Our hearts are broken once again with the news of another mass shooting in our nation.

Yesterday, twenty-six worshipers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, were killed by a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle. Their ages ranged from 5 to 72 years old. We pray for these victims and their families, for their fellow parishioners, friends, and neighbors, and for all of our sisters and brothers in the Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination to which this congregation belonged.

These killings took place on a day set aside for worship and praise like every other Sunday, in a place like other small and large towns in every state across the country. Yet we note with grief that this is the 307th mass shooting in the United States in 2017 alone. Were we to wait for a period of mourning to conclude, following such shootings, before addressing the need for sensible measures to reduce gun violence, we would never speak to the urgent need for our lawmakers to take action to prevent these tragedies.

Therefore, even in the wake of this slaughter, the National Council of Churches repeats our call for action that will remove high-powered weapons from the hands of ordinary citizens. Other proposals have been made to reduce gun violence, and we encourage elected officials to consider them and move forward expeditiously to help make our people safer and more secure.

One thing is crystal clear: more guns is a recipe for further deaths.

The latest version of this statement can be found here.

Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together thirty-eight member communions and more than 40 million Christians in a common commitment to God’s love and promise of unity.