United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Testimony Submitted for the Record on Behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary –

“Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment

February 12, 2013

Excerpts from the testimony:

“The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as many other tragedies that have happened in our communities, homes and throughout the work, shattered the peace of us all.  There are countless examples:  Columbine, Virginia Tech, mall and cinema shootings, in Oregon and Colorado, and the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  Sadly, gun violence, the global illicit trade of weapons and ammunition, and other acts that strike at the life and dignity of persons, are an all too common reality. “

The Church has been a consistent voice for the promotion of peace at home and around the world and a strong advocate for the reasonable regulation of firearms.  Simply put, guns are too easily accessible. ” (Emphasis added)

” On January 15, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development,  joined 46 other national religious leaders in signing the letter of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. The letter urges Congress to support policies that:

  •  Require universal background checks for all gun purchases;
  • Limit civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition
  • Make gun trafficking a federal crime, and :
  • Improve access to mental health care for those who may be prone to gun violence”


       “In addition to policies intended to curb gun violence, we must also look to our entertainers, especially film producers and video game creators, and encourage them to reflect on how their profit motives have allowed the proliferation of movies, television programs, video games and other entertainment that glorify violence and prey on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of our young people.  Such portrayals of violence have desensitized al of us.  We must improve our resources for parents, guardians and young people, so that they can evaluate entertainment products intelligently.  The viewing and use of these products have negative emotional, psychological and spiritual effects on people, especially the young.”

“Tragic events such as what occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, and the violence that occurs in our homes and communities and around the world, should lead us to live out what Pope Benedict calls ‘our innate vocation to peace.’  Together we must confront the culture of violence with love and work together to promote a culture of life and peace. “