Support common-sense gun legislation

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Background: On February 27, the House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8), to require background checks for all firearm sales, including private, online and gun show sales. Polling shows broad public support among both Republicans and Democrats for expanded background checks. A companion bill, S. 42, has been introduced in the Senate but needs grassroots support if it is to move forward.

Separately, the Trump administration recently announced changes to make it easier to sell guns and other weapons overseas. Legislation has been introduced to block these changes (H.R. 1134, S. 459).

Faith reflection: “May the triggers of our streets be beaten into plowshares. May the triggers of our hearts be met with the open arms of our neighbors. May we trust in the transformative power of your refining fire. Forge us to be instruments of your peace.” –Excerpt from prayer by Mike Martin, in A Loaded Conversation: An invitation to talk about guns

Contact Congress today.

Action alert updated February 28, 2019 by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director.


  1. Arlen Epp

    Dear Senators Young and Braun: Please support HR 8 and S 42, two bills focused on background checks for the purpose of purchasing guns. There is very strong bipartisan public support for this action including up to 90% of the public according to the sources I have seen. Also, please support HR 1134 and S 459 to prevent the Trump Administration from selling guns abroad more easily. We must curb the spread of violence. If you accepted financial aid in any form from the NRA please return that money to them and become advocates for a safer less violent world. I am a person of faith and I believe my faith and the Christian faith call all of us to reduce violence in every way possible. This is one way to begin to reduce some of the violence in our world. Another would be to support legislation to stop the US involvement in the many military engagements it is involved in around the world. I understand that these wars are good for the military industrial complex. They are not good for people. The excessive billions that the US spends on military enterprises is unnecessary. We are far and away the strongest military power in the world. This money needs to be used for peaceful purposes such as infra structure, medicare for all, affordable universal health insurance that covers all medical expenses, to refurbish our public schools across the country and many other humanitarian and justice related causes. – Arlen Epp

  2. jammer20p

    Instead of the usual claims that our legislation is popular or common sense, we should provide
    1) factual analysis of what problem we purport to address.
    2) factual analysis of how proposed legislation would address said problem.
    3) factual analysis of potential burden this legislation will impose on regulatory systems.
    4) factual analysis of negative impact on non criminal populations.

    It takes courage to turn away from the popular – and false – narratives and look at truth. Very, very uncomfortable.

  3. James Kauffman

    Your references include the Loaded Conversation An Invitation to Talk About Guns document, which claims that ” These perspectives represent findings from a survey answered by 264 people across Anabaptist churches, as well as 10 in-depth interviews done with people across a diverse demographic.” Where can we find the presentation of this survey and results?

  4. Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

    The survey was posted on MCC’s Facebook page and also sent to representatives from MCC’s supporting denominations. In addition, MCC staff interviewed individuals to ensure that a variety of perspectives on this issue were represented. The results of the survey inform the resource, A Loaded Conversation, but were not compiled for public presentation.

  5. James

    RLS – thanks for your response. It’s helpful to know that the information is undocumented.

  6. James

    RLS, I’m getting more concerned about the “broad public support” for this bill. What if we have been misinformed? For example, MCC’s Washington E-Memo of Feb 4 includes this documentation in support of this bill: “On January 8, 2011, Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in Tucson, AZ. On January 8, 2019, House Democratic leadership introduced a bill requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases.” MCC’s juxtaposition implies the background check legislation relates somehow to the shooting. But Jared Loughner PASSED the background check, actually showing the ineffectiveness of the system.
    In a similar vein, ChD (not her/his real name) of MCC writes that “40% of gun sales occur without a background check”. The Washington Post Fact Checker rates this comment as 3 Pinocchios in 2013 in response to Barack Hussein Obama – and 3 Pinocchios in 2015 for Hillary Clinton – and 4 Pinocchios in 2018 for Bernie Sanders. The NRA rates this statement as FALSE. rates this statement as FALSE. WUSA9 found this statement was FALSE. rates this comment as FALSE. Where does ChD get her/his 40% number? A study of 251 people conducted in 1994, before the background check system was operational. That analysis concluded that 35.7% of gun owners did not get their gun from an FFL. This includes purchases, as well as guns received as gifts and inheritances. ChD simply rounds 35.7 up to 40, and ignores the gifts and inheritances label. Jens Ludwig, an author of the 1994 study, tells us the old data actually shows 14-22% of sales occurred without a background check. Unpublished data from the 2004 National Firearms Survey show that 9% of firearm transfers were private sales. In 2015 Miller et al determined that 22% of gun owners acquired a firearm without a background check.
    In a similar vein, MCC reports that “gun shows are totally unregulated platforms, where criminals can obtain their weapons of choice”. But reading form 4473 and its instructions shows that Federal background check laws are the same for all venues, whether that be gun shows, flea markets, stores, alleys, or my front yard. Many states have ADDITIONAL restrictions on gun shows. The Columbine shooters were clear examples of criminals who not only were unsuccessful at purchasing guns at a gun show, but also couldn’t find their ‘weapon of choice’ at a gun show. One NIJ study reported that 2% of criminal guns came from gun shows. A recent survey by DOJ found that 0.8% of criminals got their gun at a gun show.
    In a similar vein, MCC has repeatedly claimed that the Machin-Toomey bill (an older universal background check bill) would have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting. This assertion is unsupportable, since Adam got the guns from his mother, and Manchin-Toomey (as does the subject bill) exempts gun transfers between family members.
    Perhaps most of us who are demonstrating “broad public support” for this bill have simply been mislead. RLS, what do you think the broad public support is based on? And, are we doing the right thing in supporting this bill?

  7. Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

    The reference to “broad public support” links to polling from the Pew Research Center in October 2018. It indicates that 85 percent of Americans support background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows (91 percent of Democrats polled and 79 percent of Republicans polled).

    As far as the 40 percent of gun sales happening without background checks, the percent varies widely by state but you are correct that more recent statistics put it closer to 22 percent nationally ( While background checks alone will not end gun violence, “in states that go beyond federal law and require background checks on point-of-sale check and/or purchase permit, there are lower rates of firearm homicide, firearm suicide and firearm trafficking” (

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