June 23, 2022
The Central Conference of American Rabbis deplores Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down reasonable gun violence legislation, specifically a New York State law that established appropriately strict limits on carrying firearms outside the home.
The CCAR has long supported legislation to prevent gun violence, which has only become more critically needed in recent years as gun deaths have dramatically increased. The latest data available from the Pew Research Center indicates that “More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record…That included a record number of gun murders, as well as a near-record number of gun suicides.” The study also found that gun violence deaths were lower in states with more restrictive legislation such as the law now invalidated by the Supreme Court.[i]
Even as we abhor this Supreme Court ruling, Reform rabbis celebrate compromise gun violence prevention legislation put forward by a bipartisan coalition in the United States Senate. That bill would slow gun purchases by purchasers under age twenty-one, providing the time needed for more extensive background checks than those currently required. It would also offer financial incentives for states to implement red-flag laws, which enable law enforcement, with due process, to remove guns at least temporarily from people deemed dangerous. Importantly, it would close the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” at long last including dating partners in an existing federal law that prohibits domestic abusers from purchasing firearms.
Reform rabbis advocate for much tighter gun restrictions than those proposed in the Senate, but we are grateful for the progress that has been made, and we urge all members of Congress to support this lifesaving legislation.
The CCAR, its members, and the communities we serve will remain staunch advocates for gun violence prevention legislation. We will continue to be present to comfort victims’ families, and we will pray for the healing of all who are injured, both in mass shootings and in the gun violence that plagues our nation every day. Reform rabbis will not rest until our entire society joins us in refusing to stand idly by while our neighbors bleed (paraphrasing Leviticus 19:16).
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, President
Rabbi Hara Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis
[i] John Gramlich, “What the data says about gun deaths in the U.S.” (Pew Research Center, February 3, 2022).