The International Day of Peace and gun violence

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?

Here are some ideas for ways to address gun violence on that day and on all days. They come from statements of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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.

Acknowledge that the widely divergent and frequently passionate positions held by members of the church and in the society at large should be taken respectfully into account.

Organize interfaith groups that will visit sites where there have been shootings and/or killings and lead brief worship services to demonstrate the concerns and hopes of the faith community in pursuing peace in our neighborhoods.

Work toward removing handguns and assault weapons from our homes and our communities.

Seek ways to develop community strategies and create sanctuaries of safety for our children.

Recognize that legislation and regulatory action alone will never fully resolve the problem of crime and violence committed with guns, although responsible gun regulations and safety, such as educating the public to keep their guns locked away and out of the reach of children, can help to reduce the incidence of unintentional and accidental deaths and injuries by and economic conditions that create a climate in which the misuse of guns leads to ever-increasing death and injuries be addressed.

Recognize that the graphic depiction and glorification of violence by the entertainment industry, which greatly influences our society, must also be addressed at all levels.

Avoid watching films and television programming that contains gun violence.

Join in dialogue with the National Rifle Association and other similar groups in the effort to establish responsible gun regulations and to build a safer and less violent society.

Become involved in programs, activities, and training that discourage the misuse of firearms, teaches firearm safety, and hold persons who use firearms responsible and accountable for their actions.

Encourage gun clubs and the National Rifle Association to expand their educational programs on gun safety.

Advocate for public policies in accord with statements of the General Assembly. The 218th General Assembly (2008) called Presbyterians to work to close the gun show loophole.

Learn how to talk to legislators about issues relating to gun violence.

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