Statement on Recent Gun Violence

The horrors seem endless. Yesterday, a man with a gun entered an elementary school classroom, murdered at least 19 children and two adults, and injured several others. Last weekend, another man with a gun entered a church, murdered one person, and injured five others. We mourn the horrific and tragic loss of lives cut short at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California. We send our condolences to the families, friends, and communities dealing with unimaginable grief.

Horrific incidents like these underscore our nation’s urgent need for far reaching gun control, as well as well-funded mental health care nation-wide. Ensuring that every American can access the services they need for their full wellness would make a measurable impact on the amount of violence occurring in communities across the nation.

However, mental health care alone is not enough to address this systemic violence. The United States is not unique in its challenges with mental health. But it is unique in its fixation on and availability of guns, most visible in its refusal to check the spread of weapons of war amongst its population. The status quo is unacceptable. We need comprehensive gun reform to reduce the availability of these weapons, and targeted legislation to prevent them from falling into the hands of those who would use them against the innocent. This is not negotiable and is absolutely necessary to protect American lives.

Children and teachers should not have to live in fear of being murdered at school. Believers should not have to live in fear of being murdered at their place of worship. No one should have to live in fear of being murdered while grocery shopping. We stand with those calling for systemic change to fund mental health care, to address gun violence, to secure justice for victims, and to prevent horrific massacres like those that are now occurring with unacceptable frequency. We will not allow ourselves to grow numb to this ongoing, senseless violence. We will continue to fight for a better nation and for justice.