Chicago parishes co-sponsor Gun Buyback Events to stem gun violence
By Lisa Zengarini
The latest deadly mass shooting in the U.S., killing six people including three children at a Presbyterian Covenant school in Nashville, confirms, once again, that firearm deaths continue to be a significant and growing public health problem in the United States that needs to be addressed with a comprehensive prevention approach focused on reducing arms circulation, as repeatedly called by Pope Francis.
As part of this effort, several parishes in the Chicago area have been co-sponsoring Gun Buyback Evens, in partnership with local police authorities to incentivize people to turn in their weapons, namely by organizing collections to pay for the arms consigned.
The Gun Buyback Event in Waukegan on April 29
Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan, Lake County, is the latest parish to join the initiative by co-sponsoring a Gun Buyback Event on Saturday April 29 with the Waukegan Police Department.
The event will be kicked off by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Auxiliary Bishop Jeffrey Grob, who will make personal donations to buy back 100 guns.
In a statement Cardinal Cupich, who is a vocal supporter of arms control in the United States, has invited local elected officials, faith communities, businesses and individuals to join in supporting this important effort to reduce the scourge of gun violence and restore peace.
Concrete action to reduce gun violence in the U.S.
“As our city, suburbs, state and nation continue to suffer these cycles of trauma, many wonder what they can do to bring peace to our communities”, he said, remarking that “These gun buyback events have taken thousands of guns off our city streets.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, 79 per cent of all homicides and 53 per cent of all suicides in the U.S involved firearms. In that year gun violence surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death among U.S. children. In 2021, about one in five childhood deaths were caused by firearms.
“Rather than allow ourselves to despair in the face of this mounting death toll, we must do as Pope Francis has asked and continue the work of eliminating gun violence by building a culture of peace”, said Cardinal Cupich.
At least 132 mass shootings in the U.S. since the beginning of the year
The United States have recorded at least 132 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracked more than 647 incidents in 2022 and 690 in 2021. These tragedies periodically reignite America's gun control debate which so far hasn’t produced any result.
The U.S. Bishops' appeal in 2022
In June 2022 US Bishops issued a statement urging all members of Congress to action that “addresses all aspects of the crisis, including mental health, the state of families, the valuation of life, the influence of entertainment and gaming industries, bullying, and the availability of firearms.”