Rabbinical Assembly Statement on Gun Control

Posted on: Friday August 17, 2012

NEW YORK – Recent weeks have seen a multiplicity of shootings in the United States. Dozens have been killed or injured. The Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization for Conservative rabbis, reiterates its opposition to gun violence. The RA passed resolutions in 1990 and 1995, advocating for strong gun control, as well as last year, in support of federal legislation to limit high capacity firearm magazines – weapons designed to kill mass amounts of people at once. Rabbi David Lerner of Lexington, Mass., founded an initiative, Clergy Against Bullets, several years ago. He has led interfaith groups in advocating against legislation that would limit states’ ability to regulate the carrying of concealed weapons.

Julie Schonfeld, the RA’s executive vice president, released the following statement today clarifying the RA’s perspective on gun control:

The Rabbinical Assembly has been a strong advocate of gun control for decades. Our rabbis are proud to be part of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a national coalition of religious groups whose strength lies in the diversity of its members, who together realize the crucial nature of improving the safety of our communities. In light of several recent tragic shootings, in which dozens of innocent people were killed or injured, we urge lawmakers at federal, state and local levels to renew their attention to this issue. Senseless shootings can be avoided. We must respond to this recent wave of violence with a sense of urgency. Schools, religious institutions and public spaces are supposed to be places where we feel secure and protected, not where Americans fear for their lives.

Our tradition teaches: “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16). As people of faith, the Rabbinical Assembly unequivocally calls upon lawmakers to take all available measures, to ensure the safety of the public to limit the availability of guns and the permissibility of their concealment.