type of gun permitted is dependent on the need for which it is requested, and there are lists for each type. Approximately 40% of Israeli gun license requests are denied. Israelis are limited to just 50 bullets at any given time in their possession, and must shoot or return old bullets before they can buy new ones. Ammunition sales take place only at regulated shooting ranges, and the sales themselves are then registered. Finally, the Canadian firearm-related homicide rate is about seven times lower than that of the United States, while the Israeli rate is 33 times lower than the US rate.

The Times of Israel, 1 March 2018
The National Observer, 4 Dec 2015*
Israel News, 21 June 2015

*updated information included through May 2018

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.


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.


  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,
  4. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence,, (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.


  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.

45 thoughts 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.

    1. Anne Schimberg says:

      I believe this to be a strong and thorough drafting of the resolution. There is no doubt in my mind and heart that I am totally in favor of WLCJ addressing and passing this resolution as soon as possible. As Jewish women, who are taught to care about our fellow humans, we need to take this action now and encourage others to do the same.

    2. Karen Couf-Cohen says:

      I am proud to read this! I am 100% supportive of this initiative and resolution.

      What can I do to help?

    3. Marjorie Fuhrmann says:

      I don’t think that I can say it any better than Rita. Washer Koach! This is an important today, yesterday and tomorrow. I wholeheartedly support this resolution.

    4. Tzippy Marks-Barnett says:

      Totally agreed.

    5. Rebecca Joy Goldwasser says:

      I am in 100% of WLCJ resolution that no fire arms belong in the synagogue except with law enforcers. Thanks for a very well done presentation.

  2. Cathy Swerdlow says:

    I would amend the resolution to say Gun Safety or Guns and Public Safety or Gun Violence Prevention/Reduction, which is what this resolution is really addressing. I work actively with Moms Demand Action and my local LWV Gun Safety Team and we have found that being clear about focusing the conversation on safety and prevention avoids a 2nd amendment response.

  3. Barbara Freilich says:

    I do not take exception with this resolution. However, it appears that the GUN is on trial here and not the actions of persons who fire the Gun. We did not address the need for co-ordination among states with background checks and sharing of information. We did not address the mental health issues that have been made evident by looking at the background of recent shooters. Have we forgotten that a ghetto without fire arms is a target and that when residents can’t defend themselves it can lead to dire consequences. Israel is a very different situation than America. We do not require military service and the training that comes with that mandate. We do need required training for people who wish to own a gun but we have the right to arm ourselves and there is good reason for that right to remain in tact.

  4. Barbara Gordon says:

    In reference to the following sentence: “Having a gun readily accessible also makes suicide attempts easier and more successful.” PLEASE do not use the word “successful” when referring to suicide. The vast majority of psychological literature on this subject refers to suicides as “attempted” or “completed.” The use of the word “successful” usually has a positive connotation whereas “completed” does not.

    Consider this restatement:

    “Having a gun readily accessible makes suicide attempts easier and more likely to be completed.”


  5. Barbara Rudder says:

    Thank you for these well documented abd well thought out resolution.

  6. Gila Arnoni says:

    Well done
    You have my complete support!

  7. Richard Roskind says:

    I feel that this has been very well thought out and deserves to be brought forth in a public manner. Hopefully, our nation will give it the proper treatment that this issue commands. Nevertheless, unless the political process is changed, nothing will come fruition. Sadly so.

  8. sandra conrad says:

    I agree with this position 100%

  9. Karen Kamenir says:

    I applaud your efforts and pray for your success.

    We must have a universal law, not gun laws that are passed on each state’s belief system. This provides loop-holes that an elephant can run through.

    Press on, ladies of courage. I’ve got your back.

  10. Genie Green Blaher says:

    Kol HaKavod to those who prepared this resolution. It is well articulated and presented.

  11. Susan says:

    I think part of the problem is that because of hippa and privacy laws people are not willing to report strange behavior. If a teacher says something about a child exhibiting strange behaviors parents would object. See something, say something should be about mental health too.

  12. Sheila Gideon says:

    I am totally in favor of this resolution. Thank you.

  13. PepeKahn says:

    This is a political issue and should not be a part of this organization. Very disheartening to see this is where the energy is being placed supporting progressive, liberal, destructive attitudes which are endangering our freedoms, which include freedom of religion, in our country.

  14. Laura N Sinai MD says:

    Thank you for doing this!!! I could not agree more. Where do I sign on?

  15. Marcia Lawson says:

    I strongly support this thoughtful proposal that underscores gun control as a public health issue. Woman’s League is setting a high bar for others to respond to this issue.

  16. Deborah Letow says:


  17. Carole Rubin says:

    Gun control is a major necessity right now.
    Enough pushing it off!!!!

