Have we become numb?

In the aftermath of yet another tragic shooting, the public relations teams from pro-gun and gun-violence prevention groups went into overdrive to get their messages out. It looked, well, just like it does after every mass shooting in America: very routine.

U.S. President Barack Obama said, “We've become numb to this.”

But is the president correct: Have we become numb?

But is the president correct: Have we become numb?

Consider that the upcoming Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, Dec. 10-14, normally has more than 1,000 congregations pledging participation. This year, there are just 50 congregations that have pledged so far.

While we are still more than two months out, the numbers just aren't what they once were. And the same apathy is being felt by other groups struggling to keep the public focused on solutions to the gun-violence epidemic.

Yes, while we all care deeply, a large number of us have become numb.

Break the routine

We need to break the routine and renew our commitment.

Breaking the routine requires Congress and state legislatures to act. With the current folks in the House of Representatives, nothing is likely to get a hearing let alone get enacted. So, as we wait for the opportunity to change Congress' composition, we need to commit ourselves to supporting efforts where they exist at the state level and making gun violence and potential solutions a regular topic of conversation.

What you can do today:

  1. Support passage of the background check ballot initiative in Nevada.
  2. Pledge participation in the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend and educate your congregants about the problem and the solution.
  3. Check out this comprehensive list of 30 Gun Control Actions You Can Take Now.
  4. Form a working group or committee within your congregation dedicated to gun-violence education and dedicate 3-4 services a year to raising awareness.
  5. List your congregation, business, organization or community group as a supporter of national handgun purchaser licensing at Tale of Two States. Handguns are responsible for nine out of every 10 gun deaths in the United States.

Hands not tied

Our hands are not completely tied. We can change hearts and minds. We can empower our friends and allies with solutions, talking points and powerful infographics they can use to counter the falsehoods being propagated by gun enthusiasts.

Please conquer your numbness and stand with us once again. Our day will come and we need to be ready.

Editor's note: This article is adapted from an Oct. 5 email from Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence.

The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) and United Methodist Women were among the interfaith groups that formed the Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence coalition in January 2011 following the shooting in Tucson, Ariz. The founding coalition consisted of 24 national faith organizations, including Christian, Jewish, Muslims and Sikhs who endorsed a resolution calling for “effective public-policy measures” to reduce death and injury from gunfire.

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