Church Council of Union Church, at its December 17, 2012 meeting, drafted the following letter, acting on its own, and not necessarily on behalf of the entire congregation:
President Barack Obama
Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner
Senator Harry Reid
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Rand Paul
The White House and Capitol Hill
December 18, 2012
Dear Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, and Honorable Senators,
In light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and after prayerful deliberation, we the members of the Church Council of Union Church, in Berea, Kentucky, urge you, with deliberate speed, to enact legislation that will reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of this mass killing.
While we recognize that the problems that lead to such a tragedy are complex, and while we join with so many other Americans in expressing our sympathy, solidarity, and prayers for healing to the mourning families and the broader community in Newtown, we nevertheless join President Obama and members of both political parties in asserting that this country and its government can do better. Men and women of every faith and others of good will now see that we can no longer protect unregulated access to weapons that lead to such tragic results.
Therefore, we urge you to enact legislation that will accomplish the following:
1. Make illegal the possession of assault weapons by ordinary citizens.
2. Mandate a substantial reduction in the capacities of gun ammunition magazines.
3. Require and enforce thoroughgoing background checks for potential gun purchasers.
4. Close loopholes that make easy the unregulated purchase of guns, such as at gun shows.
5. Adopt and enforce substantial waiting periods in the purchasing of guns.
We recognize that no legislation can eliminate human violence. However, we strongly believe that enacting these steps will significantly reduce the likelihood of tragedies of this scale. We believe the children of this country, and all its citizens, deserve no less than a zealous effort on the part of its leaders to make safer our schools, streets, marketplaces, and everywhere we come together.
Adopted this 18th day of December, 2012, by the members of the Church Council of Union Church,
J. Stephen Rhodes, Chair of Church Council Merlin Kindel, Moderator of the Church
Kent Gilbert, Pastor Rachel Small Stokes, Associate Pastor