Religious leaders are encouraging all levels of the U.S. government to enforce stricter gun laws after a 24-year-old man opened fire on a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last Friday and killed 12 people.
The Rev. James Martin wrote in an opinion article for the Jesuit magazine America that gun control is as important an issue as euthanasia, the death penalty, and abortion, as it addresses the "security of human life."
Although Martin encouraged prayer and reflection during this time of mourning, he also wrote that "such deep emotions may be one way that God encourages us to act."
"There is nothing to say that more stringent gun control laws that could prevent such horrible crimes cannot be judiciously balanced with constitutional rights," he wrote.
Ultimately, Martin said that he is not a political figure, but rather a religious one, and therefore he is for promoting any law which encourages the preservation of the sanctity of life.
Additionally, Kathryn Mary Lohre, president of the National Council of Churches (NCC), called on every level of U.S government to "seek policies that will foster greater peace in our communities and throughout this country."
The National Council of Churches previously passed the 2010 resolution "Ending Gun Violence, A Call to Action," which called on churches, government, and individuals to come together to stop gun violence.
Specifically, the resolution requested that "local, state, and federal legislators to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal 'gun show loophole,' which allows for the purchase of firearms from private sellers without submitting to a background check, or providing documentation of the purchase."
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said that previous attacks, such as the 1999 Columbine shootings, are a "poignant reminder that too many innocent lives have been lost to gun catastrophes."
"Although details about this gunman and shooting are still coming to light, this horror reinforces the need to ensure that common-sense gun control laws are in place to help reduce such acts of violence," he added.
Those in support of the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms, argue that all Americans should have the freedom to defend themselves with a firearm.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said on Monday that additional laws restricting gun purchase and use would not make any difference.
"I still believe that the Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and don't believe that new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy," the candidate told CNBC's Lawrence Kudlow in an interview.
On July 20, suspect James Holmes, 24, allegedly opened fire inside a full movie theater in Aurora during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 59 others. Police reports indicate that the suspect had four guns, one of which was an assault rifle.