WASHINGTON – In response to the Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen ruling that New York State’s concealed-carry license law for handgun’s is unconstitutional, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement Institutions:
“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. Mandating, as had New York State’s law, that individuals demonstrate an ‘actual and articulable’ need for self-defense to carry concealed weapons is a common sense and life-saving legal protection. Other states with similar laws to New York’s, the longstanding public interest of states to protect public safety, and the history of legal and democratic firearms regulation enacted by state and local governments are imperiled by this decision.
We were pleased to join with other faith denominations on an amicus brief in this case urging the Court to place this reasonable requirement on gun ownership, and we will continue to work with our partners for common sense gun reforms that protect American families and communities. The decision shows a callous disregard for human life and blatant ignorance of reality. No place in America is bulletproof, and the Supreme Court’s decision further endangers the already grave situation in America by allowing more guns in our streets.
“The Talmud teaches us 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). Every hour, universes are shattered across the United States. We will not let this setback stop us from continuing to push back against further attempts to undermine constitutional gun safety legislation and demand elected officials enact legislation that will stop this shameful, outrageous, and senseless slaughter. As Reform Jews, we will not stand idly by as thousands of people are killed, hurt, or traumatized by the epidemic of gun violence in this country.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.8 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.RAC.org for more.