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Gun control sabbath calls for assault ban

March 17, 2013 at 6:30 PM

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- Religious leaders attending the U.S. Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, organizers said.

Religious leaders from across the United States meeting at the Washington National Cathedral also called Saturday for more attention to poverty-related problems underlying gun violence in inner cities, The Washington Post reported.

The meeting, part of a four-day "gun violence prevention sabbath," was broadcast via a live Web stream to about 400 U.S. congregations, including some that held similar events locally, organizers said.

Several of the religious leaders said they had a unique perspective on the gun issue from years of burying shooting victims and comforting their families.

Others said their political strength stemmed from their diverse backgrounds -- Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus -- that straddled political party lines, while several compared religious leaders' role in the gun debate to that in the civil rights movement.

"We bring a history of empathy to victims of suffering," the Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, said before a morning worship service.

"All religious traditions try to answer the question of suffering, especially innocent suffering. We bring a lot of people who aren't always politically active into the conversation."

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