by Ellen Clark-King
Gun violence in America used to be someone else’s problem as far as I was concerned. I tut-tutted from north of the border at money-hungry politicians in the pocket of the NRA and lamented lives lost in school shootings. But now I live and work in California and this is no longer someone else’s problem, it is mine.
We’ve made gun control issues one of the core areas for Grace Cathedral to focus its social justice and social action work in 2018. We’ve marched and petitioned, we’ve educated and stood vigil, we’ve created a powerful Altar to Victims of Gun Violence and in August we’ll host a gun buy-back.
It’s not enough. It’s never enough. And we constantly look for new ways to make a real and practical difference – to minimize the number of families devastated by sudden, tragic gun deaths.
One new way, that unites rather than divides, is a new national campaign to End Family Fire. This isn’t looking to do the slow work of changing laws, or the even slower work of changing people’s minds about gun ownership. Instead it’s looking to get all gun owners to secure their guns properly. It’s all about family safety, nothing about bipartisan politics.
This sounds like a small thing, until you think it through and hear the numbers. In 70% of school shootings, the gun comes from the home. On average 8 children are shot every day due to improperly stored guns at home. Children don’t only get injured and die by guns, they also carry the burden of becoming killers, after firing weapons they were too young to fully understand.
All that needs to happen to stop this is for guns to be locked away with their ammunition locked away separately. Just this will keep hundreds of children safe.
#EndFamilyFire is something that ALL Episcopalians – ALL Americans even – can get behind, whatever their views of the second amendment and the right to bear arms. Please spread the word in your local community. Please speak up as a faith or community leader.
I don’t pretend to understand America and guns – any more than I understand the intricacies of American football! I do understand the difference that #EndFamilyFire can make. I hope we can make it a movement across the nation.
The Rev. Dr. Ellen Clark-King is the Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. She was ordained in England and worked for 12 years in Vancouver, BC prior to taking up her role at Grace Cathedral
image by Thomas Hawk from Flickr