Statement on Gun Control

 

In the wake of far too many mass shootings and killings across our country, over recent weeks, months and years, The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey/Public Policy Network puts forth this statement as representative of our stand for gun control and against gun violence. Recognizing that 34 people are killed in this country on any given day as a result of gun violence – that someone’s mother, father, sister, brother or child is struck down every 45 minutes – we urge those of the legislative and executive branches of our state and federal governments to act with all due haste to bring an end to our domestic urban and rural killing fields, where so many innocents have needlessly lost their lives.

The General Resolution passed, through a democratic process of Unitarian Universalist congregations, at the UUA General Assembly of 1991 (and updated in August, 2011) provides a comprehensive statement of conscience and action regarding the conditions of an unregulated gun culture and the need to pursue a sane and responsible end to that culture.  Recognizing that turning our public schools, playgrounds or other institutions into armed camps is not a viable or protective solution, and recognizing that within the issue of gun control there is also a strong need to provide public programs of responsible care for mentally ill persons, we put forth the 1991 General Resolution as the statement we stand behind for gun control:

1991 General Resolution

BECAUSE Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth of every human life; and

BECAUSE safe coexistence within society requires reasonable compromise with the concept of absolute personal liberty; and

WHEREAS the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association passed, in 1972, a resolution advocating mandatory licensing for the purchase and possession of all usable guns and, in 1976, a resolution urging the passage of legislation restricting the ownership or possession of handguns;

WHEREAS in the United States legislation regarding firearms varies widely from state to state;

WHEREAS according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in a report covering the period 1986-1988:

  1. firearms are a leading cause of accidental death among children ages 14 and under in the United States;
  2. an estimated 130 million firearms exist in the United States, one for every two households;
  3. and every year there are over 1 million “gun incidents,” including nearly 11,000 murders involving firearms, 15,000 suicides, 1,900 accidental deaths, 175,000 criminal assaults committed with firearms, 221,000 armed robberies, 90,000 forcible rapes, and over 200,000 gun-related injuries;

WHEREAS many consumer products sold in North America are regulated to protect the public from hazards associated with their use; and

WHEREAS machine guns and semi-automatic and automatic assault weapons are highly powerful weapons designed for the efficient destruction of life;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association, its member congregations, and individual Unitarian Universalists be encouraged to petition legislators to enact and support laws such as:

  1. the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1991 (HR7) in the United States, which is intended to place nationally uniform, effective limitations on individual possession of handguns, including waiting periods, licensing, and registration;
  2. the “Mitchell Compromise”;
  3. and Bill C-80 (1991) in Canada, which is intended to make the purchase of firearms more difficult;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association, its member congregations, and individual Unitarian Universalists be urged to petition legislators to include safety training programs as a mandatory condition that must be met before firearms can be owned and used; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association, its member congregations, and individual Unitarian Universalists in the United States be urged to petition legislators to enact and support laws banning private ownership or use of machine guns and semi-automatic and automatic assault weapons.

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