How Many More Tragic Acts of Gun Violence Will It Take?
On October 27 we watched another horrendous mass shooting take place, as 11 people were slain and several others were injured in a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. This anti-Semitic act of violence has no place in our communities or country. We stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors and friends against this hatred.
Yet again, we find ourselves grieving with those who have lost loved ones. Yet again, we are sending our thoughts and prayers to those whose family member’s lives have been tragically cut short. Yet again, we find ourselves asking questions about how such an attack happened.
We cannot continue to perpetuate this hatred and violence in our communities. Our faith calls us to see the light of God in each person, regardless of who they are or where they come from. We pray with our Jewish neighbors and call upon each other to Love Thy Neighbor, no exceptions.
Acts of violence like what took place in Pittsburgh are not normal, and we should not accept them as normal. We should not have to live in a world where we question if it’s safe to attend everyday events like praying at our congregation or attending a concert or going to school. Gruesome events like these have been increasing with alarming frequency, and easy access to guns will only make them even more common place.
How many more tragic acts of violence will it take before Congress acts? How many more candlelight vigils must we hold? How many more innocent lives must be lost before Congress enacts safeguards that help prevent senseless acts of violence from taking place?
Preventing gun violence isn’t about partisanship. It’s about human decency. Congress has a moral obligation to act, and it must take a more involved role in making it harder for dangerous people to access guns. Thoughts and prayers will not save lives. Only meaningful action will.
Here are some things Congress can do
- Reintroduce the assault weapons ban
- Military-style weapons belong on the battlefield, not in our communities.
- Implement universal background checks
- An estimated 22% of gun transfers in the U.S. take place without a background check. Universal background checks would prevent people from getting guns who shouldn’t have them and help reduce the amount of guns and gun violence in our communities.
- Fund CDC research on gun violence
- Gun violence is a public health issue, and we should be able to research it just like the CDC would any other public health epidemic facing our country
While these measures will help curb gun violence, this is about more than that. This is about how we live together in our communities and how we build bridges across lines of difference. If we only focus on what divides us instead of what unites us, it is easy to sow the seeds of hatred. It’s important for us to see the light within each person, and now more than ever we must engage with those who are different than us in order to build a safe and supportive community.
Considering Congress’s historic lack of action on gun violence, it can be discouraging to push for change and urge Congress to implement simple policies. However, thanks to a surge in advocacy across the country, we’ve seen gun violence prevention become an increasingly important issue. We must continue this momentum and push for change. Urge your members of Congress to address gun violence.