Committee 09 on Social Justice Issues voted overwhelmingly to bring three related overtures regarding gun violence to the assembly in one combined overture.
The amended overture includes initial overture 09-01 On Taking Meaningful Action to Reduce Gun Violence—From the Presbytery of National Capital and 09-07 On Gun Violence Prevention—From the Presbytery of Hudson River. Commissioners’ Resolution 09-21 On Advocating Regulation of Ammunition was also included with what in committee became the new Overture 09-07 that encompasses all three.
The overture that will be brought to the Assembly urges that the church take responsibility to build public awareness of gun violence and the epidemic of preventable gun-related deaths. Included in the overture is a commitment to work with federal, state and local legislators to pass laws that will require licensing, registration and waiting periods to allow comprehensive background checks, close the ‘gun show loophole,’ ban semi-automatic assault weapons, and raise the age for handgun ownership to the age of twenty-one.
Additionally, the overture encourages synods, presbyteries and seminaries to develop educational programs that include the theological and pastoral care issues raised by murder, suicide, and domestic violence and wounding by gun violence.
“We have studied about it and prayed about it – it is time to do that out loud with our words and action,” urged Teaching Elder Alex Wirth.
Erin Dunigan is a freelance writer, photographer, and pastor who lives in a small coastal community in Baja California, Mexico when she is not following her wanderlust out into the world.