Bishop appeals for regulations on firearms

Published: February 28, 2018

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered the following letter to the Arkansas delegation in Washington, Feb. 28, to ask them to support “reasonable, life-saving regulations on firearms” in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and other mass shootings.

The letter reads:

“I join the student survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in urging you to do what Congress has been reluctant to do for too long.

"Now is the time to enact reasonable, life-saving regulations on firearms that include:

— A civilian ban on assault-style weapons;

— A civilian ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines and bump stocks;

— Raising the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21;

— An improved, stricter background check system for all gun purchases, including a thorough review of how such information is shared by various agencies and databases and;

— More access to mental health care for people who may be prone to violence.

“The National Rifle Association (NRA) is not on the side of the high school shooting survivors who want real change in our gun laws so “Never Again” becomes a reality. It will take courage to oppose the NRA who are resistant to any meaningful gun reform legislation.

“We all want to live in a world that is safe and secure. For this to happen, we have to be honest and look at the truth about the sensible ways gun violence can be curtailed. For example, so that our children can be educated in the safest environments possible, we need to identify the most practical and effective school security measures, and find a way to implement them.

“For more than four decades the U.S. Catholic bishops have been calling for legislation that controls the sale and use of firearms, and not enough has been done. And so, along with a new generation of young people, we again find ourselves renewing our call for sensible firearm regulations starting at the federal level.

“The American people are looking to you to work together with the student survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their school mates across the country who are standing with them in solidarity so that this time will be different and 17 people will not have lost their lives in vain. You have joined them in prayer. Now, please, take the next step of passing bipartisan legislation that will put a stop to the evil of gun violence in our communities.

"Sincerely in Christ,
+Anthony B. Taylor
Bishop of Little Rock"