Take Action: United Methodist Call to End Gun Violence
“Blessed are the peacemakers”. – Jesus, Matthew 5:9
“For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not life up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid” – Micah 4:2-4
“The stunning imagery of Micah’s dream is the transformation of weapons into instruments of harvesting food that occurs after the judgements are handed down to the nations. The transformation is not complete until the nations participate in their own transformation. The work that went into creating the weapons will be matched by the human effort it will take to transform those weapons into peaceful instruments.” – Resolution #3428, The 2016 United Methodist Book of Resolutions
Micah’s prophetic dream calls for a world in which peace and security are not dependent on weapons for self-protection. It calls for a cultural transformation.
Gun violence has become a global health and safety emergency. Two thousand people are injured and more than five hundred people die every day because of gun violence. In addition to physical injuries, many more people are traumatized by continued exposure to deadly violence in our world. Firearms are the principal mechanism of intimate partner killings and intimidation in countries with guns in the home. Armed violence contributes to crime, human trafficking, drug trafficking, gender-based violence, racial and ethnic conflicts, systemic economic inequalities, persistent unemployment, and human rights abuses.
The United States has a particular obligation to work to end gun violence. Every day in the United States an average of 350 people are shot and over one hundred die in gun violence. U.S. citizens are 2.5 times more likely to die of gun violence than any other highly-resourced country. More than half of these deaths are from suicide by firearm. Many of the guns used in crimes around the world are manufactured in the United States. At least 98 percent of the guns used in crimes in Canada, 70 used in crimes in Mexico, and approximately 50 percent used in crimes in Costa Rica, Belize, and El Salvador originated in the United States.
Our faith compels us to protect the sanctity of human life. We are called to reject a culture of fear and self-protection that fuels a cycle of violence.
Resolution #3428, The 2016 United Methodist Book of Resolutions calls on United Methodists to End Gun Violence by advocating at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence, including:
- Universal background checks on all gun purchases
- Ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty
- Ensuring all guns are sold through licensed gun retailers
- Prohibiting all individuals under restraining order due to threat of violence from purchasing a gun
- Prohibiting persons with serious mental illness, who pose a danger to themselves and their communities, from purchasing a gun
- Establishing a minimum age of 21 years for gun purchase or possession
- Banning large-capacity ammunition magazines and weapons designed to fire multiple rounds each time the trigger is pulled
United Methodists must regularly remind their elected officials how their faith informs their understanding of this issue. Write to your local and national representatives today.