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Most Catholics say yes to gun control, poll shows

Published December 18, 2012 1:02 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Among U.S. religious groups, Catholics are the most likely to support gun control.

More than 6 in 10 of them — 62 percent — favor stricter firearms laws, compared to fewer than half of white evangelical Protestants (35 percent) and white mainline Protestants (42 percent), according to a 2012 Public Religion Research Institute poll.

And fewer than 15 percent of Catholics said that people should be allowed to carry guns into churches, compared with 32 percent of white evangelical Protestants.

It is not surprising, then, that in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, Catholic Democrats are calling on elected officials of both parties who share their faith to "lead the nation in a conversation regarding gun violence."

This religiously affiliated group within the Democratic Party is also asking all Catholic elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, "to impose a moratorium on accepting donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA), the gun-rights advocacy organization whose leadership has opposed even common-sense gun safety measures."

Clearly, Catholic elected officials could wield some clout on this issue, given their power positions in Congress.

"Upon the passing [Monday] of U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont becomes the president pro tempore of the Senate and ... the first Catholic to hold the position," writes mirrorofjustice, a Catholic blog. "Indeed, if Senator John Kerry [of Massachusetts] is nominated and confirmed to be secretary of state, the four offices in line of succession to the presidency will all be held by Catholics: Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner [R-Ohio], Senator Leahy and Secretary Kerry."

Not sure they're all on the same page about the gun issue, though.

Peggy Fletcher Stack