STATEMENT: Gun Safety Organization Responds To Senate Appropriations Committee Markup Of FY18 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill

July 27, 2017 — Today, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statement following the the Senate Appropriations Committee’s markup of the FY18 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.The bill includes $73 million for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is consistent with the FY17 level, and $1.27 Billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is $35 million above the FY17 enacted level. The Senate bill does not contain any new harmful gun law “riders” that will hinder the enforcement of existing laws. However, the House version of the bill includes a rider that would hinder ATF’s ability to identify potential gun traffickers. At the urging of Senator Durbin (D-IL), the Committee report also acknowledged the importance of juvenile violence prevention programs that help to break the cycle of violence.

Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs, Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“The bill passed today by the Senate Appropriations Committee demonstrates a clear bipartisan commitment to funding our nation’s background check system, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In order to make sure guns stay out of the hands of dangerous individuals and make our communities safer, both chambers must continue to support the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and encourage states to help submit more records into the system.

“We’re also pleased to see that unlike the House appropriations bill, the Senate’s bill does not contain any new gun riders that make it harder for law enforcement to enforce laws that are already on the books and make our communities less safe. Riders that sacrifice the safety of our communities have no place in this legislation and we hope they are excluded from the final appropriations bill.

“As Congress continues to reconcile these two spending bills, Americans for Responsible Solutions and its members remain committed to ensuring the final legislation protects our nation’s most important public safety programs that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and reduce violence.”

About The House Version Of The CJS Bill

While the House version of the bill funds the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at similar levels as the Senate version, the House version exclusively contains several harmful “riders” that will hinder the enforcement of existing laws, including:

Section 537 would hinder the ATF’s ability to fight gun trafficking in Mexico by preventing ATF from requiring gun dealers to report multiple sales of certain weapons to ATF. As a result, this rider would make it easier for gun traffickers to buy certain semiautomatic rifles, which are preferred by the Mexican drug cartels.

Section 530 would make permanent a rider that prohibits ATF from denying an application to import a new model of shotgun. This would limit the ATF’s ability to minimize the risk of dangerous, serviceable shotguns from entering the United States and potentially ending up the in the hands of criminals.

Section 517 would make permanent a rider that prohibits ATF from denying an application to import U.S. origin curios and relics. “Curios and relics” are firearms that are of special interest to collectors, including those manufactured more than 50 years ago. Many dangerous assault rifles were manufactured for military use before 1967 and therefore fall within the definition of curios and relics.

Read more about the House version of the appropriations bill here.

 

RELEASE: Gun Violence Prevention Advocates Call On Connecticut Legislature To Continue Funding Project Longevity Program That Has Effectively Reduced Gun Violence

July 26, 2017 — As the Connecticut state budget deadline fast approaches, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, released a letter calling on Connecticut legislature to reauthorize funding for a local gun violence intervention program that has proven to reduce gun violence. The program, Project Longevity, has gained national attention for its effective strategies to reduce gun violence, and has become a national model of state-level support for evidence-based violence reduction strategies. The program, which was first launched in 2012, has helped reduce rates of gun violence by over 50 percent in urban areas of Connecticut.

“The gun violence intervention and prevention strategies supported by Project Longevity are an important part of Connecticut’s overall violence prevention portfolio,” said Mike McLively, Urban Gun Violence Initiative Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions. “By investing directly in evidence-based violence intervention programming, Connecticut has become a national leader and Project Longevity provides a model for other states. Now is certainly not the time to pull back on these strategies and I urge legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle to restore this critical funding source.”

Read the full letter here.

About The Success Of Project Longevity

Since it was first launched in 2012, Project Longevity has had an impressive impact on violent crime in Connecticut.

  • In the three Project Longevity cities, gun-related homicides have fallen more than 50% – from a combined 69 in 2011 to 32 in 2016.

  • In these cities, group-related shootings fell by more than 60% between 2011 and 2016.

  • In October 2015, a group of researchers from Yale University published a formal evaluation of the impact of the first 18 months of Project Longevity in New Haven, which showed a 21% decrease in total shootings per month, and an impressive 53% decrease in gang or group-related shootings per month that researchers found to be “directly attributable to” Project Longevity.

Speak with an Expert: For additional information on Project Longevity, or to be connected to a gun violence prevention expert, contact Sean Simons at sean@responsiblesolutions.org

STATEMENT: Gun Violence Prevention Organizations React to DC Circuit Court Ruling about Carrying Loaded Guns in Public

July 25, 2017   — ruling announced this morning by the D.C. Circuit Court found that there is a broad right to carry loaded guns in public places and struck down the District’s concealed carry permitting regime. This ruling conflicts with previous rulings by several other Circuit courts, all of which have upheld strong concealed carry licensing regimes that are virtually identical to the District’s. The decision today was a divided 2-1 vote, with a dissent from a judge originally appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan and elevated to the DC Circuit by George HW Bush. It is very likely that the District will ask for full court en banc review.

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, issued the following reaction:

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“By striking down Washington D.C.’s concealed-carry-licensing law, today’s decision from the D.C. Circuit undermines public safety and will prevent law enforcement from ensuring that those carrying hidden, loaded guns in the nation’s capital have good reason to do so. The decision is out-of-step not only with every other federal appeals court to consider the issue, but also with centuries of American tradition showing that reasonable gun regulations are fully consistent with the right to keep and bear arms.  And it stands in contrast to last month’s Supreme Court ruling that left in place the well-reasoned opinion from the Ninth Circuit, which upheld a California law indistinguishable from Washington’s.

