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This past weekend several gathered for a prayer vigil honoring the victims of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings. Photos of the evening vigil coordinated are available on the azcentral.com website.

Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata and other leaders of the Desert Southwest Conference pleaded with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Below is a copy of that correspondence.

Dear Senate Majority Leader McConnell,

In just over a week American’s have suffered a string of mass shootings in addition to the daily toll of gun violence.  As I am sure you are well aware, in an El Paso Walmart 20 people were killed and 26 injured by a 21-year-old white man with an assault rifle. Those shot ranged in ages from 2 – 82 years old.  Thirteen hours later another white male with an assault rifle wounded 27 and killed 9, including his sister, all in less than one minute. These mass shootings were not the only acts of gun violence. In Chicago at least 7 people were killed and an additional 48 were injured across the city. Last week two were shot and killed in Southhaven, MS. Three people were killed and 11 wounded at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in northern California. In Brooklyn one man was killed and 11 wounded. The endless saga of gun violence continues in our country, something that after Sandy Hook so many vowed would end. Sadly, this was not the case.

Polls consistently show that Americans overwhelmingly support reasonable and measured gun reform measures.  We state repeatedly after such tragedies that America is better than this. If we accept this premise, then we must believe that change will begin with our electorate and the reform legislation you have before you. Change is possible. Ending the violence, injury and death is possible. As people of faith we believe in transformation. Let our nation’s transformation begin with you.

There is bi-partisan support for a safer America. Christian scripture tells us “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” As people of faith we call on you to be the peacemaker Senator. The country is longing for the violence to end, and for all of us, including you, to act.

The American people are mourning. The American people are frustrated. The American people are fed up with “thoughts and prayers” instead of real legislative reform from our leaders.  Every day in this country 100 people die from gun violence and another 230 suffer life changing injuries.  The time to act is now.  We are calling on you as Leader to recall the Senate from summer vacation and pass the bipartisan gun violence prevention bills that have been sitting on your desk.

  • HR 8 – The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019
  • HR 1112 – The Enhanced Background Checks Act
  • HR – 674 Gun Violence Prevention Research Act
  • S42 – Background Check Expansion Act

As United Methodists of the Desert Southwest Conference, we are holding our country and her leadership in unceasing prayer.

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Find out more about how you and your community can get involved in this or other justice and outreach ministries of the Desert Southwest Conference. Visit https://dscumc.org/justice-outreach/

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