Enough! Gun violence in America has gone on for far too long, too many have died, and far too little has been done. It is Time to Act!
Gun violence is a public health crisis at the epidemic level. This weekend, 11 people were killed, and 8 injured in two violent attacks.
On Saturday, May 14th, a white gunman opened fire in a supermarket located in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY. Following the shooting, the gunman’s manifesto, filled with anti-Black, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant language, circulated on the internet, leading to the identification of this horrific event as a racially motivated hate crime. The following day, Sunday, May 15th, a man opened fire in Geneva Presbyterian Church, a PC(USA) congregation located in Laguna Woods, CA. Members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church were gathered for lunch reception when the gunman opened fire on this group of worshippers. Our hearts lament for all the victims, and we pray for the families and communities. These acts of senseless violence and hatred must end!
These incidents add to the more than 201 mass shootings that have occurred in 2022. The United States is one of few countries to endure massive casualties and not respond with preventive legislation. After lethal shootings, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom passed laws to curb gun violence by banning automatic weapons and gun buy-back programs. Each country credited these laws with saving lives and the decline in gun deaths.
As people of faith, we must continue our fight to eliminate the scourge of gun violence from the face of the earth. Lives are being lost needlessly and access to guns is prevalent throughout the country. We must hold Congress accountable and demand that they pass legislation to address this crisis. After years of watching innocent people die as a result of these senseless acts of violence, elected officials must take action to prevent gun violence. Congress needs to hear from us! We will not accept gun violence as a part of everyday life in the United States.
Therefore, the Office of Public Witness reiterates the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s previous call for common-sense gun violence regulations. We call for legislation that will---
- Ban all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. These are weapons of war and have no place in the hands of common citizens.
- Require universal background checks when purchasing any firearm.
- Make gun trafficking a federal crime.
- Repeal the 2005 “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” that prohibits lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers claiming liability in gun deaths.
It is our prayer that Congress might take a courageous stand to eliminate the proliferation of weapons causing death and destruction. This is a matter of utmost importance for our nation’s well-being and our children’s emotional, mental, and physical health. Let us pray and act that gun violence may not only be reduced in America but brought to an end.
We must also recognize the racism that is deeply embedded in the fabric of our society and “stand against racism in all its myriad forms.” Racism is a sin against humanity. Our sacred text tells us that ALL humans are made in God’s image and likeness. As people of faith, we must honor the inherent value and dignity of all people and seek justice when that value and dignity is attacked.
The soul of America needs healing and repair with the spiritual foundation that connects us one to another, a belief in a God who created us to live as children of God. Isaiah 2:4 says “(God) shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” We pray for that day.
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