Gabby Giffords Statement on the Historic Address by His Holiness Pope Francis to Congress

September 24, 2015 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, issued the following statement today after attending the historic address by His Holiness Pope Francis to a Joint Meeting of Congress:

“It was an honor to return to the House chamber this morning to witness the historic address by His Holiness Pope Francis to the United States Congress and to hear His Holiness discuss the issues that matter to all Americans. Inspired by our dialogue with Pope Francis, let all Americans engage in a politics that forges cooperation and sees the passage of just legislation that may bring us closer to grace.”

ARS PAC Statement on the Defeat of the Reckless Effort to Recall Oregon State Senator Who Voted To Close Background Check Loopholes

September 11, 2015 – Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, today welcomed the announcement by the Oregon Secretary of State that the reckless effort to recall Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) for his vote to close loopholes in the state’s background check system had failed.

“This recall effort’s failure is a win for common sense. Floyd Prozanski has been a champion for common sense and a champion for safer communities. After being fairly re-elected less than a year ago, he stood up to the gun lobby and stood up for safer communities by voting to close the loopholes that let dangerous people in Oregon buy guns – a policy that the vast majority of Oregonians support,” said Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC Executive Director Hayley Zachary. “So it is no surprise that Oregonians had little interest in recalling a legislator for voting to close the loopholes that had allowed dangerous people to buy guns without a background check. The failure of this effort is yet another sign that voting for laws that reduce gun violence is not only the right thing to do, but is something voters will respect and reward, not punish.”

Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC had already launched a targeted digital campaign aimed at educating voters during the signature gathering phase about Sen. Prozanski’s experience as a prosecutor, and his support for Oregon’s public schools, and his support for commonsense background checks through a 30-second digital ad titled “Working for Us” urging Oregonians to support Senator Prozanski in the face of the recall effort. (Watch “Working for Us” here.)

Earlier this year, Americans for Responsible Solutions also ran a statewide digital campaign to educate Oregonians on gaps in current Oregon gun laws and build support for commonsense changes that can make their communities safer. The campaign targeted more than 700,000 people in the state and ran for the duration of the legislative session. Read more here.

The bill signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in May addresses the gap in Oregon law that lets unlicensed sellers transfer a firearm to another person, including through online sales, without a background check. Previously in Oregon, individuals had to pass a background check before they bought a gun from a licensed firearm dealer and at gun shows. While individuals could request a state background check before selling a gun to another person, Oregon previously did not require unlicensed sellers to conduct a background check when transferring a gun.

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.


ARS has had an active advocacy program in Oregon. Highlights of the organization’s work to support the passage of background checks include:

Targeted Digital Education Campaign: Americans for Responsible Solutions engaged in a statewide digital campaign to educate Oregonians on gaps in current Oregon gun laws and highlight commonsense changes that can make their communities safer. The campaign, which targets more than 700,000 people in the state and ran for the duration of the legislative session, encouraged Oregonians to contact their legislator and urge them to support legislation that will help reduce gun violence. Read more here.

Grassroots Organizing: 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 SB 941, which would close the current loophole that allows people in Oregon to buy a gun without a background check. Read more here.

Mobilizing Key Constituencies: Americans for Responsible Solutions also helped organize key constituents to testify before the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of SB 941. Earlier this month, Dr. Jim Scott of Portland and retired United States Army intelligence officer Jeff Julum of Salem testified in support of SB 941. Both Mr. Julum and Dr. Scott are supporters of Americans for Responsible Solutions. Read more here.


Capt. Mark Kelly Applauds Re-Introduction of Bipartisan Bill to Combat Gun Trafficking, Crack Down on Illegal Gun Trade

September 9, 2015 –  Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, today applauded the re-introduction of a bipartisan bill in the House that would make firearms trafficking a federal crime and impose stronger penalties for “straw purchasers” who buy guns for individuals – like felons and convicted domestic abusers – who are prohibited under current federal law from buying or owning guns.

The United States currently lacks a strong, clear federal statute against gun trafficking, in which firearms are diverted from legitimate commerce to criminals and criminal networks.

The legislation, the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2015, is co-sponsored by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), Patrick Meehan (R-Pennsylvania), Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), Peter T. King (R- New York), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania),  Robin Kelly (D-Illinois), Dan Donovan (R- New York), and Tammy Duckworth (D- Illinois).

