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Religious leaders bring ‘guns to plowshares’ to the State House

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Following the weekend services in which the religious leaders of three churches and one synagogue talked to their faith communities about gun violence, (see: ProJo article here)and launched a symbolic effort to transform guns into plowshares by literally turning over guns to artisans to be turned into farming tools, a group of about 75 people gathered on the Smith Street side of the Rhode Island State House to deliver cards and letters to General Assembly leaders and legislators urging the passage of common sense gun laws.

Over 1000 letters were carried in two baskets, one for the Senate and one for the House.

“We will not accept the conditions and laws that value guns more than human beings,” said the Reverend Elizabeth Lerner Maclay of the First Unitarian Church of Providence. “We are not waiting for the next shooting.”

“The safe schools act, (H7591 / S2289) which prohibits concealed carry in schools, must become the law of Rhode Island,” said Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman of Temple Beth-El in Providence. “The bill is overwhelmingly supported by the two constituencies that are most impacted by it: education leaders and law enforcement.”


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“60 percent of gun owners say personal safety and protection is their top reason for owning weapons,” said Reverend Jaimie Washam of the First Baptist Church in America, “We pray for freedom from fear and act today so that it will be so.”

After singing “Down By the Riverside” the crowd  lined up to pass through the metal detectors that prevent the public from bringing weapons into the State House, to deliver the letters to Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio.


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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com