Calling gun violence a religious and moral issue, clergy from various faiths in Connecticut have signed a petition vowing to fight for stronger and saner gun laws in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.

The petition, organized by the Stamford-based Interfaith Council of Southwestern CT, has been signed by more than 200 clergy  members who are ready to fight for better gun laws and end the scourge of gun violence.

“Clearly this is the time to speak out and to act,” said Rev. Mark Lingle with St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford, who signed the petition. .

Lingle said gun control is matter of conscious. Originally from Minnesota and a believer in the Second Amendment, Lingle said there is a need for better gun laws and a ban on assault-type rifles like the one the gunman used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

Just one of hundreds of messages found in Newtown, Conn. following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

Just one of hundreds of messages found in Newtown, Conn. following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

Rev. Kate Heichler with Church of Christ the Healer  in Stamford who heads the interfaith council, said clergy need to be proactive in addressing the pervasive culture of gun violence in their communities. Clergy who have signed the petition intend to lobby state and federal lawmakers, as well as elected officials, to ”take action for sane and reasonable controls on the sale, purchase, and use of fire arms and ammunition.”

“Life and death are religious issues, anger, violence and vengeance are religious issues. As clergy we need to address those issues,” she said.

During his State of the State address on Wednesday, (Jan. 9) Gov. Dannel Malloy vowed to prevent a similar mass shooting like the one in Newtown from occurring again. Malloy has convened a commission to study gun control legislation in the state. Several lawmakers said they will propose bills to strengthen gun laws in the state. Proposals range from the elimination of access to assault weapons to taxing ammunition.

On Monday, (Jan. 14) the council is also sponsoring a community gathering on gun violence. The event, which is open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church on Walton Place in Stamford. The featured speaker will be Ron Pinciaro, the Executive Director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, who will talk abut legislative priorities to address gun violence.

To sign the interfaith council's petition click here. 

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