The endorsement comes as part of Giffords’ #VoteCourage Campaign to elect gun reform candidates nationwide
June 27, 2018 – Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, announced its endorsement of 12 incumbents for Congress in California. These elected leaders now join a growing list of endorsed candidates supported by Giffords in 2018, as part of the organization’s #VoteCourage campaign, an effort to elect gun safety champions. The organization expects to announce additional endorsements in the weeks and months to come.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:
“America experienced three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history in just the past year. Over 38,000 people in our country were killed by a gun. California has not been immune to this deadly crisis: Somebody is killed by a gun in California every 3 hours. Despite this devastating reality, the gun lobby has used its cash and influence to stifle any attempts to pass laws on Capitol Hill to make our schools, streets, and communities safer.
“The American people are outraged and tired of inaction. They are ready to use their power to demand that the leaders we elect to represent us are committed to creating a world where gun violence is not a daily problem. Voters are calling for leaders who will always put protecting the safety of our communities first, not themselves, and certainly not the gun lobby.
“The leaders we are endorsing today have acknowledged the devastating toll of our nation’s gun violence crisis, and they are working tirelessly to combat it. Their passion, leadership, and dedication as a leading gun safety champion will be critical for our next victories in Congress to save lives and prevent future tragedies. Giffords is proud to endorse Mike Thompson, Pete Aguilar, Linda Sanchez, Ami Bera, Jackie Speier, Salud Carbajal, Julia Brownley, Scott Peters, Jared Huffman, and Barbara Lee, Jimmy Panetta, and Raul Ruiz for Congress, leaders who have the courage stand up to the corporate gun lobby and who will never stop working to make California communities safer.”
The 12 California candidates endorsed by Giffords for reelection today include:
- Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05): Congressman Thompson is one of the most dedicated gun safety champions in Congress. In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Congressman Thompson was named Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, charged with developing comprehensive policy proposals to reduce and prevent gun violence in America. Congressman Thompson introduced and championed bipartisan legislation to expand background checks and close the gun show and internet sales loopholes. He also served as a tireless advocate for increased funding for federal law enforcement agencies. Congressman Thompson also supports enacting extreme risk protection orders, which empower family members and law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily remove firearms from people in crisis, and he voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation. We are proud to endorse Congressman Mike Thompson for Congress in 2018.
- Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA-31): A former mayor of Redlands, California, Congressman Pete Aguilar has brought his experience to Congress for two terms. Congressman Aguilar knows gun violence impacts all communities and can strike anywhere – including communities in his district. The community of San Bernardino faced horrific tragedy in 2015, when fourteen people were killed at an office holiday party. Congressman Aguilar believes it is past time for Congress to take action to protect children and families from gun violence. After the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in 2016, he participated in the sit-in at the House of Representatives and streamed the historic moment to his constituents via Facebook Live to demand a vote on responsible gun legislation. This Congress, Representative Aguilar pledged to keep California’s communities safe, voting against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation. We are proud to endorse Congressman Pete Aguilar for Congress in 2018.
- Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38): Since her election to Congress, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez has been an advocate for gun violence prevention. Congresswoman Sanchez serves as the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and uses her role to champion the issue of gun safety. She has co-sponsored legislation to expand background checks to all commercial sales, to restrict the sale of assault weapons and to end the prohibition on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducting research on gun violence. She’s never afraid to stand up to the gun lobby; in both 2011 and 2017, she voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation that would allow potentially untrained and unlicensed individuals to carry hidden, loaded guns into California communities. We are proud to endorse Congresswoman Linda Sanchez for Congress in 2018.
- Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07): As a physician, Congressman Ami Bera understands that America’s gun violence epidemic is an urgent public health problem that’s hurting families in all communities. In Congress, that has made him an advocate for a public health approach to reducing gun violence, including investing in gun violence research and evidence-based interventions at the federal level. Congressman Bera supports expanding background checks and allowing the temporary removal of guns from individuals in crisis, and he voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation that would put communities at risk. We are proud to endorse Congressman Ami Bera for Congress in 2018.
- Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14): In 1978, Congresswoman Jackie Speier was shot five times during a shooting which claimed the life of her boss, Congressman Leo Ryan. Since then, Congresswoman Speier has worked diligently to prevent the same violence from affecting the families she serves. An early advocate for universal background checks, Congresswoman Speier also supports keeping guns out of the hands of abusive dating partners and stalkers, restricting assault weapons and restarting federal research into gun violence. Congresswoman Speier has voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation, protecting public safety by preventing potentially untrained and unlicensed individuals to carry hidden, loaded guns. We are proud to endorse Congresswoman Jackie Speier for Congress in 2018.
- Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24): Congressman Carbajal is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has proven himself to be a leader in preventing gun violence. Inspired by the 2014 shooting that killed seven people in Isla Vista, CA, Congressman Carbajal has used his personal experience with gun violence to inform his policy agenda, serving as the lead sponsor of legislation to allow courts to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis. Congressman Carbajal also supports restricting assault weapons, expanding background checks, preventing stalkers and abusive dating partners from possessing firearms and restarting federal research into gun violence. Congressman Carbajal also voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation. He works across the aisle to build consensus with his Republican colleagues to make American communities safer. We are proud to endorse Congressman Salud Carbajal for Congress in 2018.
- Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26): A member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Congresswoman Julia Brownley has served in Congress for three terms. Congresswoman Brownley supports gun safety measures such as strengthening background checks, laws allowing the temporary removal of firearms from individuals in crisis, restricting assault weapons, preventing abusive dating partners and stalkers from possessing firearms and repealing the Dickey Amendment which has stifled gun violence research for more than two decades. In 2017, she stood up for the safety of her constituents by voting against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation. We are proud to endorse Congresswoman Julia Brownley for Congress in 2018.
- Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52): Known for his independent mindset, Congressman Scott Peters has shown he is not afraid to challenge the status quo. During the 2016 sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman Peters broke congressional rules and live-streamed the event so the public could witness this act of protest to demand action on gun safety. In 2017, Congressman Peters voted against harmful concealed carry reciprocity legislation that would allow individuals to carry concealed firearms into any state, regardless of that state’s gun laws. He supports expanding background checks, banning assault weapons, allowing the temporary removal of firearms from people in crisis, restricting assault weapons, preventing stalkers and abusive dating partners from possessing firearms, and allowing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study gun violence. We are proud to endorse Congressman Scott Peters for Congress in 2018.
- Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02) has made clear that taking action on gun violence is one of his top priorities. He supports closing loopholes in the background check system, banning assault weapons, allowing the temporary removal of guns from individuals in crisis and raising the legal age for gun purchases to 21. Congressman Huffman also voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation that would put his constituents at risk by allowing individuals, regardless of training, to carry hidden, loaded guns from out of state into California communities. We are proud to endorse Congressman Jared Huffman for Congress in 2018.
- Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) has been a strong and vocal advocate for gun safety since her election to Congress in 1998. Congresswoman Lee supports expanding background checks and banning assault weapons; in recent years, she has voted against gun lobby priorities like concealed carry reciprocity and legislation to grant legal immunity to firearms manufacturers. After the Parkland shooting, Congresswoman Lee reintroduced the Tiahrt Restrictions Repeal Act, which would improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and allow state and local law enforcement to use crime gun data to investigate corrupt gun traffickers. We are proud to endorse Congresswoman Barbara Lee for Congress in 2018.
- Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) is a veteran who has worked tirelessly to keep firearms out of the wrong hands. Congressman Panetta supports expanding background checks, allowing families and law enforcement to petition courts for the temporary removal of firearms from people in crisis, restricting assault weapons, and preventing stalkers and abusive dating partners from possessing firearms. Congressman Panetta has also introduced legislation that would remove firearms from convicted felons and other prohibited individuals, and he voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation that would force states to allow hidden, loaded guns to be carried across state lines. We are proud to endorse Congressman Jimmy Panetta for Congress in 2018.
- Congressman Raul Ruiz (CA-36) served as an emergency room doctor before his election to Congress, learning firsthand the damage gun violence can do to a community. He has used those experiences in Congress to advocate for a public health approach to reducing gun violence. Congressman Ruiz supports expanding background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of abusive dating partners and stalkers and allowing the temporary removal of firearm access for individuals in crisis. In 2017, he voted against dangerous concealed carry reciprocity legislation that would put California communities at risk. We are proud to endorse Congressman Raul Ruiz for Congress in 2018.
Giffords’ #VoteCourage campaign aims to elect gun safety advocates to Congress and defeat politicians who have historically worked against gun reform, or done nothing at all to prevent gun violence. The political program targets 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.
Learn More about Giffords’ 2018 political program here.