(TIME) Rev. Franklin Graham and other leading evangelical figures are publicly backing efforts to require background checks for all gun purchases, providing a shot in the arm to stalled congressional efforts to enact elements of President Barack Obama’s gun control plan.
Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham and the president of Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission told TIME they have agreed to back universal background check legislation put forward by the administration in the wake of last year’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“As ministers, we agreed together that we could stand on a united front for universal background checks,” Graham told TIME, noting he had many conversations with civil rights leader Rev. Amos Brown on the subject. “We think that’s reasonable and responsible.”