Gun violence in the United States is so common that it rarely makes the news. As a nation, we have seemingly accepted that ordinary activities – going to a house of worship, a nightclub, a school – carry the risk of violent death.
But our current levels of gun violence are not inevitable. Policymakers’ failure to pass common sense, responsible legislation contributes to appalling rates of gun violence in the United States.
Lawmakers must take every available step to reduce harm and loss of life. Easy access to guns will continue to make it horrifyingly easy to escalate fear, hatred, and rage into slaughter.
We support efforts to reduce gun violence by limiting gun ownership, possession, and use. In particular, a comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy will:
- Address the many forms of gun violence, including mass shootings, accidental shootings, police shootings, domestic and intimate partner violence, and suicide, through context-sensitive approaches
- Advance evidence-based gun violence prevention
- Preserve civil liberties and anti-discrimination protections
- Prioritize systemic changes over individual punishment
- Limit access to equipment that makes mass shootings deadlier
- Implement safety checks for all gun buyers
- Promote and strengthen community engagement by implementing community-based violence intervention and prevention programs
The gun violence epidemic is both a public health crisis and a troubling reflection on our country’s spiritual state. As we seek policy solutions, we must also look critically at the culture that enables so many people to kill each other with guns. As Quakers, we believe that there is that of God in every person and that all creation has worth and dignity. We call on Congress to act immediately to protect each sacred life.
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