Bishops lead march in Salt Lake City against gun violence

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Sixty bishops with the Episcopal Church who formed a group called Bishops United Against Gun Violence led a peaceful march through Salt Lake City Sunday morning.

They are calling for the U.S. government to enact stricter laws for the purchase and possession of firearms.

Salt Lake resident Carolyn Tuft was one of the victims of the Trolley Square Mall shooting in 2007. She was shot multiple times and then watched as her attacker fatally shot her 15-year-old daughter in the head.

“I have a story that needs to be heard,” said Tuft, who addressed the crowd at Sunday’s event. “I want to try to make a difference in this American problem and hopefully prevent other people from going through what I go through every day.”

Tuft joined members of the Episcopal Church Sunday morning as they peacefully marched through the streets in downtown Salt Lake City.

“We’ve got to do something about gun violence, and I believe the Episcopal Church is charged, at this particular moment, to lead the way for change of heart, because we are a church that believes in putting our faith in action,” said Gayle Stewart, a deacon of the Episcopal Church in Washington.

As part of their convention in Salt Lake City, the bishops led the march with members of their congregations.

“We have to stop this epidemic,” said Eugene Sutton, a bishop from Maryland. “So we’re here for common ground, for people across the divides of political identification, liberal, conservative, rich, poor, black, white - we’re all coming together to say we can put an end to this gun violence.”

They marched between the northwest corner of the Salt Palace Convention Center and Pioneer Park. Bishop Jeffrey Lee from the Chicago congregation says more people are calling for gun law reform after the country has been plagued by numerous mass shootings and violent attacks.

“As I read the polling numbers, a clear majority of people in the United States want sensible gun registration policies,” Lee said. “It’s remarkable to me that, in many places, it’s easier to buy a gun than a car.”

In a statement to Fox 13 News, Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, who actively supports gun carrying legislation, says while members of the Episcopal Church’s intentions are good, he believes it is the strictness of gun laws in South Carolina that helped the shooter to take innocent lives.

He says, in part: “Anti-gun laws actually plays into the hands of criminals. It argues that laws will stop bad people from committing their ill deeds, when in fact, they only restrict law-abiding citizens. Bad people simply ignore laws.”

The Episcopal bishops are asking members of their congregation to work with their legislators to enact stricter laws for gun possession and licensing.

“We can gather people of good will together into a common sense conversation about measures that may be available to us to do something instead of just read about it in the paper,” Lee said.

22 comments

  • Kathy

    I applaud them. It’s about time we take it to the Street. Unfortunately that’s where a lot of people are dying because of guns. to say I agree with President Obama somehow makes me unpopular. However if the clergy takes a stand it somehow makes sense. I don’t care how it happened I just want our streets to be safer, it should be safe to go to church and pray without being murdered. I’m not against the constitutional rights at the right to bear arms however something is seriously wrong in our country and now is the time to fix it.

    • Ivan

      A single act using planes took out more people that every other mass shooting event combined. The Timothy Mcvay bombing also took out more people than any mass shooting. All of these mass shooting events would be limited to just a few people if there weren’t laws to stop good people from carrying guns so they could protect themselves and their families.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Up through 1975 you could still buy dynamite and blasting caps at your local hardware store and people weren’t using it to blow each other up. The problem today Kathy isn’t the availability of firearms. The problem is the decline in morality and human decency.

      • bob

        You can buy dynamite TODAY. Ranchers and farmers use it all the time. If you have a mining claim you need it. It’s perfectly legal.

      • nate

        Problem is we need more Moral and good people that are armed to Stop the Criminals that Don’t obey gun control laws. which if anyone had half a Brain they’d realize that a bad person is going to do harm which whatever he can get. Its a fact that the highest crime rates are in places with the highest gun control laws. So really all gun control does is create defenseless innocent bystanders.

    • bob

      Biggest mass murder in U.S. history: Fertilizer.

      Biggest school massacre in U.S. history: Car bomb.

      Biggest mass shooting by a single individual ANYWHERE: Norway. (Strict gun control, on a continent with strict gun control. The only effect was that even the COPS couldn’t shoot back.)

      #1 rate of gun ownership, per capita: United States.
      #91 murder rate per capita: United States. (Canada is #89.)

      Wrong is wrong, Kathy. Being a sheep won’t protect you. A sheep’s only defense is denial.

  • ANOTHERBOB

    The only way to reduce the killings and murders in our country is to re-instill concepts of morality and decency. Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen be an ever increasing number of mothers have no idea who the fathers of their children are, and can’t teach their children concepts they themselves don’t understand.

