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Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the U.S. Supreme Court Refusing to Block Assault Weapons Ban in Illinois

May 17, 2023

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I welcome the news that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to temporarily halt Illinois’ assault weapons ban, which will remain in force as appellate courts consider challenges. State lawmakers passed this important law in response to the horrific mass shooting during last year’s Highland Park Independence Day parade — carnage made possible by the nature of the weapon. As of May 17, the United States has already suffered 226 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Last year saw more school shootings than any other since 1999.

In its statement on the Highland Park massacre, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not mince words: “We support a total ban on assault weapons and limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines.” I could not agree more. We have a gun violence epidemic in America, and it is far past time for us to do something about it. Gun safety laws like the assault weapons ban signed by Gov. JB Pritzker are one essential component in our fight against gun violence. 

In order to uproot our culture of violence, in which so many seem to prioritize the right to bear arms over the right to life, we must learn to see one another in a deeper way. Not as avatars of this or that ideology. Not as competitors in a kind of team sport looking to put points on the board. But rather, as members of the same human family who deserve respect. For religious believers, we trace that conviction to our belief that God created all of us in his image. It is my fervent prayer that as the United States continues to be brutalized by this wave of gun violence, we as a people may come to see one another with the eyes of God, with love.