Public Response to Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

Like all Americans committed to the creation of a more just and peaceful world, we at the Peace & Justice Center are saddened and appalled by the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school. We will work to make the legacy of the children killed there a transition from a gun culture to a culture of empathy in this country.

To this end, we call upon Congress–and in particular the Vermont Congressional delegation–to support and pass, promptly, a law which stringently controls the sale and ownership of guns and which bans the civilian use of semi-automatic weapons such as the ones employed in Tucson, Aurora, Portland, and Newtown. We call for legislation which will reinstate the assault weapons ban, eliminate sales of high capacity magazines, and adopt effective waiting periods and background checks for all gun sales, including private and gun show sales. We also, having learned from the strict and effective Australian gun laws enacted after the Port Arthur massacre, support the buy-back of semi-automatic rifles and handguns.

To ensure a true culture of empathy, we ask all Americans to examine the messages of manhood we are giving to our youth. Masculinity, violence, dominance, and respect are being dangerously combined.

We advocate easier access to mental health services for all people, and in particular troubled young men suffering from a sense of isolation. Beyond any laws and regulations, we hope that we ourselves will extend to them an alert and friendly interest in their lives.