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St. Louis faith leaders urge for more gun safety measures

"We've seen it against our seniors in Buffalo and now against our littlest of babies, this isn't the first time," Pastor Linda Settles said.

ST. LOUIS — At exactly 11:32 Thursday morning, St. Louis faith leaders met and demanded change on gun safety measures.

It's the exact time a gunman arrived at Robb Elementary School in Texas on Tuesday.

At the steps of Horizon Methodist Church in St. Louis, 32 of them congregated to share one message and that's to create a call of action.

Time and time again, they've prayed for different cities that face the same problem: mass shootings.

"We've seen it against our seniors in Buffalo and now against our littlest of babies, this isn't the first time," said Pastor Linda Settles.

The lead pastor of Manchester United Methodist Church, Reverend Andy Bryan, said bills like H.R. 8 may help.

This bill would bring universal background checks for gun purchases.

It's passed the U.S. House but still needs to pass the Senate. Some of the Senators who haven't gone for it are Missouri's Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Josh Hawley.

While we're miles away, the pain still overwhelms our hearts and the impacts of what potentially happens or doesn't happen can affect everyone.

"When one person weeps, we weep," Bryan said. "When one person mourns, we mourn."

Unfortunately, gun violence has ravaged communities and families here too.

So far this year in St. Louis city, 5 On Your Side's records show 56 children have been shot. Six were killed.

"The violence here in St. Louis is a cycle. We got lulled into a sense of acceptance about the reports and numbers that we see," Bryan says. 

Reverend Wendy Bruner with Peace United Church of Christ wasn't at the news conference but feels the same sentiment.

She believes more needs to be done. For now, mourning is at the forefront.

"Right now, we have to be able to grieve," Bruner said. "It’s imperative as a pastor, I need to address the congregation what does our sacred text say. We would understand that God’s dream for the world is about peace."

From there, it's boots on the ground to encourage others to do more.

"We need to vote, we need to get out the vote, register people to vote and educating people on the issues to vote," Bruner said. 

The faith leaders said coming together and to demand any sort of action is important. Maybe that can finally spark some change.

"Maybe just maybe if we continue to show up like we have done today, if we continue to stand up and speak, maybe just maybe someone in Jefferson City will hear," Reverend Darryl Gray said.

Archdiocese of St. Louis also sent a response in regards to the Uvalde shooting. 

Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, the Archbishop of St. Louis shares:

“Once again I join with people across the world in mourning yet another tragic act of violence, the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that has left so many innocents dead and injured, primarily young children and their teachers. May they and those who love them be comforted by Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who grieves the loss of every sacred, unrepeatable life. Let us pray fervently for divine guidance as our country seeks ways to address the dual crises of mental health and violence.”

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