Policy / Combat the Epidemic of Mass Shootings and Gun Violence

Combat the Epidemic of Mass Shootings and Gun Violence

Southern Baptists believe that each person is made in the image of God, possessing immeasurable and inherent worth and value (Gen 1:27).  The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 defines mankind as “the special creation of God, made in His own image.” Southern Baptists also believe that government exists to combat evil and protect its people from those that would do harm (Rom. 13).

The threat of gun violence and mass shootings is a plague to our nation. 2023 was one of the deadliest years on record, with over 650 mass shootings. Gun violence also became the leading cause of death, outside of abortion, for children in the United States. Many have stopped asking “if” a tragedy could happen in their community and have begun to ask “when.”

Southern Baptists have called for proactive steps to be taken to combat this evil. In 2018, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention gave support for “preventative measures that would reduce gun violence and mass shootings while operating in accordance with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” and in 2022, messengers urged lawmakers “to take concrete steps, towards solutions that uphold the dignity and value of every human life, especially the most vulnerable among us, and to minimize the threat of gun violence throughout our society.”

Government has a role to play in protecting its citizens. Though there is no single solution outside of the gospel to the deep brokenness that fuels someone to take the life of another, that does not absolve lawmakers from taking actions that could protect vulnerable lives from mass shootings and gun violence. Just as we work to protect the vulnerable preborn life in the womb, so too, we work to protect the vulnerable child in the classroom, the teen in the city, or the innocent bystander in the community.

In many instances, sensible moves can be taken to increase opportunities for intervention that would prevent those who are struggling from hurting themselves or others. Though not always the case, many individuals who carry out mass shootings send signals to those around them that they intend to harm themselves or others. We should expand the tools available to help those individuals and empower families and loved ones around them.

The ERLC will advocate for measures consistent with these principles that prevent the loss of innocent life to the evil of gun violence and mass shootings and provide help to those suffering severe mental distress.

SBC Actions

Southern Baptists spoke to mass shootings and gun violence at the 2022 annual meeting through the Resolution On the Imago Dei and the Helpful Content Submitted in Several Resolutions and at the 2018 annual meeting through the Resolution On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings.

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Combat the Epidemic of Mass Shootings and Gun Violence

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