ARS & the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Respond to the Dismissal of a Lawsuit by Sandy Hook Parents Against Gun Manufacturer

October 14, 2016 — Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, today responded to the dismissal by Connecticut State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis of a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Remington Arms brought by parents of children killed at the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. In her ruling, Judge Bellis cited the gun manufacturer immunity legislation the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) as grounds for dismissal.

The ruling comes on the eve of Congresswoman Giffords’ visit to Newtown, Connecticut, tomorrow, Saturday, October 15.

“This is the result of legal immunity for the gun industry: Grieving parents and other victims are denied access to the courts and denied an opportunity for a fair hearing,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Virtually no other industry enjoys this special protection from accountability. PLCAA is an outrageous giveaway to the firearms industry, a giveaway that virtually no other industry enjoys. It is past time for this irresponsible and unfair law to be overturned.”

“Congress has granted unprecedented protection to the gun industry, thanks to the gun lobby’s destructive grip on Washington,” said Robyn Thomas, the Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which merged with Americans for Responsible Solutions in March 2016. “Claiming to protect one right, the gun lobby has infringed on another: the right to have your day in court. The dismissal of the Newtown families’ case doesn’t mean their claims lack merit—it means that our system is rigged in favor of the gun industry and our leaders refuse to hold the manufacturers of deadly weapons of war accountable for the carnage they wreak in our communities, on our streets, and even in our first-grade classrooms. PLCAA is a disgrace that Congress must repeal.”

Learn more about PLCAA: http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/federal-law/other-laws/immunity-statutes

ARS PAC Endorses Additional Candidates for the United States Senate and the House of Representatives

October 11, 2016 — 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 – today announced its endorsement of 13 additional candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Citing their support for a broad set of responsible gun violence prevention policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, ARS PAC declared these 13 candidates Champions for the Vocal Majority.

The endorsements are part of ARS PAC’s “Vocal Majority” campaign this fall to mobilize millions of Americans to make the 2016 election a referendum on gun violence prevention and to support leaders up and down the ballot who are committed to taking responsible steps that reduce gun violence. ARS PAC previously announced endorsements this year in races for the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives, and plans to make additional endorsements of candidates this fall.

The newly-endorsed candidates for the United States Senate include:

  • Russ Feingold (WI)

  • Attorney General Kamala Harris (CA)

  • Patty Judge (IA)

  • Senator Patty Murray (WA)

  • Deborah Ross (NC)

  • Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD)

ARS PAC had previously announced its endorsement of the following Senate candidates: Senator Michael Bennet (CO); Congressman Patrick Murphy (FL); Senator Mark Kirk (IL); Governor Maggie Hassan (NH); Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (NV); Ted Strickland (OH); and Senator Pat Toomey (PA).

The newly-endorsed candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives include:

  • Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07)

  • Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01)

  • Jim Mowrer (IA-03)

  • Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)

  • Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04)

  • Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52)

ARS PAC had previously endorsed 19 candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. Read the full list here.

“We need more leaders in Washington who will stand up for the Vocal Majority of Americans who want responsible change that combats our national gun violence crisis and saves lives,” said ARS PAC Co-Founders Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly. “Each of these leaders will be a strong voice for commonsense change in Congress and will stand up to the Washington gun lobby that has worked to protect a dangerous status quo. We are proud to support them as our Champions for the Vocal Majority and look forward to having them as strong, badly-needed voices for responsibility in Washington.”

Along with its endorsements of its Champions for the Vocal Majority, this year ARS PAC is making significant investments in races and ballot initiatives across the country to support pro-gun violence prevention candidates and responsible ballot initiatives. ARS PAC is also working to hold candidates in the gun lobby’s grip accountable, including Senator Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire Senate race.

