The Bishops’ Call to Action: Add Your Voices to Uphold Gun Safety Legislation
In recent days, the General Assembly of North Carolina has voted on several pieces of legislation associated with gun safety, including bills directly related to North Carolina’s Pistol Purchase Permitting (PPP) system. The results have been disheartening to say the least.
North Carolina’s PPP system is one designed to keep us all safer. It requires background checks on all handgun purchases, including those made through private sellers, at gun shows and via the internet.
Among the legislation in action this session are bills designed to repeal the PPP system. Already HB50, which repeals the PPP systems and makes possible the purchasing of handguns from private - meaning all non-federally licensed - sellers with no questions asked, has passed in the House. Another bill containing PPP repeal, including the removal of prohibitions on places of worship associated with a school, SB41, has passed in both the Senate and House. We are grateful to Governor Roy Cooper for vetoing SB41, continuing his demonstrated support for the PPP system. We now call on lawmakers to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto and work to prevent the passing of any other PPP repeal legislation.
The gun safety legislation currently being dismantled puts every person at risk. Protections such as North Carolina’s PPP system strengthen the federally mandated background checks, as it adds the measure of background checks related to private handgun sales, which are not covered under the federal requirements. It is an enhanced background check, utilizing both federal and state databases. With the PPP system in place, handgun sales from both federally licensed dealers and private sellers are protected by safety checks.
Studies have shown the efficacy of gun safety measures such as the PPP. North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, a nonprofit “dedicated to reducing gun death and injury,” shared the results of such studies. In one example of what happened in Missouri when similar laws were repealed in 2007, “the state’s firearm homicide rate increased 47% and their firearm suicide rate increased 24% from 2007 – 2016, compared to the rate expected had they not repealed their law.1”
By contrast, “Connecticut’s PTP law, passed in 1995, was associated with a 40% homicide decline in the first 10 years.2 A more recent study over a longer period (1995 – 2017) and using a slightly different methodology found the state’s law was associated with a 28% decline in the firearm homicide rate and a 33% decline in the firearm suicide rate, compared to rates expected without this law.3”
ADD YOUR VOICE
The legislation before the General Assembly at this time seeks to dismantle proven measures designed to keep all of us safer.
In all cases, showing your support for gun safety measures can make a difference. If you feel called to do so, we encourage you to contact your representatives - especially those who represent your local area - and let them know your feelings on keeping gun safety measures in place. If you want to add your voice and have only a minute or two to do so, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence has a ready-made email to send to NC lawmakers on your behalf; you need only to add your name, email and area of residence to ensure it reaches the appropriate representative.
As has been said in earlier statements, we know there are many who believe the Church has no place in matters of state. We understand and respect that. But as has also been said, the safety of every citizen is not a political or partisan issue, but one of every child of God deserving to feel safe. If we are to live into our faith fully and our journey to Becoming Beloved Community, that must include standing up against actions that put any children of God at risk.
Almighty God our heavenly Father, send down upon those who hold office in this State of North Carolina the spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice; that with steadfast purpose they may faithfully serve in their offices to promote the well-being of all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM NORTH CAROLINIANS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE:
North Carolina’s Pistol Purchase Permitting System Works
Dangers of HB49, The Protect Religious Meeting Places Act
Facts Behind the Arguments to Dismantle PPP
1 McCourt A, Crifasi C, Vernick J, Kagawa R, Wintemute G & Webster D. Purchaser licensing, point-of-sale background check laws, and firearm homicide and suicide in 4 US states, 1985–2017. American Journal of Public Health. 2020. https://ajph.aphapublica-tions.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2020.305822
2 Rudolph KE, et al. Association between Connecticut’s Permit-to-Purchase handgun law and homicides. American Journal of Public Health. 2015 Aug;105(8):e49-54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4504296/
3 McCourt A, Crifasi C, Vernick J, Kagawa R, Wintemute G & Webster D. Purchaser licensing, point-of-sale background check laws, and firearm homicide and suicide in 4 US states, 1985–2017. American Journal of Public Health. 2020. https://ajph.aphapublica-tions.org/doi/10.2105/AJP...
Tags: Gun Violence Prevention