  18. Carole Rubin says:


  19. Carole Rubin says:


  20. Marsha Stein says:

    Making a psychological background check part of a requirement to obtain a gun license seems like a no-brainer to me and should be included in WLCJ’s statement. It is required in Israel, where I live most of the year and look at the difference in gun violence between Israel and the US.

  21. Rhonda Cohn says:

    While I am sorry a resolution like this is needed, I would be very proud to vote for it. It encourages me to try to do more to get the laws changed in this country.

  22. Ruth paul says:

    Thanks for the resolution. I agree

  23. Ronnie Glicklin says:

    Does the statement ” WLCJ encourages congregations to prohibit guns being carried in synagogues by non-active law enforcement, congregants and visitors”, apply to armed security hired to protect the synagogue who may be retired police officers?

    I think that the wording may need to be changed to make that clearer.

  24. Marcia Solomon says:

    There is no reason for military-style weapons to be on the Main Street of any city in the USA. There is no reason why we cannot have reasonable gun control which would include a waiting period, a thorough background check, and denials to anyone with a criminal background or mental instability.

  25. Marcia Solomon says:

    We need gun control now.

  26. Marcia Solomon says:

    Please act on this resolution.

  27. Gail Weinstein Halverson says:

    Outstanding. Thank you for taking a position and such a strong position. With you all the way.

  28. Sharon Rosenthal says:

    I agree with everything except the last paragraph. I am from a small congregation that cannot afford professional security guards on a weekly basis. And our synagogue has been hit with anti-Semitic graffiti in the past. We rely on congregants who practice closed carry to guard us. I would feel less safe if they would not permitted to continue this process. Perhaps, the last paragraph could be amended to be against open carry only.

  29. Ernestine L. Urken says:

    I totally agree with this resolution. Additionally, I think it would be important for us to check on legislators’ record on gun control before casting our votes.

  30. prudence lubman says:

    Excellent commentary that I completely agree with.

  31. Linda Levy says:

    I am definitely in favor of this resolution.

  32. I agree, I am sick of NRA. It is a public health problem and congress seems unable to do anything about it even when faced with the students from Parkland, Florida.

  33. Miriam Hearn says:

    I am more than ready for us to take this strong stance on the gun epidemic in our country that is having dire effects on children and teens. It is time for our lawmakers to stand up to the NRA and other lobbies in defense of our children.

  34. Vivian Leber says:

    I am in favor of this resolution. Personally, I would want to see additional restrictions recommended, such as minimum age of 21and limitations of type, quantity and sale of bullets, but I realize that we have diverse viewpoints and that this modest proposal was crafted to be acceptable across our membership. Even so, there will probably be pushback from some who think that any and all restrictions are not permitted under the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court, when it was more balanced, ruled otherwise. Thank you for working to protect our families and communities in keeping with Jewish traditions.

  35. Lorna Isenberg says:

    Strongly in favor of this resolution.
    Thanks to those who researched and wrote it!

  36. Joyce Weinstein Binstock says:

    My husband and I are American Citizens, as we lived in Pembroke Pines, Florida, for over 28 years. By virtue of our birth and most of our life in Toronto, Canada. we remain Canadian Citizens. We are back home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as of June 2004. I say Kol Hakavod to all who put in much effort, expertise, time, to accomplish this excellent resolution. However, it seems to be geared to the United States. Where does Canada come in, to whom will this be presented?
    Joyce Weinstein Binstock.

    e are both Canadian Citizens, by virtue

  37. Alexis says:

    I am in 100% agreement, but it is interesting to play Devil’s advocate (don’t we all?) and think about the counter-argument that there is the potential for a government to become corrupt and so the citizens should have a means to armament. Perhaps American Jewry would counter that this is why it is so important to study the law and work as law-makers.

  38. Allyn Marcovitz says:

    If not now, when?
    Our Grandparents put honey on our schoolbooks to encourage us to enjoy learning.
    Our Grandchildren go to school through metal detectors, daily reminders that we are afraid for them.
    Why do we tolerate a society where our children are afraid to go to school, and we are afraid to send them?

  39. Marie Taubman says:

    WLCJ & JTS mission is and should be Torah, Study, & building our Jewish community.
    This resolution is a political issue and should not be part of our organization.
    Gun free zones invite bad actors. Mass shootings usually take place in gun free zones.
    The NRA provides education and training on gun safety.
    Do not disarm the good people, who are trained and able to protect themselves and others.

  40. The resolution is well written and documented and has my total support. Because mass school shootings have been perpetuated by teen students or former students and even children have accessibility to guns in the home, I believe dangers of accessibility of guns to children and teens needs to be addressed.

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