ARS Responds to the Gun Law Discussion in the GOP Primary Debate

WASHINGTON DC – Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the following statement responding to the discussion of the nation’s gun violence crisis by the 2016 Republican presidential candidates at tonight’s Fox Business News primary debate:

”Yet again, the candidates who talk a lot about how tough they are took a pass on standing up to the corporate gun lobby,” said ARS Executive Director Hayley Zachary. ”Yet again, we heard the tired line that our laws are irrelevant because criminals don’t obey them. But what we didn’t hear was a serious explanation for why these candidates want to protect some of the loopholes that let felons and domestic abusers buy guns without a background check. We know that states with background checks for all gun sales are safer places to live. It’s time for anyone seeking the White House to stand up to the gun lobby and stand up for some commonsense steps that can make our communities safer.”

Gabrielle Giffords Statement on Attending Tuesday Night’s State of the Union Address with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)

January 11, 2016 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, released the below statement in the lead-up to her attendance at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, where she will sit with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), whose district includes Newtown and Sandy Hook Elementary School. Congresswoman Giffords’ statement:

“I am honored to join so many of my former colleagues and Congresswoman Esty at the State of the Union address. Congresswoman Esty is a true champion for common sense in the fight for making our communities safer from gun violence.

“Both Congresswoman Esty and I know all too well the impact of gun tragedies on our communities and our constituents. We share a bond no elected representative ever wants to share. It is a club you never want to belong to.

“But the truth is that gun tragedies befall every congressional district and every community in our nation. Gun violence knows no bounds. That’s why it’s so fitting and powerful that one seat in the First Lady’s State of the Union Guest Box will be left empty to honor the victims of gun violence. The Americans represented by that empty seat no longer have a voice. And we must be their voice.”

ARS Releases New Digital Short “Explainer” on White House Action to Narrow Gun Law Loopholes

January 7, 2015 – Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran Captain Mark Kelly, today released a new “explainer” digital short titled “Big News, America” on the White House’s action announced this week to narrow loopholes in the federal gun background check system.

Watch “Big News, America” here.

The new video comes on the heels of yesterday’s release of a new television ad applauding this week’s White House executive action to reduce gun violence by immediately narrowing the loopholes that let people buy guns without a background check. The ad also highlights recent research showing that 73 percent of likely 2016 voters support an executive action by President Obama on background checks. The 30-second ad, titled “It’s Working,” will air on national cable for one week beginning Thursday, including before and after President Obama’s town hall on gun violence hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on January 7th. Both Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly will attend the town hall.

TRANSCRIPT: “BIG NEWS”

“Big news, America: Thanks to your call for commonsense change, President Obama has acted to close some of the loopholes in our laws that have let people buy guns without a criminal background check. It’s a commonsense change that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and help prevent gun tragedies.

How did we get here?

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, a bipartisan group of senators got together to introduce legislation to close the loopholes in our gun laws, so that many more gun sales would require a criminal background check. Nine in ten Americans supported it, and it got a majority of votes in the Senate. But a minority of senators filibustered the bill, stopping it in its tracks – exactly what the corporate gun lobby wanted.

Americans were outraged. We heard from thousands of you, and the message was clear: keep pushing ahead.

So we did – with a plan that we brought to the President of the United States.

The idea, which the President just announced, significantly narrows the gaps that let people buy guns with no questions asked at gun shows, online, and elsewhere.

It does this by saying no matter where you are, if you’re in the business of selling a firearms, you must conduct background checks on gun sales. It’s as simple as it is effective. Now, by clarifying the definition the definition of who qualifies as licensed dealer, if you’re selling a large number of guns, you’ve got to perform criminal background checks on your potential buyers.

Before the President acted, our laws were vague – and that created a problem. For example, if there was a person with a booth full of guns for sale at a gun show, it would certainly seem like that person should be conducting background checks. But the loopholes allowed that person to sell guns with no questions asked. Same thing with online sales: A person could sell dozens or hundreds of guns per year over the internet with no criminal background check. delete

President Obama has changed that. With this new policy, people engaged in the business of selling guns are going to have to conduct criminal background checks, just like at a gun store.

Let’s say, if you’re selling a large number of guns, potentially even more than just a couple; or doing things like printing business cards, accepting credit card payments, or selling guns you just bought – you’ll have to get licensed as a gun dealer and conduct checks.

The administration will also strengthen the background check system to address gaps that allowed a dangerous man to buy a gun and murder nine innocent people in a Charleston, South Carolina church

The expanded background checks policy will help stop dangerous people from buying guns, it will provide police and prosecutors the clarity they need to enforce the law, it will shrink illicit markets for illegal firearms and firearms trafficking, and it will benefit gun owners by leveling the playing field for responsible gun owners and dealers.

Gun violence is a complex problem and we can’t prevent every tragedy, but we do know background checks save lives. In states with background checks on all handgun sales, women are 46 percent less likely to be shot to death by their intimate partners, there are 48 percent fewer suicides and law enforcement are 48 percent less likely to be murdered with a gun.

This responsible change to our laws will make our communities safer places to live – and protect the rights of law-abiding Americans to buy guns. It’s just common sense.

With your help, we’ve achieved this victory for safer communities and we know that if you are with us, we can bring even more common sense to our nation’s gun laws.

