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Expand Background Checks

Tell Congress that you support the bipartisan proposals to expand background checks to cover all commercial sales, including gun shows and classifieds (S.AMDT. 715/H.R. 1565).


Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary one year ago, 11,000 more Americans have been killed by gun violence. Yet we still do not have a federal law that requires any background check before private, online, and gun show gun purchases.

We are inspired by a Jewish tradition that emphasizes the sanctity of human life, and commands us to turn weapons of destruction into tools for the greater good of society. The number and severity of violent shootings in recent years can only be described as an epidemic. Each is a tragic reminder that over 30,000 Americans die each year as a result of gun violence.  As we prepare to mark one year since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we also remember the gun violence tragedies in Navy Yard, DC, Oak Creek, WI, Aurora, CO, Tucson, AZ, Ft. Hood, TX, Virginia Tech, VA, Columbine High School, CO and so many others.

Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Toomey (R-PA) introduced a bipartisan plan to greatly expand background checks. This same plan was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen King (R-NY) and Thompson (D-CA).  Although the proposal does not cover all gun sales, it promises to close dangerous loopholes that exempt gun shows and online sales from background checks.

Out of 100 members of the United States Senate, 55 voted for strong background checks legislation. Unfortunately, Senate rules require 60 votes.  Contact your Senators through our action alert to remind them that the majority of Americans support universal background checks, and add your voice this Friday in our call-in campaign!

Jewish Values

Jewish tradition emphasizes the sanctity and primary value of human life. The Bible commands us, “Thou shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13). The Talmud teaches us that “he who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe, and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).

Scripture encourages peaceful pursuit of our mutual welfare. Isaiah exhorts the people of the earth to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4). We also are commanded to turn weapons of destruction into tools for the greater good of society. 

Take Action

Ask your Members of Congress to advance sensible gun laws. To reach your Members of Congress, call the Capital Switchboard at 202.224.3121. 

For more information about gun violence prevention, please contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Jonathan Edelman by email or 202.387.2800.