Newtown rabbi joins Muslim, Christian clergy in urging gun controls

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Interfaith clergy from Newtown, Conn., in an open letter urged a leading Republican to back far-reaching gun controls.

Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel was among the 12 clergy from Newtown, the site of a school massacre last December, who signed the letter to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) that was published Monday in the Des Moines Register in Grassley’s home state.

The letter was hand-delivered to the offices of all 100 senators, but Grassley was singled out in the Register ad because he is the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is about to vote on a range of gun control measures.

"We pray that you will vote for meaningful gun violence prevention laws that include a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, enforceable universal background checks, an end to gun trafficking, and prosecution of straw purchasers," the letter said.

Praver officiated at the funeral of Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults  before killing himself. The gunman, Adam Lanza, had killed his mother at home before coming to the school.

Three religious action networks — the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, PICO National Network and Sojourners — distributed the letter, which garnered more than an additional 4,000 signatories nationally.

Garnering Republican support in the Democratic-controlled Senate for the gun-control measures could undercut GOP opposition in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

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