Washington D.C., Dec 14, 2018 / 06:44 pm (CNA).- The number of gun deaths in the United States reached almost 40,000 last year, the highest number since firearm deaths were first recorded in mortality data nearly 40 years ago.
According to an analysis from CNN, 39,773 people died by guns last year.
The analysis, using CDC data, found that nearly 24,000 people died from suicide by guns in 2017. This number is the highest in 18 years, and a more than 7,000 death increase from 1999.
“In 2017, nearly 109 people died every single day from gun violence,” said Adelyn Allchin, director of public health research for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
“Gun violence has been part of our day-to-day lives for far too long. It is way past time that elected leaders at every level of government work together to make gun violence rare and abnormal.”
The U.S. bishops have long called for more restrictive gun legislation.
In their 2000 statement “Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration,” on crime and criminal justice, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supported certain gun laws in the name of safety.
“As bishops, 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,” the bishops stated.
In April of 2013, four months after the Sandy Hook school shooting, then-chair of the domestic justice and human development committee Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton wrote members of Congress.
Among the policies Bishop Blaire cited for support were “universal background checks for all gun purchases,” restrictions on civilian purchases of “high-capacity ammunition magazines,” and an “assault weapons” ban. He cited Pope Francis’ call “to ‘change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace’.”
A similar statement encouraging public debate on gun control was released last year after mass shootings in Las Vegas, Nevada and the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Spring, Texas,
Earlier this year, after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people, the heads of the bishops’ committees on domestic justice and Catholic Education released another statement on gun laws.
“Once again, we are confronted with grave evil, the murder of our dear children and those who teach them. Our prayers continue for those who have died, and those suffering with injuries and unimaginable grief. We also continue our decades-long advocacy for common-sense gun measures as part of a comprehensive approach to the reduction of violence in society and the protection of life,” they said.
Last month, after a shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago left four dead, including the gunman, the president of the U.S. bishop’s conference again reiterated the call for “reasonable gun measures.”
“In our desire to help promote a culture of life, we bishops will continue to ask that public policies be supported to enact reasonable gun measures to help curb this pervasive plague of gun violence,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said Nov. 20.
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