We lend our voices to the eloquence and passion of high school students in Broward County, especially the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, whose friends and classmates were mercilessly murdered.
We know senseless, gun-related tragedy firsthand. Our denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was affected by a dastardly and ruthless invasion into a welcoming space at Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015. Nine of our brothers and sisters died during the gun assault; three others were left to die. We’re still reeling from that.
We mourn the mass murder of worshipers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. We were grieved as well by the mass shootings at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and now the Parkland high school.
With hearts broken, following the Newtown school massacre, we had hoped the collective conscience of state and national officials would have been pricked and turned toward a change of heart about who ought to own a gun, and the kind of weapon a person is entitled to own under the Second Amendment.
We join students, parents, community leaders in Broward County, and others across this nation, to demand change.
Assault rifles ought be banned for nonmilitary use, period. Any person in possession of such a weapon should be active military personnel, on or near a battlefield. Gun ownership should require deeper background checks, and persons with mental-health issues should be disallowed to purchase a weapon of any kind or caliber. We say to political leaders, “Enough is enough!” The time for change is now! And we will marshal our thoughts, prayers — and our votes.
Adam J. Richardson,
Eleventh Episcopal District,
Episcopal Church, Jacksonville