Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly and Oregon Veterans and Doctors Call On Legislators to Pass Background Checks Bill

Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly and Oregon Veterans and Doctors Call On Legislators to Pass Background Checks Bill

87 Percent of Oregon Voters and 83 Percent of Oregon Gun Owners Support Closing Existing Loopholes in State’s Background Check System

Oregon Law Does Not Require Unlicensed Sellers to Do A Background Check Before A Gun Sale

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the introduction of new legislation to close the loophole in Oregon law that allows people to buy guns without undergoing a background check, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, retired Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, and state leaders called on Oregon legislators to pass the bill and help keep guns in Oregon from falling into the wrong hands.

The bill, SB 941, would address the gap in Oregon law that lets unlicensed sellers transfer a firearm to another person, including through online sales, without a background check. Under current law in Oregon, individuals must pass a background check before they can buy a gun from a licensed firearm dealer and at gun shows. While individuals can request a state background check before selling a gun to another person, Oregon does not require unlicensed sellers to conduct a background check when transferring a gun.

”Every year, 30,000 Americans die from gun violence, and one reason why is because weak laws make it easier for guns to fall into the wrong hands. This new legislation gives Oregon’s lawmakers an opportunity to strengthen those laws and help keep dangerous people from having easy access to guns,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, Co-Founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions. ”Responsible gun owners agree that commonsense changes in our laws can help keep guns away from the wrong people, and make our communities safer. As they debate this important legislation, we hope Oregon’s leaders keep in mind the broad and strong support among their constituents for laws like this one. We hope they do the right thing and pass this bill.”

”As both a member of our military and a civilian, I know what guns can do in the hands of responsible, law-abiding people – and I know the damage guns can do when they fall into the wrong hands,” said Lou Jaffe, LT, U.S. Army, a Vietnam veteran and Portland resident. ”With only some of the gun sales in our state subject to a background check, we need some reasonable laws that help keep guns away from dangerous people and help make sure our communities are safe. I urge our leaders in Salem to pass this commonsense bill.”

”I’ve been a doctor in Oregon for 40 years, and have seen the tragic toll that the day-in, day-out gun violence takes on Oregonians.  The cost to the public’s health associated with gun violence is staggering. One thing I do when examining a public health problem is look at the data, and the data is clear: we have a gun violence problem,” said Dr. Jim Scott of Portland. ”Ensuring that all gun sales in our state are subject to a background checks can help reduce gun violence and save lives. I hope that our legislators use this chance to close this loophole in Oregon law that lets dangerous people get guns.”

Earlier this month, over 100 Oregon medical professionals who are Americans for Responsible Solutions supporters – including doctors, nurses, and public health specialists – signed a letter that was delivered to state lawmakers urging them to take action to reduce gun violence, including passing a law that would close the current loophole that allows people in Oregon to buy a gun without a background check. Read more here.

OVERVIEW OF BACKGROUND CHECKS & CURRENT OREGON LAW

Federal Law Requires Background Checks – But Only at Licensed Firearms Dealers, Not Online and at Gun Shows. In 1993, Congress passed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act into law, making background checks a requirement for federally licensed gun dealers and setting up the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a system of databases maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Under federal law, certain categories of dangerous individuals, known as prohibited purchasers, such as convicted felons, domestic abusers and some dangerously mentally ill people are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. Under the Brady Act, when a person attempts to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, the dealer runs a check through the NICS system to determine whether a potential buyer is prohibited from purchasing firearms. If information in NICS indicates that a person is prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm, the dealer must deny the sale.

Background Checks Are Quick and Effective – They’ve Blocked Over Two Million Potential Sales to Prohibited Purchasers. 91 percent of background checks are completed instantaneously and since the NICS system has been in place, over 196 million background checks have been conducted, and over two million firearms sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied.

Recent Research Shows Oregonians – Including Gun Owners – Support Expanded Background Checks for Gun Sales. A recent survey of registered Oregon voters conducted on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions found that a broad majority of Oregonians – including gun owners – support expanded background checks for gun sales. Among the survey’s findings: 87 percent of Oregon voters support expanded background checks on gun sales, with 70 percent saying they strongly support them; and 83 percent of Oregon gun owners support expanded background checks on gun sales. Click here to read a memo on the research’s findings.

