Faith communities band together to fight gun violence
Across the country, faith communities are joining gun safety groups December 14 through December 18 to call attention to the epidemic of gun violence.
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is a coalition of more than 50 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.” It is joining with the Newtown Foundation and other gun safety groups such as States United to Prevent Gun Violence to organize events around the country.
December 14 is the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six educators were shot and killed.
The five-day period is being called Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend. Churches, temples, and other houses of worship nationwide are planning events “to remember those who have lost their lives to gunfire, pray for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one, and to educate one another on proven strategies to reduce gun violence.” In 2015, 500 houses of worship in 46 states held events during the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend. The December Sabbath website offers suggestions for worship services, sermon topics, candlelight vigils, and other ideas, and tailors them to various faiths.
With the results of the November election, many gun safety groups are looking for other avenues to fight gun violence and other ways to advocate for gun safety. The Faiths United group hopes that the December Sabbath weekend gives people across the country a chance to band together to fight gun violence. The group still backs the common-sense gun safety measures supported by a majority of Americans:
- Requiring every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check.
- Getting military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines off the streets.
- Making gun trafficking a federal crime.
There will be a “National Vigil for All Gun Violence Victims” at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., on December 14 as well as local events around the country. Check this list to find an event near you.