The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) welcomes the findings released February 7, 2013 by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Chaired by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., the task force's findings support Vice President Joe Biden's task force in proposing a strong plan to reduce gun violence in the United States.
GBCS urges Congress to work on this issue immediately so that no more lives are lost to such unnecessary tragedies.
"We believe Congress has a moral imperative to enact many of the life-saving measures proposed by the House task force so that we do not have any further tragedies like Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, or the numerous victims of gun violence even since the shooting in Newtown," said Jim Winkler, GBCS chief executive. "Three simple steps can go a long way towards reducing gun violence and keeping our children safe from harm.”
Winkler said to save lives and keep communities safe the first steps towards reform 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.
The release of the findings by the House task force is part of the growing momentum towards real and necessary reform that has been building since the tragedy last fall in Newtown, according to Winkler. Preceding the release of the House findings, President Obama and Vice President Biden have both spoken repeatedly in favor of needed reforms to keep communities safe.
GBCS is part of the national coalition "Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence." The coalition consists of more than 40 faith denominations and organizations united by their religious teachings to confront America’s gun violence epidemic. The coalition’s intent is to rally support for policies that save lives.
On Feb. 5, faith groups mobilized over 7,000 calls to Congress from people throughout the United States seeking reduced gun violence through such simple measures as universal background checks for every gun sale and bans on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.
Winkler, who chairs Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, said Congress would do well not to ignore this crescendo of concern and to act soon. “We will do all that we can to work with Congress towards genuine reforms to drastically reduce gun violence and save lives,” he said.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.