“We are confident that the full D.C. Circuit will reconsider today’s 2-1 decision and reverse this outlier opinion, and we expect that the Supreme Court will allow D.C.’s commonsense concealed-carry law to stand, as it has done time and again with nearly identical laws. We look forward to working with the District to keep our nation’s capital safe and to overturning this radical decision.”

The Law Center joined an amicus brief coordinated by the Brady Center that defended the constitutionality of the District’s concealed carry regime and argues that this regime does not violate the Second Amendment. The brief also focused on the relevant evidence provided by social science research and the perspective of law enforcement with respect to the regulation of concealed carry in public places. The brief argued that there is a strong policy justification for a concealed carry permitting regime that requires applicants to demonstrate an elevated level of need before a permit may be issued. Read the full brief here.

To speak with a gun violence prevention expert, email press@responsiblesolutions.org.

ARS Gun Safety Organization Responds To Gun Violence Discussion At Virginia Gubernatorial Debate

July 22, 2017 — Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly, released the following statement responding to the discussion of Virginia’s gun violence crisis in the first Virginia gubernatorial debate.

Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC:

“The job of any Virginia governor is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens, including the roughly 900 Virginians who are killed by guns every year. Today, we heard Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam discuss the importance of protecting Virginia families and communities from gun violence. On the other hand, Ed Gillespie made it clear that he would allow individuals to openly carry firearms into state office buildings and oppose commonsense gun safety measures, like universal background checks, that the overwhelming majority of Virginians support. Virginians are looking for a governor who will protect their Second Amendment rights, keep guns out of dangerous hands and make Virginia safer from gun violence, not someone who will act as a rubber stamp for the Washington gun lobby’s dangerous agenda.”

Earlier this year, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC hosted the first-ever Virginia gubernatorial candidate forum focused exclusively on gun safety issues. The forum, which was attended by Virginia’s two Democratic gubernatorial candidates provided an opportunity for the candidates to share their views about addressing gun violence in Virginia and their plans to keep families safe.

In Advance Of VA Gubernatorial Debate, Gun Safety Organization Calls On Ed Gillespie To Answer Questions On Public Safety

July 21, 2017 — In advance of tomorrow’s first gubernatorial debate, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly, called on Ed Gillespie to answer questions about his unknown record on public safety.

Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC:

“Every year, over 33,000 Americans are killed by guns. Virginia has not been immune to this deadly crisis: somebody is killed with a gun in Virginia every 10 hours. During the primary, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam made gun violence prevention a central issue of his campaign. On the other hand, Ed Gillespie’s record on public safety is largely a mystery. Voters deserve a governor who will put the safety of Virginians first. At tomorrow’s debate, we hope Ed Gillespie will answer the vital public safety questions that are on Virginia voters’ minds.”

6 Unanswered Questions About Ed Gillespie’s Position On Gun Safety

  1. As governor, would Ed Gillespie protect the loopholes the let felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns without a background check — a loophole that 88 percent of Virginians favor closing? In 2014, the National Rifle Association stated that Ed Gillespie “opposes the so-called Obama-Bloomberg “universal” background check system that would criminalize the private transfer of a firearm between life-long friends and many family members.” [Source: Since deleted NRA web page]
  2. As governor, would Ed Gillespie oppose strengthening Virginia’s gun trafficking laws? Virginia has become known as a breeding ground for gun traffickers, largely fueled by individuals who legally purchase guns on behalf of those who cannot pass a background check. Efforts to repeal Governor Wilder’s attempts at combatting the state’s gun trafficking problem have made Virginia less safe. Earlier this year, two dozen people, many of whom were from Virginia, were arrested for trafficking over 200 firearms to New York.
  3. As governor, would Ed Gillespie protect the loopholes that give domestic abusers easy access to firearms?  In 2012, over 100 women were killed in Virginia by a current or former domestic partner. Many of these domestic violence-related homicides involved firearms. Unlike federal law, existing Virginia law does not prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms or ammunition.
  4. As governor, would Ed Gillespie support allowing guns in schools? Federal and state laws ensuring that schools are gun-free zones have helped make K–12 schools even safer, significantly reducing gun violence in these places. School-associated student homicide rates decreased after the federal laws restricting guns within 1,000 feet of schools were adopted in the early 1990s. Despite the evidence that gun-free zones make our schools safer, the gun lobby wants to arm visitors, teachers and faculty at elementary, middle and high schools and to allow college students to possess guns on campus, which will only lead to more gun deaths and injuries, not less.
  5. As governor, would Ed Gillespie oppose legislation that empowers law enforcement and families to remove firearms from individuals in crisis? Over the past three years, a growing list of states with strong traditions of gun ownership have passed Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) laws that create a court-ordered mechanism for family members to work with law enforcement to temporarily prevent access to firearms for at-risk individuals. Research shows that people are more likely to die by suicide if they have easy access to firearms. ERPO laws can prevent suicidal individuals from accessing guns during a crisis, which can help prevent gun violence tragedies and save lives.
  6. As governor, would Ed Gillespie oppose legislation that requires Virginians to obtain live-fire training in order to obtain a concealed carry permit? While the corporate gun lobby pressures states to weaken or eliminate concealed carry permitting structures, it’s important to note that Virginia does not require individuals to undergo any live-fire training in order to carry a concealed firearm. Live-fire training plays a critical role in preparing concealed carry permit holders for the responsibility of safely carrying a loaded, concealed firearm in a public place.

Earlier this year, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC hosted the first-ever Virginia gubernatorial candidate forum focused exclusively on gun safety issues. The forum, which was attended by Virginia’s two Democratic gubernatorial candidates provided an opportunity for the candidates to share their views about addressing gun violence in Virginia and their plans to keep families safe.