STATEMENT: ARS PAC Endorses Phil Murphy For Governor

August 24, 2017 — Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, announced today their endorsement of New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy for Governor. Phil Murphy has been a strong advocate for responsible gun violence prevention policies, and has made his long-standing commitment to the issue a hallmark of his gubernatorial campaign.

Captain Mark Kelly:

“New Jersey’s next governor will have an important role in combatting gun violence and advancing solutions to make communities safer and we believe Phil is best qualified to take on that important challenge. Phil Murphy understands the importance of protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners and keeping guns out of the hands of violent felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people.

“In 2015, over 36,000 Americans were killed by a gun. New Jersey has not been immune to this deadly crisis: somebody is killed with a gun in New Jersey every 18 hours. As Governor, Phil Murphy will work across the aisle to push for commonsense measures that prohibit individuals who are in danger of hurting themselves or others from possessing firearms, strengthen the background check system, and improve the availability of firearms safety technology. Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC is proud to endorse Phil Murphy, a leader who will stand up to the corporate gun lobby and will never stop working to make New Jersey communities safer.”

Phil Murphy:

“For the past eight years, Chris Christie and Kim Guadagno put standing with the gun lobby to weaken New Jersey’s gun laws before standing with the majority of New Jerseyans who want sensible gun safety reforms. I pledge that I will be an entirely different type of governor. We must end the ‘us versus them’ politics that too many preach, especially on the topic of gun safety. New Jersey can, and must, be a national role model in changing this critical debate. And we must be where we prove that sensible gun safety laws can prevent violence while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding residents. I thank Captain Kelly — a New Jersey native and son of West Orange police officers — and Americans for Responsible Solutions not only for their endorsement, but for the good work they are doing to promote commonsense gun safety laws to protect all of our communities.”

ARS PAC Endorses Virginia Candidates Justin Fairfax & Mark Herring

August 21, 2017 — Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, announced today their endorsement of Justin Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor and Mark Herring for Attorney General.

As a former assistant U.S. attorney, Justin Fairfax understands the importance of sensible gun laws and has demonstrated a clear commitment to supporting responsible policies that make Virginia communities safer. Similarly, Attorney General Mark Herring has been a vocal champion for commonsense gun violence prevention measures throughout his tenure as Virginia Attorney General.

Captain Mark Kelly:

“Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC is proud to endorse Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring, two leaders who will stand up to the gun lobby and push for bipartisan, commonsense change that prevents gun tragedies in the Virginia and saves lives. Last year, over 36,000 Americans are killed by a gun. Virginia has not been immune to this deadly crisis: somebody is killed with a gun in Virginia every 10 hours.

“As a former assistant U.S. attorney, Justin Fairfax has seen the toll that gun violence has on Virginia families and the barriers prosecutors and law enforcement face in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. And as Lieutenant Governor, I’m confident that he will work tirelessly to build safer communities for every Virginia family.

“Attorney General Mark Herring has worked to crack down on gun trafficking, protect domestic violence survivors from abusers with guns and make Virginia communities safer. We hope Virginians will re-elect Attorney General Mark Herring, so he can continue fighting for a safer Virginia.”

Justin Fairfax:

“I am grateful to have the endorsement of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC). As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, I understand the importance of commonsense gun laws and the real-life impact they have on our justice system.

“As Lt. Governor, I will fight for commonsense gun laws that make our Commonwealth safer for all Virginians.”

Attorney General Mark Herring:

“As Attorney General, I’ve prosecuted more than 100 gun crimes in both state and federal court, built a comprehensive program for training law enforcement and members of Virginia communities to reduce domestic gun violence, and fought for mandatory background checks on all gun sales all in the backyard of the NRA. I’m grateful for the support of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, and in my second term I’m going to continue to fight for common sense solutions to reduce gun violence and to save lives.”

