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Faiths United Calls for Morals Over Politics on Gun Control

Local and Maryland leaders have also been weighing in on gun policy.

By ANAMIKA ROY

Capital News Service

WASHINGTON - A coalition of religious leaders is calling for the federal government to impose three major gun control measures: ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines, mandate background checks for all gun sales and make gun trafficking a federal crime.

The coalition, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, came to the United Methodist Building behind the Capitol on Tuesday to announce its proposals.

"Gun violence is a moral issue," said Vincent DeMarco, national coordinator for Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence and public health lobbyist. DeMarco played a role in advocating Food and Drug Administration regulation for tobacco 10 years ago. He said the same vigilance will help with gun control

The group is sending a letter to Congress signed by religious leaders representing 40 different faiths, outlining the details of the reforms advocated by Faiths United. The letter, which will also be distributed to congregations across the country, highlights recent tragedies caused by gun violence, from Newtown, Conn., to Oak Creek, Wis.

"Our faith overcomes our politics," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, a Christian ministry in Washington, D.C., dedicated to social justice.

DeMarco said that gun control will not interfere with the rights of lawful gun owners, responding to concerns about Second Amendment rights.

"Congressmen will realize 90 percent of their constituents support this," said DeMarco.

On Monday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley discussed his gun control policy with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a gun violence summit at Johns Hopkins University. O'Malley plans to release a legislative package calling for an assault weapons ban and tougher licensing requirements.

O'Malley said in a quote to the Associated Press, "This will be a comprehensive legislative package to prevent gun violence, and it addresses not only the guns, but also mental health and school safety."

DeMarco's group and O'Malley are asking the federal government to administer strict background checks for anyone wishing to purchase a gun.

Faiths United's news conference coincided with Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, who was an advocate for gun control and victim of gun violence.

The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of Public Witness Presbyterian Church USA, said, "If he were alive today, this issue would be a priority."

See related content:

Leaders Call for Increased Gun Control

Nearly 500 Guns Surrendered in Baltimore After Newtown Shooting

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tiptop January 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM
There is not a gun issue in this country, there is a mental health issue in this country, why can't people understand that? Guns don't kill people, help those who need it, please!
Dennis January 17, 2013 at 04:54 PM
I agree it is a mental health issue. Anyone who believes he/she has a right to own a semi automatic weapon with a 30 round ammo clip is crazy. I believe you may own all the guns you want as long as they are single shot and require manually reloading by hand, one shell at a time. The mass murder at Sandy Town Elementary school may have been limited to one or two persons (instead of 20 children and 7 adults) if the shooter had to stop and reload after each shot. The NRA is contributory negligent in the deaths of these children and should be charged with crimes against humanity. I believe that all gun owners should have to register their guns with the government as to the number, type and serial number. You also should be required to pay a registration fee for each gun you own. This information should be available as a matter of public record.
Brad Smith January 17, 2013 at 08:26 PM
^ What? So your solution is less freedom and additional costs for the law abiding citizen, because of a few non law abiding citizens? To put things in perspective, that could (and per your logic should) be done for kitchen knives, baseball bats, bottles and just about every object on the planet, as people have been killing each other for 1000's of years. Trying to restrict one form of weaponry does nothing to the person planning the killing, there are many many ways to accomplish a goal like that. By the way, all guns are registered with the state government except for some of the ones that criminals use. It's important to know what you are talking about, before letting your incorrectly informed emotions formulate sentences for you.
Edmund Klebe January 17, 2013 at 08:32 PM
And under that stricture, the woman who retreated to a closet with her three children when a perp broke into the home would probably be dead along with her three children.
Buck Harmon January 18, 2013 at 01:56 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=fGaDAThOHhA A clear example of how gun control assisted the Aussies...
Buck Harmon January 18, 2013 at 02:00 PM
There are many un answered questions about the mass murders that you refer to here Dennis....to take and promote them at face value, not even getting the name right would be typical of an under educated gun control proponent..
Native January 18, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Still, the elephant in the room is the fact that had there been armed guards in the school, those kids would be alive today. I believe the religious leaders also called for changes in the entertainment industry's penchant for violence as well. But I didn't see that mentioned in the article nor was it brought up by the "all caring, have to do something", politicians.
Native January 18, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Sorry Dennis, but the law of the land & our God-given rights preclude your argument. The NRA is not the one with blood on it's hands, it's on all the liberals that have pushed for "feel good" legislation all these years that have taken the guns out of the hands of law abiding individuals & kept them in the hands of criminals. Had the school employees been allowed to carry concealed or if there had been an armed guard in the school, those kids would be alive today. It's that simple & cannot be argued.

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