Vatican lauds Obama’s push to limit gun violence


Mon, Jan 21, 2013 - Page 7

The Vatican on Saturday lauded US President Barack Obama’s initiatives to curb gun violence in the US in the wake of last month’s elementary-school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

“The initiatives announced by the American administration to restrict and control the proliferation and use of arms is certainly a step in the right direction,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in his weekly radio address.

“Certainly, no one can delude themselves into thinking that it would be enough to limit the number and use [of guns] to prevent horrific killings like those in Newtown in the future, but it would be much worse if it was just talk,” he said on Vatican Radio.

Lombardi added that 47 religious leaders of different faiths in the US have called on lawmakers to agree on limiting the spread of firearms.

The Jesuit priest also urged countries worldwide to join in the fight against “the production, trade, smuggling of all firearms,” which he said was powered by dirty economic interests and power.

On Wednesday, Obama signed 23 executive orders to stem a rash of gun violence and called on the US Congress to enshrine enduring reforms into law, including renewing and bolstering a ban on assault weapons and closing loopholes that permit 40 percent of gun sales to take place without background checks.

He particularly asked for the banning of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, like those used to kill 20 children and six adults in the massacre in Newtown last month.

Prominent Republicans rejected Obama’s plan out of hand, accusing him of attacking the right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

The powerful pro-gun group, the National Rifle Association, has dismissed Obama’s plans, saying they merely attack law-abiding gun owners.