This coming week, our nation will pause twice to remember a pair of tragic anniversaries. On June 12, we observe the one-year commemoration of the massacre in Orlando, Florida, during which more than 100 people were killed or seriously wounded. Five days later, on June 17, we will recall another horrific hate crime: the mass slaying of nine members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
As we remember these tragedies that shook our nation, and which caused intense soul-searching in many communities, we are compelled to name the role that access to guns has played in these and other violent incidents. Joining together with other members of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, we at the Fellowship of Reconciliation recommit to raising the moral voice to prevent future tragedies.
We likewise express our concern and despair at the unwillingness of our elected representatives to take action for common-sense gun legislation. This is a challenge at local, state, and federal levels. In the context of the current Congress, we strongly oppose efforts to allow “concealed carry reciprocity” laws, such as H.R. 38 in the House of Representatives. We also call on legislators to work for universal background checks for firearms purchases, a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and an end to the freeze on gun violence research (such as would be conducted through the Centers for Disease Control).