United Methodists hold rally at state Capitol in support of gun safety legislation
Several hundred United Methodists gathered Wednesday at the state Capitol to rally for what they call common sense gun safety regulation.
The rally comes as multiple bills are moving through the Michigan Legislature that address safe gun storage and universal background checks, and create so called "red flag laws."
They also met with lawmakers and held a silent prayer vigil.
This effort arose from a nearly unanimous vote in June 2022 by the Michigan Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. The vote was a call to action to address gun violence in the aftermath of the 2016 mass shooting in Kalamazoo and of the Oxford High School shooting in November 2021.
Speakers said they were at the Capitol to celebrate and encourage the current momentum toward gun safety legislation.
Rev. Paul Perez read a statement by Bishop David Alan Bard of the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church.
"I understand that no single set of laws will eradicate gun violence," said Bard. "I'm also convinced that simply because we cannot do everything does not mean we should do nothing."
Bard said action is a must in a country where gun violence is the number one cause of death among children and teens.
"No one should fear for their lives as they engage in everyday activities like attending classes, going to dinner, shopping, and spending time in public," said Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) and a member of a United Methodist Church congregation.
Four people in Michigan died each day on average from firearm injuries in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control.