Giffords Applauds Democratic Leaders for Highlighting Solutions to Make America Safer from Gun Violence

March 1, 2018— Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for calling for specific solutions to make America more safe from gun violence. Senator Schumer pointed to closing loopholes in our background checks laws, extreme risk protection order laws, and a ban on assault weapons as top priorities for immediate legislative action.

Captain Mark Kelly, co-founder of Giffords:

“Following the tragedy in Parkland, Americans are standing with the brave students of Parkland demanding immediate action from their elected officials. The courage we’ve witnessed in the face of tragedy is a potent reminder of the power that we all have to create change. Americans are aware of the devastating toll the gun violence crisis is having on the lives of our children and the safety of our communities and they’re unwilling to accept the fact that nearly 100 Americans die every day as the new normal. We can make our communities safer. We can take action to protect our children. We know how to solve this problem. It’s the responsibility of Congress to put those solutions into action.

“I applaud the Democratic leaders in Washington who have answered America’s call to do something. We urge Republicans in Congress to join in this discussion and to have this debate. Now is the time to work together to make our communities safer from gun violence. Not tomorrow, not next month, but today. It’s time to put the safety of our children before the interests of the corporate gun industry. Voters expect their elected leaders to take action on the issues that they care about most. Now is the time to listen.”

The package includes three policy proposals to strengthen federal gun laws: 

  1. Closing loopholes in our background check system. Under current federal law, only licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks on gun buyers. Unlicensed “private” sellers conducting transfers over the internet, at gun shows, and through classified ads, are not. As a result, 22% of gun transfers occur without a background check, allowing dangerous people prohibited from gun ownership like felons, domestic abusers, and individuals deemed by a court as a danger to themselves or others, to easily obtain guns. Most recent polling shows support for universal background checks is itself almost universal, supported by 97% of voters, including 97% among gun owners.

  2. Temporarily removing gun access for individuals representing a danger to themselves or others. Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws enable family members and law enforcement to petition a court for a temporary order prohibiting a person from purchasing or possessing firearms. These orders are sought when the individual demonstrates behaviors that indicate they may be a danger to themselves or others. ERPO laws are exactly the type of policy that could help people struggling in crisis, including the gunman in Parkland, Florida, as many of the shooter’s classmates, teachers, family members, and law enforcement were all aware the shooter was exhibiting dangerous behaviors.

  3. Banning assault weapons. Three of the country’s worst 10 mass shootings have been carried out with assault weapons in just the past five months. These are weapons that have been specifically designed to kill people quickly, which is why they are consistently used in these horrific public attacks. It’s never been more clear that Americans simply want to protect their kids and their communities from the unique threat these military-style firearms pose. Congress needs to find solutions to restrict the availability of assault weapons in order to keep our communities safer from gun violence.

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