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The PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness asks Presbyterians to take action to end gun violence

The US has seen 130 mass shootings during the first three months of 2023

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Office of Public Witness is asking Presbyterians to urge members of Congress to take action against gun violence. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Public Witness)

LOUISVILLE — The Office of Public Witness is asking Presbyterians to demand that members of Congress act immediately to reduce gun violence in the United States, which has seen 130 mass shootings since Jan. 1.

The Action Alert calls it “unthinkable” that six children of God were murdered in Nashville Monday at the Covenant School at Covenant Presbyterian Church, a church affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America. “Just last month, three students were killed at Michigan State University and five others were wounded,” the Action Alert says. “Gun violence is a preventable public health epidemic affecting communities all over the U.S.”

People of faith “must continue to go to God praying for courage and seeking solidarity with impacted communities,” the Action Alert states. “We must demonstrate a sense of righteous anger while demonstrating a commitment to do something to bring it to an end.”

There have been gains realized in the effort to end gun violence, the Action Alert reports. In the past two years, states have passed significant legislation from banning assault weapons to strengthening regulations and background checks. Laws have strengthened background checks and raised the minimum age to purchase weapons. On June 25, 2022, following the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, President Joe Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years.

OPW asks Presbyterians to urge members of Congress to:

  • Ban automatic weapons.
  • Pass House legislation (R. 8 and H.R. 1446) to close loopholes in background checks and urge its passage in the Senate.
  • Repeal S.397, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prohibits civil liability lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others.
  • Promote the passage of Red Flag laws to confiscate guns from potentially dangerous individuals.
  • Visit families in their district whose loved ones have died from gun violence to hear their pleas for action.

Following the shooting in Nashville this week, Senate Chaplain Barry Black offered a moving prayer for lawmakers to take action against gun violence, which can be heard here. Black’s prayer, offered Tuesday, included these words: “Lord, when babies die at a church school it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers. Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’”

Click here for a shareable link to the Action Alert.

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