MILLER: Washington National Cathedral used to attack NRA, destroy illegal guns

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The Washington National Cathedral, a symbol of unity among faithful Americans, was the site of a politically divisive event promoting gun control on Sunday.

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, and the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the cathedral, exited the church service to participate in a event based on a theme of “beating swords into plowshares.”


SEE ALSO: MILLER: D.C. police help get firearms to National Cathedral for event to promote gun control


The gun-control leaders donned protective eye gear and took up hammers to bang on the gun parts that blacksmiths had turned red from heat.

Before the dramatic performance in Northwest Washington, I interviewed Mrs. Edelman about her goals.

“This is a public health crisis,” the longtime liberal activist said. “The NRA has blocked gun violence research, so most parents don’t know that having a gun in the home puts themselves and their children in more danger.”

These garden tools were made out of illegal guns during an event at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, in Washington.

Enlarge Photo

These garden tools were made out of illegal guns during an event ... more >

“The NRA and the gun manufacturers are selling guns to people by making them believe it will make them safer!” she railed. “The gun manufacturers are even marketing guns for 4- and 5-year-olds.”

I asked where she saw those advertisements for guns for preschool children. Mrs. Edelman paused and then told me to call Josh Sugarman, a radical anti-gun proponent who founded the Violence Policy Center.

Mrs. Edelman seemed particularly animated when talking about the more than 5 million members of the National Rifle Association.


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“We can beat the NRA,” she said. “Most members of the NRA support background checks and a reasonable ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.”

I asked Mrs. Edelman if she was aware that gun violence had decreased steadily in the past 20 years.

She pointed at me and said, “A child is shot and killed every three hours in this country!”

According to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 380 children age 14 and under were killed by firearms in 2010, and 1,337 among those age 15 to 17.

Mr. Hall, wearing his clerical collar, echoed Mrs. Edelman’s words in saying the church’s events were intended to “put a spotlight on gun violence as a major public health crisis.”

I asked the clergyman if he was aware that gun ownership has gone up in this country but that gun crime has gone down.

“Those of us who are opposed to gun violence need to work with gun owners to lessen gun deaths,” he said.

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