The horrific shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Tucson, Ariz., has raised a plethora of moral and ethical issues. One of the most significant ones is gun control.
No matter what the motive or ideology of the gunman, he would not have been able to carry this off without a weapon that is classified as an “assault weapon.” His gun had a magazine with 30 bullets. He could shoot for quite a while without re-loading.
Assault weapons were banned under President Bill Clinton, and this ban was repealed under President George W. Bush.
Out of curiosity, I searched the Web site of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops for their position on gun control. And sure enough, their Committee on Social Justice and World Peace issued this statement in 1978:
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This is certainly a strong, comprehensive (and now dated) policy. It is in fact, so strong that it should make the National Rifle Association go apoplectic. But who knew they even had a position?
This is the time for the bishops to respond to this crisis by resurrecting, and perhaps updating, this statement … and then pushing for real gun control on Capitol Hill. They can do this in coalition with other religious groups, many of whom share similar views.