On Tuesday, September 27th, Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly also launched a six-week, 14-state, 42-day nationwide bus tour – the Vocal Majority Tour – to encourage the vast number of Americans who support commonsense change to our gun laws to step up, speak out, and be catalysts for change this November. The Vocal Majority Tour is traveling to communities in battleground states and districts for grassroots events with local leaders, elected officials, and candidates to help ignite the Vocal Majority and elevate gun violence prevention in this fall’s election. After events a total of 16 events in Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, the Vocal Majority Tour and Congresswoman Giffords travel to Portland, Maine this week. Follow the Vocal Majority Tour at: www.TheVocalMajority.com.

Gabby Giffords Joins Local Leaders in Minnetonka And Apple Valley As Part of Her National “Vocal Majority” Bus Tour, Endorses Candidates for Minnesota Legislature

October 5, 2016 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC), was joined by local leaders today at events in Minnetonka and Apple Valley as part of her 14-state, 42-day national “Vocal Majority” bus tour. At both of today’s events, Giffords and local leaders stood together to call on Minnesotans to vote this November for candidates who are committed to responsible change that helps keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives.

The events in Minnetonka and Apple Valley, which included the launch of a canvass and phone bank at campaign field offices, were the eighth and ninth stops, respectively, in the 14-state, 42-day Vocal Majority Tour. Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, ARS PAC Co-Founder, Navy combat veteran, and retired NASA astronaut Captain Kelly, launched the tour on September 27th in Orlando, Florida, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in our country’s history, the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead. The Vocal Majority Tour events and national tour are being organized and hosted ARS PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Kelly

Following the events today, the Vocal Majority Tour will host a rally in St. Paul tomorrow morning before heading to events with community leaders in Wisconsin and Ohio.

As part of ARS PAC’s “Vocal Majority” tour stop, ARS PAC endorsed 31 candidates for the Minnesota Legislature as Minnesota Champions for the Vocal Majority, citing each candidate’s support for gun violence prevention policies that will keep guns out of the wrong hands and make our communities safer.

ARS PAC’s Minnesota Champions for the Vocal Majority running for the House of Representatives are:

Zachary Dorholt (District 14B)

Patty Fritz (District 24B)

Representative Melissa Hortman (District 36B)

Laurie Pryor (District 48A)

Representative Debra Hilstrom (District 40B)

Representative Peter Fischer (District 43A)

Ginny Klevorn (District 44A)

Jaime Becker Finn (District 42B)

Representative Cheryl Youakim (District 46B)

Representative Sandra Masin (District 51A)

Representative JoAnn Ward (District 53A)

Don Slaten (District 54B)

Lindsey Port (District 56B)

Erin Maye Quade (District 57A)

Ilhan Omar (District 60B)

Representative Paul Thissen (District 61B)

Representative David Pinto (District 64B)

Representative John Lesch (District 66B)

ARS PAC’s Minnesota Champions for the Vocal Majority running for the Minnesota State Senate include:

Senator Tom Bakk (District 3)

Senator Kent Eken (District 4)

Senator Tom Saxhaug (District 5)

Senator Vicki Jensen (District 24)

Senator Ron Latz (District 46)

Deb Calvert (District 44)

Steve Cwodzinski (District 48)

Senator Jim Carlson (District 51)

Representative Dan Schoen (District 54)

Senator Greg Clausen (District 57)

Senator Kari Dziedzic (District 60)

Senator Scott Dibble (District 61)

Senator Richard Cohen (District 64)

The Vocal Majority Tour and ARS PAC’s endorsements of pro-gun violence prevention candidates are part of ARS PAC’s “Vocal Majority” campaign this fall to mobilize millions of Americans to make the 2016 election a referendum on gun violence prevention and to support leaders up and down the ballot who are committed to taking responsible steps that reduce gun violence.

Each year, gun violence claims the lives of 33,000 Americans and over 100,000 are injured. In 2014, 374 Minnesotans were shot and killed. According to recent research, 86 percent of Minnesotans support responsible changes to our gun laws that help keep guns out of the wrong hands, including closing the loopholes in our laws that let felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns without a criminal background check, as well as loopholes that let known and suspected terrorists pass a background check and legally purchase a gun.

