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The National Council of Churches weeps for the loss of 17 lives in yesterday’s tragic mass killing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We hold the families and friends of the victims in our hearts and prayers, and we are grateful to the faith community in Parkland that is providing comfort to them.

There is no way a troubled teenager should have had access to an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and what was described as ‘countless magazines’ full of high-powered bullets. Even as we mourn this unnecessary loss of life, we call on our lawmakers to shake off fear of the gun lobby, distractions of other legislative matters, and the paralysis of hyper-partisanship and take action to ensure universal background checks be enacted and high powered weapons be taken off the streets of our nation. 

After yet another mass shooting in our country, isn’t it about time to act?