Ecumenical Church Heads Call for Tighter Gun Control

Church leaders in the United States and the wider international community have called for tighter gun control following Monday's tragic mass killing at Virginia Tech.

The general secretary of the National Council of Churches, the Rev Bob Edgar, has called for "meaningful" legislation to put a stop to gun violence in America.

"Faith leaders have spoken up continually about the epidemic of gun violence in our country," Edgar said in a statement. "Despite repeated calls from faith and community leaders to Congress and presidents, nothing ever seems to get done to stem the tide."

Edgar, himself a former Member of Congress, criticized U.S. political leaders for failing to give gun violence enough attention.

"How many more will have to die before we say enough is enough? How many more senseless deaths will have to be counted before we enact meaningful firearms control in this country?

"How many more of our pastors, rabbis and imams will have to preside over caskets of innocent victims of gun violence because a nation refused to stop the proliferation of these small weapons of mass destruction?" said Edgar, who called for an end to the manufacture and "easy distribution" of firearms in the United States.

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, also criticized the "widespread availability of deadly weapons" highlighted by the fatal college shooting. .

Kobia expressed his "deep sorrow" over "this new horror of random violence" at Virginia Tech and called for "firm and appropriate controls" on the globalized trade in small arms.

The "pro-gun position adopted by the U.S. administration" has been "one of the major obstacles" to progress towards that goal, he said.