Captain Mark Kelly Statement on the Second Anniversary of the Aurora, Colorado Massacre

JULY 20, 2014 – Captain Mark Kelly, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions and retired NASA astronaut, issued the following statement marking the second anniversary of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado:

“For Colorado and our country, this is an awful anniversary. Gabby and I know that for the victims’ families, it is impossible to go back to the life they had. Even as the pain lingers, Coloradans should be proud that they passed legislation to keep guns away from those who shouldn’t have them — because words alone are not enough to erase the hurt, or to honor the lives destroyed in the shooting. We honor those who were lost that night by working to prevent gun deaths and injuries. That’s why we must all keep fighting for commonsense solutions that make our communities safer.”

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GABBY GIFFORDS’ STATEMENT ON ANNOUNCEMENT OF SENATE HEARING ON PROTECTING WOMEN FROM GUN VIOLENCE

July 14, 2014 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions, issued the following statement today after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy announced the Committee will hold a hearing on the lethal intersection of violence against women and gun violence. The hearing, titled “VAWA Next Steps: Protecting Women from Gun Violence” will be held on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 and will be chaired by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. It will focus on what Congress can do to protect women from gun violence, including ways to prohibit convicted stalkers and dating partners who commit domestic abuse from accessing guns. Congresswoman Giffords’ statement:

“Dangerous people who get their hands on guns are a threat to women, families, and our communities,” said Congresswoman Giffords. “I thank Chairman Leahy for ensuring that for the first time ever, the United States Senate will hold a hearing on how gun violence impacts America’s women, and the commonsense policies that will protect them from gun violence. This is a badly-needed step on the road toward action to make women and families safer from gun violence.”

Earlier this year, Congresswoman Giffords delivered a petition to Chairman Leahy signed by 37,000 Americans requesting the hearing.

Americans for Responsible Solutions & Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Announce Partnership

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the country’s only law center focused on providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention, today announced a partnership. Building on the two groups’ past collaboration, the partnership will focus on providing local and state leaders information on new laws to reduce gun violence and promote responsible gun ownership, including resources with actionable information and recommendations for a framework of laws and policies that states and local governments can adopt to help reduce gun violence.

The partnership was announced by Captain Kelly and Congresswoman Giffords in a speech at an event this evening marking the Law Center’s 21st anniversary.

“Gabby and I are excited about partnering with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence to help fight for smart laws that reduce gun violence. The unmatched expertise and analysis of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, combined with the hundreds of thousands of Americans that ARS represents, will help us restore some balance to the debate about our gun laws,” said Captain Mark Kelly, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Our shared commitment to commonsense solutions, to reasoned, fact-informed debate, and to making our communities safer from gun violence makes this a natural and exciting partnership.”

“Since Newtown, the public has rallied in support of strong new policies to keep people safe from gun violence. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly are at the forefront of this energy, unifying millions of Americans who are demanding solutions to this public health crisis facing our nation,” said Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “We are immensely proud to partner with Americans for Responsible Solutions because we know that together we are stronger. As partners, we have a tremendous opportunity to develop and enact smart, legally-sound solutions that will keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) was founded by Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly in January 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting to find sensible ways to reduce gun violence and encourage elected officials to enact responsible firearms policies that protect the Second Amendment.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly known as the Legal Community Against Violence) was founded after the 1993 shooting in San Francisco that left eight dead. Today, it is the only national law center focused on providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention and the promotion of smart gun laws that save lives. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Law Center is dedicated to preventing the loss of lives caused by gun violence by providing trusted, in-depth legal expertise and information on America’s gun laws.

ARS STATEMENT ON NRA’S OPPOSITION TO LEGISLATION TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF STALKERS’ HANDS

June 25, 2014 –  Hayley Zachary, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, issued the following statement regarding the NRA’s stated opposition to S. 1290, legislation that would protect women and families by ensuring that individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking, sexual assault, and harassment are prohibited from buying guns.

“Protecting women from gun violence means ensuring we have laws that keep guns out of the hands of stalkers and domestic abusers. By opposing this commonsense bill, Wayne LaPierre and the NRA leadership has once again shown it is out of step with the vast majority of Americans and responsible gun owners. For example, research we conducted this year in Texas – a state with a long tradition of gun ownership – found that a majority of Texas voters support policies that keep guns out of the hands of stalkers,” said ARS Executive Director Hayley Zachary. “Domestic violence doesn’t consist merely of ‘disputes between family members and social acquaintances.’ Domestic violence is a pattern of violent behavior that statistics show often results in death and injury – especially when an abuser is permitted to have a gun. Apparently, the NRA disagrees with its regularly stated view that ‘people kill people’ and is comfortable with stalkers being allowed to buy guns. Now, the question for NRA-backed candidates around the country is: do they share the NRA’s position?”

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Huffington Post: “Gabby Giffords Speaks Out On Gun Violence Against Women”

http://huff.to/1qtjps0

WASHINGTON — In a rare public speech Wednesday, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) spoke out about the need to pass “common-sense” gun bills that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

“Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women,” Giffords told a crowd at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “Criminals with guns. Stalkers with guns. Abusers with guns. That makes gun violence a women’s issue.”

In 2011, Giffords was shot point-blank in the head while meeting with constituents near Tucson, Ariz. She and her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, started a gun violence prevention PAC called Americans for Responsible Solutions to help elect candidates supportive of key legislation to prevent gun violence.

Giffords and Kelly spoke Wednesday at a discussion of policy solutions to protect women from gun violence, sponsored by the Center for American Progress. One such solution, a bill proposed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would add convicted stalkers and non-cohabiting dating partners to the list of domestic abusers who cannot legally purchase a gun. Statistics show that stalking often leads to physical abuse and homicide, but a new report released by CAP on Wednesday found that there are at least 11,986 convicted stalkers living in the United States who can walk into a store, pass a background check and legally purchase a firearm.

Kelly, a retired U.S. Navy captain and former astronaut, said he and Giffords are both responsible gun owners and that he believes the vast majority of gun owners use their weapons safely. But part of protecting the Second Amendment, he said, is ensuring that the right is exercised responsibly.

“Today we’re talking about keeping guns out of the hands of men who stalk and abuse women,” Kelly said. “We’re talking about passing laws that will absolutely save lives, especially the lives of women. … Today we are closer than ever to doing this, but we can’t do it if we don’t all work together.”

ARS is advocating for Klobuchar’s bill, for stronger background checks and for prohibiting the sale of firearms to domestic violence abusers under restraining orders by encouraging faster record reporting into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) have introduced additional legislation in the House and Senate to prohibit domestic abusers from buying and owning guns. Capps’ bill would extend federal firearms prohibitions to abusive dating partners who are subject to a domestic violence restraining order, and it would allow a judge to issue a temporary protective order to bar an abuser from possessing or purchasing a weapon in the days between a woman leaving her partner and the court hearing.

Blumenthal’s bill would also prevent alleged domestic abusers with temporary restraining orders issued against them from purchasing guns. Current gun restrictions only apply to permanent restraining orders, leaving a loophole in which some abusers can quickly buy guns.

A bill that would have strengthened background checks for gun purchases failed to pass the Senate last year, but ARS hopes to stack Congress with like-minded lawmakers this November. The group is jumping into seven Senate and four House races this election cycle, and it has calculated that Republican and independent women voters in swing states are more likely to support candidates who would vote to keep guns away from domestic abusers.

“Together we can change our laws,” Giffords said Wednesday. “Together we can win elections. Please join your voice with mine.”

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