The Common Good

Clergy press for assault-weapon ban

Date: March 11, 2013

More than 4,000 congregational leaders have signed an open letter to U.S. senators urging them to pass comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation.

The letter calls for legislation that includes a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, enforceable universal background checks, an end to gun trafficking and prosecution of straw purchasers.

Spearheaded by clergy in Newtown, Conn., the letter comes three months after gunman Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adults before taking his own life in a mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School and as the Senate Judiciary Committee debated several gun-control bills introduced in response.

The PICO National Network, Sojourners, National Council of Churches and Auburn Seminary combined to collect signatures over a 72-hour period to add to the names of 12 Newtown ministers who signed the original letter.

The letter was published March 11 in The Des Moines Register, hometown paper of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is scheduled to run March 12 in Politico.