ARS PAC Endorses Maggie Hassan for U.S. Senate, Launches New Ad to Hold Senator Kelly Ayotte Accountable for Votes to Protect Gun Background Check Loopholes

May 25, 2016 – The national gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) announced today its endorsement of candidate for U.S. Senate Governor Maggie Hassan and named her its New Hampshire Champion for Common Sense. ARS PAC also announced today it is airing a new 30-second ad in the New Hampshire Senate race. The ad, ARS PAC’s first of the 2016 election cycle, is titled “Safety” and highlights Senator Kelly Ayotte’s votes to protect the loopholes that let dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers buy guns in New Hampshire without a criminal background check. According to recent research, 89% of likely Granite State voters supporting closing those loopholes in our gun background check laws.

The ad, which will also reach Granite State voters through targeted digital communications, is backed by a seven figure buy and will air for at least three weeks.

Watch “Safety” here.

“Senator Ayotte is simply out of step with Granite Staters and in lockstep with the Washington gun lobbyists who back her campaign – and it is time to hold her accountable for her irresponsible votes,” said ARS PAC Political Director Zach Stewart.  “While Senator Ayotte ignored her constituents and voted to protect the loopholes that let felons and domestic abusers get guns with no questions asked, Governor Hassan will be strong voice in the United States Senate for responsible steps that help keep guns of the wrong hands and save lives. We are proud to call her our 2016 New Hampshire Champion for Common Sense.”

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, 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, Senator Ayotte once again voted to protect the loopholes in our background check system and also voted against closing the so-called “terror gap,” which lets known and suspected terrorists legally purchase firearms. She has also declined to sign on to a bipartisan measure to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking by reducing abusers’ and stalkers’ access to firearms. Governor Hassan has voiced her support for all of these commonsense steps.

TRANSCRIPT: “Safety”

Right now criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can buy guns without a background check.

Nearly 9 out of 10 Granite Staters would close that loophole.
Republicans. Democrats. Gun owners. Police.

But Senator Kelly Ayotte voted against more background checks.

She stands with the Washington gun lobby. They fund her campaigns.

Why is Senator Ayotte playing politics with our safety?

ARS Statement on Governor Chris Christie’s Conditional Veto of Bipartisan Bill to Help Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers By Closing Gaps in New Jersey’s Gun Laws

May 23, 2016 – Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention  organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statement following Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto of a bipartisan, commonsense bill (S805/A1211) that would have helped limit domestic abusers’ access to guns by establishing effective procedures and providing guidance and assurance to law enforcement, victims, and advocates.

“It’s disappointing Governor Christie put the interests of the gun lobby and his own political ambitions ahead of New Jersey families. It’s a real shame to see politics get in the way of this bipartisan bill being signed into law,” said Robin Lloyd, State Legislative Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We want to thank all of the Americans for Responsible Solutions supporters, advocates and public safety officials who urged their elected officials to support this responsible proposal and help close the loopholes in New Jersey law to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and protect vulnerable women and their families. This fight is far from over, and we look forward to the key provisions of this bill eventually becoming law.”

A4218 / S2786 would strengthen New Jersey’s laws and help protect domestic violence survivors by:

Requiring domestic abusers to surrender all of their guns if a domestic violence restraining order is in effect, or if they’re convicted of a domestic violence offense;

  • Suspending the gun purchaser ID cards and permits of abusers;
  • Revoking such cards if an abuser is convicted of a domestic violence crime; and,
  • Requiring the cross-checking of records to determine if an abuser owns a firearm.

In March 2015, Congresswoman Giffords joined Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and leaders in New Jersey’s domestic violence prevention community at an event at the New Jersey State House to urge legislators to pass laws like this one that protect women and families from gun violence.

BACKGROUND ON THE NEXUS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING PARTNER ABUSE, STALKING, AND ACCESS TO FIREARMS

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]

Guns and Domestic Abuse Are A Deadly Mix: Abused women in the United States are five times more likely to be killed by their abusers if that individual has access to a gun. [Centers for Disease Control, 2012]

Nearly Half of Murders by an Intimate Partner Are Committed by a Dating Partner – But the “Boyfriend Gap” in Federal Law Lets Abusive Dating Partners Access Guns: From 2009 to 2010, 48.6 percent of all intimate partner homicides were committed by a dating partner. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011] Current federal law prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses from accessing firearms, including individuals who are a current or former spouse, parent, parent of a child in common, current or former cohabitant, or a personal similarly situated to a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim. But federal law does not include perpetrators who abused current or former dating partners from accessing guns. With more women choosing to marry later in life and live in non-cohabitating dating relationships, this gap leaves a significant number of abusers free to access firearms. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

