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The National Council of Churches laments yet another mass shooting, this time in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on May 31st. We mourn with the families, friends, and loved ones of the twelve persons who lost their lives in this horrific act of gun violence.

No matter how many mass shootings take place, we do not accept them as a ‘normal’ part of American life. And, yet, the Gun Violence Archive reports the Virginia Beach mass shooting was the 150th in the United States in 2019. Additionally, many more lives are lost to gun violence every day in acts that seldom make national headlines.

We reiterate our call for Congress to enact common-sense measures to decrease gun violence in this country. We recall our 2010 policy statement in which we “call upon our local, state, and federal legislators to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal “gun show loophole,” which allows for the purchase of firearms from private sellers without submitting to a background check, or providing documentation of the purchase.”  As early as 1967 our General Board resolved that “Federal, state and local legislation should incorporate firearms policies which protect and sustain the public interest rather than the special interest of any private group or sector of society.”

We will continue to pray and work for an end to gun violence as we pray that God will bind the wounds of those grieving the loss of loved ones and colleagues in Virginia Beach.

“You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” 

James 2:8 NRSV