Letter: Hanover Forum on Gun Control

To the Editor:

Whenever we learn of mass shootings, particularly in places that we assume are safe, a sense of powerlessness sweeps over us. How can this possibly have happened again? How can our culture allow such unnecessary and preventable violence? How many children will die before we end the thrall in which the National Rifle Association has kept us captive?

Since the deaths in Newtown, Conn., we have learned more about the alliance between the NRA and American gun manufacturers. We have learned that the NRA has effectively stopped the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Administration from releasing full statistical information about gun deaths in the United States. We have learned that the NRA believes that schoolchildren are best protected from gun violence by mobilizing a volunteer army of armed guards in every public school — meeting violence with violence.

Everything in the Christian tradition of which I am a member shudders at this response, but my faith also teaches that we are not powerless against such reckless aggression. Restraint is also strength. Sometimes wisdom is simple common sense. Violence is rarely curbed by more violence.

The Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, would like to invite you to an open forum tomorrow at 4 p.m. The event is called “We Can Do Better.” We will provide child care. A number of elected representatives will be with us to listen, but we also want to hear from them how we can help bring about saner gun restrictions in New Hampshire. What do they need from us? What can we do to break through the gun lobby’s rhetoric and influence? Please join us at 40 College St. in Hanover. We will provide a hopeful place where we can talk together, because we believe we can do better and we refuse to be powerless.

Carla J. Bailey

Senior Pastor

The Church of Christ at Dartmouth College