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Religious Leaders Call For Assault Weapons Ban

Tripat Singh
KUOW photo/Derek Wang

A group of religious leaders from numerous different faiths called on Washington state lawmakers Thursday to change the state’s gun laws. The new group spans several different religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. It represents a new voice joining the chorus that’s calling for more gun restrictions following the Connecticut school shootings.  

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Speaking at a press conference at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle, leaders said they want a ban on assault weapons and on large capacity ammunition magazines. They said they planned to gather signatures from congregants and other clergy around the state and deliver a signed petition to state lawmakers.

Reverend Leslie Braxton of Renton’s New Beginnings Christian Fellowship took it step further and said the Second Amendment should be revisited. “To say things like guns don’t kill is like saying bats don’t hit home runs, but no one has ever seen a baseball player hit a home run without a bat,” he said.

Reverend Michael Ryan of Seattle’s St. James Cathedral said he realized not all religious leaders will agree with their views but he said he hoped to start a conversation with other clergy. “These issues are complex, they’ve been going on a long time. Sometimes they generate a lot more heat than light but I think honest dialogue, you know, without any preconceived notions, can build bridges between different points of view.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a similar move from the secular world. On Monday, the Seattle City Council said it would also lobby the state Legislature for an assault weapons ban.

Year started with KUOW: 1998.