National News

Bishops Oppose Assault Rifles

By Dennis Sadowski

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Two U.S. church leaders called for a ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons, saying they have no place in the hands of civilians.

Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas issued their appeals in response to recent incidents in which people have been killed by attackers armed with semi-automatic rifles.

“There’s no reason in the world why these guns are available. There’s no logic,” Bishop Farrell said.
The bishops’ stance puts them in opposition to gun rights advocates, who say that limiting the sale and acquisition of firearms would violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was weighing a statement as the national debate on the need for action on gun control rose in intensity. Since the mid-1990s, the bishops have called for “sensible regulation” and “reasonable restrictions” on firearms.

Bishop Farrell’s appeal came in a June 13 blog, a day after a gunman killed 49 revelers in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub.

Archbishop Cupich responded to a string of violence in Chicago the weekend of June 18-19 in which 13 people were killed and more than 40 others were injured in shootings. One victim, Salvador Suarez, 21, was killed by an assailant with an assault rifle outside of a Catholic Church as worshippers attended Mass.

Bishop Farrell specifically pointed to the rising use of semi-automatic rifles as cause for concern and said he decided to express his moral outrage over inaction by Congress in the blog on the diocesan website. Readers overwhelmingly opposed his views in comments on the blog.

“I think of the children who died in Connecticut. I think of the people who died in the movie theater (in Aurora, Colorado). I think of the people in San Bernardino. I think of Orlando. What I think is what other motive would we need (to ban such weapons) than to see the way those people lost their lives?” he said.

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