Members of Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence had a conference call with Senator Toomey and his staff yesterday. Constituents shared their personal experiences with gun violence and urged the Senator to both co-sponsor and lobby his Republican colleagues to support the Background Check Expansion Bill (S.529). While the senator has long supported some expansion to background checks, he is not a clear supporter of the current bill. He did commit to speaking to his colleagues about background checks and keeping us informed. It will be essential to make sure that Senator Toomey continues to hear from his constituents that we support this bill AND that this bill, when enacted, will SAVE LIVES. See the 'take action' tab on our website for how you can help.

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After what felt like the longest Tuesday in recorded history, we now know that we have elected the STRONGEST GUN SAFETY CANDIDATE EVER to the White House. Joe Biden has been a gun safety advocate for decades, led President Obama's task force after the Sandy Hook massacre, and ran on a strong gun safety platform. We welcome an ally in the White House. Unfortunately, we still face the potential for an obstructionist Senate. We do however have one more opportunity. Both Georgia Senate races go to runoff elections on January 5, 2021. That is one last chance to gain a gun safety majority in both houses of Congress. We intend to help and are waiting to hear back from allies on the ground in Georgia about how we can most effectively do so. Please stay tuned and check our 'take action' tab regularly.

While the news for the White House is fantastic, gun safety advocates lost ground in the Pennsylvania legislature. While we have an ally in Governor Wolf, gun safety opponents hold both the State House and State Senate. We are currently consulting with other gun safety advocates and planning a course forward.

"Though the shooter caused mayhem, grief and lasting trauma to all three congregational communities and beyond, he did not succeed in quashing the life-affirming commitments of the members of Dor Hadash. They have stayed true to their values and their political commitments at every step. Immediately after the shooting, members gathered to mourn and pray and find ways to support each other, and they opened themselves to support from around the world and from across the Reconstructionist movement.

In the months following the massacre, members of the Dor Hadash Social Action Committee established Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence to join with Jews and non-Jews, residents of Pittsburgh and Americans from around the country to advocate for sensible legislation that can reduce gun violence. As Dan Leger has regained his strength, he has made lobbying for effective gun legislation a major focus of his time. Honoring the memory of Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, a profound healer who staunchly opposed the death penalty, in August 2019 the congregation wrote to U.S. Attorney General William Barr urging a plea bargain that would result in a sentence of life without parole for the perpetrator. And the Dor Hadash community has reaffirmed its focus on recognizing the humanity in all people through ongoing tikkun olam (social justice) efforts toward welcoming and compassionate immigration policies."

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