In New ARS PAC Ad, Iowa Sheriff Says Joni Ernst Is “Wrong” to Support Gun Sale Loopholes

October 28, 2014 – Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) today announced it will air a new 30-second ad titled ”Wrong that highlights Republican candidate Joni Ernst’s support for the loopholes that allow convicted felons and domestic abusers to buy guns without a background check. The ad features Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald.

Watch  ”Wrong” here:

”While Bruce Braley has stood up for commonsense solutions to protect the Second Amendment and reduce gun violence, Joni Ernst will protect the loopholes that let felons and domestic abusers buy guns without a background check,” said Hayley Zachary, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. ”Joni Ernst continues to put the priorities of the Washington gun lobbyists who are backing her ahead of Iowa’s families. She is in lockstep with the gun lobby and out of step with the Iowans she wants to represent.”

The ad is backed by a six-figure buy and will air through Election Day on broadcast and cable.


STORY COUNTY SHERIFF PAUL FITZGERALD: ”I’ve been around guns all my life. It’s dangerous when a convicted felon or a domestic abuser gets their hands on one. But Joni Ernst won’t vote to close the loophole that lets some dangerous people still get guns. I know Joni Ernst gets a lot of money from folks in Washington that support this loophole. But she’s wrong to put Washington money before Iowa common sense.”

Gabby Giffords Statement on School Shooting in Marysville, Washington

October 24, 2014- Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, issued the below statement following Friday’s shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington:

”It was just two days ago that I was in Washington State to meet with local leaders to discuss how we can make our communities safer from gun violence. So it is especially heartbreaking to learn that one of Washington’s schools has now become the scene of yet another senseless act of gun violence. Our schools are supposed to be a place of safety, but far too often they are a place of gun violence and horror. While we still don’t know all the details, we know that the loss of young, innocent lives is both tragic – and unacceptable. Mark and I are praying for the families of those who were lost and for strength for the wounded. We are holding the entire Marysville community in our thoughts and prayers.”

Gun limits: It’s an issue for Iowa Women

Gun limits: It’s an issue for Iowa Women

Des Moines Register

By Rekha Basu

What wasn’t said said everything.

October 24, 2014- Gabby Giffords came to Des Moines this week to talk with women about gun safety. But after a few opening sentences, the former congresswoman from Arizona didn’t speak again.

And that fact spoke louder than anything anyone could have said about the need to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

It was nearly three years ago that Giffords, now 44, was shot in the head while holding a public meeting with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket. At first it was unclear if she would survive — six other people at the scene did not — and then, if she’d be able to read or write, walk or talk.

She walks with a cane now. When there is something to applaud, she does it by slapping one hand against a knee; the other is paralyzed. She still has trouble talking thanks to a condition called Aphasia, which sometimes makes it hard to understand speech or writing, or to call up the right words. It’s associated with strokes and head injuries.

It happened to ”Gabby,” as she is widely known, because a mentally ill man with a history of drug abuse who spouted conspiracy theories and didn’t think women should hold political office could buy a 9-mm pistol from a sportsmen’s store and fire on a crowd.

”Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women,” Giffords said firmly but haltingly Tuesday. ”Criminals with guns, abusers with guns, stalkers with guns. That makes gun violence a women’s issue — for mothers, for families, for me and you.”

Giffords is on a nine-state tour with the organization she co-founded with her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly (both gun owners) called Americans for Responsible Solutions. They did so in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Its fact sheet explains why this is a women’s issue:

• Women in America are 11 times more likely to be killed by a gun than women in other advanced industrialized countries.

• In the 12 years ending in 2013, more U.S. women were killed by intimate partners using guns — close to 6,500 — than U.S. troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

• The risk of death in a domestic dispute increases five-fold when there’s a gun available.

This is the time of year when outside organizations flock to Iowa to lobby voters to take up their issues. It might be human-services spending or the federal debt. It may be climate change or agricultural subsidies. But it was clear from this panel of Iowa women, in law enforcement, domestic-violence prevention, human and civil rights, that this is already an issue for them.

The organization’s immediate priority is fixing weaknesses in federal and state laws. At the federal level, even though people convicted of domestic abuse and felony stalking can’t legally buy guns, those convicted of misdemeanor stalking can. And the domestic abuser prohibition doesn’t apply to dating relationships, though in 2008, almost half of all domestic violence homicides were committed against someone who was or had been a dating partner.

Proposed fixes to the law also would prohibit people under temporary restraining orders from owning firearms, expand federal background checks and improve domestic violence records submissions to the national crime database.

The Iowa chapter of another gun-safety organization, Moms Demand Action, has some state-specific priorities. Iowa is one of 29 states where convicted stalkers can buy and own guns, notes volunteer Amber Gustafson. Iowa law also should require criminal background checks for private shotgun and rifle sales. Current state law only requires them for sales of handguns. But Moms Demand Action says nearly one in five women shot to death by an intimate partner was killed with a shotgun or rifle.

At the Des Moines library, Giffords sat and listened as women talked about particular gun violence situations, polls and loopholes. She nodded, leaned forward, occasionally wrinkled her forehead and applauded as the situation demanded. But she didn’t talk.

I returned to the office stirred by her determined demeanor despite the horrible reality of what was done to her, only to get another reality check. It was a news release from the organization Iowa Gun Owners.

”Gun-grabbers will only be more emboldened if they can attack our gun rights in the legislative session and feel no push-back in their districts when election season comes along,” it said. So it was distributing scorecards showing how every state legislator had voted on guns.

”Gun-control zealots in Iowa are learning a painful lesson,” said the news release. ”If you come after our gun rights, you will be held accountable.”

