Press Release

Giffords Law Center to Honor Secretary Hillary Clinton, Gun Safety Advocates for Efforts to Make the Country Safer at 25th Anniversary Celebration

Milestone event recognizes courageous leaders, celebrates progress and remembers those lost to gun violence

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 101 California Street Shooting

June 14, 2018—At Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence 25th Anniversary Dinner on Thursday, June 14, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be honored for her work to reduce gun violence. Secretary Clinton’s unwavering calls for stronger gun laws from our country’s most prominent stages have inspired a nation and helped propel today’s long-overdue reflection and conversation about this deadly epidemic.

Student activists whose lives have been impacted by gun violence, including students from Parkland and Chicago, will also be recognized at the event. Each year, Giffords Law Center’s Anniversary Dinner honors the exceptional efforts of key individuals who have shown outstanding leadership in the gun violence prevention movement and pays tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at 101 California Street on July 1, 1993.

“Twenty-five years ago a disturbed man who should have never had a gun traveled across state lines to buy assault weapons and used them to murder eight innocent people and wound six more at 101 California Street. In the wake of that tragedy, the Bay Area legal community came together with a new commitment to craft laws that will reduce the horrific toll gun violence takes on our country,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center. “For 25 years, our organization has drawn inspiration from gun safety champions who are helping us achieve progress in the fight to save lives. This year, we are honored to recognize gun safety trailblazers: Secretary Hillary Clinton, a world leader who has worked tirelessly to protect children and campaigned boldly to build safer communities, and the student activists who are leading a new march forward to make our country safe. We have made remarkable progress in passing laws across the nation and it wouldn’t have happened without their bravery. Their leadership has made a lasting impact on our movement to save lives.”

Giffords Law Center organizes the Anniversary Dinner as a unique opportunity to bring together attorneys, business professionals, and advocates from across the country to recognize the movement’s champions, celebrate Giffords Law Center’s remarkable achievements, and support the fight for gun laws that save lives.

This recipient of the 2018 Courageous Leadership Award is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Giffords Law Center will also honor student activists and gun violence survivors from across the country who have marched, lobbied their representatives, and brought renewed vigor and national attention to the fight for gun safety. Among them are Ke’Shon Newman, Olivia Wesch and Kayla Shaefer—students featured in a new documentary from Giffords, How Many More?”–who will accept the 2018 Lifesaving Service Award on behalf of student activists from across the country

The documentary features these courageous students as they detail their experiences with gun violence. Ke’Shon tells the story of losing his brother to a shooting in Chicago, and Olivia and Kayla detail what it was like to be at Parkland during a mass shooting. Their experiences make plain the toll that living through a shooting takes, particularly on America’s children, and their determination to do something to stop it from happening to others like them.

Law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP will also receive the 2018 Richard W. Odgers Pro Bono Partner Award in recognition of their bold litigation effort to compel the Department of Defense to improve reporting to the background checks system following the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

History of Giffords Law Center

Following the July 1, 1993 mass shooting at the law firm Pettit & Martin in Francisco that killed eight and wounded six, a group of local attorneys had the courage to come together, take action, and create an organization that would leverage the expertise of the legal community to reduce gun violence in America.

More than two decades later, Giffords Law Center continues to work to defend and advance laws that are proven to save lives and prevent shootings. It started in California, where the organization helped the state cut its gun-death rate in half by drafting and passing innovative laws that other states weren’t enacting into law. Then Giffords Law Center expanded its scope, working with legislators to pass hundreds of new gun laws in dozens of state sand partnering with local governments and the private bar to defend existing laws from gun lobby challenges.  

Today, Giffords Law Center is the premier national resource for legal expertise and information on state and federal gun laws and legislation, teaming up with organizations across the country to fight for the solutions proven to make America safer from gun violence.

Giffords Law Center Milestones

  • Offered legal support to activists and officials in all 50 states.
  • Helped pass over 60 gun safety laws in California, resulting in a 50% drop in the state’s gun death rate between 1993 and 2013—twice the drop of the national average during the same time period.
  • Worked with state lawmakers and the California Firearms Strategy Group to enact the first gun violence restraining order in the nation.
  • Filed over 80 amicus briefs in appellate cases in which strong firearms laws were challenged.
  • Launched an initiative focused on reducing  urban gun violence and the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce, which teams advocates with the private bar to hold the gun industry accountable.
  • Assisted in the creation of a series of gun violence prevention executive orders announced by the Obama Administration in 2016.
  • Developed a pro bono program that has includes over 40 law firms and more than 200 volunteer attorneys.