Next week, the United States Senate is expected to take up legislation intended to curb gun violence. Given recent mass atrocities at the hands of gunmen along with the daily loss of life by those who turn to guns as a surrogate for civil disagreement, progress on the issue should be inevitable. But it’s not.
Lobbying by groups like the NRA has been relentless and some politicians are wavering, either out of genuine conviction or fears about reelection. Faiths Against Gun Violence continues to urge people of faith to contact their elected officials on the issue. Let them know that responsible legislation to control access to guns, including a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, is a priority.
In addition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan effort of more than 900 U.S. mayors, has launched a nationwide series of ads encouraging citizens to contact Senators, particularly by phone, who are considered persuadable on the issue and to make their voices heard in support of gun legislation. North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan is one of those the group is urging be contacted. Senator Hagan’s office has recently indicated her support for expanded background checks and increased penalties for gun trafficking but not for renewing the 1994 assault weapon ban.
The North Carolina Council of Churches has long supported efforts to reduce gun violence. In addition, recent polling shows widespread support for common sense measures that would not unreasonably infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
In these days after we have celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us remember that we are called to the work of peace and compassion. More weapons and more powerful weapons do not make us more peaceful and compassionate nor do they make us more safe.
–Aleta Payne, Development and Communications