General Convention Witness on June 27 at Lunchtime

Bishops United Against Gun Violence will hold its General Convention Witness Against Gun Violence at Jefferson Square Park, two blocks from the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, on Thursday, June 27. The event will begin about 12:15 p.m., or shortly after the houses of convention recess for lunch. Everyone attending General Convention are invited to attend.

The gathering is planned to include remarks from the church’s next presiding bishop, who will have been elected the previous day. Other speakers include several young participants in Youth Working to End Gun Violence, an event sponsored by Bishops United that will bring more some 45 young people and 20 youth leaders from 13 dioceses to Christ Church Cathedral and the convention center for workshops and activities offered by Team Enough and leaders from the Diocese of Michigan, which helped organize the event.

Team Enough is led by Robert Schentrup, whose sister, Carmen, was killed in the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida in 2018. The Schentrups are Episcopalians and spoke at the Bishops United witness at the church’s General Convention in Austin in 2018.

Bishop Bonnie Perry, a co-convener of Bishops United, is a founder of End Gun Violence Michigan, which has lobbied successfully for several gun safety bills in that state. She and Bishops Ian T. Douglas and Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez, the other co-conveners of Bishops United, have submitted Resolution B004 on Commending Safe Gun Storage to this convention

Bishops United, which came together in 2013 after mass shootings at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has also held witnesses at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in Salt Lake City in 2015 and Baltimore in 2022.

The bishops’ network, which has more than 100 participants, supports handgun purchaser licensing, background checks on all gun purchasers, restrictions on gun ownership by domestic abusers, the classification of gun trafficking as a federal crime, encouragement of “smart gun” technology, federal funding for research into gun violence prevention strategies and the safe storage of firearms. It is active on advocacy on the federal and state levels across the country.

Bishops and clergy who wish to wear orange gun violence prevention stoles at the witness can purchase one in the convention center exhibit hall from Colleen Hintz of Fruit of the Vine Liturgical Arts.