People of Faith Against Gun Violence

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Broadview Baptist Church and other religious communities of many faiths across this country grieve in the wake of yet another mass shooting. The early morning of Sunday June 12 witnessed the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history at Pulse LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. Forty-nine victims were killed, almost all of them youth in their twenties and almost all of them youth of color.

The Orlando tragedy unfortunately does not stand alone in our nation’s history. During the first half of 2016 calendar year alone, there have been 136 mass shootings, where 4 or more people are killed, in our country. There are more mass shootings in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. The U.S. accounts for nearly a third of the mass shootings worldwide; that is NOT a record we want to hold.

As people of faith, we follow a God of love, not a God of hate, and are called to live in ways of love in the world, rejecting violence and hatred of all kinds. As people of good conscious, we are called to be agents of change in the world, protecting those who are vulnerable and working to create a nation in which all people might live in safety and security, freely living out their God-given identities.

In the week and a half after the massacre in Orlando, the U.S. Senate has voted down every proposed amendment to limit access to guns.

Until June 22, there was no sound from the U.S. House of Representative about legislation to prevent gun violence. Then, shortly before noon on this Wednesday, Civil Rights leader John Lewis, Representative from Georgia, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., rose to speak on the floor. Watch his remarks here.

Rep. Lewis spoke:

“Sometime you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometime you have to make a way out of no way. We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet… The soul of this nation cries out for a vote. …Now is the time to find way to dramatize it, to make it real. We have to occupy the floor of the House until there is action.” Rep. Lewis than began a sit-in on the House floor, tweeting “My colleagues & I have had enough. We are sitting-in on the House Floor until we get a vote to address gun violence.”

Other U.S. House of Representatives members are sitting and standing and speaking shoulder-to-shoulder with Rep. Lewis to call for gun control legislation in the House of Representatives. As of 12:17pm on June 22, the cameras and microphones in the House chamber were shut off, but members are makeshift streaming and tweeting video and photos.

 

3 Things You Can Do:

Call Your Representative 

Calling your representatives makes a difference. At many congressional offices, the staff prepares a daily report, tracking the phone calls, emails, letters and faxes, tracking where people fall on issues.

 If you live in Southern Maryland, your Congressional Representative is:

Steny Hoyer, U.S. Representative for the 5th Congressional district of Maryland, (202) 224-3121

You can look up your Congressional Representative by clicking here.

 

If you live in Maryland, these are your Senators:

Benjamin Cardin, Maryland Senator, (202) 224-4524

Barbara Mikulski, Maryland Senator, (202) 224-4654

If you don’t live in Maryland, you can look up your Senators by clicking here.

You can learn about how your Senator voted on background checks in 2015 here, and if they’ve donated to the NRA here.

 

Here’s What To Say

Sometimes it helps to have some words to begin with. Make this message your own, and if you have a personal story, share it briefly, but here’s a place to start.

“Hi. My name is ____________ and I’m a resident of ____________ and one of your constituents. I am calling to urge Senator/Congressperson _____________ to support laws that limit civilian access to firearms in our nation.

I am aware of the filibuster in the Senate last week and the sit-in in the House of Representatives this week, each of which called for Congress to pass laws that will disarm hatred and keep dangerous people from buying guns.   This is a critical and urgent moment in our nation’s history.

During this calendar year there have been 136 mass shootings in our country, the most of any country in the world. Easy access to military grade weapons means that hateful acts have a terrible toll.

As a person of faith, I believe that easy access to lethal weapons puts our citizens at risk and creates a culture that idolizes violence. I am calling on Senator/Congressperson __________ to ensure that background checks be conducted on all private sales of firearms, to close the loopholes in our background check laws, and to renew the federal Assault Weapons Ban. Gun control measures are supported by over 90% of Americans. Thank you so much for your time.

 

Send a Letter 

Please also adapt this sample letter and mail it off ASAP!

 

Tweet

Please also tweet the House of Representative Members who are holding the floor in a sit-in to end gun violence. Hearing support from citizens encourages them to keep working hard.  The hashtags are: #holdthefloor#goodtrouble #Nobillnobreak 

The handles for Rep. John Lewis and the House Democrats are: @repjohnlewis @housedemocrats

You can find the twitter handle for your House Representative member at this link.

 

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