“Once again, leaders from both parties in the House of Representatives have come together behind a commonsense proposal that would help keep guns out of the wrong hands and make our communities safer places to live,” said Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “The bipartisan group of legislators sponsoring this bill should be applauded for standing up for common sense, standing up to the gun lobby, and leading the fight to crack down on the illegal gun trade. One of the biggest, most dangerous gaps in our nation’s gun laws is that we have no strong, clear federal law against gun trafficking. This bipartisan bill will help fix that by making it harder for straw purchasers and shady gun dealers to traffic illegal guns to dangerous people – all while protecting the Second Amendment rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.”

First introduced in 2013, the legislation was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 118 Members in the House. The bill:

  • Prohibits Firearms Trafficking: The bill prohibits the purchase or transfer of a firearm if the intent is to deliver it to someone else who is prohibited by federal or state law from possessing one.

  • Strengthens Penalties for Straw Purchasers: The bill strengthens penalties to up to 20 years imprisonment for “straw purchasers” who intentionally provide false or misleading material information when they purchase firearms from Federal Firearms Licensees.

  • Enhances Penalties for Kingpins and Multiple Illegal Purchases: The bill provides enhanced penalties for organizers or managers of firearms trafficking networks and recommends that the Sentencing Commission increase penalties for multiple illegal gun purchases.

The trafficking of firearms, which involves the diversion of guns from the legal to illegal market, is a major source of guns used in crime and a risk to the public safety of the United States. Every year, tens of thousands of guns enter into the illegal market through a number of channels, including: 1) corrupt and/or irresponsible gun dealers who are licensed but sell their guns off the books to traffickers, 2) unlicensed private sellers who sell at gun shows, online and elsewhere, 3) gun traffickers who falsely claim guns they purchased were lost or stolen to hide their involvement in crime, and 4) straw purchasers. Just 5% of all gun dealers are responsible for 90% of crime guns on America’s streets.

Gabby Giffords & Mark Kelly Statement on the Fatal Shooting of Two Broadcast Journalists in Virginia During a Live Report

August 26, 2015 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), issued the below statement this morning following the fatal shooting of two broadcast journalists with CBS affiliate WDBJ7 live on air during a report from Moneta, Virginia:

“We are horrified to learn that two young journalists were murdered this morning doing the jobs they loved. As they worked on a beautiful summer morning, they were murdered by an armed assailant. While we don’t yet know all the details of what happened this morning, we know that an attack like this on journalists is an affront to the values we all share.”

“Our country has a gun violence problem, and shootings like these are far too common in our country. Many times, they happen behind closed doors, in homes and schools and movie theaters. But this time, the horror unfolded live and on air, for all to see. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose loved ones were taken from them this morning, with their colleagues at WDBJ7 in Roanoke, and with all Virginians as they mourn this shocking loss.”


  • Confirmed dead are reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, of the CBS affiliate WCBS, which is based in Roanoke, Virginia.
  • The two victims were shot at approximately 6:45 a.m. Wednesday while doing a live report at the Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, Virginia, according to the Franklin County Sheriff Department.
  • A third person was also injured in the shooting, according to authorities.
  • The suspected shooter remains at large.

Mark Kelly Statement on Harris County Shooter Who Bypassed Background Check by Buying Gun Online

August 12, 2015 – Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), issued the below statement today following new details that the Harris County shooter who killed eight people, including his former domestic partner, her spouse, and six children in their home on Saturday, was prohibited from purchasing a gun and bypassed a criminal background check by purchasing the firearm used in the shooting from a stranger he met online. Captain Kelly’s statement:

“The horrific tragedy that unfolded in Harris County over the weekend is not only a painful reminder of how deadly of a mix domestic violence and guns are, but also how loopholes in our laws make it easy for dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers to get their hands on a gun,” said Captain Kelly. “Our federal laws have loopholes big enough to drive a truck through, and when we give felons and domestic abusers the option to buy a gun without a background check, it makes our communities less safe. That’s why our leaders need to do everything they can to close those loopholes and help keep dangerous people from getting their hands on guns. For those who fight to protect these loopholes that make it easy for dangerous people to buy guns without a background check, we would like to hear what steps they would take to help keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons. Gabby and I will continue to keep our thoughts and prayers with those whose loved ones were taken from them on Saturday, and with the Harris County community.”



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 Have 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.

States with Background Checks Have Seen Public Safety Gains. In the eighteen 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.

Contact  |  Privacy Policy