Gun Violence Prevention Task Force
The GVPTF was formed in response to the tremendous impact that firearm violence has in our society – over 30,000 deaths and 50,000 non-fatal woundings annually. Of the deaths, the majority represent suicide, highlighting the public health nature of the epidemic. Colorado is in the top 5 states in suicides. Most suicide attempts using guns are successful. GVPTF was formed to bring attention and awareness to the issue, and to work to reduce the toll of gun related violence in our society.
Join our email list to get alerts about pending state and national legislation related to gun safety and other opportunities for civic action. To sign up, send an email to Jackson Turnacliff at email@example.com.
Fall 2017 Updates
Although our Task Force did not meet over the summer, Joan Chase continued to represent us at meetings of the Colorado Faith Communities United to End Gun Violence (CFCU). This year CFCU will focus on preventing gun suicides and on defining gun violence as a public health issue. Another important task will be convincing parents to ask about guns in the homes where their children play. In early August, thirty members of local clergy met at a CFCU sponsored breakfast to discuss ways to keep the issue of gun violence before their congregants.
This December we will again remember the victims who died at Sandy Hook five years ago. There will be a candlelightvigil December 13 at dusk on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and
Hampden. Gene Drumm is the member from our church who is planning this vigil.
Anyone interested in the issue of gun violence prevention should contact Jackson Turnacliff at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on an email list. Jackson will make sure you are informed of our upcoming meetings and actions.
June 2017 Updates
The world turned orange on National Gun Violence Awareness Day which was celebrated on June 3 at an event organized by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The motto was “Wear Orange” a color that hunters don in order to keep themselves safe from misdirected bullets. Several of our task force members marched in the parade from Highlands to Union Station and then staffed a table on the plaza, handing out campaign-style buttons and literature about our coalition, Colorado Faith Communities United Against Gun Violence. There were speakers and music and kids enjoying the numerous large water jets that gushed from the surface of the plaza, reminding us that it is this hope in the future that we seek most to protect.
Then, not two weeks later, we reeled as the news covered yet another attack. This time our congressional representatives were placed in harm’s way as a shooter assaulted the Republican baseball team which was practicing for a game to raise money for charity. The Republican Whip of the House of Representatives was seriously wounded as were four other people. There were incidents elsewhere in the same time frame. They were occurring while we remembered that June 12 marked the anniversary of the Orlando massacre, the deadliest gun slaughter in U.S. history and that on July 20, we will be remembering the fifth anniversary of the slaughter of twelve Coloradans who were killed in the Aurora theater shooting. The Congress does nothing but that need not be true of any of us. Call your United States representatives and demand that common sense gun legislation get passed. Tell them to vote “NO” on HR38, the concealed carry reciprocity bill. This bill allows anyone who is able to carry a concealed weapon in one state to carry it concealed in any other state regardless of training and licensing. It is shaping up to be a busy summer!
It was a bright orange sun set on Friday, night June 2 as the City and County Building glowed orange for Wear Orange Day on June 2.
CFCU members with State Senator Rhonda Fields and Rev. Rebecca Justice “Justi” Schunior, the new priest at St. Thomas Episcopal in the center.
Ready to take off from Hirshorn Park for the one mile walk to Union Station with our partners.
Gene, Gordon and Joan helping with outreach at Union Station.
The facts below were shared during the worship service on Sunday, September 25, 2016 as part of our participation in The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. Click on the links following each statistic to see the source of the numbers.
- One person is killed by a gun every 16 minutes. (CDC)
- There are over 12,000 gun murders in the US every year. (CDC)
- There have been over 170 school shootings since Sandy Hook (about one per week). (Everytown)
- 1,700,000 children and teens live in homes with unlocked guns which are loaded. (Pedatrics)
- America’s gun murder rate is more than the average of other developed
countries by 25 times. (American Journal of Medicine)
- Orlando: 49 killed on June 12, 2016 / US: 228 killed by gun week after Orlando nightclub shooting / Japan: 12 killed by gun all of 2013.
(Miami Herald; The Trace; Washington Post)
- In an average month in the US, 51 women are shot to death by their intimate partners. (Violence Policy Center)
- 48 children and teens are shot every day (over 17,500 each year). (Brady Center)
On September 25, 2016, the First Universalist Singers under John Hubert performs the Leonard Cohen “Hallelujah” with special messaging by CFCU members in front of 3 empty chairs.
Congregational Resolution Against Gun Violence
- Urging the Center for Disease Control to study and publish data on gun violence since this is a public health problem.
- Educating the public about the need for research, funding and appropriate support for those with severe mental illness.
- Maintaining the sensible gun violence prevention laws enacted in Colorado.
- Requiring any purchaser of a firearm to undergo a rigorous background check.
- Speaking out for our convictions on this issue to legislators as well as in town meetings and to the media.
- Continuing to partner with interfaith groups and community activists.
The goals of the GVPTF are:
Research and Education
- To gather information about the problems of gun violence.
- To educate our congregation and community about these issues.
- Have Sunday morning Community Forums on gun issues.
- Maintain a kiosk in Friendship Hall with literature from various organizations staffed by well-informed people who can answer questions.
- Work with the Worship Committee for a Sunday morning devoted to gun issues.
Outreach and Collaboration
- To reach out to other faith communities in the Denver area and collaborate on finding ways to reduce gun violence in our society & help solidify the formation of a coalition of faith communities against gun violence.
- To join forces with groups such as Colorado Ceasefire, Everytown for Gun Safety, Hunters for Gun Safety.
- To collaborate with the UUA and UU communities in the Denver area on gun violence prevention activities and actions.
- Plan UU events in the Denver area that are devoted to gun issues.
- Encourage people to actively express their views against gun violence by participating in demonstrations, vigils, circulating petitions, and other actions to influence legislators and the public.
- Work with the UUA and GA to address the issue and update their resolution on gun violence prevention.