July 6, 2016
As leaders of faith communities from across the United States we are deeply concerned about the lack of progress by the United States Congress in addressing the epidemic of gun violence. As the days, months, and years go by without any action taken, more mass shootings occur and the needless loss of life continues. We are writing to demand that action be taken that prevents any further loss of life to gun violence. And we want that action to be effective. Effective legislation to prevent gun violence should include:
- Universal background checks on every gun purchase,
- A ban on all high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines. There is no legitimate self-defense or sporting purpose for these military-style, high-capacity weapons and magazines whose only purpose is to kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time.
Though we are a diverse coalition of denominations and faith-based organizations representing tens of millions of Americans, we are united by the call of our faiths to confront America’s gun violence epidemic and to rally support for policies that reduce death and injury from gunfire.
Virginia Tech, Tucson, Oak Creek, Aurora, Santa Clara, Fort Hood, Newtown, San Bernadino, Charleston, and now Orlando. The number of cities with mass shootings spreads across the states in our nation and fills our hearts with tremendous sorrow for the tragic and unnecessary loss of life, as well as anger that these tragedies continue without any Congressional leadership being taken. We cannot stand by silently while the Congress does nothing.
The families experiencing these unimaginable losses are in our congregations. We grieve with them and pray for healing for the constant wounds they continue to feel. But we also share their determination to do all within our power to ensure that these tragedies never happen again. No more time can be wasted. Gun violence is taking an unacceptable toll on our society, in mass killings and in the senseless deaths happening every day. It is long past time for action.
Public support for these measures is overwhelming. The time for merely offering thoughts and prayers without necessary action is over. We need you to take action. We look forward to working with you to enact these common-sense measures to reduce gun violence. Our prayers are with you, our support is behind you. It is time for you to lead.
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith Action Network – Washington State
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence
Islamic Society of North America
JPIC of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Priests of the Sacred Heart, US Province
Kentucky Council of Churches
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate-Justice & Peace Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches, USA
National Council of Churches, USA
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Provincial Council of the Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians).
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
The Xaverian Brothers
T'ruah; The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries.