Local clergy, politicians and law enforcement joined together Friday to call for more action to curb gun violence in St. Louis.
The Missouri Conference AME Church is spearheading the effort, which includes a call for universal background checks; a ban on what they call assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and federal investment in urban areas most affected by gun violence. Reverend Robert Shaw says it’s crucial for church leaders to take a stand on the issue.
"We have a moral responsibility for whom we are called and for whom we represent regardless of the ecumenical faith. All religions, churches speak to life and as a church present in the community we have to say something," Rev. Shaw told St. Louis Public Radio.
James Clark with the local organization Better Family Life said that it’s time to address the issue of gun violence head-on.
"In our neighborhoods, gunshots and gun violence have been reduced to the levels of a car accident. Brothers and sisters, we’ve got to become sensitized to this issue, and we’ve got to be able to reach out to those who have their fingers on the trigger," Clark said.
Participants in Friday’s press conference also implored residents to tip off police to illegal guns in their neighborhoods.
They’ll observe a so-called “Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath” on April 14.