About The 2016 Vocal Majority Tour

A project of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the Vocal Majority Tour is just one component of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC’s 2016 Vocal Majority campaign to make 2016 a referendum on gun violence prevention. Along with the nationwide bus tour, the campaign also includes making significant investments in races and ballot initiatives across the country to support pro-gun violence prevention candidates and responsible ballot initiatives. Learn more at www.TheVocalMajority.com.

About Gun Violence in the United States

  • Americans are nearly 20 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other peer countries. [Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2011]

  • Each year, 33,000 Americans die from gun violence. [WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010]

  • Over the past 15 years, the gun murder rate has remained largely unchanged – even as violent crime has dropped. While America’s rate of violent crime has generally decreased over the past 15 years, the gun murder rate in the U.S. has remained relatively constant. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2014]

  • The number of shootings is on the rise. While the number of gun murders in the U.S. has remained constant, the number of shootings has been increasing. The number of non-fatal gunshot wounds rose more than 50 percent between 2001 and 2013. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2014]

Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC: Kelly Ayotte ‘Absolutely’ Emulates Donald Trump’s Irresponsible Stance on Guns

October 4, 2016 – Following New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte’s assertion that Donald Trump “absolutely” can serve as a role model for our children during last night’s second New Hampshire Senate debate, the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC and Granite State Progress issued the following statements today:

“While Senator Ayotte tries to distance herself from her own statement that Donald Trump is a role model for our children, we know that Senator Ayotte absolutely emulates Donald Trump’s irresponsible position on guns. Not only has Senator Ayotte, like Donald Trump, opposed gun violence prevention, but she has also attempted to obscure her record by citing her support for toothless, gun-lobby-backed plans that masquerade as good policy. And like Donald Trump, Senator Ayotte remains firmly in the Washington gun lobby’s grip, despite Granite Staters’ overwhelming support for responsible change that will make our communities safer,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. “In the coming month, we will be working to ensure that the Vocal Majority of Americans who support responsible change to our gun laws will stand up and speak out on Election Day against the irresponsible positions that Senator Ayotte and Donald Trump share.”

“Ayotte sends the wrong message to our nation’s children when she holds up Donald Trump as a role model. In a time of mass school shootings and daily gun violence, a candidate who proudly suggests he could shoot someone as a candidate for President of the United States and not lose support is not a role model for our children,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress.

Along with its joint “Granite State Majority” grassroots campaign with Granite State Progress to hold Kelly Ayotte accountable for her record of standing with the gun lobby, ARS PAC has made significant investments in New Hampshire’s Senate race to hold Kelly Ayotte accountable for her record of voting to protect the loopholes in federal law that let dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers buy guns without a criminal background check in unlicensed sales at gun shows and through the internet. ARS PAC-endorsed candidate Governor Maggie Hassan has voiced her support for closing those gun show and internet loopholes in federal law.

On October 13th, Co-Founder Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will visit New Hampshire as part of the 14-state, 42-day national bus tour, the Vocal Majority Tour.

According to recent research by Public Policy Polling, Granite State voters rank gun violence prevention as high as key issues like education and the economy. Sixty-seven percent of voters said they also would want a candidate that supports background checks for all gun sales.

Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC Airs New Ad in New Hampshire Senate Race, Announces New “Granite State Majority” Grassroots Campaign in Partnership with Granite State Progress to Hold U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte Accountable for Standing With the Washington Gun Lobby, Voting Against Background Checks

September 29, 2016 — The gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) announced today it is airing a new 30-second television ad in the New Hampshire Senate race, “Tick Tock,” to hold Senator Ayotte accountable for her record of voting to protect the loopholes in federal law that let dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers buy guns without a criminal background check in unlicensed sales at gun shows and through the internet. ARS PAC-endorsed candidate Governor Maggie Hassan has voiced her support for closing those gun show and internet loopholes in federal law. The new ad is part of a seven-figure investment in television communications by ARS PAC in the New Hampshire Senate race.

