In the wake of the horrific massacre in Arizona Saturday, there are calls to renew restrictions, some of which lapsed when Congress permitted the federal assault weapons ban to expire in 2004, on certain types of weaponry, particularly the high-capacity magazine used by the Arizona shooter. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), whose husband was murdered in a 1993 rampage on the Long Island Railroad, plans to introduce a measure in the House, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the Senate.

The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church today released a statement suggesting support for such a ban: “The gunman used a weapon bought legally, but if the ban on assault weapons that unfortunately lapsed in 2004 had remained in place, then the 30-round clip he used would have been illegal. Yes, the gunman still could have inflicted a tremendous amount of harm, but it would have been dramatically reduced.”

In a 2008 resolution, the UMC stated, “No appeals to individual autonomy are sufficient to justify our church’s ignorance of this threat.”

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