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Indianapolis faith leaders demand action from elected officials to help stop gun violence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Monday, Indianapolis lost its 76th neighbor in a shooting on Brouse Avenue.

The homicide pushed the city’s record even further, compared to this time last year when IMPD recorded 47 murders.

Sunday night, faith leaders from Butler-Tarkington churches shared their concerns and possible solutions with the community during a candlelight vigil. But their call for change is going beyond that gathering.

“We knew that this was a time for us to not just shake our heads and say isn’t that so sad. but rather to stand up, speak up and invite the community to join in and say no there are things that we can do and we wanna get busy doing them,” Leah Gunning Francis, vice president of academic affairs at Christian Theological Seminary, said.

The group is taking its requests all the way to the top and asking Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to declare gun violence a public health crisis and unlock state resources to help. Members said they also called on Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun.

They are also calling on lawmakers to enact gun reform laws including universal background checks and veto any laws that increase the presence of guns in communities.

Finally, they are asking the governor to set aside at least 5% of the state’s American Rescue Plan funds to be used to support community-based violence reduction groups.

“I hear kind of a lot of times in people’s voices a weariness because we go through this cycle over and over and over again and it’s sort of this resignation that nothing will be done and I think as communities of faith we need to hold up hope that there is action, that progress is possible,” Jamie Hinson-Riecer, director of ministry at Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, said.

Mary Dicken, a pastor at Meridian Street United Methodist Church, said the increase in homicides and mass shootings should shock elected officials.

“At some point we have to stop prioritizing guns over human life,” Dicken said.

The group of faith leaders said at all of their churches or places of worship, they have started listing off names of each person killed by gun violence in Indianapolis.

News 8 reached out to Holcomb for comment but has not heard back yet.