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Streetsboro -- Guns are too easily accessible and should be sensibly regulated, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
So said the Rev. Fr. Dan Redmond, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Chardon. He was a guest speaker May 19 in front of nearly 50 audience members at St. Joan of Arc Church as he talked about the 2012 Chardon High School shootings and offered insight into the church's position on gun control.
Redmond was giving a Mass on the morning of Feb. 27, 2012 when the shootings occurred at the nearby high school.
"We got the news people had been shot, and there were fatalities," he said. "It was surreal."
Three died and three others were wounded including one who was paralyzed from the waist down.
"[School leaders said], 'This is not going to define who we are as a community,'" he said.
A candlelight vigil the following day brought about 2,000 to the church and another 3,000 or so outside the church, he said. He said a photo of that memorable event hangs inside the church today, showing many people holding candles.
"The church was a source of refuge and stability," he said. "The prayer service was emotional. We thought [a shooting] could never happen in such a quaint, picturesque town, but yet it did."
Redmond said after the funerals, "You saw the power of faith within our community."
"[Since then], I've seen compassion that is moving. There has been great resilience," he said. "It's amazing how the people came together.
"I ask you to keep those good people in your prayers," he said. "Our love and compassion will define who we are."
Catholic church's position on gun
U.S. CCB leaders provided 2013 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary entitled, "Proposals to reduce gun violence: Protecting our communities while respecting the Second Amendment." In it, church leaders urged Congress to support policies that:
Require universal background checks for all gun purchases.
Limit civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines.
Make gun trafficking a federal crime.
Improve access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence.
"We must also look to our entertainers, especially film producers and video game creators, and encourage them to reflect on how their profit motives have allowed the proliferation of movies, television programs, video games and other entertainment that glorify violence and prey on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of our young people," church leaders said in their testimony before the Senate. "Such portrayals of violence have desensitized all of us.
"We must improve our resources for parents, guardians and young people so they can evaluate entertainment products intelligently," church leaders added. "The viewing and use of these products have negative emotional, psychological and spiritual effects on people, especially the young."
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