2015 Gun Violence Prevention December Sabbath

Are We Angry Yet?
 
Another mass shooting. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the 45th in 2015 alone (number depending on how "mass shooting" is defined). This time a quiet rural setting at a community college in Oregon. Again, the shooter a young American male, probably mentally disturbed. As he once again addressed the nation, President Obama was visibly angry. While he assured the families of those killed and wounded that thoughts and prayers are with them, he stated that thoughts and prayers are not enough. Action is required. The Congress has refused to act. Some try to divert attention away from guns to stress greater attention to mental illness. Yes, mental illness must be addressed, but the number of guns and accessibility to guns in our country also requires action. We must demand federal legislation requiring universal background checks, and state legislation requiring handgun registration. At least these actions should be taken as first but not final steps. Are we, like our president, angry enough yet to make these demands of our legislators?
 
Ironically, as the Oregon shootings were underway, Senator Sessions (R-AL) led a House Judiciary Hearing on Oversight of the Administration's RY 2016 Refugee Resettlement Program: Fiscal and Security Implications. Sessions berated the four government witnesses, insisting that no matter what they described, accepting more refugees, especially Syrian refugees, makes too great a demand on our country's financial and security resources. He insisted that terrorists gain access to our refugee program and pose a threat to U.S. citizens. As he spoke, one more U.S. citizen with guns wreaked havoc on an Oregon campus. On a positive note, in their comments both Senators Durbin and Blumenthal referred to the letter to Congress in support of accepting more Syrian refugees signed by 400 faith leaders, including FAN and some of our members. Now other individuals may continue to sign on. Individuals can sign the letter by filing out this form.
 
Let this most recent tragedy motivate us to prepare vigils of prayer and action across the country in collaboration with Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. Pledge participation at www.decembersabbath.org.
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