May 8, 2018 – Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, announced its endorsement of Jennifer Longdon, candidate for Arizona’s House of Representatives in Legislative District 24. Longdon is one of 11 candidates Giffords endorsed today as part of its #VoteCourage campaign to elect gun safety champions, and joins a growing list of endorsed candidates supported by Giffords in 2018. She is the first candidate to receive a Giffords endorsement at the state legislative level in Arizona this year.
Jennifer Longdon was the victim of a random act of gun violence in 2004, which left her paralyzed and on the brink of poverty when she lost her health insurance in the aftermath of the shooting. Since then, Jen has dedicated herself to standing up for gun safety and supporting Arizona’s disabled community. She was a founding member of the Arizona Giffords Coalition and served as the President of Arizonans for Gun Safety.
“Jen and I sustained very different injuries when gunmen aimed their weapon at us and pulled the trigger,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “But both of us gained a determination to protect others. I know what it’s like to fight every day to get out of bed in the morning. Jen has demonstrated incredible grit and tenacity when faced with adversity. She is the embodiment of the courage we desperately need in our legislature to stand up to gun violence. I am inspired by Jen, and enthusiastic to endorse her campaign for Arizona’s 24th legislative district.”
Jen Longdon said, “I am honored to be endorsed by Giffords. I am proud of the work we have done together to make changes in Arizona. Like Gabby and Mark, I am a gun owner who believes we can preserve the Second Amendment while creating commonsense gun policies that protect our communities. I am committed ending gun violence. No family should experience the loss and hardship that my family, Mark and Gabby, and millions of families in America face due to gun violence.”
In 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.
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.