Find resources for responding to gun violence
Prepare for your congregation's response to the recent shootings. Visit the PC(USA)'s collection of resources to find hymns, a policy statement, curriculum, worship resources, guidelines to help families interpret the events for children, and more. Download resources
Read the President's plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence.
Read a message about the Sandy Hook School tragedy from Dana Lindsley, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Southern New England.
Download a report to see how Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been responding to shootings since the late 1990's.
Learn more about the 2012 PC(USA) documentary TRIGGER: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence.
What else can your congregation do?
- Hold a prayer vigil for your congregation. If you have a youth group, be sure to include young people in the planning and leadership of the vigil.
- Organize an ecumenical prayer service in your community.
- Create opportunities for people, especially young people and parents, to talk about the shooting.
- During worship, include prayers for the victims, survivors, families, emergency response personnel and those who will minister to the community in the aftermath of the violence.
- Remember in your prayers the communities impacted by previous shootings. The recent tragedy may evoke painful reminders and flashbacks of the violence they experienced.
- Work with your local school officials, encouraging them to implement violence prevention programs.
- Organize a meeting with the ministerial alliance, ecumenical and interfaith associations and local human service agencies to develop a preparedness response/plan should your community be directly affected by such a tragedy.
- Contact your representatives in the U.S. Congress and ask that they support:
a. universal background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchases.
b. a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, armor piercing handgun ammunition and .50 caliber sniper rifles
- Identify the organizations in your community engaged in gun violence prevention and get involved.
- Attend a peaceful demonstration or public prayer service to end gun violence.
- Contact your mayor and city council members and demand that steps be taken in your community to prevent gun violence.
- Help close the gun show loophole that allows purchases with NO BACKGROUND CHECKS.
- Schedule a screening of Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence for your group or organization. Visit the Trigger website at http://www.pcusa.org/trigger to order materials and get suggestions on hosting a screening.
- Join or form a local chapter of Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based movement to end gun violence. Visit http://www.heedinggodscall.org/ for more information.
- Ask the leaders of your worshipping community to address gun violence in worship services (with periodic preaching, liturgies and prayers) and education classes that can be found on this page.
- Learn about your state’s concealed carry laws (that may allow guns to be carried openly, including into houses of worship). Encourage your places of work and worship to prominently display signs that prohibit carrying guns onto their property.
- Encourage those you know (citizens, hunters and law enforcement officials) who regularly handle weapons properly to be wise examples in reducing risks and teaching how to prevent the misuse of deadly force.
All suggestions are based upon the recommendations approved by the 219th General Assembly (2010) in Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call. PDS #24-0452-11-002
Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call
This report, approved by the 219th General Assembly (2010), challenges our society's fatalism and numbness in accepting the highest gun death rates in the world, reviews past church positions and proposes a new "spiritual awakening" approach: a church-related, community-based strategy inspired by “Heeding God’s Call” in Philadelphia, with similar groups in Richmond, Virginia and central New Jersey. The report looks at our culture of violence-acceptance, with its undercurrents of fear and desperation.
Find out how you can respond to gun violence
Gun Violence Prevention
Gun violence impacts most if not all of our communities. Many of our worshiping communities are in or near neighborhoods of increasing violence. Many Presbyterians know persons who have been victims of gun-related crime or violence. The 219th General Assembly in 2010 approved the resolution “Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call,” and that’s just what Presbyterians have been doing since then. In the past 2 years a movement has been building to not only awaken our members and worshiping communities to the faith dimensions of this on-going tragedy, but also to assist them in initiatives to more effectively address the problem of gun violence.
TRIGGER: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence
TRIGGER: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence shares the story of how gun violence impacts individuals and communities and examines the "ripple effect" that one shooting has on a survivor, a family, a community and a society