February 27, 2017 – 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), today joined with law enforcement leaders from across the country to announce the Advisory Committee of a new national effort, the “Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense,” to urge our country’s elected leaders to reduce gun violence and oppose irresponsible laws that pose a threat to public safety. The coalition brings together law enforcement officials from across the country who are committed to urging our elected leaders to enact responsible change that respects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, helps keep guns out of the wrong hands, and saves lives.
The coalition is focused on engaging other law enforcement officials and elected leaders by:
- Opposing Irresponsible Legislation That Would Federally Mandate Concealed Carry And Lift Restrictions On Firearm Silencers. The Coalition will work to oppose new irresponsible laws that would federally mandate concealed carry and would make it easier for dangerous people to obtain silencers – which pose a threat to public safety and make it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs.
- Supporting Stronger Gun Laws That Are Proven To Reduce Gun Violence. The Coalition will work to strengthen existing laws by cracking down on gun trafficking and closing the loopholes in our background check system that let felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns with no questions asked – a policy that over 90 percent of Americans support.
- Encouraging Leaders To Give Law Enforcement The Tools They Need To Keep Our Communities Safer. The Coalition will work to ensure law enforcementofficers have the resources, tools and training they need to prevent gun tragedies and keep our communities safe.
“As the proud son of two police officers, I understand how important it is for our nation’s brave law enforcement officials to have the tools they need to keep guns out of dangerous hands,” said Captain Kelly, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Now is the time for Congress to close the gaping loopholes in our nation’s gun laws with responsible solutions, and reject irresponsible calls to mandate the unrestricted ‘concealed carry’ of firearms and allow free access to dangerous silencers, which present a menacing new threat to our nation’s communities and law enforcement professionals. Gabby and I are grateful to all of these incredible law enforcement leaders who are using their voice to call for commonsense change that makes our communities safer.”
“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, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Now is the time to come together – to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans – everyone.”
“During my 47-year career in law enforcement, I’ve seen how responsible, trained professionals can use firearms to save innocent lives, and what can happen when guns fall into the hands of dangerous people who want to inflict harm on our communities,” said Charles H. Ramsey, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner. “I’m proud to join Congresswoman Giffords, Captain Kelly and my fellow law enforcement leaders in this important fight because we need more than just thoughts and prayers to protect our nation’s law enforcement officials and communities. We need commonsense, responsible solutions.”
“In order to keep guns out of dangerous hands and make our communities safer, law enforcement officials need the best tools and resources that our country has available,” said Louis Dekmar, LaGrange Police Department Chief of Police, and First Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “I applaud Congresswoman Giffords, Captain Kelly and my fellow law enforcement officials who are leading this national conversation around how we can best support our nation’s law enforcementprofessionals and the communities they risk their lives to protect.”
“As law enforcement members, each of us swears an oath to protect our Constitution and our communities. But we also know that our rights come with serious responsibilities,” said Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff. “Making our communities safer from gun violence shouldn’t have to be a partisan idea – it’s just a commonsense idea. That’s why so many Americans – including law enforcement leaders like me – support these policies. Together, we are demanding responsible change because we know our elected leaders can do more to protect our rights and save lives.”
As part of the launch, Congresswoman Giffords, Captain Kelly and members of the Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense were joined by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-08) and Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL-10), two lawmakers who have extensive law enforcement backgrounds, for a panel discussion on the importance of responsible gun ownership and the role of law enforcement voices in the gun violence prevention debate.
“As a former police chief, and 27-year law enforcement veteran, I have seen the aftermath of gun violence: shattered lives, families, and dreams,” said Congresswoman Val Demings (FL-10). “It is time for our leaders in Washington to stand up to the gun lobby, stand with law enforcement and pass some responsible solutions that protect the rights of law-abiding Americans and keep guns out of the wrong hands. I want to thank the members of the Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense for their leadership, which will undoubtedly save lives and make our country safer. Working together, we can make a difference.”
The Coalition is led by an Advisory Committee that is made up of a diverse group of law enforcement officials from across the country. In addition to Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly, the Advisory Committee members of the Law Enforcement Coalition for Common Sense include:
Commissioner John Barbieri, Springfield Police Department, Springfield, MA
Commissioner Charles Ramsey (Ret.), Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia PA
Director B. Todd Jones (Ret.), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Sheriff Mike Reese, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Multnomah County, OR
Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Dallas, TX
Chief Andrew Bidou, Vallejo Police Department, Vallejo, CA
Chief Jim Bueermann (Ret.), President Police Foundation, Washington, DC
Chief Robert Champagne (Ret.), Peabody Police Department, Peabody, MA
Chief Louis Dekmar, LaGrange Police Department, LaGrange, GA
Chief Ivan Fossen (Ret.), Glenwood Police Department, Glenwood, MN
Chief Michael Gahagan, Caribou Police Department, Caribou, ME
Chief Jeffrey Hadley, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Kalamazoo, MI
Chief Scott Knight, Chaska Police Department, Chaska, MN
Chief Ron Louie (Ret.), Hillsboro Police Department, Hillsboro, OR
Chief Chris Magnus, Tucson Police Department, Tucson, AZ
Chief James Moore, Rocky Mount Police Department, Rocky Mount, NC
Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Police Department, Seattle, WA
Chief Michael Sauschuck, Portland Police Department, Portland, ME
Chief Paul Schnell, Maplewood Police Department, Maplewood, MN
Chief Henry Stawinski, Prince George’s County Police Department, Prince George’s County, MD
ABOUT THE GUN VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES AND OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS
Our country is in the clutches of a gun violence crisis that claims over 30,000 lives every year:
- On average, over 90 Americans are killed from gun violence every day.
- Between 2006 and 2015, 521 law enforcement officers were fatally shot in the United States.
- In 2013, over 90% of law enforcement officers who were feloniously killed in the line of duty died from a gunshot wound.
- Americans are 25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries.