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For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. Jeremiah 29: 11-12 NRSV

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) laments the second deadly mass shooting in the United States in the last week. This time in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, where people were shopping. We cry in anguish that we cannot even purchase food without fearing for our lives in this country.

Our hearts grieve for the ten victims and we send our condolences to their families and friends who struggle now with a numbing wave of grief over the loss of their loved ones. May the heaviness of their sorrow be lifted and may they find peace.

If mass shootings are defined as a gun incident with four or more people dying or being wounded, then in the last week, since eight were killed in the Atlanta area shootings, there have been five other mass shootings in the U.S. including in Stockton, CA; Gresham, OR; Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; and Philadelphia, PA, totaling seven mass shootings in seven days.

The unchecked gun violence in this nation must end. In 1967, the NCC adopted a statement calling for Firearms Control while proclaiming at the time that it represented “a long overdue measure which might have prevented much tragic loss of life.”

Over 50 years later, these basic common-sense changes to our gun laws still have not been enacted and they are far beyond overdue.

Today, we again reaffirm, as we did in our 1967 statement, that the God-given “right to life” as fundamental and sacred and hold that it is not possible to protect life and maintain public order when individuals have unregulated access to firearms.

In 1967, NCC called for permit requirements that incorporate “proper identification of applicant (by the fingerprint method if possible), and a waiting period prior to issuance so that an adequate check can be made of the prospective purchaser to verify such matters as age, absence of mental illness, and lack of a felony record.”

In 2010, NCC called 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.”

“Enough is enough,” declared Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary, “For over 50 years, NCC has professed the need for stronger gun laws in this country to protect lives. The time for action is now. We cannot make any more excuses, because each day that we do, more lives are lost.”

“I stand firmly with the vast majority of Americans who are demanding an end to gun violence and the passage of legislation that requires greater screening, longer waiting periods for background checks, and the elimination of rapid fire guns,” stated Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ and Chair of the NCC Governing Board. “While I do pray for the families whose loved ones were killed, those prayers mean little if they are not backed up with action and legislation that mitigate against the escalation of these domestic acts of terror and mass murder.” 

NCC Board Policy Statements

Ending Gun Violence: A Resolution and Call to Action by the National Council of Churches of Christ, U.S.A. 2010 Reaffirmed 2018

Firearms Control Adopted by the General Board 1967

NCC Press Statements

Statement on the Shooting Deaths in Atlanta 2021

Gun Violence Must End Now 2019

NCC Laments Virginia Beach Shooting, Renews Call to End Gun Violence 2019

Statement on Parkland, Florida Mass Shooting 2018

We Mourn This Terrible Act: a joint statement by the NCC and the World Council of Churches 2017

We Grieve With Sutherland Springs, Call for Sensible Gun Measures 2017

Statement on Orlando Shooting 2016

NCC Applauds New Gun Rules 2016

NCC Laments Umpqua Shooting, Asks NRA to Join in Gun Violence Reduction Effort 2015

NCC Grieves With Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina 2015