A Call To Address Gun Violence

A Call to Address Gun Violence

While we are painfully aware that more than 100 Americans die each day from guns, the recent spate of mass shootings in this country has again heightened our sense of urgency to take action to stem the tide of gun deaths.  As an initial response in 2019, First Presbyterian Church Ann Arbor produced the following statement to serve as a guide for our congregation to address this societal scourge with prayer and potential action.  

Please read the statement below and consider how you might help in this cause.

First Presbyterian Ann Arbor Commitment to Reduce Gun Violence

We, as members of First Presbyterian Church, in an effort to model the love and the care of Jesus Christ in the world, commit ourselves to work actively to increase the respect and sanctity for life in our community and across our nation.  We hear Jesus’s call to us to be peacemakers and lift up this special concern as we pray, worship, study and take action together in the world to reduce gun violence.

We believe we should love our enemies and follow the commandment, “Thou shall not kill.”  We will pursue peace through non-violence. We are called to love and bear one another’s burdens without fear, without judgment, without resentment, without enabling, without condemnation and without guilt.  We are called to generously share God’s grace with all people.

We agree that as Christians, we will work to diminish fear and violence.  We will work to increase our love and safety in a Christian community that allows for differences and opinions.  We are not of one mind about the appropriateness of owning or carrying handguns for personal safety.  We acknowledge that this discussion is not about guns used for hunting or shooting sports.

As a Christian community, we commit to supporting our neighbors and caring for one another.  We commit to welcoming, protecting, and educating our congregation and community.  We commit to providing a safe place of worship.  We commit to continual prayer for an end to gun violence.

We commit to providing a safe place of worship
We commit to educating our congregation and community
We commit to working in partnership for action and advocacy
We commit to continual prayer for an end to gun violence

Link to PCUSA Resolution-Gun Violence-Gospel Values, Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call:

https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/acswp/pdf/gun-violence-policy.pdf

Please consider using the following letter to communicate with your senators to advocate for legislative proposals to address the gun violence crisis.  Two pending bills, H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Backgrounds Check Act of 2021, and H.R. 1446, The Enhanced Backgrounds Check of 2021, are awaiting Senate discussion.  Please consider adding your support to these efforts by sending your letter now.

Send your U.S. senators a message:  Take action on background checks >>

Open each link, complete the demographic information and copy/ paste the text of the letter as your message.

Debbie Stabenow       https://www.stabenow.senate.gov/contact

Gary Peters       https://www.peters.senate.gov/contact/email-gary

Dear Senator,

As your constituent, I urge you to take action on background checks to save lives and protect communities from gun violence. Background checks on gun sales work and they stop sales to prohibited people every day.

Since 1994, over 3.5 million sales have been blocked to violent criminals and other prohibited people because of a background check. However, federal law requires a background check on a prospective gun buyer only when a seller is a licensed gun dealer, leaving all other sales—such as gun sales between strangers negotiated over the internet or at a gun show—unregulated and with no background check required. That is why Congress must take action on background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. This loophole in our background check law weakens gun possession laws, enabling criminals to get armed with no questions asked, and making it difficult to enforce the law and protect communities from gun violence.

Background checks are the foundation of any effective effort to reduce gun violence in this country, and these laws enjoy broad public approval, with poll after poll demonstrating overwhelming support. In fact, 93% of American voters support requiring background checks on all gun sales, including 89% of Republicans and 87% of gun owners.

It has been 25 years since our federal government last enacted a gun safety law: that's 25 years of families being devastated as their loved ones were killed or wounded, and 25 years of survivors and activists demanding change. I urge you to take action on background checks.

For more information on how you can get involved, please email the Social Justice Action Group at sjag@firstpresbyterian.org