April 11, 2015 / 2013 / December / On One-Year Anniversary of the Sandy Hoo...

On One-Year Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, National Religious Leaders Demand Political Leaders Take Action to Prevent Gun Violence

submitted December 09, 2013 by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence Renews Call for Background Checks for All Gun Sales

Washington, DC — A year after the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, national religious leaders sent a letter today to Congress, calling for urgent action to respond to the gun violence crisis in our country.  The letter, signed by 54 national religious leaders** representing over 80 million Americans, includes an enormous breadth of faith traditions including United Methodists, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Sojourners, the Islamic Society of North America, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and dozens more.

“Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence strongly urges Congress to act today on reasonable measures to save lives,” said Very Rev. Dean Gary Hall, Chair of Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence and Dean of Washington National Cathedral. “Our organization brings together over 50 prominent national faith denominations and organizations committed to reducing gun violence.  America’s faith community firmly believes that background checks on all guns sales is a common-sense, proven measure that will help save lives.”

Vincent DeMarco, National Coordinator of Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence, went into further detail as to why background checks on all guns sales will have an immediate impact.  “Individuals can currently buy guns at gun shows or on the Internet without background checks. In states that require background checks on all sales, gun trafficking is 48 percent lower and the rate at which women are killed with a gun by an intimate partner is 38 percent lower. ”

“We need this policy nationwide, and you can see that the faith community – which represents tens of millions of members across the country – wants real policy change.”

The letter encourages Members of Congress to support the bipartisan background checks legislation that a majority of the Senate voted for this past April sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey that would have helped keep guns out of the wrong hands by extending background checks to cover private gun sales in commercial settings. Currently, corresponding legislation in the U.S. House, sponsored by Congressmen Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), has more than 185 co-sponsors and the letter encourages House members to join their colleagues’ leadership and sign on as co-sponsors.

Last March many of these same faith leaders joined together and spoke out against gun violence, demanding action from Congress.  You can see the video here:

**Episcopal representatives signing the letter:

  • Bishop Mark Beckwith of The Episcopal Diocese of Newark
  • Matthew Ellis of National Episcopal Health Ministries
  • Dean Gary Hall of Washington National Cathedral
  • The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings - President of the House of Deputies

About Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence

On Martin Luther King Day, January 17, 2011, 24 national faith groups announced the formation of “Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence,” a diverse coalition of denominations and faith-based organizations 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.  Three years later, we have grown to over 50 groups representing tens of millions of Americans in faith communities across the nation – and our call to confront this epidemic has grown ever more urgent and imperative.  Learn more at: www.faithsagainstgunviolence.org.