The Reverend Sanford ‘Sandy’ Brown, Senior Pastor at Seattle First United Methodist Church speaks during the ‘With One Voice’ press conference. Photo by Patrick Scriven.

Seattle clergy from a variety of faith traditions took a stand on Thursday against gun violence.

Seattle, WA – An interfaith coalition of religious leaders from from the greater Seattle area gathered Thursday at Temple de Hirsch Sinai for a press conference to advocate the necessity of taking action in response to the recent tragedy in Newton, Connecticut where 28 people died. Imam, rabbi, pastor, priest – Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh – all were present to represent broad religious support for reasonable gun laws.

United Methodist pastors Sanford Brown, John Helmiere, Cathy Law, Monica Corsaro, Karla Fredrickson, Katie Ladd, and Seattle District Superintendent Patricia Simpson were all present for the signing and press conference. Brown, speaking at the event, encouraged action:

We have to do something. How many more children do we have to lose before we make a decision as a society, to change the way we do business?

Leaders representing their various faith communities spoke before signing a statement which called for a ban on assault-style rifles (including a buy-back), a ban on large capacity ‘clips’, universal background checks and properly funded regulatory authority, trigger locks and safe storage requirements, gun IDing technology, investments in mental health, and an end to the glorification of violence in media and children and youth video games. Faith leaders repeatedly asked how long we needed to wait before we address the problem.

The focus on new gun control legislation was in stark contrast to the statement that the National Rifle Association put forward on Friday morning. While also deploring the culture of violence and recognizing the need to seriously address mental illness, the NRA offered no meaningful support of further gun control laws, suggesting instead that each school ought to have an armed police officer to help prevent these events. The NRA’s full statement is available online here (PDF).

News Coverage of the event (video) is available on the King5 website.

The ‘With One Voice’ full statement is available in PDF form: Click Here

Photos of the events are available on Flickr & Facebook: Facebook  |  Flickr

The United Methodist Church’s passed a resolution in 2000 (revised in 2008) on gun violence which can be found here: Click to read.

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