The use of ghost guns in U.S. crimes has risen more than 1,000% since 2017.
— U.S. Department of Justice
After meeting and talking at a Justice Conference for Women Religious (JCWR) in St. Louis, MO, a group of sisters from more than 50 congregations formed a national coalition: “Nuns Against Gun Violence.” We partner to combat gun violence by working for justice in the following areas:
- legislative – at local, state and federal levels
- pastoral – to help heal and provide trauma support to survivors
- cultural and communal – to change the narrative on gun violence and its many manifestations across patriarchy, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, white supremacy, and religious nationalism.
I am proud that the Felician Sisters of North America are part of this group. As a former teacher, I am horrified whenever I hear of school children being victims of gun violence. In my home state of Connecticut, I recently prepared testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee, in support of our governor’s bill to make Connecticut’s ban on ghost guns more enforceable.
Ghost guns are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. They are often sold through “ghost gun kits,” are widely available and can be purchased by anyone, including prohibited purchasers, domestic abusers, and gun traffickers — without a background check. Both the kits and guns are sold at gun shows and online every day throughout the country. They undermine all of the life-saving policies that state legislatures have fought so hard to put in place, and they represent an increasing threat to public safety.
In my own home state, from 2020 to 2021, the number of ghost guns seized in Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury more than tripled, to 53. In those three cities in just the first three months of 2022, 34 ghost guns had been recovered. Moreover, ghost guns are finding their way into the hands of school shooters. The law should require that all ghost guns be registered.
Community gun violence is an urgent crisis that demands a substantial public health response to save lives. As a longtime advocate for violence prevention policies, the American Public Health Association recognizes that a comprehensive public health approach to addressing this growing crisis is necessary.
We all can take action!
We can join together to read the names and stories of victims, pray for their families and friends and commit to dismantling the gun violence that is devastating our nation. Many of our sisters in care centers make frequent calls to government leaders demanding change. Join them by calling:
- Senate Majority Leader Schumer at 202-224-6542 House Speaker McCarthy at 202-225-2915
- Ask for a vote on an Assault Weapons Ban to end easy access to deadly weapons of war.
Sign a petition to support ghost gun regulation at: ActionNetwork.org.