Laser: "Yesterday's vote in the House is far from the needed, comprehensive solution to the problem of gun violence, but we are hopeful that this vote signals the beginning of Congressional action in response to the thousands of innocent lives lost each year to gun violence."
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 30, 2014 -- In response to the House of Representatives' passage of the Thompson-King Amendment to provide $19.5 million to improve background check records related to gun purchases, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The scars of gun violence are present in too many of our communities, and we now add to the list of gun-related tragedies the horrors of one week ago in Santa Barbara. Yesterday's vote in the House is far from the needed, comprehensive solution to the problem of gun violence, but we are hopeful that this vote signals the beginning of Congressional action in response to the thousands of innocent lives lost each year to gun violence.
Background checks are a crucial safeguard preventing guns from falling into dangerous hands. Thousands of missing records will be added to the system because of this vote, but this is just a small step. Only six out of every ten gun purchases include a background check. We must continue to push for every gun sale to include a background check.
The Jewish tradition emphasizes the sanctity and value of human life. The Bible commands, "Thou shalt not murder" (Exodus 20:13). The Talmud teaches us that "he who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe, and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe" (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). The carelessness with which guns take human lives stands in direct contradiction to our moral obligations.
We will continue to carry out our moral duty by working to ensure this gun violence prevention measure is passed in the Senate and by continuing to fight for universal background checks and other measures to protect Americans nationwide from the scourge of gun violence.