(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
NEW YOR K – As politicians across the United States once again awaken the debate over gun control following the Orlando massacre, Jewish officials are not shy on weighing in. The predominantly Democratic Jewish community feels that guns should be more tightly restricted by law.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-New York) told The Jerusalem Post he is “disgusted that another terrorist was able to legally purchase an assault rifle to kill innocent Americans.”
“A person who is too dangerous to fly on a plane should not be allowed to walk into a gun store and legally purchase a weapon,” Israel said. He explained that House Democrats are currently pushing for a vote to make sure such individuals are not able to get their hands on weapons, something which, according to a Quinnipiac poll from last year, 77 percent of Republicans in the US also agree with, but that House Republicans refuse to hold a vote on.
Within the American Jewish community, Israel said he doesn’t think the topic of gun control should be a divisive political issue.
“The value of shalom bayit [a peaceful home] means that we all deserve to feel safe in our home and in the communities where we live,” he told the Post.
“Our leaders must do everything they can to protect our national security and, I believe, this includes common-sense gun safety.”
American Jewish aid worker Alan Gross – who spent more than five years in a Cuban prison after being convicted of the crime against the Cuban state of bringing Internet service to Cuba’s Jewish community – told the Post
he believes Congress has abdicated its responsibility on the issue of guns. “It needs to either accept responsibility or look for other work,” he said.
The day after the attack, Gross tweeted multiple times calling on Congress to ban assault weapons like the AR-15 military- style rifle used by Omar Mateen at the Pulse nightclub.
Congress had in fact established such a ban in 1994 for a period of 10 years.
During that time it was illegal to manufacture assault weapons for use by private citizens and high-capacity magazines could only carry a maximum of 10 bullets.
The ban expired in 2004 and was not renewed.
“Every time this happens, and unfortunately it’s happened too many times, people including the president call on Congress to do something and they don’t do anything and the number of lives lost increases,” Gross told the Post.