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The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts bought 200 shares of stock from American Outdoor Brands — the parent company for gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson — as a means to address the problem of gun violence. Their (very) minor ownership of the company now gives them a say in how the company does its business.

Two hundred shares is the minimum number needed to place an initiative question on the ballot before shareholders at American Outdoor Brands’ annual meeting.

The diocese and its partners are calling for universal background checks, smart gun technology that would stop a gun from working if in the hands of anyone but its owner, and an end to Smith & Wesson making guns that are illegal to possess in Massachusetts under this state’s stringent gun laws.

It’s the place of a church like the Episcopal diocese and the orders of nuns Byron represents to address guns in society and their impact, [Bishop Douglas J.] Fisher said.

“This is part of the mission of our church,” he said. “To address the issues of our time.”

It’s an interesting move that’s likely going to have more impact than #ThoughtsandPrayers alone ever could.

One thing I love most about the Episcopal Church, at least in comparison to evangelical churches, is the emphasis on social justice as part of the gospel message. The command to “Go and make disciples” is broadly defined, and actions that have a direct impact on the community is one of the most effective ways I can think of to rehabilitate Christianity’s tarnished image (which is not undeserved).

Or, if nothing else, maybe actions like this will remind people that there are Christians out there with compassion and common sense.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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