GABBY GIFFORDS, MARK KELLY LAUNCH NATIONAL BUS TOUR IN ORLANDO TO URGE AMERICANS TO VOTE TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE IN NOVEMBER

September 27, 2016 — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA Astronaut and Navy Combat Veteran Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, gathered with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and local and national leaders today to launch the 2016 Vocal Majority Tour, a 14-state, six-week national bus tour that stretches until Election Day to ignite the Vocal Majority of Americans who support commonsense gun violence prevention laws and urge them to vote to reduce gun violence in November. The tour kicks off in Orlando, where on June 12 the nation’s deadliest mass shooting at Pulse nightclub resulted in the loss of 49 LGBT people and allies.

The Vocal Majority Tour is part of ARS PAC’s “Vocal Majority” campaign this fall to mobilize millions of Americans to make the 2016 election a referendum on gun violence prevention and to support leaders up and down the ballot who are committed to taking responsible steps that reduce gun violence. Following today’s rally in Orlando, the Vocal Majority Bus Tour will travel to at least 40 cities across 14 states, including Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, DC, Virginia, and North Carolina.

At today’s kickoff, Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly were joined by survivors and families from the gun tragedy at Pulse nightclub; Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign; candidates for Congress Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy, and other leaders.

Following the kickoff, Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly joined a roundtable with local and national leaders to discuss the impact of gun violence on the Orlando community and the need for commonsense change.

The roundtable conversation was led by Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage – the courage to do what’s right, and the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line,” said Congresswoman Giffords in her speech at this morning’s announcement. “Now is the time to come together – to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans – everyone.”

“Our country is in the grips of a gun violence crisis. And for too long, a small but vocal minority – driven and controlled by the gun lobby – have had outsized influence over our nation’s gun laws,” said Captain Mark Kelly in his remarks at this morning’s kickoff. “It’s time for the majority to be heard. Let’s work together to make sure that 2016 is remembered as the year we made our voices heard – and the year that the movement for safer communities won big at the ballot box.”

“The 49 LGBTQ people and allies who lost their lives in Orlando nearly four months ago were brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, husbands and wives. But above all, they were human beings – human beings who were loved, who had hopes and dreams for long and full lives. And they were murdered simply because of who they are, and because it is too easy in America today for a dangerous person to buy a dangerous weapon,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This November, we need to elect candidates up and down the ballot who not only stand up for the equal dignity of the LGBTQ community, but stand up for our right to live and love free from fear and violence.”

“As a proud veteran and someone who lost a family member to gun violence, I want our leaders to do more to save lives and protect our communities,” said Celia Ruiz, the sister of Juan Guerrero who was killed at the Pulse nightclub. “Our rights come with great responsibility, and it is time for the vocal majority of Americans who want change to speak out.”

“As a survivor of the tragedy at Pulse, I am proud to be part of the Vocal Majority of Americans calling for responsible change,” said Angel Colon. “I’m honored to stand with Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly in this badly-needed fight for safer communities.”

Along with the Vocal Majority Tour, in 2016 ARS PAC is supporting its Champions for the Vocal Majority through endorsements of candidates up and down the ballot. ARS PAC is also making significant investments in races and ballot initiatives across the country and working to hold candidates in the gun lobby’s grip accountable.

ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES

  • Americans are nearly 20 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other peer countries. [Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2011]
  • Each year, 12,000 Americans are murdered with a gun. Every day, 88 Americans are killed with guns, and nearly 12,000 Americans are murdered with a gun each year. [WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010]
  • Over the past 15 years, the gun murder rate has remained largely unchanged – even as violent crime has dropped. While America’s rate of violent crime has generally decreased over the past 15 years, the gun murder rate in the U.S. has remained relatively constant. Between 1997 and 2013, gun homicides have not varied more than 10 percent in either direction. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2014]
  • The number of shootings is on the rise. While the number of gun murders in the U.S. has remained constant, the number of shootings has been increasing. The number of non-fatal gunshot wounds rose more than 50 percent between 2001 and 2013. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2014]

About The 2016 Vocal Majority Tour & Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC

Led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Vocal Majority Tour is a six-week nationwide bus tour to encourage the vast number of Americans who support commonsense change to our gun laws to step up, speak out, and be catalysts for change this November. A project of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) – the gun violence prevention organization founded by Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly – The Vocal Majority Tour is travel to communities in battleground states and districts for grassroots events with local leaders, elected officials, and candidates to help ignite the Vocal Majority and elevate gun violence prevention in elections this fall.

Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) works to elect candidates at every level of public office who show the political courage to stand up to the gun lobby, are passionate about reducing gun violence in our communities, and who commit to taking action once elected. Since 2013, ARS PAC has supported Champions for Common Sense in key federal, gubernatorial, and state races – and supported the passage of ballot initiatives – in states around the country.

Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly, Americans For Responsible Solutions PAC Announce Endorsements of U.S. House Candidates

September 22, 2016. – Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) – the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly – today announced its endorsement of 19 candidates for the United States House of Representatives. Citing their support for a broad set of responsible gun violence prevention policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, ARS PAC declared these 19 candidates as its Champions for the Vocal Majority.

The endorsements are part of ARS PAC’s “Vocal Majority” campaign this fall to mobilize millions of Americans to make the 2016 election a referendum on gun violence prevention and to support leaders up and down the ballot who are committed to taking responsible steps that reduce gun violence. ARS PAC previously announced endorsements this year in races for the United States Senate, and plans to make additional endorsements in federal races this fall.

Today, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Lujan joined Mark Kelly in a press call to announce these endorsements.

The newly-endorsed candidates include:

Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31)

LuAnn Bennett (VA-10)

Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26)

Bryan Caforio (CA-25)

Morgan Carroll (CO-06)

Colleen Deacon (NY-24)

Val Demings (FL-10)

Matt Heinz (AZ-02)

Ruben Kihuen (NV-04)

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)

Donald McEachin (VA-04)

Stephanie Murphy (FL-07)

Carol Shea Porter (NH-01)

Jacky Rosen (NV-03)

Steve Santarsiero (PA-08)

Tom Suozzi (NY-03)

Anna Throne-Holst (NY-01)

Tom Nelson (WI-08)

“If Congress won’t change our gun laws, then we need to work to change Congress. We need more leaders in Congress who will stand up to the Washington gun lobby and stand with the Vocal Majority of Americans who support commonsense change to help keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives,” said ARS PAC Co-Founders Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly. “We know that each of these leaders will be a strong voice in the House of Representatives for responsible steps that help keep guns of the wrong hands and save lives. We are proud to endorse these candidates as our Champions for the Vocal Majority and look forward to them being a steady voice for responsibility in Congress.”

“These Democrats are being recognized for their leadership on gun violence prevention and their intention to come to Washington to enact the change that the vast majority of Americans believe in and want. By failing to act on commonsense steps, like closing the loophole that allows suspects on the FBI terror watchlist to buy guns, House Republicans are putting their party over what is best for our country. In stark contrast, these incumbents and challengers are committed to acting on gun violence prevention in order to make our children and families safer,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Lujan.

Along with its endorsements of its Champions for the Vocal Majority, this year ARS PAC is making significant investments in races and ballot initiatives across the country to support pro-gun violence prevention candidates and responsible ballot initiatives. We are also working to hold candidates in the gun lobby’s grip accountable. And this fall, Congresswoman Giffords will lead a six-week nationwide bus tour – the Vocal Majority Tour – to encourage the vast number of Americans who support commonsense change to our gun laws to step up, speak out, and be catalysts for change this November. The Vocal Majority Tour will travel to communities in battleground states and districts for grassroots events with local leaders, elected officials, and candidates to help ignite the Vocal Majority and elevate gun violence prevention in elections this fall.

Gabrielle Giffords & Mark Kelly Statement on Donald Trump’s Suggestion It Would Be “Very Dangerous” for Hillary Clinton Without Full Secret Service Protection, Warning of Gun Violence

September 16, 2016 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions, released the below statement tonight following Donald Trump’s remarks in Miami, Florida in which warned of gun violence against Hillary Clinton, saying it would be “very dangerous” if Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service detail was disarmed.

