Faith coalition urges Congress to pass Obama's proposed gun plan

(Photo Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts)Pam Bosley (C), whose son Terrell was killed in a shooting, wipes her eye as she stands with family members and victims of mass shootings during a news conference by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence calling on Congress to address gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington December 18, 2012.

A coalition of 47 faith denominations and organizations is urging Congress to pass new gun laws that were proposed Wednesday by President Barack Obama, saying legislators had a "moral imperative" to help as much as possible to help thwart future mass shooting tragedies.

The coalition had previously urged Congress to pass many of the measures the president proposed Wednesday. In a statement, the group again addressed several of the proposals.

"We believe Congress has a moral imperative to enact the life-saving measures proposed by the president and vice president," said a statement from Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence.

"By banning assault weapons and high capacity gun magazines, this plan will do much to keep these weapons of mass destruction out of the wrong hands and prevent future tragedies like we saw last month in Newtown, Conn.," said Jim Winkler, chair of the coalition and chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

"By making sure that every handgun purchaser must go through a background check, even those purchasing guns at gun shows or in a private sale, this proposal will do much to reduce the day-to-day carnage that gun violence causes in our nation," he added. "And the proposal will do much to reduce the gun trafficking, which is a source of much of our tragic urban gun violence, by imposing stiffer penalties on this activity."

The coalition includes the National Council of Churches, the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the African Methodist Episcopal Social Action Commission, among others.

Winkler said the organization would mobilize the faith community to boost support for the measures.

Obama proposed to restore a ban on new "military-style assault weapons," while requiring background checks on all gun sales.

He also announced 23 actions that his administration can take without Congressional approval that include calling on his administration to improve the way it conducts background checks for guns and launch a gun safety campaign.

"I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality," President Obama said at the White House as he unveiled his proposals. "If there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try."

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