STATEMENT: Gabby Giffords Applauds The Signing Of New Bill To Help Remove Guns From Dangerous Situations

August 15, 2017 — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions, applauded the signing by Governor Kate Brown of a new bipartisan, commonsense bill (Senate Bill 719) into law, which creates a process for obtaining an Extreme Risk Protection Order that prohibits a person who is in danger of hurting themselves or others from possessing a firearm. Earlier this year, members of the Oregon Coalition for Common Sense testified on behalf of Senate Bill 719 and urged Oregon’s leaders to pass the bill.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“This new law is the latest example of Oregon’s commitment to building safer communities. This important, lifesaving legislation will help families and law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. It gives me hope to see Western states, many with rich traditions of gun ownership, leading the way and proving that progress is possible in the fight to prevent gun violence. Following the horrific shooting in Santa Barbara, California enacted similar legislation that has helped keep guns out of the wrong hands. Last year, voters in Washington overwhelming passed a similar measure at the ballot box. I’m thrilled to see Oregon join that list today and look forward to helping more states follow their example.”

About the Extreme Risk Protection Order

The Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is a civil court order issued by a judge upon consideration of evidence provided by a family member or law enforcement officer that temporarily prohibits a person in crisis from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition. A common thread in many shootings is that family members of the shooters had noticed their loved ones engaging in dangerous behaviors and were concerned about their risk of harming themselves or others – even before any violence occurred.

  • An ERPO creates a mechanism for family and household members to temporarily prevent access to guns by individuals who pose an elevated risk of endangering themselves or others. This law can save lives while ensuring critical legal protections for respondents, just as it has in states that have already taken this responsible step.

  • The ERPO is based on the long-standing domestic violence protection orders (in place in all 50 states) and involves both a court hearing and clearly defined due process protections. Qualifying petitioners, such as family and household members or law enforcement officers, would be able to petition the civil court in their jurisdiction for an ERPO based on evidence they present through a written application and at a hearing before a judge.

  • The ERPO gives individuals an opportunity to present evidence to show they are not a danger to themselves or others. If a court issues an ERPO, respondents would still be able to petition once for termination of the order and be eligible to have their firearms and ammunition returned upon expiration of the order.

  • States with ERPO laws have seen positive results and are saving lives.Over the past three years, a growing list of states with rich traditions of gun ownership have passed life-saving legislation that helps families and law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. California enacted this life-saving law in 2014, and Washington voters overwhelmingly passed it in November 2016. Connecticut and Indiana have similar versions that allow law enforcement officers to intervene when people are in crisis and have easy access to guns. In the first 14 years of the implementation of Connecticut’s law, it is estimated that between 38-76 lives were saved as a result of risk-warrants. In addition, nearly one third of respondents received critical mental health and substance abuse treatment as a result of the intervention.

  • The ERPO is a particularly important tool to help prevent suicides. Those in a suicidal crisis are much more likely to survive if they do not have easy access to firearms for the duration of the crisis. Research shows that people are more likely to die by suicide if they have easy access to firearms. Eighty-five percent of suicide attempts involving firearms are fatal. Nine out of 10 people who survive a suicide attempt do not die by suicide at a later date. These facts demonstrate that the ERPO, which can prevent suicidal individuals from accessing guns during a crisis, will likely save lives.

 

ARS PAC Endorses Ralph Northam For Virginia Governor

August 15, 2017 Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy Combat Veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, announced today their endorsement of Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam for Virginia Governor.

As an army veteran and doctor, Lieutenant Governor Northam has seen the destruction that firearms cause when they fall into the wrong hands. Throughout his distinguished tenure in public service, Lieutenant Governor Northam has been a champion for responsible gun violence prevention policies, and has made his long-standing commitment to the issue a hallmark of his gubernatorial campaign.

Captain Mark Kelly, Co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“Virginia’s next governor will have an important role in combatting gun violence and advancing solutions to make communities safer and we believe Ralph Northam is exceptionally suited to take on that challenge. Lieutenant Governor Northam understands the importance of protecting the rights of law-abiding Virginians and keeping guns out of the hands of violent felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people. Throughout his life, as a veteran, doctor and public servant, Lieutenant Governor Northam has fought tirelessly to make Virginia a better, safer place to live.

“Every year, over 30,000 Americans are killed by a gun. Virginia has not been immune to this deadly crisis: somebody is killed with a gun in Virginia every 10 hours. Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC is proud to endorse Lieutenant Governor Northam, a leader who has the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and push for bipartisan, commonsense laws, like closing the loopholes in Virginia’s background check system, that will help prevent senseless gun tragedies and make Virginia families safer.”

