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Bishop of Vermont releases statement on gun control

Bishop of Vermont releases statement on gun control

The Rt. Reverend Thomas Ely, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, has written a statement in support of a gun control bill to be decided by the Vermont legislature:

I am writing today to express my support for S.31, the bill currently before the Vermont legislature, that would require criminal background checks on unlicensed sales of firearms, prohibit violent felons from possessing guns, and require timely submission of relevant court records to the National Instant Background Check System when a person has been adjudicated as being a danger to themselves or others. I appreciate the thoughtful and sensible legislation introduced by Senators Campbell, Baruth and Ayers.

As Bishop of Vermont and as a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a group of over 60 bishops of The Episcopal Church serving across the United States, I am committed to reducing the alarming levels of gun violence in our society and advocating policies and legislation that save lives. I believe we have a moral obligation as faith leaders to work together with legislators to alleviate suffering in our world by establishing policies that make our communities safer places.

The full text can be found here.

Posted by Cara Modisett

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Kenneth Knapp

I don’t think it is a knee jerk offensive reaction to ask people to speak for themselves and not presume to speak for those of us who are perfectly capable of speaking for ourselves.

Joel Williams

Furthermore, it is about disseminating lies!

Joel Williams

Sorry it was too long to read. I have heard that which I did read before and don’t buy it. What part of shall not be infringed do you not understand.
Forget the 2nd, then, and concentrate on the VT constitution’s 16th article. “To protect ourselves and our State.” What that says is basically, I don’t need your permission.

Murdoch Matthew

The Second Amendment did not contemplate individuals roaming the country with assault weapons and other high powered armament. It specifies militias — well regulated ones at that. Are those insisting their unimpeded unregulated right to bear arms members of militias, or just people who can’t stand limitations on their egos?

The vigilante groups in the West and gangs in the cities are not what the Constitution had in mind. What the writers did have in mind were the slave patrols in the South:

The reason that Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country,” was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote.

As Dr. Carl T. Bogus noted in the University of California Law Review in 1998, “The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search ‘all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition’ and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds.” Why didn’t the slaves just rise up and kill the whites? Every southerner of the era knew the simple answer: Well regulated militias kept the slaves in chains.

Even today, it’s not hard to discern racism behind the cries of support for an individualistic interpretation of the Second Amendment. Who is being shot by self-appointed vigilantes?

In calling for gun safety, the Bishop of Vermont is not burnishing one controversial private opinion with the prestige of his office — he is issuing a pastoral statement to inform and guide the faithful. Proliferation of firearms is widely seen as a public health issue:

Gun violence in particular acts very much like a social contagion. It spreads like a virus,” said Daniel Webster, Director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins. “It spreads over time and place and among social networks, just as a virus might.

The idea that gun violence is a danger to public health is utterly uncontroversial among doctors’ groups, academic institutions that focus on public health, and children’s safety advocates.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long taken a firm stance on the danger that gun violence poses for children. “This should not be a political issue. Gun violence is a public health issue that profoundly affects children and their families,” said AAP president Dr. Thomas K. McInerny in a letter to Congress urging robust gun safety legislation on the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. “We know what works — strong laws to enforce background checks and safe storage. But our elected leaders need to find a way forward to protect our children.”

The regulation of firearms is widely recognized as a public health issue:

The idea that gun violence is a danger to public health is utterly uncontroversial among doctors’ groups, academic institutions that focus on public health, and children’s safety advocates.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long taken a firm stance on the danger that gun violence poses for children. “This should not be a political issue. Gun violence is a public health issue that profoundly affects children and their families,” said AAP president Dr. Thomas K. McInerny in a letter to Congress urging robust gun safety legislation on the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. “We know what works — strong laws to enforce background checks and safe storage. But our elected leaders need to find a way forward to protect our children.”

My dad had two shotguns and a rifle, which he used in hunting. I’ve passed the rifle down to my son as a souvenir. The land is getting very crowded for hunters, and guns are an increasing danger in our cities. The Bishop of Vermont speaks moderately, but reasonably. I wonder at the knee-jerk offensive reactions.

Joel Williams

The Second Amendment did not contemplate individuals roaming the country with assault weapons and other high powered armament. It specifies militias — well regulated ones at that. Are those insisting their unimpeded unregulated right to bear arms members of militias, or just people who can’t stand limitations on their egos?

I do not agree with you on this statement at all! The Founders could not have foreseen the modern printing press, radio, television or the Internet. Does that make the First Amendment any less viable today?

An attitude that wants to “impede” and “regulate” would be better served elsewhere, say, in England and the Anglican Church.

Eddie Cutler

Mr. Matthew.
Comparing Vermont to the southern slave states is unjust and misleading. Vermont from its inception has outlawed slavery and in many instances refused to return slaves to the southern slave states. We have had a long and wonderful history of accepting anyone into our wonderful state and I for one am proud of that history. I also take exception to your words about the militia. lets see the Vermont history about this. The first militia was Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. History tells us that they were fighting off the N.Y. sheriff, land grabbers,and governor who were trying to steal their land which at the time was New Hampshire. The also literally walked into fort Ticonderoga and captured it without firing a shoot. this action literally saved the revolution by stopping the British from coming down lake Champlain and dividing the colonies.
Fast forward to the 1860s. The Vermont Governor called for volunteers to fight in the war between the states. It certainly wasn’t civil. It was the Vermont Militia that volunteered. They did so in such large numbers that President Lincoln praised our fine state for having the largest percentage of soldiers from any of the states. They joined fought and died to free those slaves.
As far as your comment on Modern sporting firearms. There are literally tens of thousands of people in this state who own them and according to our research no one in Vermont has ever been shot by one. That statement doesn’t hold true and is just fear mongering.
As to Bishop Ely making those statements. I will defend his and your right to say whatever you want on this issue but I have a problem with him using his title to make those statements.
I would love to publically debate this issue with you or anyone else at any time or place in Vermont.
Sincerely
Ed Cutler

Joel Williams

My comments were about the use of disengenuous “facts” that your press release says are true. They are not. The facts are from NYC exMayor Michael Bloomberg’s groups Everytown and GunsenseVT. I would never try to speak for Jesus. I believe he would never use lies or half truths to accomplilsh anything. This link will verify that Bloomberg is recanting his own information put out by Bishop Ely. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/30/michael-bloomberg-backed-gun-group-forced-to-retra/ . God Bless you all. I pray you become informed and check your facts prior to publication. Vermont’s S-31 is a solution in search of a problem. Vermont is the safest State in the nation and has the most guns per capita as well. My family has been responsible gun owners for eight generations. Any internet sale of any weapon must be shipped to an Fire Arms Liscensed dealer not a home address. Thank you for not closing off comments that differ from yours. It is appreciated and not the practice of the Bloomberg groups.

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