UUCF is committed to ending gun violence and to urging our legislators to approved sensible gun violence prevention legislation. To that end, UUCF members passed a Congregational Resolution on Preventing Gun Violence at the 2013 UUCF Annual Meeting on Sat., Jun. 8, 2013. The congregation works with the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence to live its commitment to resolving the issue of gun violence.

Resolution

Whereas, Unitarian Universalists covenant to affirm and promote: (1) the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, and (2) justice, equity and compassion in human relations, and whereas the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Commission on Social Witness has addressed gun-related violence issues[1], with the 2000 UUA resolution calling for UU congregations to become more involved in efforts to reduce gun-related violence,

Whereas the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax has adopted the mission to “Transform ourselves, our community and the world through acts of love and justice,” and uses a process by which the congregation as a whole can declare and pursue social justice action,

Whereas the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting deaths of 20 first grade children in Newtown, CT, shocked the world and elevated the more pervasive pattern of child and youth deaths and injuries from gun violence – more than 2,500 deaths annually[2],

Whereas we are deeply concerned that gun-related violence is endemic in our society, with more than 30,000 men, women and children killed and 70,000 more injured by homicide, suicide and accidental shootings annually[3], and also are concerned that people of color are more likely to be victims of homicides and attempted homicides[4],

Whereas we believe shooting deaths and injuries constitute a serious public health issue and that it is possible to adopt policies that will reduce this carnage without unduly limiting the availability of firearms for law-abiding citizens,

Whereas in the 1990s, half of the direct medical costs of gunshot wounds (estimated at $2.2 billion a year) were borne by U.S. taxpayers[5],

Whereas, while we recognize the right of gun ownership afforded by the Second Amendment, we also recognize that this right is limited, as stated in section III of the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2008 Heller v D.C. case[6],[7],

Now therefore, be it resolved that we call on Congress and the President to pass effective measures to protect all people from gun violence and the resulting life-long consequences; and where applicable promote similar action in the Commonwealth of Virginia and Fairfax County, Virginia,

Be it further resolved that we – individually and collectively – work through reflection, education, advocacy and ministerial leadership both within our own congregation and with other faith and secular communities to acknowledge and reduce gun violence, especially that which results in deaths, injuries and mental trauma to so many people in our nation,

Be it further resolved that we call on policymakers more specifically to:

  • Require universal background checks and periodic background check updates for all firearms and ammunition buyers,
  • Ensure that background checks are based on accurate, timely and comprehensive data by enhancing the federal system of background checks, improving background data collection,
  • Ban the purchase by, sale to and transfer between private citizens of large capacity ammunition feeders and firearms and ammunition not commonly used for self-defense,
  • Reduce access to firearms by mentally ill individuals while respecting these individuals’ privacy and not further stigmatizing them,
  • Improve mental health and conflict resolution services for those victimized by gun violence (particularly our youth and their families) as well as for perpetrators of gun violence,
  • Remove restrictions on and increase funding for research into gun safety through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health and others,
  • Shift the cost of gun-related violence to gun manufacturers, gun sellers and gun purchasers by measures such as requiring liability insurance and assessing a licensing fee for gun owners and by removing the firearms and ammunition exemption from the Consumer Product Safety Act,
  • Improve enforcement of existing gun-related laws (e.g., laws against fraudulent and straw purchases of weapons) and remove restrictions on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive (ATF) operations,
  • Reduce the number of existing privately owned firearms and large capacity ammunition feeders, such as by expanded gun buy-back programs,
  • Impose more-stringent controls on the practice of carrying loaded weapons in public (especially in areas such as schools and libraries and places where alcohol is served).

 


 

[1] The UUA Commission on Social Witness approved Gun Control Resolutions in 1972, 1976, 1991 and 2000.

[2] “Protect Children, Not Guns 2012,” Children’s Defense Fund

[3] CDC Injury Prevention & Control: Data & Statistics

[4] “Gun deaths shaped by race in America,” Dan Keating, Washington Post Mar. 22, 2013

[5] “Private Guns, Public Health,” Hemenway, D., 2004 (with 2006 afterward).

[6] “Constitutionality of Proposed Firearms Legislation,” Center for American Progress, Feb. 12, 2013.

[7] District of Columbia, et al., Petitioners v. Dick Anthony Heller, Opinion of the Court, Section III, p54-56, June, 2008.