The easy access of firearms and its accompanying violence has taken a terrible toll on America, particularly on its youth.
The proliferation of firearms, both legal and illegal, and illegal gun use is staggering. Thus, there has been an explosion of gun violence in our country which each year kills or wounds more than one hundred thousand innocent children and adults. No community, no segment of society is safe from gun violence.
Last year in Chicago, a white supremacist indiscriminately fired on individuals walking down the street and families returning home from synagogue. In Littleton, Colorado, two high school students gunned down twelve fellow classmates and one teacher before killing themselves. And in the Los Angeles area, a lone gunman opened fire on children at the Jewish Community Center, and later shot and killed a Filipino American postal worker.
Almost fifty people every single day intentionally kill themselves with firearms; since the 1950’s, suicide has increased by three times among young people. Countless others are killed or maimed by accidental or negligent firearm use.
The American people are deeply troubled by these firearm tragedies, and our public officials need to respond. Individuals of all faiths and beliefs must join together to stop the gun violence, and the Jewish community must take the lead.
The JCPA and its member agencies support local, state, and federal legislation that does the following:
- Requires background checks for all gun purchases, particularly purchases at gun shows nationwide, and a mandatory 72-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.
- Requires mandatory training programs and licensing for gun owners and registration of handguns.
- Limits purchases to one handgun a month.
- Imposes new penalties on those selling guns to juveniles.
- Penalizes negligent gun owners if their guns are used in violent acts, especially by children.
- Requires the expansion of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
- Requires additional resources be allocated and efforts be made to prosecute those who attempt either to sell or to obtain firearms by fraudulent means.
- Requires the sale of effective childproof safety locks with clear instructions on use on all handgun purchases.
We believe that current laws must be enforced and that new common-sense legislation is needed to stem the rising tide of gun violence throughout the United States. The JCPA and its member agencies call on all legislators to make this country safer by stemming the tide of violence that puts us all at risk.