They sent letters to Congress, the President and Vice President.
A group of faith organizations is calling for action in dealing with gun violence. "Faith United To Prevent Gun Violence" held a news conference in Washington DC, calling on Congress and the President to put measures in place to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines, require all gun purchasers to undergo background checks and to strengthen the laws against gun trafficking by making it a federal offense.
"The faith leaders said it was a moral issue that we need to prevent gun violence," says Vinnie DeMarco, the National Coordinator for "Faith United To Prevent Gun Violence." "They said that these gun violence prevention laws work. The universal background checks save lives. And this letter shows the power of the faith community to get this done. We think these laws are going to be enacted."
The faith leaders sent a letter to members of Congress, the President and the Vice President demanding action be taken to curb gun violence.
DeMarco is President the Maryland Citizens Health Care Initiative, but he also will be working with "Faith United To Prevent Gun Violence." He was involved in a successful referendum campaign in 1988 to ban cheap handguns in Maryland, the so-called Saturday Night Specials.
A number of organizations have come out in support of tighter gun laws following the massacre of 26 people in December, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 of the victims were school children. The gunman killed himself.
Opponents have argued that gun restrictions violate the 2nd-Amendment to the US Constitution, but DeMarco disagrees. "The Supreme Court has said that the government has the authority to regulate firearms so that people don't get killed by people who shouldn't have guns," he says. "In fact, 80% of gun owners support universal background checks."
Right now, anyone who purchases a gun from a licensed gun dealer must undergo a background check, but not if they buy guns at a gun show.
The National Rifle Association is described as a very powerful lobby that's expected to work very hard to defeat any new gun restrictions. "The faith community is pretty powerful too, and this letter shows they mean business," DeMarco says. "Faith leaders all across the country are going to call on members of Congress to do what needs to be done to save lives, and we think they're going to do it."
"Faith United To Prevent Gun Violence" includes representatives from the Roman Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptists, Quakers, Church of the Brethren, Hindu, Sikh, Sojourners, United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalist religious traditions.