The Iowa Catholic Conference opposes state Constitutional amendments that would make the regulation of guns more difficult. The amendments would need to pass both chambers of the legislature in two successive General Assemblies before being submitted to a vote of the people.

Senate Study Bill 3155 and House Joint Resolution 2009 have passed the respective Judiciary Committees. They are proposed state Constitutional amendments to subject any restrictions of the right of the people to keep and bear arms to “strict scrutiny.” The ICC recommends opposition to the bill because it would have the effect of making any regulation of firearms difficult and may put current state law regarding background checks and permitting at risk. The Catholic bishops of the United States have been a consistent advocate of reasonable regulation of firearms for many years.

The Catholic Church has been a consistent voice for the promotion of peace at home and around the world and a strong advocate for the reasonable regulation of firearms. The Church recognizes that recourse to self-defense is legitimate but also that guns are simply too easily accessible. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in their document, “The International Arms Trade” (2006), emphasized the importance of enacting concrete controls on handguns noting, “Limiting the purchase of such arms would certainly not infringe on the rights of anyone.”

Tragically, gun violence in the U.S., domestic violence, the global illicit trade of weapons and ammunition, war, terrorism and other acts that strike at the life and dignity of persons, are an all too common reality.

In 2000, the U.S. bishops issued their pastoral statement, “Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.” The bishops called for all people to work for a culture of life and to do more to end violence in our homes and to help victims break out of patterns of abuse. In regard to gun violence prevention the bishops wrote, “We support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns.”