Resolution on American Gun Violence

Whereas Jewish tradition affirms the inherent worth of each person, each created in the Divine Image; and

Whereas approximately 32,000 Americans die as a result of gun violence every year1; and

Whereas Conservative Jews are committed to participation in the American democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; and

Whereas statistics strongly affirm that gun laws, when properly enforced, reduce gun violence; and

Whereas personalized, or “smart gun” technology can prevent accidental shootings, prevent law enforcement agents from being shot with their own service weapon, and make stolen shipments of guns useless to those who steal them; and

Whereas the spate of recent tragic mass shootings at places such as schools, movie theatres, shopping malls, and religious institutions has highlighted the dangers and demonstrated that gun-related violence can occur any place at any time to anyone; and

Whereas after the Sandy Hook school shooting, President Obama vowed to use “all the powers of this office” to reduce gun violence in America and powerful national legislative and non-legislative campaigns have continued their work to reduce gun violence in America; and

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly took a strong stand, in a 2014 resolution, in favor of gun control; and

Whereas Conservative rabbis embrace the commandment to not stand idly by the blood of our neighbors; and

Whereas this responsibility calls upon us to send a message to our elected officials that we care deeply about gun violence and will lead our congregations and institutions to become actively involved in this cause; and

Therefore, as the Rabbinical Assembly committed in a similar resolution in 2014, be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly support the efforts of Everytown Against Gun Violence, Rabbis Against Gun Violence, the Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign, Faiths United Against Gun Violence, their partners, and their collective work toward sensible American gun control; and   

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members to lobby local, state and federal lawmakers to support required 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

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly commit to deepening our gun violence prevention advocacy effort; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge the members of its affiliated communities to demand that their representatives and senators enact effective gun violence prevention legislation; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its rabbis to become involved in broad anti-violence coalitions in their local communities to press for effective gun violence prevention at all levels.


1 This figure is based on the interpretation of a CDC report by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The Brady Campaign states that on average, there are 32,514 gun related fatalities annually in the United States of America. The 32,514 consist of the following: 11,294 people are murdered, 19,992 people kill themselves, 561 people are killed unintentionally, 414 are killed by police intervention, 254 die but intent is not known.