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Special Message re: School Violence

June 8, 2022
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Dear Resurrection Member,

In the wake of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, I am sending letters to my Representatives in Congress and in the state legislature asking them to do more to protect our children from violence.

There have been 27 school shootings and 228 mass shootings (four or more victims) in the US since January 1, 2022. Because of our differences over guns, we find ourselves in gridlock and nothing changes.

These are not problems far from home:
· Two of our members were killed at the Jewish Community Center several years ago by a gun purchased in a straw man sale.
· The daughter of one of our pastors was killed while at First Fridays when a group of teens were shooting guns at each other a block away.
· This spring a student came to Olathe East High with a gun and shot two people before being stopped – my nephew and many of your kids were in school there that day.

We can throw up our hands and nothing changes. Or, we can ask our legislators to address the root causes and develop better strategies to decrease the chances of school shootings and other acts of violence.

Attached are two letters I will be sending to my representatives that I’d like to invite you to send to your representatives at the state and federal level. The specific suggestions related to guns are suggestions that were supported by an overwhelming number of our gun owners at Resurrection in a survey completed several years ago.

  1. Find your representatives’ names and e-mail addresses here: https://openstates.org.
  2. Copy the text of the letter below and paste it into an email. (Note: there are two versions – one for federal representatives and one for state representatives.)
  3. Address it to your representatives by name, sign your name at the end and send it.
  4. Feel free to tweak the letter so that it represents your views.

Over Memorial Day weekend there were 14 more mass shootings, including six people injured at a High School graduation in Alabama and another six teens injured in a mass shooting in Tennessee. Let’s encourage our representatives to do all they can to reduce these incidences of violence.

Thank you for considering this.

Adam Hamilton
Senior Pastor
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection


SAMPLE LETTER FOR FEDERAL LEGISLATORS

Dear Member of Congress,

Thank you for the work you do every day on behalf of the American people and on my behalf as my Representative.

Last week we all grieved as 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. We shared that grief as Republicans and Democrats. You likely know that since January 1, 2022 there have been 27 shootings at schools across America. Some were suicides. Some were children who accidentally discharged guns, and some were teens who took their guns to school with the intent to kill. Twenty-seven school shootings.

Congress has united around solving major problems in the past. You’ve been bi-partisan in your support for Ukraine, spending billions to help Ukraine fend off Russia. What could be possible if Republicans and Democrats saw the deaths of these children in Uvalde, Texas, as a chance to address this issue together? This is our moonshot, our chance to solve a problem and make the world a better place.

To that end, I write to encourage bipartisan efforts to reduce school shootings focused on:

Research Funding Focused on Reducing Violence Committed by and against Children: We can address this problem, but it will take bipartisan support of serious research identifying root causes of this violence and practical solutions to address this problem.
· Please increase funding for research at the federal level on causes of and actions that can be taken to reduce violence committed by young adults, and against children and teens.

Responsible Gun Storage: The largest number of gun deaths each year are suicides, often with young adults using guns owned by their parents. In addition, there are children who find guns and inadvertently harm themselves.
· Please pass legislation requiring guns be stored with a trigger lock in place. This will help prevent needless deaths and the misuse of guns in a home.

Licensure & Training: Permit laws are the single most effective way to reduce gun violence. States with permit laws of any kind have less gun violence than those without.
· Please provide incentives to states where permit and training laws already exist, and to those where they are expanded, or are enacted.

Background Checks: Background checks are among the easiest laws to thwart through private party sales, straw man sales and some gun shows and trading of weapons.
· Please establish processes and upgrade technology to help states share this information seamlessly and quickly to maximize public safety.

We can do something about this. These are our nation’s children. You have the power, as legislators, to leave a legacy of safer schools and better policies to protect the lives of our children. I’m pleading with you to please act.

Sincerely,


SAMPLE LETTER FOR STATE LEGISLATORS

Dear State Legislators,

Thank you for the work you do on my behalf as representatives. Last week we all grieved for the lives of 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. We shared that grief as Republicans and Democrats. You likely know that since January 1, 2022 there have been 27 shootings at schools across America. Some were suicides. Some were children who accidentally discharged guns, and some were teens who took their guns to school with the intent to kill.

Our state legislature has united around solving major problems in our state in the past. You’ve worked across the aisle to do what was in the best interest of our state. I’d like to ask that you work across the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, to reduce the likelihood of violence against children as we saw in Uvalde, Texas, this last week. I know you care about our state’s children. Please, take action to protect our children.

To that end, I write to encourage bipartisan efforts to reduce school shootings focused on:

Expanding Mental Health Access:
· Please increase investments in mental health services and raise the gun ownership age to 21.

Responsible Gun Storage: The largest number of gun deaths each year are suicides, often with young adults using guns owned by their parents. In addition, children find guns and inadvertently harm themselves.
· Please pass legislation requiring guns be stored with a trigger lock in place. This will help prevent the needless deaths and the misuse of parents’ guns by children.

Licensure and Training: Permit laws are the single most effective way to reduce gun violence. States with permit laws of any kind have less gun violence than those without.
· Please reinstate or expand licenses and training requirements to own a gun.

Background Checks: Background checks are among the easiest laws to thwart through private party sales, straw man sales, gun shows and trading of weapons.
· Please pass universal background checks for all gun purchases, trades and transfers.

You have the power, as legislators, to leave a legacy of safer schools, and better policies to protect the lives of our children. I’m pleading with you to please act.

Sincerely,

Adam

Adam Hamilton

Resurrection Senior Pastor

Reverend Adam Hamilton is the senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection and the author of 22 books. He has been married to LaVon since 1982, and she has been a critical partner in every dimension of Adam’s work. They have two daughters and one granddaughter.

Adam’s writings are known for helping readers make sense of challenging theological questions, exploring the significance of the biblical stories, and equipping Christian leaders to be more effective in their work. He earned his MDiv from Perkins School of Theology and graduated with honors from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Pastoral Ministry.

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