November 21, 2014 · 28 Cheshvan

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Nation’s Largest Jewish Organization Calls for Passage of Common Sense Firearms Safety Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bethany Gotkin or Mike Silver, (202) 387-2800

Saperstein: "In a country where everything from automobiles to toy guns to stuffed animals is regulated, it is unacceptable that a product with such devastating lethality remains uniquely immune from basic consumer protection laws"

WASHINGTON, September 27, 2000 - Joining a broad-based coalition of organizations supporting a consumer protection approach to gun regulation, the Reform Jewish movement today urged members of Congress to support the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Robert Torricelli and Representative Patrick Kennedy. In a letter to all members of Congress, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, argued that since gun manufacturers are today immune from basic consumer protection laws, they are free to - and often do - ignore the most rudimentary improvements in firearms design that might help ensure the safety of users and third parties who may be unintentionally victimized. The complete letter addressed to all members of Congress follows:

Gun violence continues to plague America's streets, schools, and communities. This year, over 30,000 people - including 4,000 children and teenagers - will lose their lives due to gun violence. Yet despite the bravado talk of passing common-sense gun control measures after the tragedies at Littleton, Colorado and Conyers, Georgia, Congress has steadfastly refused to act. Moreover, despite these tens of thousands of annual deaths, the manufacture and sale of guns is still exempted from the basic safety and health regulations that apply to virtually every other consumer product. I write today to urge your support for the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 920/ S. 534), which was introduced by Senator Robert Torricelli and Representative Patrick Kennedy.

This much-needed legislation would vest the Department of the Treasury with consumer protection authority to promulgate safety regulations concerning the design, manufacture, and distribution of firearms and ammunition. The Department of Treasury would be allowed to set safety standards for firearms; monitor compliance with such standards; issue recalls of defective products; and collect data on gun-related injury and death. Most importantly, the agency would be able to take the steps necessary to protect the public from unreasonable risk of injury resulting from firearms.

Since gun manufacturers are today immune from basic consumer protection laws, they are free to - and often do - ignore the most rudimentary improvements in firearms design that might help ensure the safety of users and third parties who may be unintentionally victimized. In a country where everything from automobiles to toy guns to stuffed animals is regulated, it is unacceptable that a product with such devastating lethality remains uniquely immune from basic consumer protection laws.

Jewish tradition commands that we not "sit idly by the blood of our neighbors" (Leviticus 19:16). In the wake of so many heart-rending shootings, and given the public demand for rational, common sense gun legislation, we urge you not to let this Congress end without acting on this vital legislation.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,
/s/
Rabbi David Saperstein

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.



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