Letter to Congressional Leaders

The following letter was sent to all United States Representatives and Senators from Massachusetts on January 31, 2013.

Dear Elected Representative:

The congregation of the United Parish in Brookline, representing over 200 households of various faith backgrounds from throughout the Greater Boston area, by vote at a Special All-Parish Meeting held on January 27, 2013, authorized the Moderator to transmit this letter to the members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation.

As the members of a faith community our congregation regards each human being as one of God’s children and we honor the commandment that “Thou shalt not kill.” We can no longer stand silent in the face of the senseless killing of innocent school children and staff last month in Newtown, Connecticut. Nor can we ignore the fact that each and every day even more people – including 32 murder victims -- are killed by gun violence in the United States.

Sensible gun regulation is, we believe, at the core of the necessary response to stem these killings. And the principal response must come from the federal government because guns too easily cross state and municipal boundaries.

In your role as one of our elected representatives we earnestly ask that the 113th Congress promptly address our nation’s crying need for more effective gun control. We urge your strong support for President Obama’s proposals on gun control, including the following elements:

  • Reinstate the assault weapon ban, with improvements and effective enforcement
  • Restrict the size of ammunition magazines
  • Close loopholes so that a background check is performed before every gun sale

In the legislative process we also ask that you:

  • Base public policy on information and analysis -- not on slogans, not on political donations, not on lobbyist strength
  • Evaluate practices elsewhere – Australia appears to be one good example
  • Establish a federal registry that records all gun sales and lost or stolen guns
  • Consider placing a unique identifier on shell casings so that the use of deadly force leaves a “fingerprint”
  • Limit the frequency of gun purchases and establish a waiting period before the gun is delivered
  • Ban armor piercing ammunition
  • Evaluate carrying concealed weapons in public places
  • Authorize state and local governments to enact additional regulations (subject to constitutional limitations)
  • Improve access and funding for mental health care and treatment

We thank you for your most careful consideration and leadership of this crucial matter.


Robert Schram
Moderator of the United Parish in Brookline