The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

March 8, 2014

We must work together to prevent gun violence

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, a national coalition of 50 denominations and faith-based organizations, will celebrate the second annual Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath on March 13-16, which will include prayer events from coast to coast.

Organizers hope to bring the nation together to remember those who have lost their lives to gunfire, pray for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one, and to continue the discussion on how communities of faith can work together to help reduce gun violence.

Here in Clinton, the Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking supports rational community dialogue on this topic. We are encouraged by the work of local organizations such as FARGO – Free and Responsible Gun Ownership (http://www.fargoclinton.net/) which meets regularly at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 703 S. Third St. in Clinton.

Gun violence in our country is responsible for 30,000 deaths each year. There are many factors that contribute to this tragedy, but perhaps the most simple and direct action we can take is to enact common sense gun legislation.

If our elected officials are truly listening to their constituents, they know that common sense gun legislation, such as background checks and an assault weapons ban, are things that Republicans and Democrats alike agree on. These are simple ways to prevent many who have criminal intentions from getting weapons they would use to harm other people. And these laws would not infringe upon responsible gun owners such as hunters and sports enthusiasts.

Nine out of 10 Americans support strong background checks for gun sales (Source: www.demandaction.org) . Unfortunately, there is a strong and well-funded voice that rages louder than common sense. The National Rifle Association (NRA) claims to protect responsible gun ownership privileges, but in reality it goes to great lengths —and spends a huge sum of money — to ensure that there is a free and open market for guns in our country. It is opposed to virtually every form of gun regulation, including restrictions on owning assault weapons, retention of databases of gun purchases, background checks on purchasers at gun shows and changes in the registration of firearms.

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