Stalking Is A Strong Predictor of Future Violence – But the “Stalker Gap” in Federal Law Lets Some Convicted Stalkers Access Guns: Stalking is a strong precursor to escalating violence. One study of female murder victims in ten cities found that 76 percent of women murdered and 85 percent who survived a murder attempt by a current or former intimate partner experienced stalking in the year preceding the murder. [Homicide Studies, 1999] Under current federal law, individuals convicted of felony stalking offenses are prohibited from accessing guns. But individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses are not prohibited from accessing guns. Closing the “stalker gap” in federal law would help ensure that all individuals convicted of stalking offenses are prohibited from accessing firearms. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

In the Face of Inaction in Congress, Blue, Purple and Red States Are Enacting Laws to Close These Loopholes and Limit Abusers’ and Stalkers’ Access to Guns. While each state has taken a distinct approach to strengthening laws that address gun violence against women, state leaders are addressing major gaps in federal law to help protect vulnerable women and families. At least 12 states have updated their laws to prohibit people convicted of violent misdemeanors against dating partners from possessing firearms. And 25 states prohibit gun possession by at least some people subject to protective orders for dating partners. In the last two years, leaders from both parties have enacted legislation addressing the often lethal mix of domestic violence and access to firearms in a number of states, including Alabama, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Delaware.
Americans from Both Parties Support Legislation Limiting Abusers’ and Stalkers’ Access to Guns. According to research conducted in June 2015, 82 percent of Americans – including 82 percent of Republicans – say they would support legislation that helps keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers. [Public Policy Polling]

New Research Shows 85 Percent of Illinois Voters Support Requiring Gun Dealers to Be Licensed by the State, Giving State Authorities and Law Enforcement Tools to Ensure Better Gun Dealer Business Practices

May 23, 2016 – Recent research conducted on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions, the national gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, found that 85 percent of Illinois voters support the proposed changes to state law in the “Gun Dealer Licensing Act” now before the legislature, including requiring Illinois gun dealers to be licensed by the state and giving state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among gun dealers.

The survey also found that large majorities of voters in suburban Cook County and the Collar counties, gun owners, and recent Republican voters support the changes called for in the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. Among the survey’s key findings:

  • Over 90 percent of voters in suburban Cook County, over 85 percent of voters in the Collar counties, and over 77 percent of downstate voters support requiring firearms dealers to be licensed by the state.
  • Nearly 86 percent of self-identified independents and more than 82 percent of voters who supported a Republican in the previous election also said they support giving the state the authority to license gun dealers and ensure better business practices.
  • More than 77 percent of Illinois gun owners said they support requiring gun dealers to be licensed by the state.

More than 79% of the state’s voters also said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports licensing gun dealers in the state and measures to improve their business practices.

For a memo with additional details on the results of the new research, please click here.

“Responsible changes to Illinois’ laws that can help keep guns out of the wrong hands simply aren’t controversial. As this new research shows, voters from across the state – including gun owners, Democrats, Republicans and Independents – agree that state authorities and law enforcement need the tools to hold negligent dealers accountable and crack down on the illegal gun trade,” said Robin Lloyd, State Legislative Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “As leaders in the legislature debate this commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence, we hope they keep in mind the broad, bipartisan support among their constituents for responsible changes to Illinois’ laws proposed in the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. We urge the leaders in the Illinois legislature to support these changes and act to make communities in Illinois safer.”

The new research comes on the heels of Congresswoman Giffords’ visit to Illinois last month to help launch the new Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition and urge legislators to support the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. The coalition, which includes gun violence prevention groups, community advocates, and faith groups, has helped lead the fight in support of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, which aims to hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Read more about the Gun Dealer Licensing Act here.

The Gun Dealer Licensing Act will help slow the the flow of illegal guns through a number of small changes to the state’s laws, including:

  • Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Gun Dealer Employees: Gun store employees often have access to huge inventories of guns and it is just common sense to make sure that the dealer and employees are just as responsible as the buyers.
  • Ensuring Our Background Check System Can Work Better By Training Employees:  The bill would ensure that dealers and their employees know how to conduct background checks, identify and stop straw purchases, and properly store guns to prevent thefts.
  • Ensuring Gun Dealers Are Held Accountable: IDFPR and law enforcement would have the ability to inspect licensed gun dealers, so we can make sure all gun dealers are adhering to the same set of minimum business standards.