Dr. Ralph Northam:

“I’m proud to receive the endorsement of Americans for Responsible Solutions and work alongside them to fight for commonsense protections from gun violence in the commonwealth. As a senator and as lieutenant governor, I’ve dedicated myself to commonsense gun safety reform, casting the tie-breaking vote to close the gun show loophole and keep the ‘one-handgun-a-month’ policy in place. My life experience have led me to where we are now: I have a F rating from the NRA and I’m proud of it. As governor, I’ll continue fighting to make commonsense protections a reality and reduce gun violence as a result. With ARS, I’ll stand up to the pressure of the gun lobby to put the safety of Virginians ahead of special interests.”

Where Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam has demonstrated a clear commitment to protecting the rights and responsibilities of all Virginians, Ed Gillespie has shown that he is outside the mainstream. In 2014, the National Rifle Association gave Ed Gillespie an A-rating, boasting that he “opposes the so-called Obama-Bloomberg “universal” background check system.” In the last gubernatorial debate, Ed Gillespie made it clear that he would allow individuals to openly carry firearms into state office buildings and oppose commonsense gun safety measures, like universal background checks, that the overwhelming majority of Virginians support.

COUNTDOWN: New Campaign Shows Heat of Gun Violence Scorching America

August 1, 2017 —Today, as summer blazes into August, a season when gun violence in America hits highs, Americans for Responsible Solutions kicked-off a new social media campaign, “31 Days Under the Gun.” Every day throughout the month, the gun safety organization, launched by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, will share a fact that illustrates the toll gun violence in America is having on our communities. At a time when the Washington gun lobby is pushing for reckless, dangerous bills that sacrifice public safety, these facts will serve as a call to action for necessary, common sense solutions to save lives and make our communities safer.  

“As elected leaders depart of August recess, they’re heading home at a time of year when gun violence heats up across the country. The sad reality of summer is that the hottest months almost always result in a surge of gun violence,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director for Americans for Responsible Solutions. “When newspaper headlines start reporting spikes in gun violence, Americans need to remember that this is not normal. Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed by a gun than people in other countries – and it doesn’t need to be this way. As concerned citizens head to town halls and meet with their elected officials in their communities, they should call on them to take action to reduce the gun violence tearing apart our communities.”

With over 33,000 people killed with a gun every year, this social media campaign will draw attention to the ways America’s gun violence crisis affects everyone — from law enforcement officials to women and children. The oppressive trend of gun violence has stripped us of our sense of safety, and the only way forward is with innovative, commonsense solutions that the American public overwhelmingly supports.

At a time when Congress should be finding solutions to a national problem, the Washington gun lobby has been working to erode existing laws that keep us safe. Despite the fact that many law enforcement organizations and most gun owners disagree with the gun lobby’s extreme policy priorities, the gun lobby is continuing to put profits over public safety with their dangerous agenda:

  • Federally Mandated Concealed Carry would mandate that each state recognize concealed carry permits from every other state, undermining states with strong gun laws by forcing them to comply with lax gun laws, and putting law enforcement at risk.

  • Deregulating Gun Silencers would roll back a more than 80 year-old federal law that has prevented dangerous people from obtaining gun silencers, which mask muzzle flashes and the sound of gunfire making it more difficult to locate an active shooter. If deregulated, criminals could easily obtain silencers, increasing the likelihood of ambush-style attacks, including those directed at police, which reached a 20 year high just last year.

  • Risking Veterans’ Safety would prohibit the Veterans Administration from reporting veterans who are severely mentally ill to the federal background check system. This would mean that veterans with serious and debilitating mental illness could pass a background check and obtain a gun, despite the growing epidemic of veteran suicide. An average of 20 veterans die by suicide per day in the United States; two-thirds use a firearm to take their lives. Military leaders across all branches of the armed forces oppose this policy.

  • Guns in Schools would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act, and instead allow firearms inside K–12 schools. After this law was passed in 1990, school-associated student homicide rates decreased significantly. Allowing guns in schools poses a clear, demonstrable danger to our students, teachers, and communities.

Follow the campaign here.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, email press@responsiblesolutions.org