ARS PAC and Granite State Progress also announced today a new grassroots campaign, the “Granite State Majority,” which includes a coalition of grassroots leaders from across New Hampshire who will attend Senator Ayotte’s public events and work to hold her accountable for standing with the Washington gun lobby.

In addition, ARS PAC announced that its Co-Founder Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will visit New Hampshire on October 13th as part of the 14-state, 42-day national bus tour, the Vocal Majority Tour, which Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly kicked off Tuesday in Orlando. The Vocal Majority Tour is urging the 90 percent of Americans who support responsible change to our gun laws that save lives to vote for gun violence prevention in November.

ARS PAC’s Vocal Majority Tour and its investments to hold Kelly Ayotte accountable are part of its 2016 Vocal Majority Campaign to mobilize millions of Americans to make the election a referendum on gun violence prevention, already this year ARS PAC has aired two television ads (“here” and “here”), each backed by six-figure buys, in the New Hampshire Senate race to hold Senator Ayotte accountable for voting against laws that help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Click here to watch “Safety,”and click here to watch ARS PAC’s most recent television ad in the race, “Mislead.”

“In the face of a gun violence crisis that claims 91 American lives every day, Senator Ayotte continues to stand with the Washington gun lobby to preserve the status quo, fight for inaction, and protect the loopholes in our nation’s gun laws that allow dangerous people to buy guns with no questions asked,” said ARS PAC Executive Director Peter Ambler. “Granite Staters are sick and tired of hearing Senator Ayotte say one thing in New Hampshire and then do the opposite in Washington. New Hampshire voters deserve accountability and they deserve to know who Senator Ayotte puts first in Washington – the corporate gun lobby.”

“Nearly nine out of 10 Granite Staters support common sense background checks to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, the seriously mentally ill, and terrorists, but Senator Ayotte sided with the gun lobby over her constituents,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “For three years we have encouraged Senator Ayotte to vote on behalf of her constituents and to meet with gun violence survivors and advocates on this issue. For three years, Ayotte has turned her back on New Hampshire. We’re not going to let her whitewash her record now.”

Since 2009, Granite State Progress has coordinated a network of New Hampshire gun violence prevention groups, allies, and supporters on pro-active and defensive bills at the state and federal level. In 2013, GSP hosted several press conferences immediately following Ayotte’s vote against background checks, which took place just months after the Sandy Hook school shooting. The organization and its supporters frequently birddog Ayotte on the issue and continue to push her to sit-down with gun violence prevention advocates – something she has refused to do for the last three years – most recently sending two members to Ayotte’s weekly constituent ‘Coffee with Kelly’ in Washington, DC after Ayotte has blatantly refused to meet with gun violence prevention advocates in-state.

Senator Ayotte has voted repeatedly against more criminal background checks for gun sales. 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 at gun shows and through the Internet, 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 and in June 2016, Senator Ayotte once again voted to protect the loopholes in our background check system. Click here to read a memo on Senator Ayotte’s record of voting against requiring criminal background checks for more gun sales.

According to recent research by Public Policy Polling, Granite State voters rank gun violence prevention as high as key issues like education and the economy. Sixty-seven percent of voters said they also would want a candidate that supports background checks for all gun sales.

TRANSCRIPT: “Tick Tock”

A movie theater in Aurora. A church in Charleston. A nightclub in Orlando.

We can’t keep doing nothing.

We all agree, background checks will make us safer.

But Kelly Ayotte puts the Washington gun lobby first so nothing gets done.

Now Congress is on a break so Ayotte can go campaigning.

When you see Kelly, tell her to start worrying more about our safety, not her reelection.

Time’s up.