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Minute on the Regulation of Handguns
From Multnomah Monthly Meeting
April 12, 2002

We, the Multnomah Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), believe that the widespread ownership and availability of handguns in the U.S. is tragic and wrong, an ugly and dangerous contradiction to our call to live in the light of the Spirit and to seek peace.

The daily manifestations of gun violence in America tear at our souls and corrupt the community in which we live. Guns kill over 30,000 Americans each year, including almost 4,000 children. The easy access to guns by troubled teens makes possible more than 1,000 suicides every year. These instruments of death and family tragedy should be banned from our society.

Every possible means should be taken to curtail the availability of these weapons and we should work to educate others about the terrible moral, economic, and social costs they incur. In this spirit, Multnomah Monthly Meeting endorses the efforts of the Oregon Consumer League, part of a nationwide campaign by the Consumer Federation of America foundation, to help pass the firearms safety and consumer projection act (S. 330 and HR 671). This legislation, currently pending in Congress, would give the Department of Treasury the authority to regulate handguns as consumer products.

The Department would have authority to regulate the design, manufacture, and distribution of firearms and ammunition, including the ability to set minimum safety standards for guns, issue recalls and warnings for defective guns, collect data on gun-related death and injury, and ban products when no other remedy is sufficient.

Effective regulation of handguns will not eliminate the violence and tragedy we fear, but it will reduce the number of premature and unexpected deaths, reduce the number of tears shed unnecessarily, and begin to raise public awareness of the harm we allow our society to suffer every day. Effective regulation is an important step on the long and inevitable road to the elimination of handguns and we commit ourselves to helping see it adopted.
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