We, the members of the Coordinating Council of the Maine Conference, United Church of Christ, call upon President Barack Obama, Gov. Paul LePage and our federal and state elected officials to ban the possession and use of assault weapons by members of the general public.

As Christians, we are called to resist the violence that pervades our culture. We recognize our capacity to act violently, in ways that can be unpredictable and hard to understand.

All of us are familiar with the violence of our daily life. None of us is sheltered from its threat. We have grown accustomed to the slaughter of innocent life.

Our media and art reflect this reality, as do our rising expenditures on security and avoidance of activities formerly considered safe.

Assault weapons, while only one aspect of this violence, are an icon of our tolerance of the inadequately restrained capacity of armed persons to harm others.

We ask our state and federal elected representatives to adopt legislation that:

* Bans the sale and possession of assault weapons by individuals.

* Bans the sale and possession of large capacity ammunition magazines by individuals.

* Requires background checks and safety courses prior to all sales of guns, including sales at gun shows and between private individuals.

Richard W. Cowles Jr.

Interim conference minister

Maine Conference UCC

Yarmouth

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