Hindu Americans Share Perspectives with Vice President as Nation Grapples with Reducing Gun Violence
Washington, D.C. (January 10, 2013) -- Vice President Joe Biden met with a small group of faith-based leaders at the White House yesterday for a conversation on curbing gun violence in the United States. Representatives of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) attended the meeting and submitted recommendations to President Barack Obama detailing a Hindu perspective on violence as well as concrete measures aimed at reducing gun violence and improving gun safety.
"While Hindu teachings hold ahimsa, or non-harming,in every thought, word, and action as the highest ideal, scripture also details the variety of life situations faced throughout human existence in which we must choose between a path that incurs harm, but supports an end of truth and justice, and a path that is not harmful, but allows injustice and evil to continue unabated. " said Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF Executive Director and Legal Counsel. "Hindus also recognize that for the welfare of society, a balance is required between one's individual rights, such as the desire to own a gun, and one's responsibility to society, which may suffer as a result of gun violence. It is from this worldview that we offered initial recommendations."
President Obama initiated a task force to tackle gun related violence in the aftermath of the latest massacre -- this time in Newtown, CT where a lone gunman wielding assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school. In 2012, there were at least three other mass shootings, including a movie theatre in Aurora, CO, a Sikh gurudwara in Oak Creek, WI, and a manufacturer in Minneapolis, MN. Vice President Biden, the head of the task force, has already met with several 2nd Amendment advocates as well as proponents of stricter gun laws to understand the gamut of perspectives on the issue. The Vice President indicated that while effective legislative action and short-term executive orders were necessary, the problem would require deep reflection among the American people.
"We're encouraged by the momentum generated by the Administration on this critical issue," said Jay Kansara, HAF Associate Director of Government Affairs. "Vice President Biden's meeting with the broad spectrum of vested interest groups demonstrates the eye-opening Newtown has sparked. We hope the perspectives brought to the table by last night's diverse group of faith representatives are helpful."