Oregon Law Doesn’t Require Unlicensed Sellers to Conduct A Background Check When Transferring the Gun to Another Person. Under current law in Oregon, individuals must pass a background check before they can buy a gun from a licensed firearm dealer and at gun shows. While individuals can request a state background check before selling a gun to another person, Oregon does not require unclicensed sellers to conduct a background check when transferring a gun to another person.

States with Background Checks Have Seen Public Safety Gains. In the sixteen states and the District of Columbia that already require background checks for all handgun sales, 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners, there are 48 percent fewer firearms suicides and 48% fewer law enforcement officers are shot to death by handguns. When Missouri repealed its background check law in 2007 that required background checks on all handgun sales, gun homicides increased by 25 percent in the state.

SUMMARY OF NEW BACKGROUND CHECKS BILL IN OREGON LEGISLATURE

SB 941 requires the completion of a criminal background check before a licensed federal firearms dealer for firearms transfers made between two private individuals except for family members, law enforcement, inherited firearms and certain temporary transfers. The legislation also requires the Department of State Police to notify local law enforcement agency when, during a criminal background check performed prior to transfer of firearm, the department determines that the recipient of the transfer is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Additionally, SB 941 authorizes the court to prohibit persons ordered to participate in assisted outpatient treatment from purchasing or possessing firearm during period of treatment if certain criteria are met.

Gabby Giffords & Capt. Mark Kelly Statement on Shootings in Mesa, Arizona

Gabby Giffords & Capt. Mark Kelly Statement on Shootings in Mesa, Arizona

TUCSON, AZ – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, issued the below statement following the tragic shootings in Mesa, Arizona:

”Once again, a senseless act of gun violence has brought terror, tragedy and pain to our beloved Arizona. For all of us, this shooting hits close to home. I know we speak for so many Arizonans when we say that our thoughts and prayers are with the Mesa community.”

Mark Kelly Statement on Attempts in Iowa to Repeal Background Checks

Captain Mark Kelly Statement on Attempts by Iowa Legislators to Repeal Background Checks for Handgun Purchases

Bill Moving Through Legislature Makes It Easier For Convicted Felons, Domestic Abusers to Buy Guns Without a Background Check

States That Have Repealed Background Check Laws Have Seen An Increase in Murders

84% of Iowans Say They Want Background Checks Required For All Gun Sales; Only 8% of Iowans Say They Want Weaker Gun Laws; Two-Thirds Say That Background Checks Can Help Make Their Communities Safer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Captain Mark Kelly, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions and retired NASA astronaut, issued the following statement today in response to a bill moving forward in the Iowa legislature, SB 425, which would weaken Iowa’s gun laws by making background checks optional before buying a handgun and make it easier for convicted felons and domestic abusers to access guns:

“I urge Iowa’s leaders to reject this irresponsible bill, which would take Iowa backwards – and make its communities less safe. This bill would give dangerous people like convicted felons and domestic abusers a new choice: whether they want to undergo a background check before buying a handgun. Why would Iowa’s leaders give them that choice?” said Captain Mark Kelly, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “The evidence is clear: states where background checks are required on gun sales, no matter where they’re bought, are safer places to live. The evidence is also clear that the lawmakers pushing this reckless legislation are out of step with the vast majority of Iowans. I urge Iowa’s leaders to listen to their constituents, do the responsible thing, and help keep guns from falling into the wrong hands.”

BACKGROUND ON IOWA’S GUN LAWS, SB 425, AND BACKGROUND CHECKS

Iowa Law Requires A State & Federal Background Check Before Getting A Permit to Buy A Gun. Federal law requires people who buy guns at a licensed dealer to pass a background check, but allows guns to be bought online and at gun shows without a background check. However, Iowa law currently fills some of these gaps – requiring anyone who wants to buy a handgun to obtain a “permit-to-purchase.” To be issued a “permit-to-purchase” in Iowa, people must pass a state and federal background check. The permit may not be used for three days after it has been issued, and it is only valid for one year.

The Bill Moving Through The Iowa Legislature, SB 425, Would Make Create Loopholes That Let People Get a Gun without a Background Check. Most dangerously:

  • Handgun buyers would no longer be required to undergo a background check before getting a gun from an unlicensed seller. SB 425 would make “permit-to-purchase” optional, which would not prevent criminals from getting guns. This would make it easy for people who can’t pass background checks, like convicted felons and domestic abusers, to buy handguns.

