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A Message from Bishop Peggy Johnson concerning gun-related violence
13 February 2013
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The epidemic of gun-related violence that has swept the nation has come home to us. As you know, yesterday, February 11, a lone gunman shot and killed two women, one his former daughter-in-law, in the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington. He also shot and wounded two law enforcement officers. The latest reports say that the gunman then shot himself. It is only by the grace of our Lord that there were not more persons killed or wounded.
It is painfully obvious that we must stop this escalating trend of gun-related violence that has taken the lives of so many people, including young children. The General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church recently announced our support for A Comprehensive Plan That Reduces Gun Violence and Respects the 2nd Amendment Rights of Law-Abiding Americans. This document was produced by the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force of the United States House of Representatives. The key principles are (1) mandating universal background checks on every gun purchased, including those bought at gun shows or in private sales, (2) banning high-capacity magazines, and (3) implementing a rigorous ban on assault weapons.
On February 5, faith groups from across the United States mobilized over 7,000 calls to Congress, demonstrating the concern for reducing gun violence from persons of almost every religious tradition. Most of these groups, including The United Methodist Church, belong to Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. The participating groups are united by their own traditions that support human safety and wellness over violence.
In Delaware, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General have proposed reforms that would address the principles of the House Task Force. They are being supported by the new Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, which includes representatives of the faith communities. If you are interested in learning more about this group, please call Pastor Bob Hall at the Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families at 302-225-1040.
Please be in prayer for our nation as we struggle with this issue and look for ways to end the violence that is ever increasing.
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson