Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence: A Letter to Congress

Jan 19, 2011

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Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence

United Methodist Building
100 Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Washington, DC

Dear Member of Congress:

Welcome to the 112th Congress. 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 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.

In light of the tragedy in Tucson, our coalition has officially endorsed H.R. 308 by Representative Carolyn McCarthy, a bill that would ban large capacity ammunition magazines. The shooter in Tucson was able to fire 32 bullets in a matter of seconds and was only subdued when he had to stop to reload. There is no legitimate self-defense or sporting purpose for these large capacity magazines. They are, however, the choice of people who want to shoot and kill a large amount of people quickly. We urge you to support this legislation. Representative McCarthy’s legislation is the first bill Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence has endorsed.

Gun violence is taking a huge toll on our society and the easy accessibility of large capacity ammunition magazines causes more people to be killed or injured. While we continue to pray for the families and friends of those who died and for the recovery of those injured, we must also support our prayers with action. We should not allow this kind of firepower in our society.

Large capacity ammunition magazines were used at Columbine to kill 13, at Virginia Tech to kill 32, at Fort Hood to kill 13, and in Tucson to kill 6 and wound another 13. The magazines can hold 30, 50, or even 100 rounds, enabling shooters to injure or kill many people in seconds before needing to reload.

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence member organizations, representing millions of people across the country, will call upon their local congregations in every state to rally support for Representative McCarthy’s legislation, and will reach out to other faith organizations to join the effort to help pass the bill.

The number of people and families affected by gun-related violence each year is staggering. We were all reminded of this sad truth with the shooting in Tucson, AZ that saw six people killed and 13 injured, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

We look forward to working with you to enact common-sense measures to reduce gun violence. Should you or your staff have questions or need additional information, please feel free to go to our website at www.bradycenter.org/faith or contact me by email at JWinkler@UMC-GBCS.ORG or by phone at (202) 550-9118.

Sincerely,

James Winkler Chair, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church

Jordan Blevins, Advocacy Officer and Ecumenical Peace Coordinator Church of the Brethren and National Council of Churches

Taquiena Boston Taquiena Boston, Acting Witness Ministries Director, Multicultural Growth & Witness Unitarian Universalist Association

Lawrence Couch, Lobbyist The National Advocacy Center Sisters of the Good Shepherd

DeWayne Davis, Domestic Policy Analyst The Episcopal Church

Rabbi Gilah Dror, President Rabbinical Assembly

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director, Social Action Commission African Methodist Episcopal Church

Kaye Edwards, Director of Family and Children’s Ministries, DHM Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada

Matthew Ellis, Executive Director National Episcopal Health Ministries

Elizabeth Enloe, Regional Director American Friends Service Committee

Marlene Feagan, President Health Ministries Association

Ruth Flower, Legislative Director Friends Committee on National Legislation

Reverend Sala Nolan Gonzales, Minister for Criminal Justice and Human Rights United Church of Christ – Justice and Witness Covenanted Ministry

Evelyn Hanneman, Operations Coordinator Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America

Reverend J. Herbert Nelson, II, Director for Public Witness Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness

Reverend Dr. Deborah L. Patterson, Executive Director International Parish Nurse Resource Center

Dr. Walter L. Parrish, II, Executive Minister American Baptist Churches of the South

Fred Rotondaro, Chairman of the Board Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Djamillah Samad, National Executive Church Women United, Inc.

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director Mennonite Central Committee, Washington Office

Dr. Tarunjit Singh, Secretary General World Sikh Council – American Region

NaKeisha Sylver-Blount, Director of Washington Office National Council of Churches in Christ

Julie Taylor, Chair, Children, Youth and Families United Methodist Church – United Methodist Women

Reverend Gerald Lamont Thomas, Ph.D., Chair, Social Action Public Policy Ministry Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rabbi Steven Wernick, Executive Vice President and CEO United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Director of Congregational Services, Outreach and Tikkun Olam Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

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