ABHMS continues commitment to gun violence prevention with letter, article

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/13/17)—Continuing its commitment to gun violence prevention, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has published an article in its November online edition of The Christian Citizen magazine and signed a letter to Congress written by Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence sent the letter to Congress on Nov. 9 in response to the shooting deaths of 26 individuals during worship service on Nov. 5 at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. According to news reports, victims ranged from an unborn baby to a 72-year-old parishioner.

Referring to the massacre as the “deadliest shooting at a house of worship in modern American history,” the letter calls on Congress to do the following:

  • “oppose expanded concealed carry-reciprocity legislation, which seeks to turn our houses of worship into congregations armed with guns and weaponry;
  • establish universal background checks and close the private-sale loophole;
  • repeal the Dickey Amendment and restore funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research on gun violence;
  • close the Charleston loophole, which permits federally licensed dealers to sell guns if three business days pass without a verdict from the FBI;
  • ban the purchase and sale of assault weapons;
  • enact a gun violence restraining order law, which would temporarily prohibit an individual from purchasing or possessing firearms when deemed by a judge to pose a danger to self or others;
  • ban the purchase and sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines;
  • oppose legislative efforts to deregulate the purchase and sale of gun silencers;
  • and close the boyfriend loophole, which allows convicted abusers and stalkers to buy and own firearms.”

In addition, ABHMS has published in The Christian Citizen online “The Assault on Our Republic,” an article by Dr. William J. Everett, the Herbert Gezork Professor of Christian Social Ethics Emeritus at Andover Newton Theological School.

“Our freedom as citizens rests not in our possession of guns but in our capacity to engage in a public life of reasonable debate about the common good,” Everett argues in the article.

He further notes that the decision in D.C. v. Heller, a 2008 landmark case in which the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, “does not limit states or the federal government from regulating firearms outside the home in the interests of public safety.”

Publishing online monthly at abhms.org and in print bi-annually, ABHMS’ The Christian Citizen magazine is a forum for diverse voices at the intersection of faith and politics, discipleship and citizenship. It presents thoughtful and challenging reflection on matters of public concern, social justice and spirituality. Like The Christian Citizen on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is a diverse coalition of faith-based organizations united to confront America’s gun violence epidemic and to rally support for policies that reduce death and injury from gunfire. ABHMS is a member of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.