When gun violence invades sacred spaces

Community members gathered in Pittsburgh to remember the victims of the Oct. 27 shooting at Tree of Life synagogue. Photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Tom Wolf/ Creative Commons.

In the year since a gunman terrorized First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2017, more faith communities have been violated by gun violence. Most recently, 11 men and women died at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.

Like any mass shooting, these attacks are heartbreaking and overwhelming, prompting conversations about gun control and mental health. Because of their location, they also challenge shared assumptions about sacred spaces, raising the question of whether any place is truly safe.

Shootings at houses of worship are reshaping how faith communities approach their time together, increasing interest in security training and participation in gun policy debates. Here are some sources, research studies and articles that can help you cover these developments.

Background reading

National sources

Related research