Reducing Gun Violence in Washington”
begins in sadness, turns to resolve
Thanks to leadership by the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church and their collaboration with other faith communities, the move toward gun responsibility in Washington State continues to grow. A fundraising and awareness-raising event in Seattle brought out 1,200 people resolved to make Washington State safer for all. The momentum by citizens who support universal background checks on gun purchases is building as the initiative process moves forward.
- Susan Morrisson, WA State UU Voices for Justice Board President
After the Newtown shooting last December, members of our EUUC P&J Committee shared our common stories of grief and resolve at our January meeting. Once again guns and the lack of safe gun laws was at the center of the discussion. July’s Aurora theater shooting was still fresh in our minds, and the broader Seattle community had not yet healed from the May massacre at Cafe Racer. One of our congregants had been present that night, but luckily missed being targeted as she crouched under a table.
As we were just considering possible ideas of action, Pamela Van Swearingen, an attorney in Edmonds contacted EUUC asking for the possibility of pulpit time to discuss her first-hand experiences with gun violence and also our assistance in presenting a public panel on reducing gun violence in Washington. Pamela had been a guest speaker at EUUC a few years back in a service re human rights abuses/protection in Snohomish County and was familiar with our congregation.
With the encouragement of our Minister, Eric Kaminetzky, the P&J Committee and our Worship Associates moved into action. Two Sunday services on April 7 were secured, including a time for talk-back/personal sharing after the second service.
With Pamela’s guidance we also made plans for “Reducing Gun Violence in Washington” the following Tuesday, April 9, through the gracious collaboration of Edmonds United Methodist Church who had a larger, more central (and safer) location than EUUC. We publicized it widely through our website, radio spots, fliers, the NWUUJustice Network, Facebook and personal contacts. For a list of the panelists, you can visit our EUUC website/ Publications/ ComUUunicator, Page 10 , “Spotlight on Issues” by John Tucker.
The event was successful on many counts; in attendance, in content– both by panelists and audience participation maintaining respectful discussion guidelines, in fellowship and collaboration with a neighboring congregation, and with hope and a common commitment toward the pursuit of just and respectful laws, restrictions and methods toward making Washington a safer place for all its residents.
P&J Committee Member
Edmonds UU Church
Gun Background Check Initiative Filed in Olympia
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, supported by many faith groups, filed an initiative on Tuesday in Olympia. The initiative would require criminal background checks for almost all firearm sales and transfers, including private sales, online transactions, and purchases at gun shows. Background checks currently are required for sales from licensed gun dealers.
The initiative to next January’s Legislature requires about 246,000 valid signatures. If lawmakers do not accept it, it will go to the ballot in November 2014. Polls show broad support for the initiative as the signature-gathering process begins.