Go to responsiblesolutions.org to find how you can get involved.”

ARS to Air New National Television Ad Applauding White House Executive Action to Narrow Gun Background Check Loopholes

January 6, 2015 – Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran Captain Mark Kelly, today released a new television ad applauding this week’s White House executive action to reduce gun violence by immediately narrowing the loopholes that let people buy guns without a background check. The ad also highlights recent research showing that 73 percent of likely 2016 voters support an executive action by President Obama on background checks.

The 30-second ad, titled “It’s Working,” will air on national cable beginning Thursday, including before and after President Obama’s town hall on gun violence hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on January 7th. Both Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly will attend the town hall.

Watch “It’s Working” here.

“Americans, including gun owners and Republicans, support the kind of commonsense steps taken by President Obama this week to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said Hayley Zachary, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Americans need to know their calls for commonsense change are being heard, and that even as Congress remains in the gun lobby’s grip, our leaders can act to make our communities safer. Their calls for change are working.”

A recent survey of likely 2016 voters conducted on behalf of ARS found that a supermajority of voters – along with a majority of Republicans and gun owners – support an executive action requiring currently unlicensed high-volume gun sellers to conduct background checks on all buyers, including online and at gun shows – by clarifying and tightening the legal definition of gun dealers, who are required under law to conduct background checks on gun sales.

Among the survey’s findings:

  • A supermajority of voters – 73 percent – support “an executive action by President Obama that would require anyone who sells a large number of guns per year to become a licensed gun dealer and require background checks on all of their gun sales, including those sold online or at gun shows,” with a 53-percent majority saying they strongly support such action and only 25 percent opposing it.
  • A majority of Republicans support an executive action on background checks.  Despite their disagreement with the President on other policy issues, a 56 percent majority of self-ascribed Republicans support a potential executive action.
  • Nearly two-thirds of gun owners also support a potential executive action. Sixty-four percent of gun owners and 56 percent of voters who are favorably disposed toward the National Rifle Association also support a potential executive action.
  • Support among key groups like independents in presidential battleground states is high. As noted above, 70 percent of voters in the presidential battleground support a potential executive action, including 68 percent of independent voters, 76 percent of independent women, 77 percent of non-college women and 72 percent of mothers. Among young voters support jumps to 90 percent.
  • Support for potential executive action reflects the national consensus on the need for stronger gun laws. A 60-percent majority believes the laws covering the sale of guns should be made stronger, while just 7 percent believe they should be weakened.

A memo on the new research can be found here.

TRANSCRIPT: “IT’S WORKING”

NARRATOR: “Mass shootings. Daily gun violence. But Congress won’t act. Now there’s good news: New actions tightens the loophole that allowed criminal to get  guns without a background check. Most Americans, most gun owners, most Republicans and Democrats – even those favorable to the NRA –  support this action to make our country safer. Keep speaking up for commonsense solutions to gun violence. It’s working.”

Gabby Giffords & Mark Kelly Statement on the President’s Announcement to Immediately Strengthen Our Nation’s Gun Laws, Narrow Loopholes in the Background Check System

January 4, 2016 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, today applauded President Obama following the announcement that his Administration will exercise its existing authority to strengthen our nation’s gun laws by narrowing the loopholes that let people buy guns without a background check and strengthening the existing background check system through improved reporting and enforcement. The Administration’s commonsense step will dramatically reduce the number of firearms sold in the United Stated without a background check.

“We thank the President for standing up to the gun lobby and announcing the most significant national achievement for gun safety since the Brady Bill 22 years ago. About 33 Americans are murdered with a gun every single day, and Congress has done something truly amazing: nothing at all. The Administration’s leadership will significantly narrow the loopholes that let dangerous people buy guns without a background check – a step that the majority of Americans, including Republicans and gun owners like us, support,” said Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly. “This strong effort will ensure more gun sales will be covered by a criminal background check, the background check system will be strengthened, and fewer guns will fall into the wrong hands. Important improvements include addressing the Charleston tragedy by increasing background check staff, revealing which states do and don’t report essential background check records, requiring dealers to report lost or stolen guns, calling for big new investments in mental health care, and more. We applaud President Obama, Vice President Biden, Attorney General Lynch, and the rest of the Administration for their leadership – leadership that will undoubtedly save lives.”

A recent survey of likely 2016 voters conducted on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions found that a supermajority of voters – along with a majority of Republicans and gun owners – support White House action requiring currently unlicensed high-volume gun sellers to conduct background checks on all buyers, including online and at gun shows. In the survey, 73 percent of voters said they support “an executive action by President Obama that would require anyone who sells a large number of guns per year to become a licensed gun dealer and require background checks on all of their gun sales, including those sold online or at gun shows,” with a 53-percent majority saying they strongly support such action and only 25 percent opposing it. A 56 percent majority of self-ascribed Republicans, 64 percent of gun owners and 56 percent of voters who are favorably disposed toward the National Rifle Association also support a White House executive action. Click here to read more.

Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly met several times with President Obama and administration officials in 2014 and 2015 to advocate for these steps. Most recently, Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly met with President Obama in the Oval Office on December 4, 2015 and urged him to act.

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