Tennessee’s Catholic bishops joined with other religious leaders in a letter imploring that state’s legislature and governor to enact gun safety laws in the wake of a mass shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, the state’s capital.
Three students and three adults were killed by a former student at the Covenant School, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, on March 27.
Bishops Mark Spalding of Nashville, Richard Stika of Knoxville and David Talley of Memphis supported the interfaith, non-partisan effort, which will also featured non-violent protests in Nashville.
The religious leaders urged the adoption of laws that would restrict access to guns by those who pose a risk to themselves or others and require comprehensive background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people with criminal records or mental health issues.
“Together, we agree on much more than we disagree and can work together to build a safer Tennessee,” the letter said.
“Offering our collective public support will help us all do the next right thing as we heal together.”
Despite the pleas from the state’s religious leaders, the Tennessee legislature adjourned for the year without enacting any gun safety measures.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Kentucky, the Archbishop of Louisville Sheldon Fabre will join other religious and civic leaders on Friday, 28 April at the Cathedral of the Assumption, for a gathering entitled “Broken Hearts, Anxious Minds, a Commitment to a Healthy Community”.
On 10 April, a man shot and killed five people at a bank in downtown Louisville and wounded eight others.
The event is being organised by the Center for Interfaith Relations, which has long been based at the historic cathedral.
“Our communities are in desperate need of spiritual leadership. It is time to put violence and its weaponry out of our hearts and hands,” said civic leader and philanthropist Christina Lee Brown, one of the event’s organisers.
“We want to demonstrate a commitment to empowering each of our suffering parishioners to realise a new vision of health with each religion’s foundational moral beliefs, thou shalt not kill and all life is sacred.”