In the wake of increasing gun violence, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark urges American citizens to reconsider their Second Amendment rights.

Tobin strongly advocates for a voluntary relinquishing of these rights, arguing that such a move could help diminish the prevalent culture of violence. He asserts that peace, not violence, forms the foundation of a thriving society.

On May 26, Cardinal Tobin released a compelling letter, suggesting a three-pronged approach to counteract gun violence: persistent prayer, active advocacy, and voluntary restraint from exercising Second Amendment rights. This comes in response to a record-breaking surge in mass shootings in 2023.

“The voluntary self-restraint that I am calling for will not solve the problem of gun violence all by itself, but it can help us change our culture from one that is obsessively focused on individuals’ rights to a society dedicated to ensuring the common good.” 

The Gun Violence Archive reports alarming statistics: 263 mass shootings have occurred within the first 150 days of the year, leading to 327 fatalities. The death toll from gun violence stands at 17,629 for the year so far, with 7,663 homicides and 9,966 suicides. These figures surpass previous years, emphasizing the urgent need for intervention.

While recognizing the constitutional right to bear arms, Tobin emphasizes the inherent responsibility accompanying these rights to ensure public safety. The Cardinal believes this change requires more than legislation, it necessitates a shift in societal behavior.

“It’s true that we have a Second Amendment right to bear arms, but rights always involve responsibilities. In this case, the responsibility to protect the innocent and to secure public safety and good order.”

Tobin concluded by invoking Pope Francis’s words, urging citizens to reject violence as a solution, and invites everyone to join in prayer for an end to violence. His appeal is for a united, synodal effort to transform the prevailing culture and safeguard communal well-being.

“Please join me in praying for an end to all instances of violence, especially gun violence in our schools, churches, places of business and in the public square.”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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