Washington National Cathedral joins Americans across the country in mourning the tragic loss of four lives at Fort Hood on April 2. And we continue to pray for the families of those lost—including the shooter—and for healing for the 16 wounded by the gunfire.

Although the motives and mental health of yesterday’s shooter remain unclear, what does seem clear is that the combination of easy access to guns without background checks and the failures in our nation’s mental healthcare system are of utmost concern to those of us who are working to end the epidemic of gun violence in America.

We renew our call—issued at the national Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath just two weeks ago—for national legislation requiring background checks, and we again urge Congress to take steps to ensure proper medical and psychological healthcare for our veterans and active military personnel. Because we hold all life sacred, we mourn the loss of all to violence of any kind, including gun violence. We will continue to ask our elected leaders to act to reduce the number of gun deaths in America, and we will continue to pray for all those touched by this needless and senseless epidemic of gun violence in our land.

—The Very Rev. Gary Hall, Cathedral Dean

SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral