The Conversation on Gun Violence

A Message on Gun Violence

From Washington National Cathedral Dean Gary Hall

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On Friday, December 14, 28 people, including 20 children, died due to gun violence in the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Two days later, I preached from the Cathedral’s Canterbury Pulpit about how people of faith should respond to this violence. Here is an excerpt of my sermon that day:

Our political leaders need to know that there is a group of people in America who will serve as a counterweight to the gun lobby, who will stand together with our leaders and support them as they act to take assault weapons off the streets.
“Washington National Cathedral pledges to pray for the victims, their families, the assailant, and the survivors. And we pledge to work with our national leaders to enact more effective gun control measures. To my way of thinking, the best way for us to mourn the Sandy Hook shooting is to mobilize the faith community for gun control. Today we grieve, but soon we act.
As people of faith we can no longer tolerate the epidemic of gun violence in America. If we are truly America’s “National” Cathedral, as we say we are, then we must become the focal point of faithful advocacy of gun control, calling our leaders to courageous action and supporting them as they take it.

Gun violence in America takes lives not only in dramatic events like Newtown but also on a daily basis in our homes, workplaces, and city streets. There is an emerging moral consensus that we must take specific action to curb the killing. I am working with other religious leaders to focus attention on four particular initiatives:

1. A clear ban on all assault weapons and large rounds of ammunition
2. Tighter controls on all gun sales
3. Mental health care reform, including improved care for our most vulnerable citizens
4. A critical look at our culture’s glorification of violence.

Please join me, our bishop the Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde and a growing number of Americans as we act together to make our streets and schoolrooms safer for all. To contact your elected officials, click here »

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