Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Quaker Views (and Actions) on Gun Violence and the International Arms Trade

 FCL, the Quaker Lobby in Sacramento,
supports strong gun control laws,
and works for a society where there is no need for guns
Go to fclca.org

Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA.org) works for a society in which individuals value and respect each other. In such a society there is no need for guns. Until the time when private ownership of guns is banned, we support legislation limiting the sale, transport, ownership, and use of firearms and ammunition. We urge that most private ownership of handguns, and all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, be prohibited. 
Regulations for the ownership and use of all firearms should be established and enforced. Such regulations should include a licensing process for gun owners which provides for a background screening check, a waiting period, and successful completion of a training course in firearms safety. These regulations should also include the registration of all guns. Guns used for hunting and at clubs should be kept at clubs or other secure places, and they should not be kept in homes.

We are fully aware that firearms control legislation does not take the place of constructive measures to reduce crime and social disorganization. However, just as firearms are means to violent ends, we hope that firearms control will be a means of developing support for non-violent methods of resolving problems and contribute to a more peaceful society

FCNL, Quaker Lobby in Washington, DC,
urges citizens to pressure elected officials to enact gun control measures
go to fcnl.org

“We Can't Be Silent
[About Gun Violence]”

By Jim Cason on 04/18/2013

This week, a majority of senators voted for legislation intended to prevent felons, domestic abusers and potentially violent people with mental illnesses from buying guns to hurt themselves, loved ones or others. But 45 senators were able to block the legislation from moving forward. What happens next depends on us
The failure of the legislation on Thursday is being pinned in part on lawmaker's fear that supporters of background checks do not have the same "enthusiasm" and focus as opponents. You can help show that this is not so. Find out how your senators voted and call their offices today. After you call, please follow up with an email letting them know how you feel and then ask ten friends to do the same with an email.
What we do in the next few days could determine when and if this legislation is brought up for a vote again. Will you help us make sure that members of Congress here your views when they pick up the phone, read their email or go to public events over the next few days and weeks?

Requiring Background Checks

We at FCNL support legislation that would require gun-buyers to pass a criminal background check, prevent civilians from buying high-capacity weapons and ammunition and make gun trafficking a federal crime.The Senate held votes on all of these issues this week.
But the focus of the senate action was on legislation sponsored by Senators Pat Toomey (PA) and Joe Manchin (WV) that would make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain guns by expanding background checks during gun purchases. The Toomey-Manchin bill was a good first step toward common sense reform of US gun laws and it had bipartisan support.
Here's why the senate focused on this issue: today, fully 60 percent of all people who purchase a gun go through a 4 to 7 minute background check. But 40 percent of gun sales take place at gun shows or other places where background checks are not required. If 60 percent of gun buyers are willing and able to undergo background checks, why not require this quick procedure for the remaining 40 percent?
The good news is that more senators voted for criminal background checks than have voted for any gun reform legislation in 17 years, according to the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The list of which Senators voted for, and against, this measure also provides a good starting point for our next efforts on gun control. (Senator Reid supports the measure but voted "no" at the last minute to preserve his right to bring the legislation forward again)
Now every senator needs to hear your voice. The FCNL community has a particularly important role to play in this effort because we have strong Quakers and other grassroots advocates in swing states such as Maine, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Alaska. Those senators who supported this legislation need to receive your thanks and those who opposed the bill need to hear that you hope they will change their position.
Please also consider letting others in your community know about the importance of staying engaged either through email or by circulating this information in printed form.

Other Votes on Assault Weapons As Well

The Senate also voted 60 to 40 in mid-March to defeat an amendment sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein to regulate assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy to make gun trafficking a federal crime was also narrowly blocked by a vote of 58 to 42. (Sixty votes are needed to move ahead with this legislation.)

Other resources and commentaries

We are FCNL are working closing with the organization Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. We also follow closely the work of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign and the other good groups and individuals working to address the problem of gun violence. As I write this blog, I was particularly moved by the New York Times column posted today by former Representative Gabriel Giffords. Let us know what you think on these issues below. Senator John McCain's statement on the floor of the senate is also worth reading.

The American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker organization that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948, supports many local programs to raise awareness about gun violence, including this 100’ mural project in Crown Heights, NYC. Go to afsc.org for more info.

Quakers and other religious groups urge Obama

to back tough arms trade treaty at U.N. talks,

and end drone warfare

Louis Charbonneau

Three dozen arms control and human rights groups have written to U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of new arms-trade negotiations at the United Nations next month, urging him to back a tough treaty that would end loopholes in international weapons sales.
Arms control campaigners say one person every minute dies worldwide as a result of armed violence and a convention is needed to prevent the unregulated and illicit flow of weapons into conflict zones and fueling wars and atrocities.
The U.N. General Assembly voted in December to restart negotiations in mid-March on what could become the first international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global arms trade after a drafting conference in July collapsed because the United States and other nations wanted more time.
"The United States, as the world's leading arms supplier, has a special responsibility to provide the leadership needed for an ATT (arms trade treaty) with the highest possible standards for the transfer of conventional arms and ammunition," the groups wrote to Obama in a letter delivered late on Friday.
"The Arms Trade Treaty can provide a key tool to help reduce enormous human suffering caused by irresponsible international arms transfers and arms brokering," the letter said.
The 36 groups that co-authored the letter include Amnesty International USA, Arms Control Association, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Oxfam America, National Association of Evangelicals and other groups.
The point of the treaty is to set standards for all cross-border transfers of any type of conventional weapon - light and heavy. It also would set binding requirements for nations to review all cross-border arms contracts to ensure the munitions will not be used in human rights abuses, do not violate embargoes and are not illegally diverted.
Deputy U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden confirmed the White House had received the letter, saying it "raises a number of important issues." She said Washington would support a treaty under certain conditions.
"The March 2013 Arms Trade Treaty Conference will seek an Arms Trade Treaty that will contribute to international security, (and) protect the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade," she said in an email that provided the most extensive public U.S. statement on the treaty in months.
Quakers in Southern California also approved a statement calling to the banning of weaponized drones by the US and the UN. See 


Contact your elected official and tell them how you feel about curbing the deadly traffic in arms, both domestically and internationally.


  1. every thing has its good and bad side, guns should be alloted to good person and kept away from bad guys.

  2. having guns doesn't allow you to have guns of your own choice. You people can go for the MA Gun License or any other licensing to know what are the do's and don' ts while you have guns with you. This can simply make you feel more better as killing others is not the work of a gun, its a safety device not a killing machine.