Gun Violence Task Force


 The Task Force was created to implement the "Resolution to Reduce Gun Violence" passed at the Conference Annual Meeting in June 2013.

Contact:  Christopher Ashley, Chair


Letter to Congregations and Members of the Vermont Conference, United Church of Christ. Approved by Department of Mission January 25, 2014 and by the Board of Directors February 1, 2014:

In June of 2013 the Annual Meeting of the Vermont Conference adopted the following resolution asking our elected representatives to support gun safety legislation both in Vermont and at a national level. The action steps of the resolution stated:

Be it resolved that the Vermont Conference, United Church of Christ calls upon individuals, congregations, and the Conference Office to:

+prayerfully consider actions which lessen the prevalence of gun violence in our communities and
+contact State and Federal legislators, Governors, and the President and ask those officials to support legislation which would:

-Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
-Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America.
-Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers” (those who arm criminals).

Be it further resolved that the Vermont Conference submit this resolution to the National Synod of the United Church of Christ asking for a similar effort on a national level.

For the complete Resolution, click here.

The debate at the meeting contained a range of viewpoints and proposed amendments. For a summary of the complete debate, click here.  The vote is recorded on page 10.

In response to this vote, the Conference created a task force to support member churches and individual members if they choose to have a dialog concerning this important topic. In order to help you prayerfully consider these actions the Task Force is sending this letter and providing additional resources. A sample letter to Vermont legislators is also included if a congregation or an individual member would want to write to them. (See below for attached documents.)

In Peace,

Task Force members:

Christopher Ashley, Norwich Congregational Church UCC, Norwich
Margaret Campbell, Bethany Church UCC, Randolph
Betty Edson, Bethany Church UCC, Randolph

Members from Other Denominations: Mickie Richards, Neil Richards

Useful Links
"SPEAKING THE WORD, BUT NOT the word"  a sermon by Betty Edson

 Gospel citations to consider

Questions for reflection and discussion


The state of gun violence in the US, explained in 7 minutes


●  Norwich UCC 3 Voice Litany


Links to Documents for Background Information

GUN FIGHT – The Battle Over The Right To Bear Arms In America  Written by Adam Winkler 

Review by Margaret Campbell

Sandy Hook Promise - this presents a helpful and inclusive tone to frame discussions.  The grieving Sandy Hook families call on us to engage in conversation; as people of faith how do we answer their call.


UCC Document from General Synod 20 (1995) that is very similar to the resolution adopted by the Vermont Conference in June 2013


2008 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling - District of Columbia v. Heller (128 S. Ct. 2783)

Summary from Parents Against Gun Violence

Actual Decision


Gun Violence Statistics from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence


Gun Safety Advice for Parents - adapted from the National Rifle Association (NRA). There is general agreement on these recommendations by all sides of the discussion.


Links to Documents Specific to Vermont

Vermont Dept. of Health - Gun Death Statistics

Article about Suicide in Vermont from VTDigger.Org

GunSense Vermont "Learn More" contains information regarding the status of gun related concerns for Vermont

Child Safe Vermont - 10 Facts About Gun Safety and Children

Summary of Vermont’s gun laws from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Links to Documents from the Medical Community

Article on firearm legislation and firearm-related fatalities in the United States (American Medical Association)

Article on the silencing of research on gun safety (American Medical Association)

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Study on the question of whether guns improve individual safety

Additional Information



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