General Synod Statements: Gun Control

In 1977, the General Synod spoke out in favor of gun control. It adopted three resolutions, including:

  • To request the Congress of the U.S. to ban the manufacture and sale of handguns for civilian ownership.
  • To urge the members of the Reformed Church in America to render the handguns in their homes inoperable and/or enact stringent safety precautions for all weapons.
  • To urge the constituency of the Reformed Church in America to seek refinement and strict enforcement of present laws regulating gun ownership and use (MGS 1977: 200-201).

The 1988 General Synod reaffirmed the position taken in 1977 and resolved to share that position again with all RCA congregations, saying that:

In 1977 the General Synod took strong stands on gun control. The constituency of the RCA needs again to become aware of and speak out on this problem of our society.

There is a growing concern among those committed to the sacredness of human life that the U.S. is becoming an increasingly violent society. The proliferation of handguns is contributing to this violence. New factors are making the issue even more urgent. Some of our present laws are being diluted. The development of non-detectable handguns reduces the effectiveness of safety procedures on airlines and of overall detection of potential problems. (MGS 1988: 109).

In 2013 and 2014, overtures in favor of gun control came to General Synod and were not adopted (MGS 2013, pp. 169-170; MGS 2014, pp. 124-127). 

In 2018, the General Synod, in response to school shootings in the United States, directed the general secretary to write to the president of the United States, supporting strategies to reduce gun violence. It also urged churches to contact local politicians to promote common-sense actions to reduce gun violence. (CA 18-5, MGS 2018: 239)