1. Background

Principles for Gun Violence Prevention


Gun violence in the U.S. requires urgent, dramatic action. The United States’ gun violence rates stand alone among other wealthy nations, with nearly 100 people dying from guns every single day.

Gun violence in the U.S. is so common that it rarely makes the news. As a nation, we have seemingly accepted that ordinary activities – going to a concert, a nightclub, a school – carry the risk of violent death.

But this level of gun violence is not inevitable. Policymakers' failure to pass common sense, responsible legislation contributes to appalling rates of gun violence in the United States.

Policymakers 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:

The gun violence epidemic is both a public health crisis and a troubling reflection on our country’s spiritual state.

  • 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 to reduce deaths from guns, 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.