May 4, 2018 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun violence prevention group Giffords, released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s speech at the NRA’s 2018 Annual Meetings and Exhibits convention in Dallas. Vice President Mike Pence also addressed the gathering.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:
“It takes courage to fight gun violence. It takes courage to oppose the powerful and the privileged, to stand up against a special interest that spends hundreds of millions of dollars to protect the firearms industry. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. I’ve seen similar courage in young Americans finding their voice and speaking out – demanding that politicians act to keep kids safe. We’ve seen great courage at a Waffle House in Nashville, where a young man faced down death in order to save lives.
“Today, we saw no such courage from Donald Trump. It’s the job of the President to ensure our public safety, but Trump takes his marching orders from the NRA. It’s the job of the President to represent all Americans, but Trump has ignored the pleas of young people demanding safer gun laws, instead appearing for an unprecedented third time to support an organization that spent tens of millions of dollars to support him. Donald Trump has allowed his presidency to be hijacked by gun lobbyists and campaign dollars. As a result, the threats to our kids and our communities remain unaddressed. The solution for a Congress that won’t act to prevent gun violence is a Congress that will. Election Day can’t come soon enough.”
Giffords released a new poll that finds that a many gun owners believe that the NRA has become increasingly out of touch with them on important gun safety issues and shows that a majority of gun owners believe the NRA has strayed too far from its original mission. 59 percent of the gun owners in the poll feel that the NRA used to be an organization dedicated to gun safety, but it’s been overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission. 83 percent also support requiring a background check on all gun sales, including those sold online or at gun shows, while just 12 percent oppose them.
This week Giffords also released the next round of priority races in their #VoteThemOut campaign, part of their 2018 political program focused on defeating politicians who, for years, have refused to pass any gun violence prevention legislation. The announcement builds on the first wave of priority races announced by Giffords in February, bringing the total of incumbents the organization is seeking to unseat up to a total of 12 so far.
As the NRA’s event got underway, Giffords, along with the Gun Safety Alliance, Survivors Empowered and The Female Quotient sponsored a public awareness campaign, Face2Face, that is in the streets in Dallas aimed at raising awareness of what’s at stake if our leaders continue failing to acknowledge and address America’s gun violence crisis.
The campaign involved nighttime projections, that featured the faces of victims of gun violence in a larger than life way. 5 double-sided mobile billboard trucks also worked their way through downtown Dallas surrounding the convention site.
Despite the President’s inaction on meaningful gun safety legislation, states have made progress to curb the gun violence epidemic in their communities. Since the Parkland shooting alone we’ve seen:
- 25 gun safety bills have been signed into law in 15 states.
- 4 states (MD, FL, VT, WA) have passed bills to ban bump stocks.
- 3 states (FL, MD, VT) have passed extreme risk protection order legislation.
- 7 states (WA, VT, KS, UT, OR, OH, NY) have passed laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers.
- Republican governors in 10 states have signed gun safety bills into law (MD, VT, UT, NM, SD, OH, NE, IN, FL, KS).