Research Shows Iowans Want Expanded Background Checks. Research of Iowa voters’ attitudes about gun laws conducted in 2014 on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC found widespread support for background checks on gun sales. Among the research’s findings:

  • 84 percent of Iowans support requiring background checks for all gun sales;

  • Only 8 percent of Iowans want weaker gun laws; and,

  • More than two-thirds of Iowans say that background checks can help reduce gun violence in their communities.

States with Background Checks Have Seen Huge Public Safety Benefits. In the seventeen states and the District of Columbia that already require background checks for all handgun sales, data shows that:

  • 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners;

  • 48 percent fewer firearms suicides and,

  • 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are shot to death by handguns.

States That Repeal Background Checks Have Become More Dangerous Places. When Missouri repealed a similar permit-to-purchase background check law in 2007 that required background checks on all handgun sales, gun homicides increased by 23 percent in the state. According to a recent study from Johns Hopkins, that change alone resulted in between 55 and 63 additional homicides per year.

Gabby Giffords Urges Stronger Laws That Protect Women & Families in Trenton, NJ

At Trenton Roundtable Event, Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and Garden State Women Leaders Urge Stronger Laws That Protect Women and Families from Gun Violence

From 2003-2012, One-Third of Domestic Violence Homicides in New Jersey Involved A Gun

Loophole In New Jersey State Laws Allows People Convicted of Misdemeanor Domestic Violence and People Subject to Domestic Violence Protection Orders to Continue to Possess Guns; Bill Before Legislature Would Close That Loophole

TRENTON, NJ – Speaking today at a roundtable event in the the New Jersey State House, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and leaders in New Jersey’s domestic violence prevention community urged state legislators to pass stronger laws that protect women and families from gun violence, including a proposal currently before the New Jersey State Legislature that would close the current loophole in state law that allows individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and subject domestic violence protection orders to continue to legally possess guns.

”Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. That makes gun violence a women’s issue – for mothers, for families, for me and you,” said Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention group Americans for Responsible Solutions. ”Women can lead the way. Together, we can change our laws. Please, join your voice with mine.”

“Gun violence perpetrated against women often stems from domestic violence incidents that escalate and turn tragic,” said Weinberg (D-Bergen).  “We have to do more to protect the lives of women and children who find themselves in a dangerous family situation. By creating stronger laws that limit abusers’ access to firearms we will better protect victims against preventable and, too often, fatal gun violence. I want to thank Congresswoman Giffords and all of those who joined us today to advance this effort.”

“For victims and their children, domestic violence turns a chance to live the American Dream into a horrific nightmare. I know, because I’ve lived that nightmare,” said Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Too many victims are killed before they ever have a chance to get out, at the hands of abusers who have easy access to firearms.  This legislation will change that – strengthening our gun violence laws in order to protect victims of domestic violence.”

”It was an honor to join Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for this critical discussion of what our leaders can do to help protect New Jersey women and their families from gun violence,” said Dr. Sarah McMahon, Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Rutgers Center on Violence Against Women and Children. ”Today’s conversation was an important step on the road to making our families and communities safer.”

Guns and domestic violence are a lethal mix in New Jersey, and guns play a major role in violence against women by intimate partners. There were 269 domestic violence homicides in New Jersey from 2003-2012 and nearly one-third of these homicides involved firearms. In 2011, over 53 percent of female homicide victims in New Jersey were killed in domestic violence incidents.

Nationally, women in the U.S. are 11 times likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. Abused women are also five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.

Gabby Giffords: Women important to push against gun violence

Gabby Giffords: Women important to push against gun violence

Associated Press

March 18, 2015

Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords met with Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey on Wednesday after a talk with lawmakers, residents and advocates about how to protect women from gun violence.

Giffords sat down for a round-table discussion at the Statehouse and talked to the governor afterward behind closed doors for about a half hour.

During the public discussion, Giffords said dangerous people with guns are a threat to women and women can lead the way on changing the laws.

The meeting came about after state Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation requiring convicted domestic abusers to surrender their guns. It drew a dozen women, including Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera.

Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said in a statement: “Governor Christie has incredible respect and admiration for the courage and perseverance of former Congresswoman Giffords and he was honored to have the opportunity to meet with her this afternoon and discuss domestic violence and gun violence issues.”

Giffords survived a gunshot to the head on Jan. 8, 2011, when a man opened fire in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people.

She and her husband, Mark Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions in 2012, and have traveled the country pushing for legislation to address gun violence.

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