Press Release

Giffords Launches Six-Figure Ad Buy Calling out Gov. Rick Scott for Repeatedly Siding with the Gun Lobby Over Public Safety

February 20, 2018— Today, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, released a new six-figure television ad calling out Florida Governor Rick Scott for repeatedly siding with the gun lobby over public safety.

The ad, which will begin airing on Tuesday, underscores that even as Florida suffered from mass shootings in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and now Parkland, Governor Rick Scott has actively sought to weaken the very gun laws that could have protected Florida communities.

Peter Ambler, Giffords Executive Director:

“The tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida has sparked grassroots outrage across the state and country. People are angry that time after time, politicians have chosen gun lobby contributions over public safety. They’ve offered “thoughts and prayers,” but refused to take action to stop the shootings. Nowhere is this problem thrown into sharper relief than in Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has complied with the gun lobby’s every wish, speaking at the NRA convention and even signing legislation that prevented doctors and mental health professionals from addressing threats relating to firearms with their patients. In the aftermath of Orlando and now Parkland, he’s done nothing to protect his fellow citizens. We’re educating Florida voters about the governor’s tragic record on gun safety and sending a message to all who seek public office: Enough! Voters are going to be examining politicians records on gun safety very closely this year, and we’re ready to help them make informed decisions.”

In particular, the ad points out that the Governor signed a bill into law that levied penalties against doctors for discussing gun safety with patients. In February 2017, the law was struck down by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Physicians’ right to speak freely with patients about gun safety is a necessary element of providing good healthcare, especially when patients demonstrate a higher risk of suicide or live in homes with children.

A critical component of addressing our nation’s gun violence epidemic is supporting the candidates who will stand up to the gun lobby and fight for safer gun laws. Giffords campaigns in key elections to elevate the issue of gun safety and build gun violence prevention majorities from state houses all the way up to the United States Senate. Elections last year sparked what has become the ‘suburban rebellion’ in 2018 and voters in these key districts overwhelmingly support safer gun laws. Giffords has taken on and defeated other prominent Florida politicians with poor gun safety records. In 2016, Giffords partnered with House Majority PAC to launch a targeted direct mail campaign to hold Rep. John Mica accountable for accepting a campaign donation from the NRA just two days after the shooting at Pulse Nightclub, and his refusal to vote to close loopholes in federal law that let dangerous people buy a gun without a background check.b. Representative Stephanie Murphy went on to win that race.

Hours after the Parkland shooting, Giffords launched a new national campaign – #VoteCourage – to get people to pledge to support candidates in November who will stand up to the gun lobby and fight for safer communities.

View the ad, “Gag Order” here. A transcript is below:

Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Parkland.

We need to stop dangerous people from getting guns.

But Governor Rick Scott made it illegal for a doctor to ask a patient if they owned a gun. Even a mental health professional.

This law was so dangerous that a court had to strike it down.

Governor Scott, we need more than your thoughts and prayers. Stop putting the gun lobby ahead of our safety.