Giffords’ #VoteThemOut Campaign aims to defeat gun lobby politicians, including Knight and Walters, this November
May 4, 2018 – Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, added California Congress Members Steve Knight (CA-25) and Mimi Walters (CA-45) to its list of politicians to unseat in the upcoming midterm elections. The announcement is part of Giffords’ larger #VoteThemOut campaign to elect gun safety champions to public office and unseat politicians who have refused to pass gun violence prevention legislation.
Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Giffords:
“While California is a national leader in gun safety laws, California politicians Steve Knight and Mimi Walters are just the opposite. Both Knight and Walters have voted against gun safety reform at every turn since being elected to Congress in 2015. California–and our country–deserve better leadership. In November, let’s replace Knight and Walters with gun safety advocates who will represent the overwhelming majority of Americans calling for action to prevent another tragedy.”
California has the strongest gun laws–and among the lowest gun death rates–of any state, having implemented policies such as universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, domestic violence and child access preventions measures, requiring permits for concealed carry, and banning assault weapons.
Steve Knight, representing the 25th district, has not only voted against gun safety legislation, but also, along with Walters, is a cosponsor of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act which would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry concealed weapons in any state. After the Parkland shooting, Knight also cited misleading facts on gun reform attitudes from his own website poll to justify reinforcing current gun laws instead of enacting new, stronger ones.
Mimi Walters, who represents California’s 45th district, has received at least $14,000 from the NRA. When a mother of two recently confronted Walters about accepting NRA donations, Walters evaded the question and ran away. She has also voted to roll back laws prohibiting mentally ill individuals from purchasing firearms and voted against an expansion of the definition of military-style assault rifle so that guns like the AR-15 — the weapon used in countless mass shootings, including Parkland –can still be purchased.
This February, Giffords launched the #VoteCourage campaign aimed at electing gun safety advocates to Congress and defeating politicians who have historically worked against gun reform, or done nothing at all to prevent gun violence. The political program is targeting incumbents in mostly suburban districts and uses a mixture of TV and digital advertising, on-the-ground organizing, and a voter registration push to create momentum for meaningful progress on gun safety.
As part of the campaign, Giffords also released a series of new digital ads today highlighting the close ties between 10 of the #VoteThemOut incumbents and the National Rifle Association.
Today, Giffords also launched a new digital resource for voters spotlighting the elected officials they are seeking to unseat. The overall effort is working to clear the deck and make room for new leaders in Congress pledge to support legislation that will address the country’s gun violence epidemic.
The mass shooting at Parkland, Florida crystallized the country’s frustration with the lack of action to pass gun safety laws. Currently, the country is averaging nearly 34,000 deaths from guns every year, and recent polling shows that support for stronger gun laws is at an all-time high.