Interfaith Rally Calls for Tighter Gun Control

As part of Tuesday’s national day of action on gun violence, Rabbi Susan Shankman joined 60 other religious, civic, and youth leaders of the Metro IAF* and its Do Not Stand Idly By (DNSIB) campaign at a rally across from Realco Guns in District Heights, Maryland.

Speaking at the rally, Rabbi Shankman said in part, “Municipal, county, state, and federal governments collectively purchase 40 percent of the guns and ammunition in the United States. In a normal market, the biggest customer has the biggest say, right?

“But while public-sector gun buyers are the biggest market, they aren’t the loudest, or the most demanding. They’ve been passive customers. Instead of demanding that gun manufacturers make safety their top priority, they sit and watch the industry cater to a small segment of the market. Instead of getting “smart guns,” we get mass-marketed Bushmasters and hollow-point bullets. The mission of the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign is to change those dynamics – to get gun purchasers in the public sector to wake up and use our taxpayer dollars to push for a greater commitment to safety in the gun industry.”

Nationwide, a small percentage of dealers sell the vast majority of guns used in crimes. In 2010, a Washington Post investigation revealed that during the previous 18 years, 1 in 8 guns sold at Realco was tied to crimes in the District and Maryland. The newspaper reported that “Realco towers over the other 350 handgun dealers in the state as a source of guns confiscated in the District and Prince George’s County.” Yet six years later, the major gun manufacturers continue to use Realco as a distribution outlet.

Metro IAF has called upon the CEOs of the world’s seven largest gun manufacturers to invest in smart gun technology and create networks of dealers that meet high standards of security, record keeping, and cooperation with law enforcement. DNSIB has also asked federal, state and local officials – who collectively purchase 40 percent of the nation’s guns and ammunition – to use this market power to push manufacturers to act.

Following the rally, Rabbi Shankman commented, “It’s inspiring to see Americans of all different faiths and the faith community come together to help make our world a safer and more peaceful place.”

WJLA Washington, D.C. reported on this event.

*Metro IAF is part of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s first and largest network of multi-faith community organizations with seven decades of experience winning tough battles across the nation.