Resolution On Addressing Gun Violence Prevention

February 11, 2013

WHEREAS in 1967 the National Commission adopted policy stating that “the Anti-Defamation League should publicly favor expanded federal and state regulation of the sale and transfer of firearms and other dangerous weapons;” and in 1971 urged “the adoption of stricter controls governing the sale, possession and distribution of firearms;” and

WHEREAS in 1999 the National Executive Committee reaffirmed these policies, including ADL’s support for the Brady Bill which provided, inter alia, for waiting periods and a ban on the import and sale of assault weapons; and

WHEREAS the 1999 NEC resolution also endorsed new restrictions, such as “measures which would require gun locks, ban high-capacity ammunition clips and impose more stringent rules regarding background checks, especially at gun shows;” and broadly urged the adoption of “federal and state initiatives designed to make it more difficult for children and extremists to access guns;” and

WHEREAS domestic extremists have used firearms in 65% of the 263 domestic extremist-related killings tracked by ADL from 2001-2012; and, since the beginning of 2009, have engaged law enforcement officers in at least 29 shooting or shootout incidents in the United States, incidents in which 33 officers were shot, 11 of them fatally; and

WHEREAS the spate of recent tragic mass shootings at places such as schools, movie theatres, shopping malls, and religious institutions has highlighted the dangers and demonstrated that gun-related violence can occur any place at any time; and also underscored the need for improved access to mental health treatment that meets standards of care; and

WHEREAS studies indicate that some individuals involved in gun violence in schools claim that they had been bullied, and the bullying  played a role in their decision to attack others at the school; and

WHEREAS in the aftermath of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and six educators were killed, the Obama Administration and Members of Congress are urgently considering a number of steps to reduce gun violence and reduce access to firearms by potentially violent individuals; and

WHEREAS in 2010 ten major national law enforcement agencies, including agencies with whom ADL has a close relationship, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the National Sheriffs’ Association, joined together to create the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence and asserted that “the crisis of gun violence in our country necessitates a sustained, coordinated, and collaborative effort involving citizens, elected officials, law enforcement, and the entire criminal justice system,” and this partnership has even greater resonance in the aftermath of the tragic murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School; and

WHEREAS the debate over gun control has too often sparked irresponsible and odious arguments – including historically inaccurate and offensive analogies to Nazi Germany, and statements that stigmatize those suffering from mental illness;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that ADL reaffirms its longstanding position advocating for the adoption of stricter controls governing the sale, possession, and distribution of firearms and other dangerous weapons as reflected by the 1999 NEC Resolution; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that those stricter controls should include not only comprehensive background checks of all purchases of firearms, dangerous weapons and ammunition, including purchases at gun shows,  and reasonable waiting periods, but also training in the safe use of guns; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ADL welcomes the attached Statement of Principles of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, and also supports the elimination of restrictions on the gathering and compiling of data related to violence perpetrated with firearms, including research into the causes and consequences of gun violence; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ADL will continue to promote expansion of federal, state, and local  anti-bullying initiatives, including  those that facilitate education and training programs;  and other efforts to make schools safer without negatively impacting  educational environments, as an important component of comprehensive gun violence prevention initiatives in the states and nationally; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ADL urges improved access to mental health treatment that meets standards of care for those who need it, and a responsible conversation on the issue that does not further stigmatize mental illness; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ADL will actively encourage all parties to conduct this important debate over gun violence prevention responsibly and with civility.

National Executive Committee Meeting
February 8, 2013