In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and the ensuing highly-charged public debate over gun control legislation, SOUTH DAKOTA FAITH IN PUBLIC LIFE engaged in the study of gun violence in the United States. Special speakers included pro and anti-gun legislation advocates, including a member of the NRA, a Sioux Falls Police Department detective, and an Augustana College faculty member who described America’s historic myth of redemptive gun violence. We examined the public positions of more than 18 religious bodies (Gun Control, Religion and Politicians), looking for common values and ideas. We engaged in personal research at a more intensive level than on any previous study topic, and circulated the articles we judged to be most important.
The public action phase of this study included a forum in November, 2013 that brought together clergy in a joint meeting of the Siouxland Evangelical Ministerial Association and the Sioux Falls Ministerial Association. We shared the highlights of what we had learned, and moderated respectful discussion among the clergy, using a draft of our faith-based statement on reducing gun violence as a platform for discussion.
Our final statement, entitled Reducing Gun Violence- A Platform Proposed by South Dakota Faith in Public Life, was shared with city officials, state legislators, our governor and the local newspaper.