The journey to what the Children’s Defense Fund calls “common sense gun safety laws” will not be easy. We know that the debate will be contentious and divisive. But the difficulty of the passage should not be reason to retreat or take an easier way.
Friends the lives of our brothers and sisters in general and our children specifically are literally at stake.
As noted on the CDF’s site:
• Since the 113th Congress convened 1,253 children have been shot by guns.
• A child or teen dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes.
• More children and teens die from guns every three days than died in the Newtown massacre.
• The number of children under 5 killed by guns in 2010 was more than the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty that same year.
• Between 1979 and 2010, 119,079 children and teens died from guns. This is more deaths in 32 years than U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Korean, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.
If we do value the right of life then we must labor on, seeking laws and policies which protect the lives of all our citizens but especially our children. We need to put our fears of short term struggles aside in order to assure long term solutions.
The good news is that there are resources available to equip us for this journey. There are also opportunities to give voice to your concerns through letters, calls and other actions. You will find some below and we will be sharing more at MACUCC.org and elsewhere. We are also inviting anyone who wishes to be a part of a conference wide effort to contact me and let me know of your interest: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would conclude with the words of Mirian Wright Edelman. Her charge if far more eloquent than what I could put down.
“We can free our nation of this scourge of gun violence. No external enemy ever took the lives of so many children and adults. We can and must change this. I am confident that most Americans value children’s safety and right to live more than they value the right of anyone to have assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. If America can’t stand up for its children, it doesn’t stand for anything.”
Peter Wells is the Associate Conference Minister serving churches and clergy in the Central and Hampshire Assocations and the Coordinator of Mission and Justice programs.