More Gun Control

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By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

Recent stories in the media reveal a great need for more gun control. The shootings in the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek and also the shooting in Arizona and other places confirm this need. The Global Peace Index each year measures peacefulness around the globe and is beginning to teach legislators that more gun control is needed. Investing in peace will be much more productive than investing in endless wars. The hope is that we can start to visualize a world without war,  where peace prevails and where people have sufficient resources to feed their families, educate their children, and train for and find work that will sustain them.

Conversation is needed at every level regarding ways to bring about more gun control, to prevent more gun deaths and tragedies. We realize that gun control will not stop all the violence but it would be a step in the right direction to create peaceful communities.  There are 270 million privately owned guns in the US. Some call us the most “gun- saturated country in the world.”   Private and public conversations as well as some plan of action are required to bring about peace in our communities.  It would also be helpful to have planning sessions to come up with some workable solutions and a budget for peace building and not just for continuing the multiple wars in which we are involved. Wars never make progress toward peace. Norman Cousins once said that the minds that invented war can also imagine a peaceful community or nation.

Some communities currently are sharing their ideas and efforts toward gun control. For example, the Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Detroit started a program called “safety in the city” to remove some of the guns that are now available. 365 guns have already been collected. They are working with the area police department and provide some funding to people who are willing to hand in their guns for the gun buyback in a program called “Safety in the City.” They destroy the guns that are handed in.  They are also offering employment training for young people, mentoring for young males, health fairs, literacy programs and youth mentoring and individual counseling. They are receiving much support from local churches and other groups. (Full story is in the issue of National Catholic Reporter Sept. 14-27.  Parishioners contributed to the gun buy-back program. People are asked to convene in groups and discuss this and other ideas to create non-violent communities. How can gun control programs keep guns out of the hands of youth, mentally ill and others who lack responsibility for those around them? Children must learn how to relate in peaceful ways and cooperatively. Young people need help to get out of gangs and into productive activities. What they are looking for is a sense of belonging in caring communities and adults to model this for them. Conflict Resolutions skills are now being taught in many areas and teach alternative peaceful ways of solving differences. Such endeavors bring hope to families and communities and can also bring a sense of hope that another world is indeed possible. It will take the effort of all of us to bring it about.

At present gun control is on the minds of many people in our nation. This is a good time to discuss the issue and work out plans to help resolve it.  No effort is too small to make a difference. May the Spirit guide us in our endeavors for peace-making and help us realize God’s plan for each of us and for our world. Let us rejoice that God’s power working in us can make it happen.


Justice Preaching Archive

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• Witnesses To Hope •

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