Michigan Catholic Convention for gun reform, psychological well being care
Pat Damer by no means thought it may occur to him or his household. Nevertheless it did. Twice.
His daughter was at Oxford Excessive College the day of the 2021 taking pictures that claimed the lives of 4 college students and injured seven individuals. Her class barricaded themselves and armed themselves with scissors and textbooks. She survived.
A 12 months later, one other of Pat’s daughters was on campus at Michigan State College the evening a gunman walked into two buildings and killed three college students and injured 5 others. She additionally survived.
These experiences modified Pat, and now he is an advocate for motion on gun violence, significantly making the case to his fellow Catholics.
“I feel it was the direct affect to household and mates — and particularly my daughters — that drew me extra into the problem,” stated Damer, who now serves on the peace and justice committee at his Catholic parish, which has been working to teach parishioners about gun violence.
Pat joins a rising record of individuals personally impacted by gun violence. Whether or not they’re dad and mom who face the unspeakable lack of their youngsters, or the younger taking pictures survivors themselves who should grapple with worry and lack of peace, gun violence continues to the touch an increasing number of lives.
Because the violence and deaths proceed to climb to document ranges on this nation, People stay divided about what to do about it. Many individuals suppose extra gun regulation is required. Others don’t.
The Catholic Church proposes a “sure, and…” strategy to addressing gun reform: recognizing there are life-saving public insurance policies that may assist curb harmful entry to weapons, whereas additionally acknowledging there are broader, extra systemic points fueling the violence. That is the strategy proposed within the newest version of FOCUS, a publication of the Michigan Catholic Convention that examines public coverage by way of the lens of Catholic social educating. Guided by the teachings of the U.S. bishops and the common church, the publication seeks to put out a Catholic response to the polarizing concern of gun violence.
Each Michigan convention and the U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops have advocated for gun insurance policies supposed to maintain gun possession secure, partially by maintaining the weapons out of the fingers of people that may hurt themselves or others. That’s the foundation for Michigan convention’s assist of the gun legal guidelines just lately permitted by the Michigan Legislature.
However Catholic bishops observe that coverage modifications — or laws — alone won’t absolutely deal with the nationwide disaster of gun violence. The U.S. bishops have known as consideration to “psychological well being, the state of households, the valuation of life, the affect of leisure and gaming industries (and) bullying” as components that have to be addressed, together with good gun insurance policies, with a view to actually result in “broader social renewal.” MCC echoed this strategy in its testimony on Michigan’s gun laws, providing assist for the insurance policies whereas on the similar time urging lawmakers to go farther in having a “thorough dialog about violence” in society.
It’s this holistic strategy the church needs to convey to the discourse amidst a polarized surroundings the place individuals insist it have to be this manner or that manner.
Whereas the church proposes that gun security regulation is part of the dialogue, it can’t be the one half, as critical consideration have to be given to all of the components that result in an individual to make use of a weapon to commit violence in opposition to others.
As June marks Gun Violence Consciousness month, allow us to acknowledge the toll that gun violence is taking up human life throughout our nation, and allow us to take into account how every of us could be part of making a extra peaceable society.
Notice: Go to micatholic.org/gun-violence for extra content material and coverage dialogue.
Paul A. Lengthy is CEO of the Michigan Catholic Convention.
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