Resolution on Sensible Gun Control in the United States

Whereas Jewish tradition teaches the value of pikuah nefesh - saving a life - and that if we save a life, it's as if we have saved the entire world and

Whereas Jewish tradition teaches “And for every stumbling block that threatens lives, one must remove it, protect oneself from it, and be exceedingly careful in its regard; as it says: “You shall guard and protect your lives,” (Deuteronomy 4:9) and if it is not removed but placed in front of one who comes to danger, it is a violation of the positive commandment “bring not blood.” (Shulhan Arukh Hoshen Mishpat 427) and  

Whereas gun violence affects all communities, large and small, wealthy and poor, urban and rural as well as homes, schools, universities and in the public square and

Whereas this violence has revealed the devastating effects of the accessibility of high capacity ammunition magazines that can discharge as many as thirty rounds of ammunition and

Whereas the organization “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” analyzed 93 incidents between January 2009 and September 2013 in which at least four people were killed by guns and found that 14 of them involved assault weapons with high-capacity magazines which resulted in 63% more deaths than any other mass shooting and

Whereas Mayors Against Gun Violence has proposed a plan approved by more than 300 mayors in 43 states to punish to the maximum extent of the law those who possess, use and traffic in illegal guns; to hold accountable gun dealers who break the law by knowingly selling guns to “straw purchasers”; to oppose all federal efforts to restrict the right of cities to access, use, and share trace data essential to effective enforcement; to keep military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines off our streets; to develop and use technologies that aid in the detection and tracing of illegal guns; to support all local state and federal legislation that targets illegal guns; to coordinate legislative, enforcement, and litigation strategies; and to share information and best practices and

Whereas Faiths United Against Gun Violence reports that in the sixteen states where laws is stricter than the requirements of federal law, gun trafficking is 48% lower, the gun suicide rate is 49% lower and the number of women killed by a partner with a gun is 38% lower, statistics that indicate stricter laws do make a difference and

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly, based on its resolutions in 1990, 1995, 2011 and 2013 issued a statement strongly condemning the U.S. Senate’s defeat of the Manchin-Toomey gun amendment supporting a compromise on stricter background checks for private-party gun sales at gun shows and online.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly supports the efforts of Mayors Against Gun Violence and their plan for Sensible Gun Control and encourages its members to lobby their 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.