Month: March 2013

Gun Control: How to End Gun Violence

22 Mar 2013

Gun control is among the top news items and blog posts. Searches for the keyword ‘’gun control” have spiked. So have those for ‘’Obama gun control’’ and ‘’Batman Tragedy’’. There are few criminal events as stunning and frightening as a mass shooting. Sudden, random and unpredictable episodes like the killing of six men by a gunman in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; the early morning massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre; and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. These horrific events have spawned a federal task force on gun control and kick-started a national conversation about gun violence and gun law. President Obama is even considering a “universal background check” for anyone wanting to own a gun Lawmakers began a new session of Congress with the mass shooting at Newtown inspiring a new push to pass gun control laws that could prevent another tragedy. On Day One, lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced nearly a dozen bills related to gun violence. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, a long-time gun control advocate, led on the Democratic side. She is sponsoring legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales — including at gun…

Welcome Pope Francis! A New-Style of Leader

14 Mar 2013

A humble, principled and compassionate leader has been elected Pope.The cause of peace and justice and, indirectly, the campaign to overcome gun violence, took a stride forward on March 13, 2013, with the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as Pope. Although I am not a Catholic but an Episcopalian (Anglican), I welcome the election of this man of surpassing holiness, towering intellect, great strength of character and deep compassion as leader of the largest Christian denomination. Jorge Bergoglio is a humble, down-home sort of guy who cooks his own dinner and rides the bus. Some of that will have to change now he is Pope, but the principled inner core of the man shines out and his integrity will never let him forget where he came from. Most likely, we shall never meet this wonderful man and come to know him personally. Yet if we study the tradition he is from, that of St Francis of Assissi and St Francis Xavier, founder of the Jesuits, of which Cardinal Bergoglio was a Provincial, we shall come to understand something of him. And if we follow the example he will set as best we can in our own circumstances,…

Gun Control: Will proposals pass the Supreme Court?

07 Mar 2013

Individual rights under the Second Amendment have recently come into sharp focus. As Congress and state legislatures debate further gun control, U.S. Supreme Court and other senior judges have made a number of statements on either side of the debate. A significant lower court opinion came recently from Judge Posner in Chicago. On December 11, days before the Newtown slaughter, Posner struck down Illinois’ ban on carrying a “ready to use” gun in public. Posner’s opinion said little about individual rights under the Second Amendment or whether its authors may have intended the right to keep and bear arms to apply as expansively outside the home as inside it. He instead discussed whether or not gun control laws are effective, concluding that “the empirical literature on the effects of allowing the carriage of guns in public fails to establish a pragmatic defense of the Illinois law.” Posner went on to point out that ‘’the Supreme Court made clear in District of Columbia v. Heller that it wasn’t going to make the right to bear arms depend on casualty counts.” Gun crime in Chicago In fact, however, the Supreme Court should almost certainly uphold any of the…