I had the opportunity to offer testimony in front of the Washington State Senate committee considering background checks on gun purchases. Here is what I said in my allotted 1 minute:
Senator Padden and members of the committee, my name is Rabbi Seth Goldstein and I serve the Jewish community of Olympia. I come here today to lend a religious voice in support of I-594.
There is an interesting verse in Scripture, in the book of Deuteronomy: “If you are building a house, you must put a fence on your roof, so you do not incur guilt if one should fall from it.” In other words, if we know of something that can cause harm and we do not do anything to mitigate that harm, then we are guilty should something happen, the blood is on our hands.
I know this bill will not completely end senseless gun violence. But to do nothing because it won’t do everything is immoral. If there is anything we can do to prevent guns from getting in the hands of those who should not have them while still respecting the rights of those who could, then that is what we are called upon to do.
I recognize that our constitutional rights are indeed sacred, but our country has never said that rights are absolute—they must be balanced with the responsibilities we have to one another. For we are responsible for one another.