Negligent gun dealers within Illinois fuel the illegal gun trade. From 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of the guns used in crimes in Chicago came from gun dealers within Illinois. But thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois lacks the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.

Between 2002 – 2014, 14,273 people were killed with guns in Illinois, nearly three times the number of all U.S. combat troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. A person is killed with a gun in Illinois every eight hours. In 2014, 1,179 people were killed by guns in Illinois. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

Groups represented in the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition include:

ABJ Community Services

All Saints Episcopal—Chicago

Americans for Responsible Solutions

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Catholic Charities

Center for American Progress

Chicago Area Peace Action

Chicago Board of Rabbis

Chicago Survivors

Chicagoland Brady Chapter

Community of Congregations

Community Renewal Society

Countryside Unitarian Church

Emanuel Congregation

Emanuel Lutheran Church, Rockford

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Faith Community of St. Sabina Greater Institutional AME Church Gun Responsibility Advocates

Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC)

Howard Area Community Center

Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Illinois Conference of Churches

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV)

Increase the Peace Englewood Jewish Council on Urban A airs

Joint Action Committee for Political A airs (JAC PAC)

Lake Street Church of Evanston

League of Women Voters of Illinois

Moms Rising

National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore

National Gun Victims Action Council

National Youth Advocate Program

Northwest Suburbs Organizing for Action

Open Communities

Organizing Catholics for Justice

Organizing for Action Chicago North Chapter

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Parents for Peace and Justice

Peace & Justice Committee Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

Peace & Justice Committee of St. Giles, Oak Park

Peaceful Communities

People for a Safer Society Presbyterian Church USA Progressive Community Church Purpose Over Pain

Quinn Chapel AME Church

Saint Joseph Anglican—Spring eld

Strengthening Chicago’s Youth

Seabury Western Theological Seminary

St. Felicitas Catholic Church

St. Francis Xavier Parish

St. Joseph Anglican

The Peace & Justice Committee of St. Edmunds

United Church of Christ United Church of Rogers Park United Methodist Church

ARS Applauds Delaware Legislators for Advancing Bill to Give Law Enforcement More Tools to Combat Gun Crimes and Prosecute Criminals

May 18, 2016 – Americans for Responsible Solutions, the national gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, today applauded leaders in the Delaware State Senate for advancing a bipartisan proposal to strengthen the state’s reporting requirements for guns and ammunition, give law enforcement more tools to track crime guns and ballistics, and make it easier to enforce current law and bring perpetrators to justice.

The legislation, HB 217, strengthen Delaware’s tracing laws and make it easier to prosecute criminal justice by:

  • Requiring law enforcement agencies that recover crime guns to enter all related information into the National Crime Information Center System and the the ATF’s e-Trace system;
  • Requiring law enforcement agencies that recover crime guns to quickly test-fire each weapon and submit their results to the NIBIN to determine whether the firearm is associated or related to a crime; and,
  • Requiring law enforcement agencies that recover shell casings at a crime scene to submit all related ballistics information to the NIBIN.

The vote comes on the heels of Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly’s visit to Wilmington in March and launch of the new bipartisan Delaware Coalition for Common Sense.

“We applaud leaders in the Delaware Senate for doing the responsible thing and voting to give law enforcement more tools to combat gun crimes and prosecute criminals,” said Amber Goodwin, National Advocacy Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We urge Governor Markell to sign this bipartisan bill into law and help make Delaware a safer place to live.”

ABOUT FIREARMS & BALLISTICS TRACING

Tracing Helps Law Enforcement Bring Perpetrators To Justice. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ National Tracing Center (NTC) and the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) are two of the most effective resources for domestic and international law enforcement agencies to gain investigative leads in firearm related crimes. The ATF’s e-Trace system helps law enforcement track crime guns back to the original customer and dealer. The NIBIN system provides law enforcement the tools to link crime guns to an established database. Since 1999, NIBIN partners have captured approximately 2.8 billion ballistic images and have confirmed more than 74,000 hits with the database. [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms]

Loopholes In Delaware Law Does Not Require Law Enforcement Officers To Submit Ballistics Information Into Federal Ballistics Database. Under current Delaware law, ballistics information that is taken from a crime scene does not have to be entered into the NIBIN, unnecessarily prolonging criminal investigations and requiring additional labor hours.

