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How religious leaders responded to Obama's executive action on gun control
Catholics are more supportive of increasing gun control than other U.S. faith groups. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
In the wake of President Obama's executive action aimed at decreasing gun violence in America, Catholic leaders emerged as the most fervent religious supporters of the president's actions, while other people of faith questioned whether the Bible offers clear guidance on gun control.

Obama announced his executive order Tuesday to narrow the so-called "gun show loophole by requiring that individuals "in the business of selling firearms" register as licensed gun dealers, CNN reported.

"Violence in our society is a complex issue with many facets, taking many forms. While no measure can eliminate all acts of violence which involve firearms, we welcome reasonable efforts aimed at saving lives and making communities safer," said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement.

A variety of other Catholic voices joined Archbishop Wenski in his support, such as Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of a Catholic social justice advocacy group, and Michael Bayer, a lay Catholic, as Crux reported.

Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, Texas, was likely the most fervent in his support, urging Texas parishioners to give up their "cowboy mentality" about guns in a column posted to his website.

"Thank God that someone finally has the courage to close the loopholes in our pitiful gun control laws to reduce the number of mass shootings, suicides and killings that have become a plague in our country," he wrote.

More than 6-in-10 Catholics (62 percent) favor passing stricter gun control laws, compared to 42 percent of white mainline Protestants and 35 percent of white evangelical Protestants, according to a 2012 survey on gun control by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

However, views on gun control are likely shaped more by politics than by spiritual convictions, because religious texts offer unclear messages about how firearms should be regulated, noted Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a blog.

"My views on this issue are informed, I hope, by my conscience as a Christian, which is to be shaped by the scripture and the church. But it is not a 'Thus saith the Lord' command with the authority of the scripture," he wrote.
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