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The World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA grieves with the families of those who lost their lives in the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the night of October 1, 2017.  We pray for those whose lives have been shattered by this senseless act and lift up those who will be recovering years to come.

We find ourselves again in shocked disbelief that so many people have been killed and injured by a lone gunman with an array of powerful weapons, with 58 people killed and more than 500 injured in Sunday night’s attack on a crowd of concert-goers.

Just fifteen months ago, the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting was referred to as “the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.” Today’s news of an act that brings an even higher death toll is indeed devastating.

“I have been watching the news out of Las Vegas and have been praying for the victims and their families,” remarked Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President of the National Council of Churches (USA). “I cannot imagine why anyone would carry out such an act nor why it would be legal for ordinary citizens to own such lethal weapons. May we unite as a nation to ensure such terrible acts do not take place again.”

“We are again shocked and saddened by this latest act of brutal violence. Any violence destroys human lives, but nobody is born to be violent,” stated Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. “This tragedy calls for empathy and prayers, but also more efforts to build quality of relations of justice and peace, so that we may have life and life in abundance. As churches, we have a shared responsibility to work for a culture of nonviolence in all societies.”

We do not believe the presence of more weapons will prevent future tragedies like this one in Las Vegas and others in Newtown, Orlando, and countless other places, from taking place. We call upon the U.S. Congress to enact common-sense legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We recommit ourselves to working for a society in which acts of violence like these are unheard of, and that people can live, work, and enjoy restorative time without fear.