Vice President Joe Biden called for national faith leaders to rally their faithful in the nation's debate regarding gun control in order to reduce gun violence.
Among the 12 leaders who met with Biden in a White House meeting
Wednesday was the Rev. Michael McBride, director of Lifelines to
Healing, a faith-based effort to reduce gun violence in inner cities. He
said the meeting was very constructive.
Biden met with the faith leaders as part of a series of meetings he
is hosting this week to draft a comprehensive plan to lower gun
violence. Biden also met with the National Rifle Association, gun
control advocates, heads of video game and entertainment industries, and
"I told the vice president how we need to include as a central part
of this conversation solutions to urban gun violence to unite Americans
who all share the pain caused by guns," McBride said.
McBride said Biden shared some thoughts on the White House's proposal
to curb gun violence, which includes universal background checks and
bans on assault weapons with a possible ammunition component.
expressed the need for faith leaders to appeal to all Americans to
eventually pass legislation that will meet that goal.
McBride said he looked forward to "working with Vice President Biden,
the Obama administration and Congress to find the comprehensive
solution that keeps all of our children and neighbors safe from gun
Lifelines to Healing, a program of the PICO National Network,
advocates for a targeted and comprehensive approach to gun control that
includes addressing assault weapons bans, universal background checks
and mental health care, with a strong focus on urban gun violence.
"Given that a lot of the gun violence is concentrated in urban and
poor neighborhoods, it is the responsibility for any comprehensive
approach to recognize that and to pay attention to that," he said.
"We're convinced that the pain of urban gun violence in urban
neighborhoods and cities coupled with the pain of gun violence in
suburban communities is an opportunity for our whole country to unite
around the common and shared pain of gun violence and address it all
together rather than continue to divide our country into cities and
suburbs, poor and rich," he said.
The Lifelines to Healing campaign was launched nationally in November
2011. According to its website, it pushes for policies and resources to
address the criminalization of people of color and the lack of
meaningful opportunities they face with the goal of repairing
communities hurt by violence and crime.
The campaign is hosting a nationwide Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath
the weekend of Jan. 19-20, when churches, synagogues, mosques and other
houses of worship can memorialize members of their congregations who
have been lost to gun violence.
More than 35 congregations of various religious affiliations have joined the weekend commemoration.
For more information, visit Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath or PICO National Network's resources page.