Clergy, Elected Officials Convene Firearm Safety Roundtable

For immediate release:

SARATOGA—Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino) and Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) joined over 20 faith leaders for a roundtable discussion on firearm reform today. The group discussed the devastating loss of life that has resulted from gun violence and the ways the faith community can work with elected officials to advocate for sensible firearm reforms.

“It’s immoral how many innocent lives we’ve lost to gun violence. Time and time again, we’ve shared our thoughts and prayers. Now it’s time for action.” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Cupertino) “I’m honored to work with so many outstanding community leaders to end gun violence by advocating for smart firearm safety policies.”

“We hold the values of the sanctity of life and basic safety to be of central importance to those that we serve in our ministries. Violence involving firearms tramples on both of these values, and we must find sensible legislation to make sure that our communities are safe,” said Reverend Erik Swanson, Pastor of Westhope Presbyterian Church.

Gun violence is a serious and growing problem in the United States and California. More than 33,000 people die in firearm-related deaths in the U.S. each year and according to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of gun deaths rose in 2016 to about 12 per 100,000 people. In California, guns were used in 72 percent of the state’s homicides in 2016.

“Gun violence is a crisis that requires an all-hands-on-deck response, and our faith leaders are a critical partner in this fight. It’s not good enough to wring our hands after every mass shooting and promise we’ll do better next time. We need a sustained effort to improve gun safety in our cities, and I’m grateful to our faith community for coming together to identify tangible steps we can take to achieve that goal,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto)

Recently, over 50 California clergy members signed on to a letter urging elected officials to “continue to push for sensible firearm safety regulation.” The letter said, “As those who serve our local faith communities, we are ever more aware of how important the sanctity of life and a sense of safety are for those we serve…The violence associated with firearms as seen in the rash of recent public mass shootings tramples on these values and enough is enough. It’s time for our elected representatives to push forward with sensible firearm safety regulation.”

While California has passed some of the toughest firearm safety laws in the country, loopholes still remain. The roundtable today discussed ways to support sensible firearm reforms both within the state and the country. The group committed to convening another roundtable to further advocate reforms.