Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Sandy Hook ten years later

Ten years have passed since twenty children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then, there have been more than 4,000 mass shootings where four or more people were killed. Firearms used in assaults, accidents, and suicides are now the leading cause of deaths for children ages 1-19.

Twelve years before Sandy Hook, the U.S. bishops issued their pastoral statement, Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, in which they wrote, "We support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns."

More recently, in 2020, the Bishops issued this backgrounder discussing those reasonable measures, which include:

  • A total ban on assault weapons, which the USCCB supported when the ban passed in 1994 and when Congress failed to renew it in 2004.
  • Measures that control the sale and use of firearms, such as universal background checks for all gun purchases; 
  • Limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines;
  • A federal law to criminalize gun trafficking;
  • Improved access to and increased resources for mental health care and earlier interventions;
  • Regulations and limitations on the purchasing of handguns;
  • Measures that make guns safer, such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using the gun without permission and supervision; and 
  • An honest assessment of the toll of violent images and experiences which inundate people, particularly our youth.

For information on how to contact your Congressional representative, or even to learn who that is, click here.