STATEMENT FROM CONGRESSWOMAN GIFFORDS & CAPTAIN MARK KELLY:

Tonight we have even more evidence of just how dangerously unfit Donald Trump is to be president of this great country. He is reckless, irresponsible and unworthy of the office he seeks.

“In his more stable moments, Mr. Trump has said he regrets some of the ugly insults and dangerous threats he has leveled during the course of this campaign. We call on him to immediately renounce these comments, apologize to Hillary Clinton, and acknowledge that once again he has gone dangerously too far.”

ARS Calls on House Speaker Paul Ryan to Allow the House to Vote on Bipartisan Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence

September 14, 2016 – Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, today called on House Speaker Paul Ryan and the House Leadership to stand up to the gun lobby and put meaningful, effective proposals to reduce gun violence on the floor for a vote.

STATEMENT BY AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PETER AMBLER

“In the wake of our nation’s deadliest mass shooting and as our national gun violence crisis rages on, Speaker Paul Ryan and the House Leadership have done something truly remarkable: nothing. Americans deserve elected leaders who will stand up to the powerful special interests fighting to make it easier for dangerous people to access guns – and they are demanding responsible change to our laws that help keep guns out of the wrong hands. We urge Speaker Ryan to stand with the vocal majority of Americans who want to make our communities safer and finally allow the House to vote on meaningful, bipartisan proposals that will reduce gun violence and help save lives.”

ARS PAC Responds to Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s False Claims of Standing Up to Washington Special Interests with New Digital Ad Highlighting Her Record of Going to Bat for the Washington Gun Lobby, Voting Against Gun Background Checks

September 12, 2016 – The gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) announced today it is launching a new 30-second digital ad in the New Hampshire Senate race, “At Bat for the Gun Lobby,” in response to Senator Kelly Ayotte’s false claims in a recent ad, “Batting,” that she has stood up to Washington special interests. The new ad by ARS PAC highlights Senator Ayotte’s record of giving in to the Washington gun lobby and voting to protect the loopholes in federal law that let dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers buy guns without a criminal background check. ARS PAC-endorsed candidate Governor Maggie Hassan has voiced her support for closing those loopholes in federal law.

The new ad is part of a six-figure investment in digital communications by ARS PAC in the New Hampshire Senate race.

As part of its 2016 “Vocal Majority Campaign” to mobilize millions of Americans to make the election a referendum on gun violence prevention, already this year ARS PAC has aired two ads (“hereandhere”), each backed by six-figure buys, in the New Hampshire Senate race to hold Senator Ayotte accountable for voting against laws that help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Click here to watch “Safety,” and click here to watch ARS PAC’s most recent television ad in the race, “Mislead.”

“In New Hampshire, Senator Ayotte talks about making our families and communities safer, but in Washington, she stands with the corporate gun lobby to protect dangerous loopholes in our gun laws,” said ARS PAC Executive Director Peter Ambler. “Now, Senator Ayotte is trying to fool voters into thinking she voted to close the loopholes in our background check system. Granite State voters deserve to know who Senator Ayotte is really fighting for when she goes to Washington: the gun lobby.”

Senator Ayotte has voted repeatedly against more criminal background checks for gun sales. In April 2013, Senator Ayotte voted against a bipartisan proposal to close the loopholes in federal law that let felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill buy a gun without a criminal background check at gun shows and through the Internet, even though February 2013 research found that 91 percent of New Hampshire voters – including 90 percent of gun owners – supported the measure. In December 2015 and in June 2016, Senator Ayotte once again voted to protect the loopholes in our background check system. Click here to read a memo on Senator Ayotte’s record of voting against requiring criminal background checks for more gun sales.

TRANSCRIPT: “At Bat for the Gun Lobby”

In Washington, D.C., Kelly Ayotte went to bat for the gun lobby.

Nearly nine out of 10 Granite Staters support universal background checks; Republicans. Democrats, police, and gun owners all agree.

But when Kelly Ayotte was in Congress, she voted to keep the background check loophole that allows criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to get guns.

Not once. Not twice. But three times.

Kelly Ayotte. She goes to bat for the gun lobby. Not New Hampshire.