Addressing gun violence – PC(USA) efforts

230 As on many issues, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a mixed record when it comes to working on gun violence. Good statements have been made; we have not always lived up to those statements, but some good work has also been done. Recent developments and resources include:

The 218th General Assembly (2008) approved a statement "On Addressing America's Tragedy of Gun Violence" [PDF] This statement called Presbyterians to "Pray for God’s comfort, courage, and peace for the eighty families who lose loved ones every day to
guns in America and for the 1,000 families who daily experience death by guns in the developing world."

The statement outlined ways for Presbyterians to work to reduce gun violence. This includes working to close the gun show loophole It called for the creation of a study for the church that "should articulate a Reformed Theology of proactive, constructive nonviolence way of life and tactical method for bringing God's justice and peace to our communities and around the world; assess the social and economic costs of gun violence; explore how gun violence fits into a larger national culture of violence, and identify
ways that the church can effectively address gun violence issues domestically and internationally, and to report these findings along with proposed action items to the 219th General Assembly (2010). Work on this study has begun.

Working with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Stony Point Center hosted the 2008 Peacemaking Colloquium "Gun Violence and Gospel Values" in September. Video clips from two of the speakers are available online. Julio Medina, the Executive Director of Exodus Transitional Community spoke about his experience with gun violence and the work his organization does in providing a comfortable bridge to help participants ease into their journey from prison to mainstream society. The Rev. Jim Atwood provided a theological reflection on gun violence

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship has assembled some information at a glance about gun violence. An article posted by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, notes that efforts to reduce gun violence will involve both education and advocacy as we work "for the blessed community which Jesus would have us build wherein people do not hurt or destroy one another."

Idp-new The International Day of Peace, observed each year on September 21, brings a global call for a day of ceasefire and nonviolence. It is a time to reflect on the benefits of peacefully resolving disputes. This year, consider that gun violence claims some 30,000 lives annually in the United States. What might it look like to observe a day of ceasefire in our country? How might we work to address the tragedy of gun violence? What will you do?

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