Today, the leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union)–the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization–welcomed the announcement by a bipartisan group of 20 U.S. Senators that they have agreed upon a framework for legislation designed to reduce gun violence in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, N.Y. and many other horrific incidents involving guns.
The bipartisan framework proposes a balanced approach and addresses issues of access to firearms and resources for mental health treatment. It includes: enhanced background checks to give authorities time to check the juvenile and mental health records of any prospective gun buyer under the age of 21; a provision that would, for the first time, prohibit unmarried couples convicted of domestic abuse from having firearms; funding for states to enact “red flag laws” that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous; billions of dollars in funding for mental health resources; and billions of dollars in funding to bolster both safety and mental health services at K-12 schools.
Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union stated:
“American society has become so terribly divided, preventing leadership from addressing our society’s most critical challenges. It is, therefore, heartening to see this group of Democratic and Republican Senators reason and work together to find common ground to propose real progress on an issue so deeply concerning to all Americans. The balanced approach of this framework – addressing both access to firearms and mental health resources – is the correct one. We must encourage the success of this effort, and pray that it serves as a model for greater efforts to forge common ground and real solutions across the United States.”
Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s Executive Director for Public Policy stated:
“Far too many times, in recent years, have we witnessed violence visited upon schools, synagogues and other houses of worship, and other spaces…and too many times have we had to mourn these terrible events and call for policies to keep students, worshippers and citizens in general more safe and secure.
The Orthodox Union has successfully advocated for many federal programs, including the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, to help keep our sacred spaces and schools safe by enhancing their security. The Orthodox Union has also had a longstanding policy supporting ‘common sense’ gun safety measures – such as those proposed now in the bipartisan Senate framework – for these too are necessary to keep all our communities safe. The OU urges the Senate and then the House of Representatives to enact legislation based on the framework and deliver greater safety to schoolchildren and all Americans.”
Mark (Moishe) Bane, President of the Orthodox Union, stated:
“The Orthodox Union will continue its work to advocate for the values and interests of our community and broader society. Nowhere is that more crucial at this moment than supporting careful and balanced efforts, such as this one, to better ensure the safety of citizens as we engage in our most fundamental and cherished activities: study, prayer and the simple acts of living our daily lives as Americans and as Jews. We thank Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and their colleagues for their leadership on this important legislation.”