The DC Area Interfaith Gun Violence Prevention Network (Interfaith Network) is pleased to offer this toolkit as a resource that clergy or individual congregants can use to promote gun violence prevention (GVP) efforts in their religious congregations. Our hope is that it will serve as a practical, helpful guide to educate, engage, and activate more congregations to advance GVP both in their own faith communities and in civil society and thereby help to save lives, the major goal of the GVP movement.
Religious congregations can help Americans voice their concerns about the national epidemic of gun violence. In 2022, over 48,000 Americans were killed by guns and more than 100,000 were wounded. Since 1968, more Americans have died from domestic gunfire (more than 1.5 million) than were killed in all U.S. wars since the American Revolution (about 1.2 million). In addition to those killed or wounded by guns, millions of Americans have experienced the trauma of gun violence incidents or live with the constant threat of gun violence, and millions of Americans have been the victims of crimes committed with a gun. (See Chapters 15-18 of the toolkit for more information and citations.)
The toolkit has five main sections covering (1) faith perspectives on gun violence; (2) communal prayer services or reflections from various faith traditions; (3) facts about gun violence and gun laws in the United States; (4) ways congregations can address gun violence, including through advocacy and enhancing the security of their houses of worship; and (5) various resources, including information about the Interfaith Network. The toolkit is updated periodically to reflect current data.
The toolkit represents a number of faith traditions, including Jewish, Christian, Unitarian Universalist, Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim. The first section of the toolkit shows how GVP efforts reflect core principles and values of the respective traditions, and the second provides suggestions and resources for communal services expressing those principles and values.
Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, which has representatives on the Interfaith Network, is honored to host the toolkit on this website.