June 12, 2016 – Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence condemned the horrific mass shooting early Sunday at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, and the weak gun laws that enable gun violence rates in the United States to outpace other developed nations by orders of magnitude.
ARS and the Law Center recently merged, joining forces to create a powerful new force for gun safety legislation, education, communications, and advocacy under the leadership of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, the leading voices in the movement to keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives from gun violence.
“In our national sorrow, in our solidarity with our fellow Americans in the LGTBQ community, there is so much we can do—as a nation of laws—to prevent future gun tragedies. It’s critical to remember that all too often our mourning is the manifestation of our failures to prevent tragedy,” said Peter Ambler, Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We have background checks that work to stop gun sales to criminals at gun stores, but we tolerate loopholes that allow millions of gun sales to occur every year with no background check at all. We know guns in the hands of domestic abusers increases the risk an abuse victim will be murdered by 500 percent – and is how over half of mass shootings begin – but Congress drags its feet. We prevent suspected terrorists from boarding airplanes, but we allow them to legally purchase guns. And more. It’s on us. We will mourn. But we should also use our voices to call for responsibility and safety, and we should vote our commitment to these core American values.”
“In the past year alone we’ve witnessed deadly shootings in schools, churches, movie theaters, military recruiting centers, government facilities, and even on live TV,” said Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Now, we face the deadliest mass shooting in American history, with over 100 people shot in a single attack. This is not a record anyone wanted to see broken, but violence at such a large scale was inevitable given the permissiveness of gun laws in America. It’s far too easy for those who intend to do harm—whether they’re terrorists, bigots, domestic abusers, or dangerously mentally ill—to get their hands on guns. Our hearts go out to the victims of this incomprehensible tragedy and to the LGBTQ community, and we vow to keep fighting for the smart gun laws that we know save lives.”
“As Congresswoman Giffords’ Chief of Staff at the time of the Tucson shooting, as a former Assistant Secretary at DHS, as a former executive director at ARS, and as a board member of the Gay & Lesbian Victory fund and a proud member of the LGTBQ community, I know the tragedy in Orlando poses myriad challenges to our first responders, to Congress, and to our nation,” said Pia Carusone, Senior Advisor, Americans for Responsible Solutions.“We should applaud the first responders and citizens on the scene who administered first aid to victims. We must thank the law enforcement who bravely responded and helped prevent even further death. And we need to call upon Congress to act as we respond to yet another mass shooting. Today also calls for compassion: Reach out to your gay and lesbian fellow citizens. As they feel the vulnerability of being the targets of the largest mass shooting in history, let them know they have the support of their friends and family and a whole nation of Americans behind them.”
ABOUT FLORIDA’S GUN LAWS
Florida has some of the worst gun laws in the nation, regularly scoring an F in the Law Center’s annual Gun Law State Scorecard. It fails to require background checks for private sales, does not restrict access to assault weapons or large capacity magazines, has incredibly weak standards for allowing people to carry guns in public, and even bars doctors from speaking about firearm safety with their patients. Learn more about gun laws in Florida at http://smartgunlaws.org/FL.