We, the Pittsburgh Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers), are united in our desire to see effective national legislative action to curb gun violence.
Quakers throughout history have stood on the side of peace and nonviolence. Just as we believe that "war is not the answer" as a way of settling international disputes, we also believe that "guns are not the answer" for settling personal disputes or as a tool that promotes personal safety.
The present epidemic of gun violence has deep roots involving many social issues: mental health, culture, social inequalities, poverty and more. These issues must be addressed. Peaceful conflict resolution is a sober process of distinguishing the positions people take from their real interests. It requires wisdom and patience to see common ground amid apparently irreconcilable positions.
Violence is not only about guns, and gun violence is not only about mass killings. However, a first step toward a commitment to peace, to an end to violence, is addressing the proliferation of guns in our society.
This seems like a tall order. Yet, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and other countries with which we have a close kinship have accomplished impressive reductions in gun violence through strong gun regulation measures.
We ask that our political and faith leaders champion effective actions to reduce gun violence and ensure that current and future generations may live free from the threat of gun violence.
Let us be courageous and work for peace.
Religious Society of Friends