How does a community solve a problem?

First, it identifies the problem. We’ve done that! Our state has the fourth-deadliest rate of gun homicides and exports the fifth-highest rate of guns used in crimes in other states. We care too much about protecting our children, loved ones and neighbors to keep letting guns fall in the wrong hands!

Second, it forms a team to address the problem. We’ve done that, too! In just over a year since the Emanuel AME killings, Gun Sense SC has created a membership of over 1,200 South Carolinians — clergy, health-care professionals, teachers and volunteers from all walks of life — who support the Second Amendment right to lawfully own firearms but know that we can’t keep allowing 40% of guns to be sold without background checks. Just like the 84% of South Carolinians who support universal background checks in the latest statewide poll, and the 82% of gun owners nationally.

Third, it links arms with groups who care… and that’s what Stand-Up Sunday does. Last year over a thousand SC congregations stood together on Stand-Up Sunday to address gun violence and to ask our legislators to close this dangerous gap in our gun laws. Even more are expected to join for Stand-Up Sunday 2!

We can’t just mourn over the nine South Carolinians dying from gunshots every five days and the 32,000 Americans a year. And we can’t just pray. Will your faith community participate in Stand-Up Sunday on January 29… or Stand-Up Sabbath on that same weekend, if your congregation meets on another day?

We know it’s time to act when…

  • Our churches and temples are hiring armed security to guard their congregations.
  • Our teachers and children are hiding in lockdown drills to prepare for a gunman on the loose in our schools.
  • 90% of crime guns are being sold by 5% of dealers. That can happen only when moral people are silent.

The South Carolina Christian Action Council and the heads of nearly every major denomination have supported Stand-Up Sunday/Stand-Up Sabbath. We have momentum in the wake of four statewide hearings in September and October in which legislators heard the pain in our communities over our state’s inaction on this critical moral and public-health issue. But we need to link our arms and raise our voices now!

Here are the suggested components of Stand-Up Sunday 2:

  • Invite the state senator and representative from your voting district to your service.
  • Commemorate the victims: Invite your congregation members to stand and declare the names, ages and occupations of loved ones lost to gun violence and/or victims of mass shootings
    such as Orlando, Newtown and Aurora.
  • Have your choir sing a song that resonates with this issue.
  • Make gun violence the focal point of the day’s sermon. (See the Talking Points for reference points.)
  • Encourage members to sign prepared letters to legislators as they exit the service that day — unless they’d like to write their own, which would be even more powerful. We’ll provide
    those form letters to your congregation so you can have them waiting at a few fold-up tables set up just outside the church that day.
  • Encourage members to sign a pledge to continue this work, providing their names and email addresses on a sign-up sheet that can be passed around or found at the tables where letters to legislators can be signed so that Gun Sense SC can stay in touch.
  • Provide us with the name and contact info of a point person in your congregation to liaison with Gun Sense SC so we can continue to work together to reduce gun violence in ways that don’t threaten the right of citizens to lawfully own firearms.

This is how a community takes on a problem.

Please ask your clergy if your congregation is participating in Stand-Up Sunday 2 to make South Carolina a safer place to live, learn and worship!

And please email standupsundaySC@gmail.com to let us know that your congregation’s STANDING UP… or to answer any questions you might have!