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Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness is a grassroots association dedicated to promoting biblical values of justice, care of creation, peace and nonviolent solutions to conflict.

Letter to Newtown Families

Categories: Action Alerts,Peace Advocacy,Violence in Society

The LIPW board recently sent a compassionate expression to the people of Newtown, Connecticut, copied below. This is based on the statement adopted by the LIPW Board printed after the letter. The letter contains suggestions for protection from gun violence

To the Families of Newtown,

It is a sad truth of our times that though you do not know us, we all too well know of you. The tragedy that came to Sandy Hook Elementary School shook the nation; it shook those of us who are members of the Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness. LIPW is an interdenominational group of clergy and laypeople that cares deeply about bringing shalom in all senses of the word to all of God’s creatures. Violence in its many forms can only wound and divide. That is why we seek steps, no matter how small, to end violence; it is why we seek healing.

Most of us have never lived in or visited Newtown, though one member actually lived in Sandy Hook and knows people directly affected by the shooting. All of us, however, are united in grieving with you. But grieving, alone, is not enough. We must work to ensure that tragedies such as yours do not continue to occur. To that end, we have recently supported two initiatives for sensible gun control (see below). They call for common sense ideas, such as universal background checks, the renewal and strengthening of the assault weapons ban, and the classification of gun trafficking as a federal crime. We have followed in the press the efforts of many of the Sandy Hook families to bring about universal background checks and we share with them disappointment at the recent failure of Congress to pass such legislation. However, the work has only begun. We will continue to press for well-needed gun control. We just wanted you to know of our support for what you have attempted to do.

But more important, we want you to know that we support you as people, as a community that has endured such loss and pain. You remain in our prayers.

The Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness
Lancaster County, PA
May 16, 2013

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Statements Adopted by Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness on
Gun Safety and Gun Violence Prevention
April 20, 2013

LIPW, in its monthly Board meeting, April 20, 2013, adopted the Statements of the Mayors Against Legal Guns and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Statement of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns

  • We need to require criminal background checks every time a gun is sold. We need to take military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines off our streets. And we need to make gun trafficking a federal crime with tough penalties.
  • An overwhelming majority of Americans support common sense gun reform. But to make sure they stand up to the gun lobby and pass legislation, your members of Congress need to hear from you.
  • Mayors can do a lot to maintain public safety. But when guns are crossing state lines and gun traffickers are exploiting loopholes to avoid background checks, it’s time for a national solution. That’s why today, more than 900 mayors have joined together to say: Enough. And more than 1.4 million supporters like you have joined together to tell Washington that the time has come.

Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness supports the position of Friends’ Committee on National Legislation, and the coalition of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence in the following ways:

  1. Require universal background checks. Every person who buys a gun should pass a criminal background check via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS)
  2. Renew and update the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. High capacity weapons and ammunition magazines should not be available to citizens.
  3. Enforce gun trafficking as a federal crime. We should empower law enforcement to investigate and prosecute straw purchasers, gun traffickers, and their entire criminal networks.
Author: LIPW