The Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace have approved a corporate stance calling for responsible gun-control legislation and improved mental-health care resources.
The corporate stance states:
"In the United States, we will advocate for common-sense gun control laws, such as requiring universal background checks before purchasing guns; banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; promoting strategies to prevent gun violence; and providing adequate financial resources to establish mental health programs for victims and perpetrators, and prevention programs for at-risk people."
"Gun violence in the United States claims more than 31,000 lives every year, with more than a half million injured," explains Sr. Judy Morris, OP, who coordinates the social justice efforts of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. "With responsible, common-sense legislation, thousands of lives can be saved."
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, "Gun violence acts very much like a social contagion. It spreads like a virus. The homicide rate in the U.S. is seven times higher than the combined homicide rate of twenty-two other developed countries."
This corporate stance does not advocate taking away the Second Amendment right to bear arms, clarifies Sr. Judy, noting that a majority of gun owners support reasonable gun control laws. The Dominican Sisters of Peace are joined by many religious and justice groups around the United States in calling for reasonable gun control laws, including the National Council of Churches, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.
A corporate stance is a deliberate public statement made by a religious congregation expressing a position on an issue of human concern, Gospel values, and /or societal systems. Before the congregation takes a corporate stance, members prepare by studying and discussing all sides of the various issues involved; a vote is then taken, with a two-thirds majority needed to pass. Once a corporate stance is adopted, the congregation dedicates resources - including time, energy, and personnel - to put into action efforts that support the stance. With the passage of this corporate stance, specific actions will be planned in the coming weeks to educate the public about the issues, to promote responsible gun-control legislation, and to support mental-health and violence prevention initiatives.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace are a congregation of 575 Sisters and 550 lay Associates who live and minister in 36 states and in Honduras, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, and Vietnam. They are committed to greater involvement in the global community and simplicity of life, with diverse ministries that include education, health care, social work, spiritual direction and parish-based ministries. They work to create environments of peace by promoting non-violence, unity in diversity, reconciliation, and justice through solidarity, especially for women and children.