Roman Catholic Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago has strongly criticized supporters of the Second Amendment in the wake of continued mass shootings in the country. Cupich has claimed that the Second Amendment is outdated and has been perverted by those seeking to make a profit.
"Let's be honest. The Second Amendment was passed in an era when organized police forces were few and citizen militias were useful in maintaining the peace. Its original authors could not have anticipated a time when the weapons we have a right to bear now include military-grade assault weapons that have turned our streets into battlefields," Cupich said following the Oct. 1 massacre at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
"The Second Amendment's original intent has been perverted by those who, as Pope Francis recently commented, have profited mightily. Surely there is a middle ground between the original intent of the amendment and the carnage we see today," he added.
While 10 people died at the Umpqua massacre, Cupich noted that "nearly a dozen" of others died in gun violence in Chicago in a two-week stretch, including two infants younger than 1-year-old who were wounded.
The archbishop also said he supports Chicago's incentive to tighten gun regulations in the city — which has the highest rate of gun violence in the U.S. despite having the most restrictive gun laws in the nation — and called on the rest of America to follow suit. He added that the Catholic Church in America has long been calling for tighter gun control, and sent testimony to Congress following the 2012 murders of 20 first graders and six staff members at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
"It is no longer enough for those of us involved in civic leadership and pastoral care to comfort the bereaved and bewildered families of victims of gun violence," Cupich continued.
"It is time to heed the words of Pope Francis and take meaningful and swift action to address violence in our society. We must band together to call for gun control legislation. We must act in ways that promote the dignity and value of human life. And we must do it now."
Gun control has largely been a partisan issue, with liberals, such as President Barack Obama, calling on stricter regulation.
"There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?" Obama asked following the Oregon shooting.
"We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it."
Conservatives, including the majority of GOP presidential candidates, have insisted that barring citizens from owning guns, which is Obama's proposal, will only put innocent lives at risk, as criminals will continue to be armed.
"Every time something happens, they don't blame mental illness — that our mental healthcare is out of whack and all of the other problems. And by the way, it was a gun-free zone," Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said.
"I will tell you — if you had a couple of the teachers or somebody with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off."
Other candidates, such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have blamed "sin and evil" for such shootings.
"You know, we have not so much a gun control problem as we do have a problem with sin and evil," Huckabee told CNN.
"I think we always talk about what the weapon was, but whether it's a pressure cooker or whether it's a gun, we're dealing with people who are either deranged or they're very focused, because they want to kill people in the name of terrorism," he added.