Monday, June 5, 2017

June is Gun Violence Prevention Month

Violence is such huge part of our world right now that one can rarely listen to the news on radio or TV without learning of a new incident of horrific violence. We are still reeling from the recent terrorist bombings and mass stabbings in England, and attacks on other innocent people in our own country.

Gun violence is particularly prevalent in our country. I believe it is important for our churches to teach about this epidemic and promote healthy ways of preventing senseless harm.

The 2016 United Methodist Book of Resolutions encourages our churches to make “preventing gun violence a regular part of our conversations and prayer times.” It goes on to say, “Gun violence must be worshipfully and theologically reflected on, and we encourage UM churches to frame conversations theologically by utilizing resources such as Kingdom Dreams, Violent Realities: Reflections on Gun Violence from Micah 4:1-4, produced by the General Board of Church and Society.”

(The 'Gun Violence Prevention' page on is another helpful resource:

It also encourages us to “partner with local law enforcement agencies and community groups to identify gun retailers that engage in retail practices designed to circumvent laws on gun sales and ownership, encourage full legal compliance, and to work with groups like ‘Heeding God’s Call’ that organize faith-based campaigns to encourage gun retailers to gain full legal compliance with appropriate standards and laws.”   (2016 Book of Resolutions, page 394)

As a church we can also become politically active by promoting local and national level laws that prevent or reduce gun violence in some of the following ways:
  • universal background checks on all gun purchases;
  • ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty;
  • prohibiting from purchasing guns all individuals under temporary restraining orders due to threat of violence;
  • banning large-capacity ammunition magazines and weapons designed to fire multiple rounds each time the trigger is pulled; and
  • and promoting new technologies to aid law enforcement agencies to trace crime guns and promote public safety.  (2016 Book of Resolutions, page 395).
Finally, my word to you today is to consider anger. The basis for much of the violence we see in this world today is anger. Jesus speaks of anger against one’s neighbor in a dramatic way in the “Sermon on Mount.”   

He said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

These are strong words based on much wisdom. Anger gives birth to murder and violence. Churches are also a place where we can teach faith-filled ways of dealing with anger through conversation, mediation, forgiveness and restorative justice. 

Every one of us can do something to curb the violence in our world. Ask God to lay on your heart what you can be doing to promote peace and end this scourge of murder and mayhem in our world.  Use the month of June, which is “Gun Violence Prevention Month,” to make some concrete plans.  We are to be the salt and light of the world! 


  1. I agree that violence needs to end. But your use of the term "gun violence" is a misnomer. It is human violence. Over my 61 years of life I have owned several guns and none of them committed acts of violence. Over the same 61 years I have known a multitude of people, and some of them committed acts of violence. Let's focus on the real problem which is the hearts and minds of people.

    1. Hearts and minds or gun regulation: that is a false choice. It is both/and. Let's take both very seriously; without addressing regulation, we have an incomplete approach.

  2. Randy I think your view represents the fears of many that someone would take away your guns. However, I think we can agree, there are people who should not have access to firearms. Thank goodness the 3 men who recently killed people in London with a truck and knives didn't have access to guns. And then yesterday a man attacked a police officer at Notre Dame Cathedral with a hammer. He too was shot and killed by police. These types of attacks in the United States usually involve firearms and often end with the deaths of many more people. Remember Orlando. Charleston. Connecticut. Virginia Tech.
    Firearms should be regulated and limited to those who will use them safely.

    1. Firearms are limited to those who use them safely. Concealed handgun owners statistically commit fewer crimes than do police. Gun violence has decreased everywhere the number of CHL holders has increased. London and Paris are gun free zones, where only criminals have guns. They will always find a way to obtain guns illegally. Focus on stricter enforcement of actual gun violence and greater punishment for criminals and you might have a winning plan. The Bishop uses unsubstantiated claims to make her case. Shame.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.