Four Episcopal Church leaders have signed a letter from Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence to every member of Congress urging them to support legislation that would expand the federal system of background checks to gun shows, internet sales, and most other private sales.
The Episcopal signers are Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, Matthew Ellis of National Episcopal Health Ministries, Dean Gary Hall of Washington National Cathedral and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies.
Faiths United sought signatures from leaders of national organizations and denominational leaders. Bishop Beckwith signed as the primary convene or Bishops Against Gun Violence. Dean Hall is now chair of Faiths United.
The letter says, in part:
Gun violence is taking an unacceptable toll on our society. While we continue to pray for the families and friends of those who died and share in their grief, we must also support our prayers with action. We have a moral obligation to keep guns out of the hands of people who may harm themselves or others.
Each of us has a role to play in reducing gun violence in our communities. Congress must take action to do its part. Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence reiterates our support of immediate legislative action to pass the [Manchin-Toomey bill (Amendment to S. 649)/King-Thompson bill (H.R.1565)] to expand gun background checks to gun shows, internet sales, and commercial sales. These proposals are widely supported by the public. And research demonstrates that in the 16 states and Washington, D.C that already require background checks for private sales, gun trafficking is 48 percent lower, the rate at which women are killed with a gun by an intimate partner is 38 percent lower, and the gun suicide rate is 49 percent lower. Congress must act to ensure that background checks are required to protect innocent lives nationwide.
Dean Hall has also done an interview with Sally Steenland of the Center for American Progress.