Office of Government Relations

The Time is Now to End Gun Violence

May 10, 2021
Office of Government Relations

Riley Goodfellow, research and policy intern with the Office of Government Relations, shares this important witness statement on ending gun violence. Listen or read below, then take action with us to support gun reform to strengthen and expand background checks, just one action of many that we need now.

As a young adult, I have grown up surrounded by the epidemic of gun violence. I am accustomed to practicing school shooting drills and learning the early warning signs of a person who may be dangerous. Every shooting is tragic. Yet, when they make the news, it is just another headline.

It has been 22 years since the mass shooting at Columbine High School. Leaving 15 dead, it was considered the worst school shooting in United States history. Since then, mass shootings in Blacksburg, Virginia; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Parkland, Florida, have all each claimed more lives than the shooting at Columbine. The list goes on and on and feels endless. As the U.S. slowly eases out of the pandemic, we have not seemed to avoid additional casualties.

On April 15, 2021, eight people were killed and seven injured in Indianapolis, Indiana. We remember the lives of Matthew R. Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Amarjeet Johal, Jaswinder Kaur, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Sekhon, Karli Smith, and John Weisert.

On April 17, 2021, nine children were injured at a 12-year old’s birthday party in Louisiana. In Columbus, Ohio five people were injured, and one killed while attending a vigil for a shooting victim. We remember the life of Latoya Carpenter.

On April 18, 2021, three victims were fatally shot and three injured in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while a shooter injured five people in Detroit, Michigan. In Shreveport, Louisiana six were injured and four injured in Montgomery, Alabama along with a life taken. We remember the lives of Cedric Gaston, Atkeem Stevenson, Kevin T. Donaldson, and Queneisa McReynolds.

On April 19, 2021, two people were killed and three injured in Houston, Texas. Five were injured in Atlanta, Georgia the same day. We remember the lives taken of Robert Palmer and the other unnamed victim.

It is clear we are becoming desensitized to these tragic events. If there are no casualties or only injuries, we consider it a relief, when we should be aiming for relief from any gun violence. The solution is not to take away all guns, but to make sure guns do not end up in the wrong hands. Too many years have passed without change and although it is important to respect the 2nd amendment, there must also be a way to prevent the loss of so many lives.

We remember the victims’ names. As our nation mourns the lives lost last week and those lost in previous shootings, we must mobilize together to advocate for much-needed gun safety reform. The Episcopal Church has long called for more sensible gun control legislation. It should not take another shooting, or a week full of them, to act. We are sorry for the loss of every community. Their lives cannot be in vain.

I am asking that as a country, we look at how an entire generation has grown up knowing that the unnecessary and preventable violence from guns goes unanswered. It is time to change that.

The Office of Government Relations