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Sisters of Mercy Demand Action on Gun Violence

August 06, 2019

This weekend in the United States, 31 lives were taken, more than 52 people were injured and communities were shattered in two mass shootings just 13 hours apart. Our hearts break for the families of those killed and wounded in the attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

It is impossible to ignore the sickening, racist motives of the El Paso shooter. This horrific violence was fueled by racist rhetoric, irresponsible gun laws and dehumanizing policies toward immigrants. We must, as a people, name it, and we must defy it. We must stand strong together to condemn the white supremacist ideology that motivated the shooter and that has poisoned the soul of our nation. We must further stand together to condemn the inflammatory, hateful speech voiced almost daily by public figures—including the president of the United States—speech that does nothing but fan the flames of violence.

We agree with those who say we need to address the mental health problems that drive some to commit violence with guns. But let us not also be ignorant to the fact that for far too long, weapons designed for war have been far too easily accessible to civilians. And that for far too long, lawmakers have lacked the political will or moral courage to pass responsible gun safety laws. Nearly 40,000 people will be killed by guns this year in the United States, a number that dwarfs that of all other industrialized nations, many of which have far stricter gun regulations. The answer is clear: legislative change that will make it harder to buy automatic and semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines will save lives. Lawmakers who have refused, time and again, to take any action on responsible gun safety laws and address this tragic national public safety threat have failed us entirely.

But let us not fail ourselves, or the next generation of Americans. Instead, even as our pens write messages demanding change and scripting words of hope and transformation, let us raise our collective voice. Let us speak in unison for change. Let us demand that, at a minimum, our legislators enact gun safety laws like H.R. 8, a bipartisan measure that calls for strict background checks for those purchasing guns. Such a measure is overwhelmingly favored by voters of all political backgrounds and would help protect us all.

We, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, believe that we must all be actively working towards a culture that promotes peace and non-violence rather than one that glorifies violence and hate. And so we join our voices with those who say enough to gun violence, enough to acts of hate, enough to demonizing the other! We demand, we require, we deserve better—as a nation, and as children of God.


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