We are deeply saddened and outraged by the violent attacks in El Paso and Dayton. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and to all those affected. We must come together as a country to stop the proliferation of gun violence and hate. It is time we recognized and condemned these attacks for what they are: domestic terrorism.
With the confluence of widely available guns and growing white supremacist hate, these atrocities are now heartbreakingly, unacceptably common. We call upon our leaders to recognize white supremacist violence as domestic terrorism and vigorously prosecute them, step up monitoring of hate groups, and pass meaningful gun violence prevention legislation.
The Jewish community has a deep and abiding concern for public safety. Driven by our belief in the sanctity of life and the commandment against murder, we are committed to a comprehensive approach to confronting gun violence. No single solution will prevent all future tragedies, which is why we advocate for a balanced, multipronged approach that includes the following measures:
- Meaningful legislation to halt or limit access to the most dangerous weapons (including, but not limited to, assault weapons) and high capacity ammunition magazines that serve no other purpose than to inflict maximum carnage.
- Appropriate waiting periods, volume sales restrictions, and universal background checks for all firearm sales, including criminal and mental health reviews.
- Registration and tracking for all firearms at the time of sale or subsequent transfer and periodic licensing for anyone that purchases, owns, carries, and or uses firearms.
- Diligent enforcement of firearm regulations and expansion of federal laws prohibiting gun trafficking and straw purchases.
- Robust efforts to ensure that every person in need has access to quality mental health care. This includes fully funding our mental health system and requiring true parity between physical and mental health. These efforts must take great care not to mischaracterize those with mental illness as violent, but rather to address all possible causative factors.
- Authorization and funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to research the effects of gun violence.
- Resources for schools to enhance their security through infrastructure improvements and other support programs consistent with due process, individualized needs, and best practices.
- A serious national conversation about violence in media and the role of civil society organizations to confront the proliferation of violent images.
Judaism instructs that prayer without action is just the recitation of words. The time for lawmakers to act is now.