 

Americans for Responsible Solutions Applauds the Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee for Advancing Bill To Help Slow The Flow Of Illegal Guns In Illinois

May 17, 2016 –  Americans for Responsible Solutions, the national gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition today applauded the Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee for advancing a new proposal, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (HB 1016), to help slow the flow of illegal guns in Illinois, and urged legislators to act to save lives.

The bill, which was introduced earlier this month, would give state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among federally licensed gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Read more about the Gun Dealer Licensing Act here.

Negligent gun dealers within Illinois fuel the illegal gun trade. From 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of the guns used in crimes in Chicago came from gun dealers within Illinois. But thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois doesn’t have the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.

The vote in favor of the bill comes on the heels of Congresswoman Giffords’ visit to Illinois last month to help launch the new Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition and urge legislators to support the bill. The coalition, which includes gun violence prevention groups, community advocates, and faith groups, has helped lead the fight in support of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

“This bill will help level the playing field for gun dealers throughout Illinois by promoting commonsense business practices that will curb the in-state trafficking of illegal firearms. So we applaud leaders in Illinois for advancing a commonsense proposal that will crack down on the illegal gun trade and help keep guns out of dangerous hands,” said Robin Lloyd, State Legislative Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We thank the members of the Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee who supported this commonsense legislation that will hold negligent gun dealers accountable while protecting responsible dealers and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding people. We urge the leaders in the Illinois House to follow suit and support these responsible changes to Illinois’ laws.”

“As a state, we need to do more to combat gun trafficking and keep guns out of the wrong hands. That starts with providing our state authorities with the tools they need to encourage better business practices among gun dealers, hold corrupt dealers accountable, and slow the flow of crime guns into our communities. I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in supporting this commonsense step to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said Illinois State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake), a chief author of the legislation.

The Gun Dealer Licensing Act will help slow the the flow of illegal guns through a number of small changes to the state’s laws, including:

  • Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Gun Dealer Employees: Gun store employees often have access to huge inventories of guns and it is just common sense to make sure that the dealer and employees are just as responsible as the buyers.

  • Training and Education for Gun Dealers Employees So Our Background Check System Can Work Better:  The bill would require training to ensure that dealers and their employees know how to conduct background checks, identify and stop straw purchases, and properly store guns to prevent thefts.

  • Ensuring Gun Dealers Are Held Accountable:  IDFPR and law enforcement would have the ability to inspect the inventories of licensed gun dealers, so we can make sure gun dealers are held accountable for missing firearms.

Between 2002 – 2014, 14,273 people were killed with guns in Illinois, nearly three times the number of all U.S. combat troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. A person is killed with a gun in Illinois every eight hours. In 2014, 1,179 people were killed by guns in Illinois.[Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

Groups represented in the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition include:

ABJ Community Services

All Saints Episcopal—Chicago

Americans for Responsible Solutions

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Catholic Charities

Center for American Progress

Chicago Board of Rabbis

Chicago Survivors

Chicagoland Brady Chapter

Community of Congregations

Community Renewal Society

Countryside Unitarian Church

Emanuel Congregation

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Faith Community of St. Sabina Greater Institutional AME Church Gun Responsibility Advocates

Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC)

Howard Area Community Center

Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Illinois Conference of Churches

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV)

Increase the Peace Englewood Jewish Council on Urban A airs

Joint Action Committee for Political A airs (JAC PAC)

Lake Street Church of Evanston

League of Women Voters of Illinois

Moms Rising

National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore

National Gun Victims Action Council

National Youth Advocate Program

Northwest Suburbs Organizing for America

Open Communities

Organizing Catholics for Justice

Organizing for America Chicago North Chapter

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Parents for Peace and Justice

Peace & Justice Committee Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

Peaceful Communities

People for a Safer Society Presbyterian Church USA Progressive Community Church Purpose Over Pain

Quinn Chapel AME Church

Saint Joseph Anglican—Spring eld

Strengthening Chicago’s Youth

Seabury Western Theological Seminary

St. Felicitas Catholic Church

St. Francis Xavier Parish

St. Joseph Anglican

The Peace & Justice Committee of St. Edmunds

United Church of Christ United Church of Rogers Park United Methodist Church

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