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Northern Yearly Meeting Minute on Gun Safety

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Northern Yearly Meeting Minute on Gun Safety

In the wake of the recent mass shootings at the grocery store in Buffalo, NY, and the school in Uvalde, TX, there appears to be a better chance than there has been in a long time of passing gun safety legislation at both the national and state level, and of improvements to social services, mental health services and law enforcement needed to prevent gun violence. Business Meeting at NYM Annual Session 2022 approved a minute in support of this effort, which will be sent to national legislators in the NYM region. To be most effective this minute should be sent to state and national legislators and executives by as many Friends as possible.

The Minute on Gun Safety is intentionally vague about the details of the policies that should be enacted, and Friends are encouraged to include the details of weapon bans, purchase restrictions, red flag laws, etc., that they wish to support. The language used in your message should also be crafted for your legislator. For instance, polls show strong public support for strong gun laws, even among conservative gun owners, and that support is increased if it is framed as "gun safety" rather than "gun control". There are many national organizations that can provide language for action if you need help. Here is a list of the most prominent ones.

Please use the language in the text of the NYM Minute on Gun Safety to send letters to your legislators supporting gun safety legislation and encourage others to do so as well. 


Minute on Gun Safety

Northern Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Approved in NYM Annual Session meeting for business on 5/29/2022

We call on all Friends to denounce the prevalence of gun violence and work to heal our communities though true, peaceful fellowship. We have crafted the following minute to share with our elected officials as one action we can take, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. This minute intentionally does not endorse specific legislative goals. Friends are urged to send this minute to their senators and representatives with a letter stating the gun safety recommendations that they feel are needed. 

As Quakers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota gather for our Annual Meeting on Memorial Day weekend 2022, our hearts are broken by the killing of 19 children, two teachers, and a young man barely older than his victims in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and the racially driven murder of ten people at a Buffalo New York grocery store the week before. We hold everyone affected by these attacks in the healing Light of God. While such mass shootings grab the headlines, the much greater gun violence toll from daily individual acts of domestic violence, retribution, suicide, and accidents receives little attention. 

For over 300 years, peace and non-violence have been at the center of our witness as a religious body. We know that we live in a society that glorifies guns as symbols of power, manliness, and rebellion. We also know that gun violence will only truly end when we can touch and heal the broken hearts of those who feel that shooting people is a heroic or necessary act or is the only way to get attention. 

Research shows that most of the death and injury from gun violence can be prevented if we are willing to act, and act we must, in many ways. We call on our state and national legislators to pass meaningful legislation to reduce access to guns. We call for an increase in access to counselling, social services, and mental health care to support the prevention of these violent acts. We call on all citizens to work for the cultural change necessary to end the allure of gun violence.