ARS APPLAUDS THE UTAH STATE HOUSE FOR ADVANCING LEGISLATION TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF DOMESTIC ABUSERS’ HANDS, CALLS ON STATE SENATE TO FOLLOW SUIT

February 23, 2017  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, issued the below statement today applauding the State House for advancing a responsible bill, H.B. 206, that will help keep guns in Utah from falling into the wrong hands.

The bill, H.B. 206, introduced by House Minority Leader Brian King, would address the gap in Utah law that allows domestic violence misdemeanants and people subject to domestic violence protection orders to possess firearms. Women are five times more likely to die when a firearm is present during a domestic violence incident, and in Utah, nearly 30% of all homicides last year were committed by a  family member or partner.

Like so many others around our country, Utah families know that guns and domestic violence are a deadly, tragic mix. We applaud the leaders in the Utah State House for advancing this commonsense proposal that will help keep guns out domestic abusers’ hands,” said Robin Lloyd, Government Affairs Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “This bill will help close the dangerous loophole in Utah law that allows domestic violence misdemeanants and people subject to domestic violence protection orders to possess firearms. We hope that the Senate will follow suit, pass this life-saving legislation, and send it to Governor Herbert’s desk.”

Gabrielle Giffords Urges Lawmakers To Listen To Their Constituents & Hold Town Halls

FEBRUARY 23, 2017 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions, today called on leaders in Congress embrace open debate, listen to their constituents and hold town halls.

Earlier today, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01) invoked the 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Giffords at a constituent event as a reason not to hold a public town hall. In a statement, Rep. Gohmert said: “At this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety.”

In the past year, Congresswoman Giffords has held over 50 public events in states across the country to champion commonsense solutions to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.

STATEMENT BY CONGRESSWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS

“Town halls and countless constituent meetings were a hallmark of my tenure in Congress. It’s how I was able to serve the people of southern Arizona. I believed that listening to my constituents was the most basic and core tenet of the job I was hired to do.

“I was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning my offices were open to the public. Ron Barber – at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead – held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative.

“In the past year, campaigning for gun safety, I have held over 50 public events.

“Many of the members of Congress who are refusing to hold town halls and listen to their constituents concerns are the very same politicians that have opposed commonsense gun violence prevention policies and have allowed the Washington gun lobby to threaten the safety of law enforcement and everyday citizens in our schools, businesses, places of worship, airports, and movie theaters.

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

Statement from ARS & Members Of The Granite State Coalition For Common Sense On New Hampshire’s Permitless Carry Bill

February 22, 2017 – 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, and members of the Granite State Coalition for Common Sense, issued the below statement today on the signing of SB 12, a dangerous bill that repeals New Hampshire’s concealed carry permitting system, which has been in place for nearly a century, and makes it easier for dangerous, unsuitable individuals to carry loaded, concealed weapons in public.

“In order to keep guns out of dangerous hands and make our communities safer, law enforcement officials need the best tools and resources available. This bill will make it harder for law enforcement to prevent criminals who are engaged in criminal activity from obtaining concealed carry permits,” said Officer Bill Barry, Advisory Committee member of Granite State Coalition for Common Sense. “I’m extremely disappointed that our leaders voted to put the interests of gun lobby ahead of Granite Staters’ safety.”

“As a former law enforcement officer and prosecutor, I support responsible gun laws, but SB 12 moves New Hampshire in the opposite direction. This bill will eliminate the state’s longstanding permitting system and prevent local law enforcement from making important determinations that help keep guns out of dangerous hands,” said Police Commissioner Joseph Plaia, of Portsmouth, Advisory Committee member of Granite State Coalition for Common Sense. “This bill goes against the advice of law enforcement and makes New Hampshire’s communities less safe.”

Americans for Responsible Solutions and law enforcement officials on the Advisory Board of the Granite State Coalition for Common Sense spoke out in opposition to SB 12.

ABOUT SB 12

Senate Bill 12 would make it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs, and make our communities less safe. The bill would:

  • Repeal New Hampshire’s concealed carry weapons permit system which has been in place for the last 94 years.
  • Increase the validity of a concealed carry weapons permit from 4 to 5 years.
  • Require state police to try to negotiate reciprocity agreements with other states every 5 years.

ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Between 2001 and 2010, 873 people were killed with guns in the Granite State. [Center for American Progress & Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2014]

Someone is killed with a gun in New Hampshire every three days. [Center for American Progress & Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2014]

Half of all domestic violence-related deaths in New Hampshire involve a firearm. According to the New Hampshire Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, more than 50 percent of all homicides from 2000 to 2010 were cases of domestic violence involving family members or intimate partners. Almost half—48 percent—of these victims of domestic violence were killed with guns. [Center for American Progress & Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2014]

Gabby Giffords and New Mexico Leaders Announce “New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense” to Urge Elected Officials to Act to Reduce Gun Violence

February 22, 2017– Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, joined with New Mexico leaders today at the State Capitol to announce a new coalition, the “New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense.” The coalition’s members – which include gun owners, veterans, law enforcement officials, domestic violence prevention advocates, business leaders and prosecutors – will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and prevent gun tragedies while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms.

The coalition’s leaders will fight for commonsense solutions that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, like:

  • Protecting women and families by making sure that domestic abusers don’t have access to firearms;

  • Closing the loopholes in our gun laws that let felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns in New Mexico without a background check;

  • Ensuring lawmakers and stakeholders have the resources and training they need to prevent gun violence and strengthen existing laws; and

  • Strengthening our existing federal background checks system by making sure it contains state records.

Members of the New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense include:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Captain Mark Kelly, USN (Ret.), Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Dr. Pamela Arenella, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico

Dr. Harold Bailey, Ph.D., President, Albuquerque NAACP

Charles “Chuck” Barth, Assistant U.S. Attorney (former), District of New Mexico

Rus Bradburd, Associate Professor, New Mexico State University

The Honorable Mark D’Antonio, District Attorney, Third Judicial District

Kelly Famiglietta, President, Domestic Violence Resource Center, Inc.

Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III, Bernalillo County

Pamelya P. Herndon, Executive Director, Southwest Women’s Law Center

Commander William Mackin, USN (Ret.)

Juliann Salinas, Associate Director, Enlace Comunitario

Don Schreiber, Owner, Devil’s Spring Ranch

Jane Schreiber, Owner, Devil’s Spring Ranch

The Honorable Marco Serna, District Attorney, First Judicial District

Dr. Steven Shackley, Ph.D., Director, Geoarchaeological XRF Lab

Sergeant Eric Threlkeld, Eddy County Sheriff’s Office

The Honorable Raúl Torrez, District Attorney, Second Judicial District Attorney

Sheriff Enrique “Kiki” Vigil, Doña Ana County

Miranda Viscoli, Co-President, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence

“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 a speech at this morning’s announcement. “Now is the time to come together – to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans – everyone.”

“New Mexico’s gun violence crisis is particularly tragic for women and families,” said Miranda Viscoli, Co-President, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. “We have seen firsthand how guns are used to intimidate, injure, and kill women and children. In the past eight months in New Mexico, eight children ages 3-17 have been shot and killed by their fathers or mothers’ ex-partner. Two of the mothers were killed and one critically injured. We must work to hold lawmakers accountable for fixing the gaps in our laws that make it easy for abusers to get guns.”

“Throughout my career as a prosecutor here in New Mexico, I’ve had a front row seat to the adverse impact gun violence has upon New Mexico’s families, as well as the barriers that prosecutors and law enforcement face in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, said Marco Serna, District Attorney, Office of the First Judicial District Attorney.“It’s time for our leaders here in New Mexico to take some commonsense steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

“As a gun owner and a rancher here in New Mexico, I’m looking for leaders who will take responsible steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands while protecting the rights of law-abiding New Mexicans. That’s what makes our families and workplaces safer,” said Don Schreiber, Owner, Devil’s Spring Ranch. “Congresswoman Giffords is just such a leader.  I’m honored to join her and my fellow New Mexicans today for the launch of this new and badly-needed effort to build safer communities.”

ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES

Each Year, Over 30,000 Americans Die From Gun Violence. Every day, roughly 88 Americans are killed with guns, and nearly 12,000 Americans are murdered with a gun each year. [WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010]

Americans Are Roughly 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]

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]

Women in the United States Are Eleven Times More Likely to be Murdered with a Gun than Women in Other Developed Countries. More than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. [Centers for Disease Control, 2012] More than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims between 1980 and 2008 were killed with firearms. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011] In 2013, a gun was the most commonly used weapon in a murder of a woman by a man. [Violence Policy Center, 2015]

Abused Women in the United States are Five Times More Likely to be Killed by Their Abuser if That Individual has Access to a Gun. [Centers for Disease Control, 2012]

ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN NEW MEXICO

The Gun-Death Rate In New Mexico Is Roughly 40 Percent Higher Than The National Average. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

From 2001 To 2010, At Least 2,932 People Were Killed By Guns In New Mexico. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

Since 1998, The Federal Background Check System Has Blocked At Least 26,424 Prohibited Gun Sales In New Mexico, including 13,651 sales to convicted felons and 3,374 sales to domestic abusers and domestic violence protection order recipients. [Everytown]

Between 2000 – 2011, New Mexico Had A Higher Rate Of Law Enforcement Officers Killed With A Handgun That Was Not Their Own Than Any Other State In The Country. [Everytown]

ABOUT GUN LAWS IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN NEW MEXICO

In New Mexico, Criminal Background Checks Are Only Required At Licensed Firearms Dealers – Not Online And At Gun Shows. Today, 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 National Instant Criminal Background Check (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. But these federal NICS background checks are not required for private sales – which include sales conducted at gun shows and online. Because New Mexico law follows federal law, criminal background checks are required only at federally licensed firearms dealers, but not for private sales, including online and at gun shows. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2015]

Where They Are Required, Federal Background Checks Are Quick And Effective. Ninety-one 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. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014] [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010]

States That Require Criminal Background Checks For All Handgun Sales Have Seen Drops In Their Gun Violence Rates. In the seventeen 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 percent fewer law enforcement officers are shot to death by handguns. Conversely, after Missouri repealed its law in 2007 that required background checks on all handgun sales, gun homicides increased by 25 percent in the state. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2015] [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2015] [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2015][Webster, Crifasi, Vernick, 2014]

New Mexicans Support Closing Loopholes in the Background Checks Laws. A recent poll of New Mexico voters found that a broad majority of New Mexicans favor closing New Mexico’s background check loophole. Among the survey’s findings: 87 percent of New Mexico voters support requiring background checks on all firearms sales, including 84% of gun owners and 78% of Republicans. [Research Polling Inc.]

92% Of Americans Support Criminal Background Checks For All Gun Sales. According to research conducted in June 2016, 92% of Americans support requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. In research conducted in 2014, 92 percent of gun owners said they supported requiring background checks for all gun sales. [CNN/ORC]

ARS Statement On Vote To Weaken The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, Make Communities Less Safe

February 15, 2017 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, issued the below statement today on the Senate passage of S.J. Res. 14, a dangerous proposal that would revoke the finalized Social Security Administration rule that requires the agency to report the names of certain beneficiaries with fiduciaries and severe mental impairments to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

STATEMENT BY PETER AMBLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS

“Following the shooting at Virginia Tech, President George W. Bush signed the bipartisan NICS Improvement Amendments Act (NIAA) of 2007, which sought to ensure individuals who are ineligible to possess guns for mental health or other reasons could be easily identified through the background check system. While some people who are severely impaired by mental illness or other mental conditions are able to handle the responsibilities of gun ownership without undue risk to themselves or to public safety, others are not. Last year, the Social Security Administration finalized a rule that addresses an important objective of the NIAA: to prevent individuals who are unable to safely handle firearms, or those who may pose a threat to themselves or others, from having access to firearms.

“Today, the United States Senate passed a irresponsible proposal that would revoke this rule, weaken the current background check system, and make our communities less safe. This resolution also sets a dangerous precedent for our federal gun laws by preventing future Administrative action on this issue.”