Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Our Right to Peaceably Assemble Is Threatened

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Our Right to Peaceably Assemble Is Threatened

Article excerpt

Wouldn't everyone agree that the First Amendment freedoms are the heart and soul of this country? And in the heart of the First Amendment beats the right to "peaceably assemble." To me, the right to peaceably assemble means the right to peaceably gather in crowds, including going to school, attending church, going to work, going out and about freely and safely.

Somehow, the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, has outweighed our right to peaceably assemble. That guns intimidate is axiomatic - if not, wouldn't the visitors' gallery at the U.S. Supreme Court be filled with gun-toting spectators? We don't allow guns into airports or courthouses. Drunken driving was brought into control after an enormous effort and public outcry. Surely, guns can be controlled as well.

It should be a crime to carry a weapon in a public place, a workplace, a school, a church, anywhere people peaceably assemble.

Strict limits on where and when guns can be carried would help protect our First Amendment freedoms. Bring the amendments back into balance.

MARY WARMAN TERRY

Uniontown

Impact of violence

Three days after the most horrific mass shooting to ever take place in America, Foundation of HOPE - an interfaith pre- and post- release program for Allegheny County Jail inmates and ex-offenders - hosted a screening of the powerful documentary "Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence" to nearly 30 attendees.

"Trigger" examines the ripple effect that one shooting has on a survivor, family, community and society. It's a story told from the perspective of those who have been directly impacted and those who are called daily to respond to this ongoing tragedy.

During the evening, HOPE representatives led a discussion focusing on how to help reverse this devastating trend. HOPE also distributed suggestions to prevent gun violence, based upon recommendations approved by the 219th assembly of the Presbyterian Church, including:

* Contact your members of Congress to ask that they support universal background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchases, and a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, armor- piercing handgun ammunition and .50-caliber sniper rifles.

* Identify local organizations engaged in gun violence prevention and get involved. …

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