Eliminating Background Checks Puts Guns in Wrong Hands

handgun_sales[1](CeasefirePA) Last April, State Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) introduced legislation that would eliminate the state background check system.

Do you know what happened with the Charleston shooter’s background check? Did he pass it? Did he fail?

This is what happened: The background check was never completed. Most background checks take just minutes for an approval or denial to register. But some take a bit longer, and under federal law, if a clear answer does not come back in three days, the seller can sell the gun.

Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) allows extra time for a background check to be completed. The default is to protect safety, not to let a sale go through in the absence of a completed check.

PICS and the federal system work in tandem to keep Pennsylvania safe. We are fortunate to have this system in Pennsylvania. But the gun lobby does not like it, and is pushing a bill that would eliminate it.

Moving forward with this means putting guns in the hands of people who are dangerous. As we saw with the tragedy in Charleston, allowing sales to go forward without a completed check can be a death sentence for mothers, fathers and children.

Six Black Churches Torched: Where is the Outrage?

church-burning[1]— by Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

The rash of church burnings over the past week and a half are an outrage that harkens back to some of the darkest chapters in American history. These arsons are a painful reminder that the tragedy in Charleston was bigger than any one city or house of worship. As Americans, we must remember that Black churches have been targeted for violence throughout our history and these recent burnings are a continuation of that despicable tradition. These attacks are not isolated incidents. They are an expression of violent racism that remains all too real in twenty-first century America.

It’s deeply concerning that so little attention has been paid to these arsons, especially after how closely they followed the tragedy in Charleston. It will take all Americans declaring in one voice that ‘enough is enough’ for this hate to stop. The Jewish community, along with all those working to build a more just society, will not be silent in the face of these criminal attacks.

Southern Jewish Memories

— by Hannah Lee

Already 38 years in print, Eli N. Evans’s The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South has garnered high praise by the late Israeli statesman and author, Abba Eban, who wrote of Evans: “the Jews of the South have found their poet laureate.”  Humbly identifying himself as “the grandson of a peddler,” Evans began his lecture at The National Museum of American Jewish History on October 16th by noting that being raised as a Southerner and a Jew were unique experiences that shaped his sense of self and of home.  In describing his boyhood in Durham, North Carolina, he said “I grew up like every other Southern boy– with a bicycle in the neighborhood and football, basketball, and picking honeysuckle in the spring.”
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