Painful? They don’t understand the meaning of that word. They should meet Gabby Giffords.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords on gun violence: ‘This is a women’s issue’

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords on gun violence: ‘This is a women’s issue’

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By Joel Connelly

October 22, 2014- Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords prepares to take the stage during a panel discussion about gun violence against women. Photographed on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. (Joshua Trujillo,

Ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords walks slowly with a cane and talks slowly. But the former congresswoman who was victim of an assassin puts powerful emphasis on every word that she speaks.

”Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women,” Giffords told a lunch of Initiative 594 supporters on Wednesday. ”Abusers with guns, criminals with guns make this a women’s issue.”

Giffords was making the last stop on a nine-city tour, advocating for measures and candidates who would curb gun violence. She has traveled from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Ore. and finally to Seattle. Washington voters have received their ballots and will decide whether to require criminal background checks for those purchasing firearms at gun shows or online.

Giffords was a centerist three-term Arizona congresswoman, a firearms owner and gun-rights defender. She was holding an open-air town meeting at a Tucson mall when a mentally deranged young man, Jared Lee Loughner, opened fire. He killed six people including a federal judge, a House aide and a 9-year old girl. Thirteen others were wounded.

Giffords and her husband, retired NASA Space Shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly, have since formed a group called Americans for Responsible Solutions. The couple have taken on the Gun Lobby. The appearance Wednesday was Gifford’s second to the state in support of background checks.

The contest over I-594 shows signs of tightening.

The National Rifle Association has worked to work up its members. It has fielded a list of 24 sheriffs (up from 22 on Tuesday), mostly from rural counties, opposing I-594. The Gun Lobby has shown firepower in Washington, helping unseat House Speaker Tom Foley in 1994 and defeating a trigger locks initiative in 1997.

The luncheon with Giffords was unsettling in one key respect.

Killing of urban young people, from recent college graduates to gang bangers, has been a feature of gun violence in Washington. (The state experiences a greater number of gun deaths than traffic fatalities on its highways.) So have the anguished cries of mothers and kinfolk.

Yet, the Wednesday luncheon, held at the Washington Athletic Club,  was almost devoid of women of color. The five panelists talking about gun violence and its consequences — a discussion centered on domestic violence — were lily white.

Two panelists spoke to personal experience with gun violence.

Terese Todd, a victim of domestic violence in Tennessee, spoke to the culture of her native state: ”In Tennessee, everybody had a pickup truck. Everybody had a gun rack. Everybody owned a gun.”

But, she added, ”To be honest, there are people too dangerous to own guns.”

The Washington Legislature refused to act on background check legislation, but did pass HB 1840. ”The gun of a domestic violence perpetrator can be confiscated immediately,” said State Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

She was followed, however, by Rory Graves, whose mother was shot by her mother’s husband two years ago, seriously injured and not expected to live. Graves, a mother of three, has provided a home during her mother’s recovery.

”I worried that he would come back,” she said. ”He knows where I live. I worried that my mom’s shooter would use that loophole (to acquire a gun).”

The state of Washington has 1,416 licensed gun dealers. Purchasers of firearms at a gun store undergo a criminal background check. Purchasers at gun shows, or those who buy or arrange sales on line, do not.

The pro-I-594 forces received another shot of campaign cash on Tuesday, a $360,000 donation from Everytown for Gun Safety, a group founded by ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Everytown has now put $2.339 million into the I-594 campaign.

The campaign has now taken in nearly $9.8 million. Will it be enough to pass a gun safety initiative in a Western state?

”We can together win elections: Please join your voice with mine,” Giffords said Wednesday.

Gabby Giffords in Iowa: Gun violence is a women’s issue

Gabby Giffords in Iowa: Gun violence is a women’s issue 

The Des Moines Register

By Sharyn Jackson

October 22, 2014- Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made the case that gun violence is a women’s issue at a Tuesday roundtable with Iowa leaders working in law enforcement and domestic violence prevention.

Giffords, who was critically injured in a 2011 assassination attempt, came to Des Moines halfway through a nine-state tour to rally women in the fight for gun reform.

”Women can lead the way,” she said, slowly. ”We stand for common sense.”

On Jan. 8, 2011, the Arizona congresswoman was at a public event near Tucson to meet with constituents when a man opened fire, shooting Giffords in the head, injuring 13 others and killing six. Giffords remains partly paralyzed. Her speech is slurred, but clear.

Since the shooting, Giffords has become one of the country’s foremost gun reform advocates. But federal legislation imposing stricter regulations on gun ownership has failed, even after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.

Giffords spoke once Tuesday, in her opening remarks. She told the group of 17 leaders, all women, that criminals, abusers and stalkers who have access to guns are a threat to women and families.

State Rep. Marti Anderson, D-Des Moines, then moderated the discussion, asking questions of attendees who represented the Iowa Department of Public Health, the FBI and the Iowa Department of Public Safety, as well as several nonprofits and coalitions against violence.

Anderson described the intersection of guns and domestic violence as a ”lethal combination.”

The group discussed ways to approach gun owners about the issues of gun violence and reform. ”This conversation has been divisive,” said Hayley Zachary, executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, the organization founded by Giffords and her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

”None of the policies that we advocate threaten” the right to own guns, Zachary said. ”The question is, what are the pillars of responsible gun ownership?”

A 2010 state law restricts domestic abusers from possessing firearms. But advocates at the roundtable said more can be done, including extending that law to dating partners.

Anderson said she plans on convening the group again to continue the discussion.

”Sitting next to Gabby Giffords, a woman of high resiliency, high courage and public service, renews me to fight this issue at the state level,” Anderson said.

Ellyn Grimm, Iowa chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said Giffords is an ”inspirational” leader for women in Iowa.

”She’s been through what most of us would consider our worst nightmare,” Grimm said, ”and she’s risen above it.”

Giffords’ next stop on the Protect All Women tour is Portland, Ore.

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