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Church takes stand in gun control debate

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SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) -- A Brunswick County church is taking a stance in the gun control debate.

After starting a gun control petition earlier this year, St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church in Shallotte is educating the community.

Church leaders say they view gun control as a pro-life initiative and a moral issue, because it threatens a person's dignity to life. This has them called to action.

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, St. Brendan Catholic Church wanted to do its part to bring attention to the gun control debate. Church leaders began circulating a petition back in January.

"We are really going to come together to try to find solutions, and that doesn't exclude a viewpoint," St. Brendan's Religious Education Director Mary Hart said. "We certainly want to invite anyone with a different viewpoint to come forward."

The petition calls for a ban on assault weapons, a ban on high-capacity magazines and better regulation.

"We wanted to bring awareness to the issue and to keep it alive in the minds of people, because too often in the past bad things have happened, and we sort of go back to business as usual," Hart said.

To make sure this controversial issue does not fade and to provide another venue for discussion, the church hosted a lecture Tuesday to talk about the Second Amendment from a historical perspective.

"It's important for us as citizens to form our own opinions and to state those opinions and not leave it up to the people in Washington," said historian and guest lecturer Dr. Michael Burke.

St. Brendan's has already sent its petition with upwards of 1,000 signatures to North and South Carolina senators with the hopes of one day being able to answer some important questions.

"What is good public policy? What should we be doing in this country to make sure this kind of violence does not happen again?" concerned citizen Barry Ryan said.

St. Brendan's will also host a mental health and gun violence presentation to keep the talk going. That discussion will take place March 21.

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