Our Response To Gun Violence

Our Response To Gun Violence

Ten years ago (2013), almost to the day, Bishop Clarence Laney, Monument of Faith Church, stood before a packed Delegates Assembly at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Durham and spoke to us about Durham CAN’s response to gun violence.  Ten years later, gun violence has not abated.  It has only gotten worse.  We should remember and reflect. Is it time to engage once again in this issue?  Here is an excerpt of Bishop Laney’s words:

“You should not stay idly by while your neighbor's blood is shed.   Leviticus 19:16”

When we reflect on this mandate – to not stand idly by while 30,000 American lives are lost each year to gun violence – we know we are called not just to act, but to act strategically and effectively.  Not just to hold a candle for the victims, but to use our power to try to prevent future senseless deaths.

Even when statistics show crime has decreased in Durham since 2007, we look with great concern at the impact of gun violence in our community.

Any incident of gun crime is one too many.

Notwithstanding the tragic loss of human life and related trauma, gun violence costs all of us in terms of employee productivity; medical care and emergency transport; courtroom hours; increased home and business insurance; school expulsions and the student’s potential to drop out. Gun violence also affects our community’s image and economic vitality…. 

We do not have a great deal of trust in the ability of the US Congress to pass this kind of legislation any time soon.On this issue, power is concentrated in the hands of the CEO’s of the companies that make and sell guns in the American market.  These companies have the power to save lives by adopting a set of responsible practices and standards.

And,  the people with the greatest power to persuade the gun manufacturers to adopt these steps are their largest customers:  the nation’s military, and police departments across the country.  Collectively they – we, the taxpayers – buy 40 percent of the guns in America.  Shouldn’t the companies we, the taxpayers, buy guns from be industry leaders in terms of practices that will save lives?