WASHINGTON – Today, after years of Congressional inaction, the United States House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8) to expand federal background checks to include the sale or transfer of all firearms by private sellers. In response, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement institutions:
“Today represents a momentous step forward in our ongoing struggle to end the epidemic of gun violence. We urge the Senate to follow suit by promptly passing the Background Check Expansion Act (S.42).
“Our Jewish faith insists that we make our communities safe for those around us. We are taught ‘When you build a new house, you shall make a fence for your roof so that you do not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone should fall from it’ (Deuteronomy 22:8). As a society, we have a moral responsibility to implement safeguards that will prevent violence and keep potential weapons of destruction out of the hands of those who could do harm.
“Led by our students, including NFTY - The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, our community has mobilized across the country to address gun violence. Our work will not be complete until we have eradicated the plague of gun violence from our streets, our schools, our synagogues and our nation.”
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 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