(Please note: The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition is authorized and governed by four Sponsoring Members, including the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Read more here.)
March 18, 2013
Dear Chairman Paymar and Members,
Since the early 1970s, faith communities sponsoring the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition have called for common-sense regulations designed to lessen gun-related injuries and deaths, and therefore we strongly support H.F. 237 (Paymar), which includes universal background checks for the possession of certain types of weapons.
Firearms are inherently dangerous. There is a public interest in making sure guns are used safely, and transferred safely. We support significant steps to keep weapons capable of killing people out of the hands of dangerous people. Guns should be restricted and regulated to protect the common good and everyone’s right to live in peace and free from fear.
The right to keep and bear arms is not an absolute right. Like all rights, it carries with it responsibilities and limitations, particularly the responsibility to ensure that a dangerous weapon is used only for lawful or legitimate purposes, such as self-defense and hunting.
We believe state regulations related to sale and proper use of guns are an appropriate means of ensuring that the right to own guns is exercised by people qualified and capable of exercising the right responsibly.
We thank Minnesota legislators for working hard and showing good courage amidst pressure from narrowly-focused interest groups, and for keeping public health and public safety foremost in mind as you craft gun safety legislation.
In houses of worship all over Minnesota, people pray for peace. This includes prayers that the people of Minnesota, both individually and collectively, find effective and creative ways to curb gun-related injuries and deaths. We lament that gun violence seems to occur almost daily, but we keep alive hope that we can be the good people that God intends us to be through our laws, customs, mores, and regard for one another.
JOINT RELIGIOUS LEGISLATIVE COALITION (JRLC)
Brian A. Rusche