Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in Response to Rittenhouse Trial

The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa continue to be deeply saddened by factors related to the recent Rittenhouse trial. Our congregation was founded in Wisconsin 175 years ago and our Sisters have served in Kenosha since 1869. We have Sister members who joined us from this area and have a long relationship with that community. Therefore, we join with others to pray for healing and peace in the Kenosha community during these difficult days.

We are not presuming to offer a position on the verdict in this trial. We are, however, concerned that it is legal in Wisconsin for an underage individual to carry an assault-style rifle into a public demonstration. This has major ramifications on our rights to peaceably assemble, exercise free speech, and protest for redress of grievances. 

What happened in Kenosha is indicative of what is happening in our society today. Our polarization has exacerbated an environment of fear and fears have led to violence and vigilantism. Gun purchases are at record levels. Firearm-related homicides have spiked in cities throughout the country.

We, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, call for responsible gun ownership in the U.S. Our public statement on this matter urges stricter licensing, educational requirements, and a national background check for gun ownership. We believe this will help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from guns and secure the right to personal safety. 

We believe that laws assuring responsible gun ownership have not been adopted and enforced in our country. We urge our elected officials in Wisconsin to adopt such legislation before another situation like Kenosha erupts. 

(Adopted by Leadership Council of Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Nov. 29, 2021)