The Justice & Witness Council has compiled the following resources with the help of our churches of the MACUCC, members and friends.
"The journey to what the Children’s Defense Fund calls “common sense gun safety laws” will not be easy. We know that the debate will be contentious and divisive. But the difficulty of the passage should not be reason to retreat or take an easier way.
Friends, the lives of our sisters and brothers in general and our children specifically are literally at stake. As noted on the CDF’s site:
If we do value the right of life then we must labor on, seeking laws and policies which protect the lives of all our citizens but especially our children. We need to put our fears of short-term struggles aside in order to assure long-term solutions.
The good news is that there are resources available to equip us for this journey. There are also opportunities to give voice to your concerns through letters, calls and other actions. You will find some below and we will be sharing more at MACUCC.org and elsewhere.
We are also inviting anyone who wishes to be a part of a Conference-wide effort, to contact Kelly Gallagher about your interest: email@example.com.
I would conclude with the words of Mirian Wright Edelman. Her charge if far more eloquent than what I could put down:
“We can free our nation of this scourge of gun violence. No external enemy ever took the lives of so many children and adults. We can and must change this. I am confident that most Americans value children’s safety and right to live more than they value the right of anyone to have assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. If America can’t stand up for its children, it doesn’t stand for anything.”
Read UCC's General Synod proclamations on gun control:
Children's Defense Fund's "Protect Children Not Guns 2013" is a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state data on gun violence in America. This report provides the latest statistics on firearm deaths by race, age and manner; highlights state gun violence trends and efforts to prevent child access to guns; dispels common myths about guns; and outlines progress at the federal and state levels since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Download "Protect Children Not Guns 2013" or order a hard copy here.
Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, released the statement below on the failure of the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to Senate Bill649, which would have helped keep children safe by keeping guns away from underage or dangerous persons:
"The failure of the background check plan in the Senate is a moral failure of great magnitude because of what it says of our values as a nation. Once again, the safety of our children has been put on the back burner in service to the gun lobby. Do we truly value guns more than the lives of our children?
Between 1963 and 2010, an estimated 166,500 children and teens died from guns on American soil, while 52,820 U.S. soldiers were killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined. I join the parents of the children who were killed in Newtown and the parents of all the children and teens killed by gun violence in saying enough. When will the number of children killed by guns in this country be enough to pass common sense gun safety laws?"
According to a new document issued by the Children's Defense Fund, a gun in the home increases the risk of homicide, suicide, and accidental death. Contrary to what many people believe, having a gun in your home doesn’t make you safer but instead endangers you and your loved ones.
Standing with the Clergy of Newtown: A Letter to the U.S. Senate from American Religious Leaders. Click here to learn more and sign the petition.
Slate's crowd-sourced data, compiled with GunDeaths, shows that at least 1,770 people in the U.S. have been killed in gun-related violence since the Newtown school shootings on Dec. 14, 2012 (about 8 weeks). Access more detailed info here.
The debate on gun control that is now taking place in America makes me wonder about the laws the Puritan founders of Massachusetts enacted regarding guns and gun safety. Were restrictions on weapons really looser in the earliest days? The Puritans were fully aware of the challenging environment in which they lived, so they embraced not only the right but also the necessity of bearing arms. The legislature voted on May 29, 1644, that "all inhabitants" (even including sailors) "are to have armes in their houses alwayes ready fixt for service."
But it turns out they were so serious about public safety they passed serious gun control legislation. Read more here.
At the January 30th Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the survivor of a gunshot to the head, gave us our marching orders. The United States stands alone in the world in our tolerance of gun violence but in the wake of the devastating Newtown murders, a powerful outcry of ordinary Americans across the country is saying no more.
Write or call your elected officials and tell them that it is time to take concrete steps to address gun violence.
"Gun violence in our country is an epidemic that needs to be stopped," said the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, president and general minister of the United Church of Christ. "The UCC and dozens of other faith communities are supporting the efforts of our lawmakers to help put an end to the senseless deaths of innocent victims."
"A child or teen dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes. Gun violence saturates our children’s lives. More children and teens die from guns every three days than died in the Newtown massacre. The number of children under 5 killed by guns in 2010 was more than the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty that same year.
"Join us in our campaign to stand up, speak out, and organize with urgency and persistence until the President, members of Congress, Governors and state legislators protect children instead of guns. Every child’s life is sacred and it is long past time that we pass common sense gun safety regulations to protect all our children."
"President Obama signed 23 executive orders for gun safety last week, and none of them would reduce the number of firearms Americans already own. That number is about 270 million, according to the international Small Arms Survey, which was done in 2007 but provides a comprehensive picture of civilian gun ownership rates around the world.
"With a current population around 315.2 million, the U.S. has about 86 guns for every 100 people — far more than any other nation. Yemen, the number two country, has 54.8 guns per 100 people. Israel, which is surrounded by neighbors bent on its destruction, has 7.3 and tight controls on assault weapons."