calendar May 19, 2022 in anti-racism, Communications, Faith in action

Heeding God’s Call Statement on Mass Shootings

Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence is a partner in the work of addressing gun violence in our communities:

Philadelphia: Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence (Heeding), the statewide faith-based organization devoted to reducing and preventing gun violence called for prayer for all those taken by gun murder in Buffalo and Geneva, for their loved ones and for those who committed the mass shootings.

“However, prayers alone, while needed, are not enough,” said Bryan Miller, Executive Director of Heeding.  “We do not hide behind prayer, like so many shameless politicians do.  Rather, we call for prayerful action to save those lives not yet taken, which could be anyone’s.”

“By prayerful action, we mean long term commitment to work for life-saving change, because that’s what it takes and that is what we do,” said Miller.

“Our primary focus at Heeding is urban gun violence, which the murders of African Americans at Top’s in Buffalo were.  But more than a single mass shooting, we point to the danger foisted on people of color by a largely racist gun industry, white from corporate suites of gun manufacturers, through wholesalers of firearms to retailers, like those called out in a recent Inquirer report on research by the Brady Campaign.  If they were not racists, they would hardly seek to make blood money knowing full well, as they do, that their businesses stand disproportionately on the deaths and injuries of people of color.”

“Yes, mass shootings are horrific and attract massive attention, but they are a small part of the problem of gun violence,” continued Miller.  “Attention and commitment for change must be directed to the much larger issue of everyday urban gun violence, which devastates Philadelphia’s and Chester’s and Camden’s neighborhoods, blocks economic improvement and ties in directly with all the other parts of racism – poverty, drugs, poor education and more.  We will not solve these issues until we truly understand their connectedness in racism.”

“We at Heeding seek to take on a small but critical component of urban gun violence – the illegal handgun distribution system, which moves handguns from sales by rogue or irresponsible gun retailers to straw buyers and gun traffickers.  These are the handguns used to wound, maim and kill on city streets and in its neighborhoods.  We will shortly begin a campaign to demand new sales practices from gun dealers, so they won’t sell to those who would resell.  And we have begun a long-term campaign to gain enactment of PA legislation to limit individuals to the purchase of a single handgun in any thirty day period – One Handgun A Month, which will dramatically diminish the flow of illegal handguns to streets and neighborhoods,” said Miller.


Related: Pastoral Message from Presiding Bishop Eaton