65th General Assembly December 1999 Orlando, Florida
ENDING GUN VIOLENCE
BACKGROUND Too many Americans, especially children, die as a result of gun violence every day. The American people have been aroused by this ongoing, senseless slaughter. Statistics strongly affirm that gun control laws prevent gun violence. Canada's experience with decreasing gun violence after the enactment of strict gun control laws has demonstrated, clearly and unequivocally, that gun control works.
In prior resolutions, the Union has taken a strong stand in favor of gun control. However, merely enacting resolutions has been ineffective in advancing the cause of gun control in the United States. The power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in controlling the debate on gun control by raising money and mobilizing a determined minority has yet to be met with an equal fervor on the part of those favoring effective gun control. Our reticence allows the NRA to score victory after victory. The time has come for us to do the same. We must counter the NRA with our own resources, our own organization and our own passion.
Our task as Reform Jews is to challenge America's conscience and to heed the biblical injunction that we must not stand idly by the blood of our neighbor. We must embark on a moral offensive and send the message to our elected officials that we care deeply about this issue and will hold them accountable.
The next nine months are critical in the battle over gun control. When the United States Congress reconvenes in January 2000, several gun control bills will be on the legislative schedule. If the horror generated by recent shootings across the United States is not enough to open the eyes of our elected officials, it is likely that gun control will be consigned to the dust heap for a generation, exposing our society to ever more violence caused by guns.
THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:
Call upon every congregation to organize a gun control advocacy effort and urge every congregant to write to his or her representative and senator demanding that effective gun control be enacted during the next congressional session;
Provide every congregation with a copy of the Religious Action Center's legislative action guide to implement their strategy for addressing gun control advocacy;
Urge our congregations to extend personal invitations to elected officials to appear in the congregation to explain their position on gun control; and
Urge congregants to become involved in broader anti-violence coalitions in their local communities that press for effective gun control at all levels.