New Jersey and Newark bishops Mark Beckwith and William Stokes write to New Jersey legislators urging them to support tighter background checks for purchasers of guns. NewJersey.com carries their open letter:
Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that in these jurisdictions, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by their husbands or partners and 39 percent fewer law enforcement officers are shot to death with handguns other than their own. States that have closed the private sale loophole also find that far fewer of the guns they recover at crime scenes were brought in from out of state.
The National Ri?e Association supported the creation of the national background check system, but now opposes closing the private sale loophole. We find the NRA’s unwillingness to support regulation of the vast online firearms marketplace — in which felons and individuals with records of domestic violence can easily acquire a weapon — callous and profoundly misguided at a time when our society has been so gravely wounded by men and women brandishing guns that sensible legislation might have kept out of their hands.
On this sorrowful anniversary, we pray that New Jersey’s elected leaders will seize the opportunity provided by Newtown and the mounting daily toll of gun violence loss on our streets and in our homes. It is long past time to curb the violence that besets us all.