Targets: House Speaker John Boehner and Congressman Paul Ryan
Goal: Encourage pro-life legislators to support tighter restrictions on gun ownership
A group of Catholic leaders recently wrote a letter to pro-life legislators, asking them to reconsider their position on gun control. The letter specifically mentions House Speaker John Boehner and Congressman Paul Ryan, two conservative Catholics who are strongly opposed to creating laws to restrict gun ownership. Both lawmakers, however, consider themselves pro-life and are strongly in favor of laws that restrict women’s reproductive rights. Catholic leaders are asking these politicians to broaden their definition of “pro-life” to include limiting the availability of the weapons that take thousands of American lives every year.
In Catholicism, being pro-life has traditionally included an opposition to the death penalty and support for strict gun control laws, instead of simply focusing on stopping legal abortions. Congressman Ryan has pointed out that his religious beliefs influence his political decisions, but he continues to support the NRA and other powerful pro-gun groups. He has not been swayed by the citizens who are calling for more restrictions, or the experts on gun violence who have encouraged him to change his position on gun control. Because of his strong connection to his religion, Catholic leaders believe they might be able influence him.
There are several states in the country that have limited women’s health care to the point that there are more restrictions on abortion services than on obtaining firearms. Some states require waiting periods before allowing women to have abortions, and others give women misleading information on the health risks of abortions. Several states have successfully eliminated the majority of abortion services altogether. Those same states do not require background checks or waiting periods for people who want to buy guns, and some do not even require citizens to have licenses to own the guns.
Many legislators are working hard to create new laws that limit gun sales so that the United States can finally decrease the gun violence that plagues the country, but significant changes cannot be made without the support of the religious right. Speaker Boehner and Congressman Ryan must start including an opposition to gun violence in their definition of “pro-life” and support measures to restrict access to guns. Sign the petition below to let your voice be heard.
Dear Speaker Boehner and Congressman Ryan,
A group of Catholic leaders recently wrote an open letter to Catholic lawmakers urging them to support increased restrictions on guns. They are focusing on religious legislators who consider themselves pro-life, but only associate the term with opposing abortion, instead of including gun violence prevention in the definition.
Gun violence continues to take thousands of lives every year in our country, and the first step to decreasing gun-related deaths is to set strict limits on gun ownership. Many states in the country have restricted women’s access to abortions because of pro-life legislators who consider abortion a moral issue. In many of those same states, the purchasing of guns has not been limited in the same way that reproductive health services have.
It is time for religious lawmakers to start making the connection between being pro-life and working to regulate firearms. Please join the movement to increase restrictions on gun ownership so that fewer people will become victims of gun violence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Elvert Barnes via Flickr.