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Reform corrals broad array of groups into gun call-in

JTA

February 1, 2013 | 2:11 pm

A holds up a sign protesting against the National Rifle Association as people arrive for a public hearing on gun control at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., on Jan. 30. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

A holds up a sign protesting against the National Rifle Association as people arrive for a public hearing on gun control at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., on Jan. 30. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The Reform movement corralled a broad array of religious denominations to call into Congress on Monday and demand action on gun violence.

Participant organizations in the "Faiths Calling" event organized by Reform's Religious Action Center include the Reform, Orthodox, Conservative and Reconstructionist streams, as well as mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Sikh and Muslim groups.

Also included are a number of Jewish public affairs groups.

Callers-in, who may access Congress through the Faiths.org website, are asked to advocate for one or several of four policies: Universal background checks, a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, making gun trafficking a federal crime and improving access to mental health services.

The breadth of the participation is rare, encompassing liberal and conservative groups.

One of the more conservative groups, the Southern Baptist Convention, sounded a qualified and almost apologetic note in its emailed appeal.

"We believe our representatives do need to hear from people around the country," said the email from Richard Land, the body's president of its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "We encourage you to call as well to tell your congressman and senators what you think should be done. Do you want universal background checks? A ban on semi-automatic guns? A ban on high-capacity magazines? More attention to mental health issues? Or something else?"

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