Catholic Bishops Applaud Safer Communities Act

The bishops expressed support for the legislation, which will implement new gun regulations and fund mental health programs.

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has welcomed the passage of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The bill, which was passed by Congress on Friday afternoon, addresses gun violence issues in the country, while also funding mental health, school safety and crisis intervention programs. The bill comes exactly one month after the Uvalde massacre.

CNN reports the measure was approved with a total of 234 to 193. The legislation had already passed the Senate in a vote late Thursday night. President Joe Biden signed the bill today at the White House.

Bishops’ comments

The USCCB, which expressed support for the bill, applauded its passage. In a statement, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the USCCB Committee on Homeland Justice and Human Development, wrote:

“I welcome the passage of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will take meaningful steps to prevent gun violence and protect lives. The investments in mental health services and reasonable gun control measures included in this bill are positive first steps in addressing a culture of violence.

“This agreement, born of dialogue and compromise to advance the security and well-being of all, embodies the work to which Pope Francis calls us in his encyclical, Fratelli tutti, “Good politics combines love with hope and with confidence in the reserves of goodness’ present in human hearts.’ I commend members of Congress for their work thus far and encourage them to continue working to confront the scourge of gun violence in our country.

Consistent support

The comments reiterate the support the USCCB has always expressed for “reasonable regulation, sale, and use of firearms.” On June 3, after the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, the bishops released an open letter calling on lawmakers to take action. They wrote:

“We urge all members of Congress to reflect on the compassion you all no doubt feel in light of these tragic events and to take action because of it. There is something very wrong. in a culture where such acts of violence are increasingly common. There must be dialogue followed by concrete actions to bring about broader social renewal that addresses all aspects of the crisis…”

Provisions

After the introduction of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the USCCB endorsed the measure. On June 23, they wrote that they were “particularly encouraged” by measures that included: strengthened crisis intervention programs, enhanced screenings for gun buyers under 21, as well as as mental health initiatives that will help prevent violence in schools.

Another clause the bishops applauded was one that would end the “boyfriend loophole.”

Closing the ‘boyfriend loophole’ would mean those in a serious relationship who are convicted of domestic violence will also be banned from buying a gun. Until now, federal law only prohibited if they were married, lived with their partner, or had a child with their partner when convicted of domestic violence.

Learn more about the USCCB here.

Jacob Albarado
SOUL SHARD INDUSTRIES

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