Gun Violence Prevention

The Reform Movement, led by students and NFTY, is outraged at the current lack of legislative action and political leadership that allows this horrible violence to continue. This epidemic is not natural, nor normal and gun violence can be prevented.

Description

The epidemic of gun violence continues to plague individuals and communities across the United States, including our own Jewish communities as well as those of our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and partners. The Reform Movement, led by students and NFTY, is outraged at the current lack of legislative action and political leadership that allows this horrible violence to continue. This epidemic is not natural, nor normal and gun violence can be prevented. Drawing on Jewish traditions and values, we remain committed to taking action by engaging in community and legislative advocacy to end the gun violence epidemic.

Why Should Jews Care?

Jewish tradition emphasizes the sanctity and eternal value of human life. The Talmud teaches that: 

“One who takes a life, it is though they have destroyed the universe. And one who saves a life, it is as though they have saved the universe” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).

The dehumanization of individuals and the carelessness with which human life is taken during incidents of gun violence stand in direct violation of these affirmations of our tradition. We are called upon to take action to prevent the loss of lives and end gun violence.

TAKE ACTION

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Urge Congress to take immediate action to stop gun violence

very year, almost 40,000 Americans die as victims of gun violence. That’s over 100 deaths per day. Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed with a gun than people in other developed nations, despite the fact that gun deaths are incredibly preventable. The scourge of gun violence in America is both a public safety issue and a public health epidemic.

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Handgun over dictionary definition of "violence"

Require Universal Background Checks on all Gun Sales

The vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, support common-sense policies like background checks for every gun sale to prevent senseless violence. As Reform Jews, it is our duty to demand that Congress take action to pass gun legislation and save countless innocent lives.

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no more assault rifles written in chalk on street

Tell Congress to Prohibit Assault Weapons

Assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms that can kill many people in a short period of time due to the weapons’ rapid rate of fire and high muzzle velocity – such firepower is increased when high-capacity magazines are attached, allowing the shooter to fire more rounds without needing to reload. These weapons of war have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in America. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 would ban semiautomatic weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices, require background checks on all sales or transfers of grandfathered assault weapons, and mandate safe storage of grandfathered weapons – all of which would help safeguard American communities.

What's New

Enough is enough: What you can do to help stop American gun violence

June 8, 2022
Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa, and other recent incidents of gun violence highlight the fact that the U.S. has been locked in a cycle of apathetic “thoughts and prayers,” while little federal action has been taken on this public safety and public health issue. We must end the helpless, apathetic cycle of “thoughts and prayers.” Enough is enough. To stand idly by and do nothing in the face of such senseless slaughter is unconscionable and antithetical to our Jewish values and beliefs. To paraphrase Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, we will pray with our marching feet and voices.

Related Press Releases

Reform Movement Leaders Respond to Tragic Gun Massacre in Highland Park

We mourn the six lives taken today in Highland Park, IL and pray for all those injured, beloved members of our Reform Jewish community among them. On this day celebrating American independence, it is clear that Americans’ ability to live independent of the fear of gun violence is ever more elusive. With each massacre, the freedom to gather, pray, shop, learn, and simply be, free from fear of gun violence, is taken away.

Reform Movement Responds to Supreme Court’s Decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen

“In the aftermath of the unceasing spate of recent mass shootings – including the horrific mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde and recent gun violence at a church in Alabama, a Juneteenth concert in Washington, D.C., and in a neighborhood in New York City – it is incomprehensible that the Supreme Court has once again decided to value guns over the safety of our communities, children, and houses of worship."

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Reform Judaism's Resolutions on Gun Violence Prevention

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

VIEW URJ RESOLUTIONS View Resolutions from Reform Movement Affiliates

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NFTY Students Leading Gun Violence Prevention

  • Youth and students around the United States have been the victims of gun violence, including horrific shootings at schools, and we refuse to stay silent. We are passionate about making the future—and present—safer, better, and full of hope. Join NFTY in advocating for gun violence prevention.
  • Join the Gun Violence Prevention Fellowship to learn more about gun violence prevention and how to organize your community. Contact Logan Gerber for more information at lgerber@rac.org

Find gun violence prevention leaders in your state commit to being that leader yourself

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Teens protesting gun violence at the US Capitol

Contact our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, contact Shayna Han.

Engage Your Congregation

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Every Voice, Every Vote

The Reform Jewish Movement’s 2022 Every Voice, Every Vote Campaign is a nonpartisan effort, grounded in our Jewish values and commitment to racial justice, to strengthen our democracy by encouraging and protecting voter participation.

A Prayer for Gun Violence

Shine Your light through the gloom. Heal us and local, national, and global communities.
Lead us toward homes free of affliction and strife, bodies and spirits untrammeled by gun violence.
Help us to be the change we hope to see. Soon and in our own lifetimes. -- Amen

Adapted from “A Prayer Amid Gun Violence,” by Virginia Spatz