The U.S. Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) entered its voice Monday into the nation’s latest gun reform debate, renewing past support for gun control measures like an assault weapons ban and universal background checks with expressing concern with the idea of arming teachers as a deterrent of future shootings.
“Once again, we are confronted with grave evil, the murder of our children and those who teach them,” said Bishop Frank Dewane and Bishop George Murry, chairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Catholic Education, following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“This moment calls for an honest and practical dialogue around a series of concrete proposals – no partisanship and overheated rhetoric,” said Bishops Dewane and Murry.
In that vein, they reasserted the Catholic bishops’ long-held support for a federal ban on assault weapons and limiting access to certain handguns and to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines.
The bishops also pushed against the idea of placing armed, trained teachers or other professional into schools as a means to deter a shooter – a concept that President Trump has repeatedly advocated in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas massacre.
“The idea of arming teachers seems to raise more concerns than it addresses,” the bishops said.
“We must explore ways to curb violent images and experiences with which we inundate our youth, and ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools and incentives to identify troubled individuals and get them help,” the bishops said.
“The advocacy by survivors of the Parkland shooting – and young people throughout our nation – is a stark reminder that guns pose an enormous danger to the innocent when they fall into the wrong hands. The voices of these advocates should ring in our ears as they describe the peaceful future to which they aspire.” ~ National Catholic Reporter