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It’s Time for the Church to Start Taking Gun Violence Seriously

Every 16 minutes in America, someone is killed by a gun. Something is broken. Read More

The retail chain Target is joining a growing list of companies—that now includes Starbucks, Chipotle, Chili’s and Sonic—asking customers not to bring firearms to their stores. And, like in several of the other cases, the action was the result of a backfire by an “Open Carry” pro-gun activism group. When the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America came across an image of a bunch of dudes walking around Target with large, military-style assault rifles, they successfully petitioned the company to institute the ban. (As noted in Huffington Post, the irony of a store called “Target” whose logo is literally a identical to an actual shooting range target is not lost here) ... Discuss

One person was killed and two others injured yesterday when a 26-year-old named Aaron Ybarra opened fire on students at Seattle Pacific University. Authorities say Ybarra is not a student at the Christian college, which was first founded as a seminary. According to a report in The Seattle Times, the gunman was pepper sprayed and tackled by a student working as a building security monitor when he stopped to reload his shotgun.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said students "put themselves in real danger to protect classmates from further violence and to aid and comfort the victims ...Those selfless and brave acts should remind us of the indomitable spirit of young people," he said."

Ybarra has been taken into custody, while police are still trying to determine a motive ... Discuss

This is what you call a backfire. Over the weekend, gun rights advocates decided to bring assault rifles into a Texas-area Chipotle as part of an “open carry” event. Apparently, other customers weren’t exactly comfortable enjoying their lunch alongside heavily-armed activists wielding loaded, military-style firearms. Just days later, representatives from the company announced a new policy that asks burrito-lovers to not bring their guns to the stores. "Recently participants from an 'open carry' demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers' anxiety and discomfort," they said in a statement, also asking gun owners to leave their weapons at home while dining in. It’s unclear at this point how Chipotle will enforce their new policy ... Discuss

More than 1,300 guns and knives have been recovered in violence-plagued neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic during a month-long “guns-for-Bibles” campaign. The initiative was led by local authorities and church leaders, who were seeking to find a way to combat a crime epidemic in areas like Santo Domingo, which had become so bad, military soldiers were patrolling the streets. A local pastor who helped organize the program told the Spanish news site AconrecerCristiano.com, “When they say they won't continue with that knife, and prefer a Bible instead, that is transformation and a blessing for our country" ... Discuss

A new study conducted by teams at Ohio State University and the Annenberg Public Policy Center has found that in major blockbusters, gun violence is more common in movies rated PG-13 than movies that are rated R. The researchers looked at the 30 highest grossing films for each year from 1950 through 2012, and founded that since 1985, the amount of gun violence in films rated PG-13 has been rising “considerably.” And while MPAA standards on issues like the use of profanity, nudity and sexual content are relatively clearly defined, acceptable levels of violence and gunplay in films marketed to teens is an area that is often not as obvious.

Researchers have even suggested that there could be a link to exposure to gun-related entertainment and actual acts of aggression, because of a phenomenon known as the “weapons effect.” In their research, they said, “By including guns in violent scenes, film producers may be strengthening the weapons effect and providing youth with scripts for using guns.” Evidently, blockbuster filmmakers have just run out of original ideas and are now simply employing the Michael Scott philosophy of screenwriting … Discuss