Diocesan Convention Passes Gun-Violence Resolution

After much discussion and lively debate, the 141st Diocesan Convention last week past the following resolution, submitted by Episcopal Peace Fellowship Of Arkansas:

Action to Reduce Gun Violence

Resolved, that the 141st Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas, in response to the high number of mass shootings and daily deaths from gun violence, joins with many faith communities in an emerging moral consensus by calling for the following steps to be taken by lawmakers:

  1. A clear ban on all future sale of military-style semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and high-impact ammunition (i.e. ammunition more deadly than ordinarily used in hunting);
  2. Making gun trafficking a federal crime;
  3. Requiring universal background checks on all gun sales;
  4. Mental health care reform, including increased funding and improved care for our most vulnerable citizens;
  5. A critical look at our culture’s glorification of violence;

and be it further

Resolved, that the 141st Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourages all members of this Diocese, individually and with our faith communities, to take the following pledge, as requested by The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs and The Episcopal Public Policy Network:

“As an Episcopalian committed in baptism to seeking justice and peace and promoting the dignity of every human being, I commit to being part of the solution to the violence in our culture that claimed the lives of 28 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School and that claims the lives of 2000 innocent children through gun crimes each year. I commit to the pursuit of laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals, prioritize the needs of at-risk children, provide care for mental illness, and address the many ways in which our culture both celebrates and trivializes violence. I commit to holding my lawmakers, my community, and my own household accountable. I commit to accomplishing these things in 2013. I commit to being the change we need;”

and be it further

Resolved, that the 141st Annual Convention of the Diocese of Arkansas encourages all members of this Diocese to work within our churches through prayer, preaching, education (including an examination of how Christianity has been complicit in the culture of violence), and advocacy, toward reducing gun violence in our nation and in the world.