Urgent: Tell the Senate to Act to Prevent Gun Violence

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Every day in the U.S. nearly 350 people still are shot, and almost 100 die in gun violence (34 from murder, 59 by suicide). That adds up to over 124,750 people shot and 35,000 killed by gunshot in the U.S. every year. Those numbers should be unacceptable to all.

As Christians we are called by scripture to transform a society marked by violence into one of peace. Make it clear to your elected officials that they must act NOW to pass more stringent legislation on firearm sales, background checks, and waiting periods.

The Senate is expected to vote next week on the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act” (HR 8) and the “Enhanced Background Checks Act” (HR 1446) which would strengthen background check procedures for those purchasing firearms. Both bills have already passed in the House.

Currently, 22% of all guns sold in the U.S. are purchased through unlicensed and private sellers without a background check. These bills would close that loophole, which currently allows people who are ill-advised or barred from buying and owning guns to go around the national background check system.

These bills would also increase the wait time for firearms purchase. Studies suggest that waiting period laws can reduce gun homicides by 17% and firearm suicide rates by up to 11%.1 The United Methodist Church calls on its congregations to advocate at the local and national level for universal background checks as part of our call to pursue “the reality of God’s dream of shalom” in Micah 4:1-4. (Book of Resolutions, 3428)

As a first step in addressing the scourge of gun violence, tell your senator – pass background checks now!

[1] Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin, “Handgun Waiting Periods Reduce Gun Deaths,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114, no. 46 (2017): 12162–12165