    • Steve

      Really? Mothers not Fathers? Time for dads to step up. Quit complaining about women. We make up 50% of the parenthood in this world. We are the other half to blame. Quit making it seem like it is all women.

  • Joseph Morrow

    The idiot that thought Charleston would have been solved with more guns makes you worse than any villain in history. Since when, in all of history, have weapons of any kind been allowed in Church. You must be a Mormon who admired the Danites! Would you seriously suggest guns in the Temple? If so , you have the principles of ISIS and know nothing of the Man of Peace. Or do you not know ANY Christmas Carols? In this State sir you had better be an aberration that the LDS Church would never support with something like letting guns in Stake Centers, let alone the Temple. What an abomination to even think of it. If not, then it would be true that the LDS Church is not a Christian religion. Is that what you advocate. Can’t you just hear the Mormon haters to make news with pictures of gun totin family folk going to Sacrament Meeting! This despicable argument is why sensible gun control, even things like background checks and bans on the lethal weapons of war, assault weapons, designed to tear up as much tissue as possible, making them the last weapon to use for hunting. And like in the Wild West sir, no guns but law enforcement in places where there are women and children. Made Wyatt Earp a hero and was integral to the gunfight in the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, the town too tough to die. Please don’t even try to pull the 2nd Amendment out. I have a thing called the New Testament. This is about Church and that means my source trumps yours in HIS house!!!! Please, just once listen to Chris Christie- ” Sit down and shut up”.

    • bob

      Your kind of slavering hatred is a good reason for Mormons to have guns. But it’s also obvious that you know nothing about the issue.

    • Jan

      Joseph, calm down and move away from the alcohol. Your rant and anti-Mormon comments make me suspicious that you could be a candidate for the list of mass killers. Such hatred seems spooky in my mind. Take a pill and call your psychiatrist.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      You appear to have some mental issues Joseph. At the very least your rant is both childish and immature.

    • Brian

      Please explain how bullets going back toward the mentally disturbed gunman would have been a bad thing.

  • bob

    Obviously they’re not conservatives. We’re in favor of gun violence.

    That’s why gun shows are always bloodbaths.

    • Brian

      I totally agree with you, Bob. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve heard of these mass shootings in guns stores and at gun shows.

  • Parker

    I am Carolyn’s Tuft’s son Parker. I wish I could stand by her on her endeavor to stop gun violence. Good as her intentions are , and the intentions of the others, I would not trust the government with anything. Particularly trusting them with the knowledge that I have a gun. I do not know how people can still place trust in their government when they ignore basic rights afforded us by the constitution. If we could trust the government, this would be a different story. But I can only see abuse from more strict gun laws. Morality and personal responsibility is the answer.

    My mother says she does not want to take guns away from people, but this will enable those who support the agenda of gun confiscation. Namely the United Nations. I urge you all to research the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.Obama keeps referring to the success of Australia’s gun confiscation. The writing is on the wall people. Now that he has trade promotion authority along with TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) he can override the rule of law pertaining to the United States rule of law. Our national sovereignty has been shot down by the gun of tyranny. He can now force the gun grab he desires. We all have a responsibility to uphold our constitution. We must not let emotions get in the way and blind us from what is happening under the radar.

    I used to be on my mothers side, but being a victim of gun violence, I woke up to what is happening around our country. The media exploits our emotions to achieve a broader agenda. I have more reason to be emotional about this, but I cannot let it divert my attention from the silent destruction of our country. I hope to all that read this wake up to what is happening deep within our government. The worst enemy is the one from within.

    “Security without liberty is called prison.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

    • bob

      The way for violence to end is for individuals to stop being violent.

      Good news: Violence in America has been on a steep decline for DECADES. America has never been a more peaceful nation. That is a statistical fact.

      Yet the rate of gun ownership continues to skyrocket.

      Odd, that.

  • Jim Hall

    Why gun violence ? Why not just all violence ? Is other violence okay ? As a 30 year Episcopalian, and honest gun owner, it looks as if the Episcopal Church wants us gone . They are about to get their wish !

  • ANOTHERBOB

    The comment by JOSEPH MORROW above represents the thinking of the typical liberal on the subject of gun control. His thought process is one of the reaseons why I have several of these politically incorrect weapons.

  • Jo

    I am an Episcopalian, and honestly, I was put off by the “march”…to me it was shameless clergy showboating..now, if they had instead dressed in casual non-clerical attire and taken some food together to the homeless in downtown Salt Lake, or stood in the street with buckets asking for contributions to the homeless shelters in our area, that would have had way more impact. It’s easy to take the moral highroad, but much harder to actually make a difference on a personal level. Shame on all of them.

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