April 09, 2018

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kim Jenne, Director of Connectional Ministries
kjenne@moumethodist.org
(573) 441-1770
 
PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED IN ST. LOUIS for 11:15 AM, April 11, 2018
Missouri Faith Leaders oppose proposed change to state law allowing concealed weapons in houses of worship
 
SPEAKERS
The Most Rev. Robert Carlson, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis
The Rev. Bob Farr, Bishop of the United Methodist Church in Missouri
The Rev. Charles Norris, Vice-President St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition
Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg, St. Louis Rabbinical Association
The Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
Leaders representing other communities of faith.
 
WHERE: Catholic Charities 4445 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63108
 
WHEN: 11:15 AM, Wednesday, April 11, 2018
 
As religious leaders in Missouri:
 

  1. We are troubled by the epidemic of gun violence affecting our community. We mourn with those who are affected by recent heavily publicized shootings, and we witness that gun violence disproportionately affects many of our most vulnerable communities, including communities of color.
     
  2. We wish to acknowledge that many faithful people of good will are gun owners, including several of the bishops and faith leaders standing together to make this statement. There is a role for responsible gun ownership in our society.
     
  3. We oppose the current proposal before the Missouri House to amend our conceal carry law. Our pastors, rabbis, and leaders should not have to place signage in our sacred spaces to prevent weapons from entering. We stand together and object to this proposal. Such a change would be a violation of our First Amendment rights. Additionally the proposal could threaten the public safety of our religious school campuses and day care centers as "conceal carry zones" are extended into these places. We urge the leadership of the Missouri Legislature not to enact this proposal.
     
  4. We urge the Missouri House to consider new legislative priorities such as banning “bump stocks,” limiting high capacity magazines, better access and resources for mental health care, and strengthening background checks.
     
  5. We hope and pray that the political leaders of our State will overcome partisan divisions for the sake of safety. As leaders of differing faith traditions, we are united in the belief that life is a gift from God. We lament the polarization of the “gun issue.” In our public work to end violence, we must work together.
We encourage all people of faith to contact Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson to voice their opposition to this proposed change in law, and to encourage a more sensible conversation around gun safety. The Speaker can be reached at (573) 751-4039 or todd.richardson@house.mo.gov

Click here to read Bishop Farr's statement on gun violence.