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.

ARS Responds to Funding for the Criminal Background Check System in the Continuing Resolution

September 28, 2016 — Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statement today on the passage of the continuing resolution, which maintains funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) at $73 million. Despite containing $1.24 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), $39 million above the FY15 enacted level, the ATF continues to be severely underfunded.

STATEMENT BY AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PETER AMBLER

“Our national background check system is only as strong as the records of the dangerous people that it contains. That’s why it’s good news that leaders from both sides of the aisle have come together to support the system that helps keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill.

“Although this bill does contain additional funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the corporate gun lobby continues to fight to ensure the ATF lacks the full financial and institutional resources it needs to address our national gun violence crisis.

“In the coming year, we hope that Congress will address these challenges and stand with the Vocal Majority of Americans who support commonsense change to close the dangerous loopholes in our nation’s gun laws and help keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

GABBY GIFFORDS, MARK KELLY LAUNCH NATIONAL BUS TOUR IN ORLANDO TO URGE AMERICANS TO VOTE TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE IN NOVEMBER

September 27, 2016 — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA Astronaut and Navy Combat Veteran Captain Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, gathered with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and local and national leaders today to launch the 2016 Vocal Majority Tour, a 14-state, six-week national bus tour that stretches until Election Day to ignite the Vocal Majority of Americans who support commonsense gun violence prevention laws and urge them to vote to reduce gun violence in November. The tour kicks off in Orlando, where on June 12 the nation’s deadliest mass shooting at Pulse nightclub resulted in the loss of 49 LGBT people and allies.

The Vocal Majority Tour is 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. Following today’s rally in Orlando, the Vocal Majority Bus Tour will travel to at least 40 cities across 14 states, including Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, DC, Virginia, and North Carolina.

At today’s kickoff, Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly were joined by survivors and families from the gun tragedy at Pulse nightclub; Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign; candidates for Congress Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy, and other leaders.

Following the kickoff, Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly joined a roundtable with local and national leaders to discuss the impact of gun violence on the Orlando community and the need for commonsense change.

The roundtable conversation was led by Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage – the courage to do what’s right, and the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line,” said Congresswoman Giffords in her speech at this morning’s announcement. “Now is the time to come together – to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans – everyone.”

“Our country is in the grips of a gun violence crisis. And for too long, a small but vocal minority – driven and controlled by the gun lobby – have had outsized influence over our nation’s gun laws,” said Captain Mark Kelly in his remarks at this morning’s kickoff. “It’s time for the majority to be heard. Let’s work together to make sure that 2016 is remembered as the year we made our voices heard – and the year that the movement for safer communities won big at the ballot box.”

“The 49 LGBTQ people and allies who lost their lives in Orlando nearly four months ago were brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, husbands and wives. But above all, they were human beings – human beings who were loved, who had hopes and dreams for long and full lives. And they were murdered simply because of who they are, and because it is too easy in America today for a dangerous person to buy a dangerous weapon,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This November, we need to elect candidates up and down the ballot who not only stand up for the equal dignity of the LGBTQ community, but stand up for our right to live and love free from fear and violence.”

“As a proud veteran and someone who lost a family member to gun violence, I want our leaders to do more to save lives and protect our communities,” said Celia Ruiz, the sister of Juan Guerrero who was killed at the Pulse nightclub. “Our rights come with great responsibility, and it is time for the vocal majority of Americans who want change to speak out.”

“As a survivor of the tragedy at Pulse, I am proud to be part of the Vocal Majority of Americans calling for responsible change,” said Angel Colon. “I’m honored to stand with Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly in this badly-needed fight for safer communities.”

Along with the Vocal Majority Tour, in 2016 ARS PAC is supporting its Champions for the Vocal Majority through endorsements of candidates up and down the ballot. ARS PAC is also making significant investments in races and ballot initiatives across the country and working to hold candidates in the gun lobby’s grip accountable.

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, 12,000 Americans are murdered with a gun. Every day, 88 Americans are killed with guns, and nearly 12,000 Americans are murdered with a gun each year. [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. Between 1997 and 2013, gun homicides have not varied more than 10 percent in either direction. [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]

About The 2016 Vocal Majority Tour & Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC

Led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the Vocal Majority Tour is a six-week nationwide bus 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. A project of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) – the gun violence prevention organization founded by Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly – The Vocal Majority Tour is travel 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 elections this fall.

Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (ARS PAC) works to elect candidates at every level of public office who show the political courage to stand up to the gun lobby, are passionate about reducing gun violence in our communities, and who commit to taking action once elected. Since 2013, ARS PAC has supported Champions for Common Sense in key federal, gubernatorial, and state races – and supported the passage of ballot initiatives – in states around the country.

Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly, Americans For Responsible Solutions PAC Announce Endorsements of U.S. House Candidates

September 22, 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 19 candidates for the United States 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 19 candidates as its 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 plans to make additional endorsements in federal races this fall.

Today, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Lujan joined Mark Kelly in a press call to announce these endorsements.

The newly-endorsed candidates include:

Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31)

LuAnn Bennett (VA-10)

Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26)

Bryan Caforio (CA-25)

Morgan Carroll (CO-06)

Colleen Deacon (NY-24)

Val Demings (FL-10)

Matt Heinz (AZ-02)

Ruben Kihuen (NV-04)

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)

Donald McEachin (VA-04)

Stephanie Murphy (FL-07)

Carol Shea Porter (NH-01)

Jacky Rosen (NV-03)

Steve Santarsiero (PA-08)

Tom Suozzi (NY-03)

Anna Throne-Holst (NY-01)

Tom Nelson (WI-08)

“If Congress won’t change our gun laws, then we need to work to change Congress. We need more leaders in Congress who will stand up to the Washington gun lobby and stand with the Vocal Majority of Americans who support commonsense change to help keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives,” said ARS PAC Co-Founders Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly. “We know that each of these leaders will be a strong voice in the House of Representatives for responsible steps that help keep guns of the wrong hands and save lives. We are proud to endorse these candidates as our Champions for the Vocal Majority and look forward to them being a steady voice for responsibility in Congress.”

“These Democrats are being recognized for their leadership on gun violence prevention and their intention to come to Washington to enact the change that the vast majority of Americans believe in and want. By failing to act on commonsense steps, like closing the loophole that allows suspects on the FBI terror watchlist to buy guns, House Republicans are putting their party over what is best for our country. In stark contrast, these incumbents and challengers are committed to acting on gun violence prevention in order to make our children and families safer,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Lujan.

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. We are also working to hold candidates in the gun lobby’s grip accountable. And this fall, Congresswoman Giffords will lead a six-week 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 will travel 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 elections this fall.