The Common Good

Religious leaders call for assault weapons ban, background checks on gun buyers

Date: March 16, 2013

Religious leaders from across the country gathered Saturday at Washington National Cathedral to call for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as more attention to poverty-related problems underlying gun violence in inner cities.

The meeting, part of a four-day “gun violence prevention sabbath,” was broadcast via a live Web stream to about 400 congregations around the United States, including some that held similar events locally, organizers said.

“Why should it take some mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., to get our attention?” said Jim Wallis, founder of the progressive evangelical group Sojourners, based in Columbia Heights. “We’re losing kids every day. For us it’s not just a political issue. It’s a pastoral issue. It’s a spiritual issue.”

Group leaders said they back federal legislation to require criminal background checks for gun buyers, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines outside the military, and make gun trafficking a federal crime.