The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas are outraged and saddened by the loss of nine lives and injuries to seven more in Allen, Texas. We offer our deepest sympathies and prayers for the families and victims of the mass shooting and to the community whose lives have been shaken by this horrible act. And we urgently and relentlessly add our voices to those saying it has been too long and our gun laws must change.
Statistically the second worst mass shooting in the United States this year, what is more concerning is that it is only one of 208 mass shootings in 2023. Each one leaves in its wake a trail of heartbreak and misery. As people of faith with a commitment to nonviolence, we know that even one of these is too many. Nowhere is safe.
The shooter wore tactical gear and carried an assault-style weapon at an outlet mall. He was able to carry out this horrific act because of the ease with which these guns can be obtained: 25% of all guns manufactured are AR-15s. The gun industry is profiting from these killings and made $11 billion from producing 13.7 million AR-15s in the 10 short years since the Sandy Hook tragedy. It is about the guns.
Our words of sadness and outrage are not new as we have expressed them far too many times before. We are not alone in these sentiments and polls show that amid the rising frequency of mass shootings, many more Americans favor gun control, including a ban on assault-style weapons.
We as a society have experienced the ongoing effects of a culture that glorifies the use of guns, does not prioritize the value of each human life, and often promotes violence. With each mass shooting we have seen the outrage grow, yet the violence continues. We as Sisters of Mercy are called to community and to actively demonstrate what it means to live a life of non-violence.
Non-violence is not passive. Just and immediate action is needed to end this cycle of misery. The Sisters of Mercy are not alone: We have joined with 50 other congregations of women religious in saying individual statements are not enough. We are stronger together, and we invite others to help create a culture of non-violence. We urge our leaders to put human lives above political expediency. Authorities must enforce existing gun laws and legislators must enact sensible regulations to restrict access to deadly weapons.